There has been much debate over the "interpretation" of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Most of this debate has been focused on the phrases "A well-regulated militia" and "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

What I'll call the "militia" crowd insist the amendment only empowers government to arm the National Guard. The "right" crowd observes that, regardless of what the preface says, the "people" (that's you and me) cannot be prohibited from keeping (possessing) and bearing (carrying) arms. However, in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks in New York and at the Pentagon, I have come to the position that there is even more to this amendment than most of us previously realized.

The Second 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."

Let's look at this one step at a time.

  1. We allegedly live in a "free state".
  2. In order to be free (and remain so), the state must be secure. If the state is not secure, it is not free.
  3. To guarantee the security of our free state, a "well-regulated militia" is necessary (that's a requirement; it is not "optional"). In a number of comments by the founding fathers it is evident that the "militia" is "the people themselves".
  4. To have this militia, the people must be armed (have possession of arms and carry them so that they are ready to hand at a moment's notice).
  5. Should the people be prohibited from keeping and bearing arms, the militia is undone, security is breached and our state (nation) is no longer free.

Item number five is exactly what happened aboard four commercial airliners on September 11th. Because the right to keep and bear arms was infringed, the security aboard each of those aircraft was an illusion -- an illusion shattered by fanatics with box cutters. That the people of this nation should allow this to happen, should allow our government servants to become our masters and dictate to us the conditions of our safety and security, demonstrates how perilously close we are to losing the freedoms won for us by the founding fathers and our fellow citizens who fought (at that time) the greatest military power on earth over 225 years ago.

At what point will these conditions of insecurity change?

Have the "new" security measures at airports made a difference? Perhaps the new Office of Homeland Security will provide a personal bodyguard for each and every citizen 24 hours a day to protect us from harm? Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated time and time again, the government cannot protect you... indeed, has no legal requirement to do so!

So what will it take?

Only when the average citizen -- ordinary people like you and me -- say "enough." Only when our elected officials are held to account for their brazen violations of our basic laws... thrown out of office or thrown in jail for failing to uphold their sworn oath to protect and defend the United States and the Constitution. Until every citizen becomes a true citizen -- a patriot for our country -- this sad state of affairs will continue. There will be more unnecessary deaths from terrorism, both foreign-based and domestic.

Our founding fathers had it right and it is now up to us to restore the "security of a free state." Anything less is unacceptable.


Frank W. Kelley [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] manages a group of radio stations in Florida.

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