Letters to the Editor | Northwest Herald

Letter: What the Second Amendment actually means

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The Northwest Herald published a letter, “What the Second Amendment Means” by Anthony J. Santinello. In it, he presented an interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“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 question becomes: Who are the people?

The people are the whole of the population, as it is in the First and Fourth amendments. The people are the militia. You can’t have people mean one thing in one amendment and something else in another.

While “the people,” as used in the Constitution, references the people as a whole, meaning as a body, that is quite different from Santinello’s, “the whole of the people” meaning all people as individuals.

More critically, his interpretation that the entire population comprises the militia omits consideration of the critical modifier, “well regulated.” It is impossible to regulate a militia (”A part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency” - Merriam-Webster) without enrollment, qualification, training, organization, command structure, rules and discipline. Clearly, this would be impossibly unwieldy for the entire population.

On the other hand, if Mr. Santinello’s interpretation were to apply, a universal “well-regulated Militia” would require government to register firearms and bearers thereof and select, regulate, monitor and manage arms, as well as the individuals maintaining their custody.

So, perhaps Mr. Santinello is in favor of gun control after all?

Robert Beltran

McHenry