List, Jon S, Franklin, Michael, list,

I will not be entering this debate, one which I should have known would
ensue from my reposting parts of Michael Shapiro's blog post and his
reposting it in its entirety. So I apologize to the list for doing that as
it was at least very naive of me.

In any event, I would suggest that interpreting the Constitution has
historically been a very difficult and contentious matter. Last year I took
a 10 week course on the theme of "The Constitution Today" given by the
Constitutional scholar, Akhil Reed Amar of the Yale Law School at The
Cooper-Union in NYC, and reflecting on that course and rereading some of my
notes, I am now beginning to find pretty much all the commentary on the
Second Amendment on the list problematic (no doubt whatever I'd written
that could be considered "commentary" as well), at very list far to
simplistic. Is it truly possible to "get a handle on" the Second Amendment
in a paragraph or two?

First, I would recommend that anyone truly interested in this topic and who
has not recently studied the Constitution including the Amendments begin by
reading this excellent, in my opinion truly well-balanced overview of the
Second Amendment in *Wikipedia*, especially the section:

*Late 20th century commentary*

and the immediately following sub-topics:

*Meaning of "well regulated militia"*


*Meaning of "the right of the People"*

*Meaning of "keep and bear arms"*

(Below my signature I've reproduced the Introductory "Late 20th century
commentary" section which offers "three competing theoretical models for
how the prefatory clause should be interpreted" by Constitutional scholars,
these three centering on whether the prefatory clause of the Second
Amendment protects an individual or collective right.)

Be that as it may, however one interprets the Second Amendment, as an
American citizen I am very much concerned with the consequences of the
Supreme Court having fairly recently settled on the third model. In
District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) the court ruled that the Second
Amendment protects an individual's right. How this plays out in
contemporary American life is of considerable importance as it has
important implications for possible legislation (or the lack thereof)
regarding so-called "gun control."

So, my final word--on list at least--is that I tend to share the opinion of
yet another Constitutional scholar, President Barack Obama, who said at a
press conference in early Jan. 2015: http://time.com/4168056/
obama-gun-control-speech-transcript/

"I’ve said this over and over again,. . .I believe in the Second Amendment.
. . It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try
to twist my words around — I taught constitutional law, I know a little
about this —— I get it. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce
gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.

*I mean, think about it. We all believe in the First Amendment, the
guarantee of free speech, but we accept that you can’t yell “fire” in a
theater. We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order
to protect innocent people. We cherish our right to privacy, but we accept
that you have to go through metal detectors before being allowed to board a
plane. It’s not because people like doing that, but we understand that
that’s part of the price of living in a civilized society. (Emphasis added)*

And what’s often ignored in this debate is that a majority of gun owners
actually agree. A majority of gun owners agree that we can respect the
Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking feud from
inflicting harm on a massive scale."
So, the Second Amendment will continue to be interpreted and legislation
will or will not be written in light of those interpretations. Meanwhile,
innocents will continue to be slaughtered while the debates goes on.

Finally, I would like to suggest that those of us who would like to
continue the discussion *as such* (that is, in non-Peirce-related ways)
should probably take it off list--at least, very soon. Still, I've offered
my final on-list thought on the matter, and ohers may wish to do the same.
But *then *let's please take it off-list.

Best,

Gary R

*Late 20th century commentary*

In the latter half of the 20th century, there was considerable debate over
whether the Second Amendment protected an individual right or a collective
right <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_and_group_rights>.The
debate centered on whether the prefatory clause ("A well regulated militia
being necessary to the security of a free State") declared the amendment’s
only purpose or merely announced a purpose to introduce the operative
clause ("the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be
infringed"). Scholars advanced three competing theoretical models for how
the prefatory clause should be interpreted


The first, known as the "states' rights
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States%27_rights>" or "collective right"
model, held that the Second Amendment does not apply to individuals;
rather, it recognizes the right of each state to arm its militia. Under
this approach, citizens "have no right to keep or bear arms, but the states
have a collective right to have the National Guard". Advocates of
collective rights models argued that the Second Amendment was written to
prevent the federal government from disarming state militias, rather than
to secure an individual right to possess firearms. Prior to 2001, every
circuit court decision that interpreted the Second Amendment endorsed the
"collective right" model. However, beginning with the Fifth Circuit's
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Court_of_Appeals_for_the_Fifth_Circuit>
 opinion *United States v. Emerson* in 2001, some circuit courts recognized
that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.In the
latter half of the 20th century, there was considerable debate over whether
the Second Amendment protected an individual right or a collective right
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_and_group_rights>.The debate
centered on whether the prefatory clause ("A well regulated militia being
necessary to the security of a free State") declared the amendment’s only
purpose or merely announced a purpose to introduce the operative clause
("the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed").
Scholars advanced three competing theoretical models for how the prefatory
clause should be interpreted.

The second, known as the "sophisticated collective right model",held that
the Second Amendment recognizes some limited individual right. However,
this individual right could only be exercised by actively participating
members of a functioning, organized state militia/ Some scholars have
argued that the "sophisticated collective rights model" is, in fact, the
functional equivalent of the "collective rights model." Other commentators
have observed that prior to *Emerson*, five circuit courts specifically
endorsed the "sophisticated collective right model"

The third, known as the "standard model", held that the Second Amendment
recognized the personal right of individuals to keep and bear
arms. Supporters of this model argued that "although the first clause may
describe a general purpose for the amendment, the second clause is
controlling and therefore the amendment confers an individual right 'of the
people' to keep and bear arms".Additionally, scholars who favored this
model argued the "absence of founding-era militias mentioned in the
Amendment's preamble does not render it a 'dead letter' because the
preamble is a 'philosophical declaration' safeguarding militias and is but
one of multiple 'civic purposes' for which the Amendment was enacted".

Under both of the collective right models, the opening phrase was
considered essential as a pre-condition for the main clause. These
interpretations held that this was a grammar structure that was common
during that era and that this grammar dictated that the Second Amendment
protected a collective right to firearms to the extent necessary for
militia duty. However, under the standard model, the opening phrase was
believed to be prefatory or amplifying to the operative clause. The opening
phrase was meant as a non-exclusive example – one of many reasons for the
amendment. This interpretation is consistent with the position that the
Second Amendment protects a modified individual right.

The question of a collective right versus an individual right was
progressively resolved in favor of the individual rights model, beginning
with the Fifth Circuit
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Court_of_Appeals_for_the_Fifth_Circuit>
ruling
in *United States v. Emerson
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Emerson>* (2001), along
with the Supreme Court's rulings in *District of Columbia v. Heller* (2008),
and *McDonald v. Chicago* (2010). In *Heller*, the Supreme Court resolved
any remaining circuit splits <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_split> by
ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Although the
Second Amendment is the only Constitutional amendment with a prefatory
clause, such linguistic constructions were widely used elsewhere in the
late eighteenth century.

(See also the following sections.)


Meaning of "well regulated militia"

Meaning of "the right of the People"

Meaning of "keep and bear arms"




*Gary Richmond*
*Philosophy and Critical Thinking*
*Communication Studies*
*LaGuardia College of the City University of New York*
*718 482-5690 <(718)%20482-5690>*

On Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 3:21 PM, Jon Alan Schmidt <jonalanschm...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> List:
>
> This is obviously a politically and emotionally charged topic at the
> moment, and I want to say at the outset that I personally am not a
> proponent of "gun rights" as that term is commonly used in public
> discourse.  However, I do believe in accurately interpreting the
> Constitution, and I have to agree with Franklin that the Second Amendment
> neither asserts nor implies that a "well regulated Militia" is only one
> that is "federally authorized."  On the contrary, it asserts that such a
> Militia is "necessary to the security of a free State," and of course the
> word "State" in this context refers to each of the sovereign
> entities--thirteen at that time, fifty today--that are united under the
> federal government.  Furthermore, the right "to keep and bear Arms" is not
> limited to the members of said Militia, but is attributed to "the people,"
> which again has a very specific meaning in this context; cf. the Ninth and
> Tenth Amendments.
>
> Regards,
>
> Jon Alan Schmidt - Olathe, Kansas, USA
> Professional Engineer, Amateur Philosopher, Lutheran Layman
> www.LinkedIn.com/in/JonAlanSchmidt - twitter.com/JonAlanSchmidt
>
> On Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 11:50 AM, <pragmaticist.lo...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Gary, list
>>
>> Out of curiosity, if it was meant for a “federally-authorized” collective
>> fighting force, why did it need to be included as an amendment among the
>> Bill of Rights? Surely no such amendment should be needed to protect the
>> existence of the National Guard, and it’s hard to see why anyone voting for
>> its inclusion would have thought so at the time.
>>
>> — Franklin
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>
>> On Feb 22, 2018, at 8:46 PM, Stephen C. Rose <stever...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> These arguments are clear and obvious to all but certain political
>> leaders and their legal supporters. I am glad to see them understood as
>> pragmaticist. There is also an argument against violence per se which
>> relates in my view to a distinction between binary conflict and triadic
>> accommodation -- based on continuity and evolutionary love. It seems to me
>> that these matters deserve a wide hearing and should command the attention
>> of the global community of pragmaticists. Philosophy, in general, has been
>> deficient in dealing with the fundamental issues of survival.
>>
>> amazon.com/author/stephenrose
>>
>> On Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 7:38 PM, Gary Richmond <gary.richm...@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> List,
>>>
>>> The conclusion of the Peircean linguist Michael Shapiro's blog post of
>>> 2014 on the Second Amendment. First, the Amendment.
>>>
>>>  "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free
>>> State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be
>>> infringed."
>>>
>>> "The word militia of the first clause governs—is hierarchically
>>> superordinate to—the phrase the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
>>> The framers of the Constitution had the grammatical option to invert the
>>> two clauses but did not. The element order speaks for itself, rendering
>>> militia the pragmatistic scope (i. e., in the Peircean sense of the
>>> philosophical doctrine of pragmatism) under which right to keep and bear
>>> arms is restricted. " Michael Shapiro
>>>
>>> His complete argumentation is, of course, longer; for which see his
>>> blog. http://languagelore.net Included in Shapiro's post was this:
>>>
>>> From Dennis Baron, “Guns and Grammar: the Linguistics of the Second
>>> Amendment” (www.english.illinois.edu/-people/faculty/debaron/essays/gun
>>> s.pdf):
>>>
>>> “In our amicus brief in the Heller case we attempted to demonstrate,
>>> • that the Second Amendment must be read in its entirety, and that its
>>> initial absolute functions as a subordinate adverbial that establishes a
>>> cause-and-effect connection with the amendment’s main clause; connection
>>> with the amendment’s main clause;
>>> • that the vast preponderance of examples show that the phrase bear arms
>>> refers specifically to carrying weapons in the context of a well-regulated
>>> militia;
>>> • that the word militia itself refers to a federally-authorized,
>>> collective fighting force, drawn only from the subgroup of citizens
>>> eligible for service in such a body;
>>> • and that as the linguistic evidence makes clear, the militia clause is
>>> inextricably bound to the right to bear arms clause. 18th-century readers,
>>> grammarians, and lexicographers understood the Second Amendment in this
>>> way, and it is how linguists have understood it as well.”
>>>
>>> Professor Joseph Dauben of the CUNY Graduate Center commented on
>>> Shapiro's blog post in an email today: "It's clear from what you say that
>>> the amendment means "the people" collectively, in their joint defense, not
>>> every NRA member out there who may on his own want to keep a weapon handy,
>>> whether there is a militia anywhere in sight or not."
>>>
>>> I should note that this post is meant only to demonstrate one way in
>>> which Peircean thought is being effectively employed in consideration of
>>> contemporary issues.
>>>
>>> Best,
>>>
>>> Gary R
>>>
>>> *Gary Richmond*
>>> *Philosophy and Critical Thinking*
>>> *Communication Studies*
>>> *LaGuardia College of the City University of New York*
>>>
>>> *718 482-5690 <(718)%20482-5690>*
>>>
>>
>
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