Mr. Lyons editing leaves much to be desired. Editing is supposed to improve the writer’s work, not to change the meaning.
Prefatory; adjective (pref·a·to·ry | \ ˈpre-fə-ˌtȯr-ē \)
1: of, relating to, or constituting a preface; prefatory remarks
2: located in front.
Let’s rephrase the Second Amendment in a manner more in line with what James Madison and the other Founding Fathers believed:
“A Militia is necessary for the safety of the country, and since a militia is composed of citizens armed with their own weapons, the citizens’ right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
This is not really confusing because every militia that had existed prior to the presentation of the Bill of Rights was made up of private citizens with personally owned weapons. The only time that a gun was purchased out of the public purse was when a citizen was too poor to afford one on their own.
The authors of the Constitution and those who were delegates to the various conventions would have thought anyone who said that the right to keep and bear arms meant only arms possessed and retained by an organized force was absolutely crazy.
George Washington owned something like 50 guns; Thomas Jefferson thought every 10-year-old boy should have a gun; Alexander Hamilton was proud of the pair of pistols given to him by his father-in-law after the Battle of Saratoga; virtually every free man in America had a rifle.
Then, too, there is the current federal law that defines the militia. It’s been in force since 1903 and is pretty much the same as every militia act that preceded it and provides for the payment and provisioning of some militia members. The Militia Act of 1903 said that the United States Militia has two components. The first component is the organized militia, which is the National Guard and the various state guards that are equipped and paid from public resources. The second component is the unorganized militia. which consists of all able-bodied men at least 18 years of age and less than 45 years of age. There is no provision for equipping the unorganized militia. However, based on the Supreme Court ruling United States v. Miller (1939), their right to possess weapons suitable for military service is protected by the Second Amendment. This means that about 50 million American males have the constitutional right to possess selective-fire rifles chambered for the 5.56x45 mm cartridge that is the standard for U.S. military issue. They also have the constitutional right to possess pistols with high-capacity magazines chambered for the 9x19 mm cartridge because that is the the standard-issue pistol in the U.S. military.
Note that I said “selective-fire.” This means the rifle can be switched from semi-automatic operation, meaning one shot per pull of the trigger, to automatic operation, meaning more than one shot can be fired with each pull of the trigger.
Incidentally, it’s perfectly legal for an American citizen to have a shoulder-launched missile. It’s also perfectly legal to have a working tank or a functional artillery piece. There is an American citizen that owns a working GE M134 Minigun capable of firing more than 6,000 rounds a minute. It’s really cool to see it fired at night.
Prior to composing the Bill of Rights, the man who actually wrote the Second Amendment stated his view of the whole collective versus individual interpretation.
Mr. Lyons incorrectly asserts that the the new federal government wanted the militia because it couldn’t afford a standing army.
The architects of the new federal government were uniformly opposed to a standing army. They had just defeated a standing army that had been used to oppress them and they didn’t trust a government with one. They believed that the strength of the American people was based on their ownership of and familiarity with their weapons.
As for the Second Amendment, it is quite safe. The process for altering it or repealing it guarantees it won’t be changed anytime in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Lyons has stated his views on what guns should be owned and who should own them. But there is one fatal flaw in his dream: if anybody has guns; anybody else can have them, too — and criminals will most assuredly have them.