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Elmer1007 Donating Member (19 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-21-08 09:49 AM
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The pesky meaning of "Well Regulated"
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found this on the net.

cited portion:

On the original meaning of the 2nd Amendment
Henry E. Schaffer

Both of these uses have meanings *related* to the "to rule" of
man-made laws, but are more in the nature of "to adjust to or to be in a state of proper functioning". So a "well regulated watch" or a "well regulated double barreled shotgun" both would have meaning of "having been put into properly functioning condition".

From my reading of material from the colonial era, I have come to
understand that "well regulated militia" had a meaning at that time
(ca. 1789) in the nature of "a properly functioning militia" - which
would mean something along the lines of a properly trained and equipped militia (since it was common at that time for militiamen to bring their own firearms, with which they were already proficient.)

The language of the NC Legislature in 1789 strengthens this
interpretation. What can "well regulated Governments" mean other
than "properly functioning Governments"? Surely it didn't and
couldn't refer to a government under the control of man-made laws, for it is the government itself which makes these laws, and it would neither be noble nor sensible for the Legislature to be proclaiming that it is controlling itself.

An additional contemporaneous document which exhibits the same
meaning is the Federalist Paper #29, in which Hamilton is discussing
the composition of the militia and says, "To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and
evolutions, as often as might be necessary to_acquire_the_degree_of_
well-regulated_militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss." (emphasis added)

Note that "well-regulated" clearly refers to how well the militia
functions and how well trained are the militia members. It does not
refer at all to the degree to which the government controls the militia or the members of the militia.

This interpretation is also borne out by some old or obsolete
definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary. "Regulated" has an
Obsolete definition (b) "Of troops: Properly disciplined" and then
"discipline" has a definition (3b) applying to the military, "Training in the practice of arms and military evolutions; drill. Formerly, more widely: Training or skill in military affairs generally; military skill and experience; the art of war."


Therefore I conclude that the meaning of the 2nd Amendment is, "A
properly functioning Militia is necessary to the security of a free
State; therefore the (pre-existing) right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

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