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Column misunderstands meaning
The column by Steve Chapman, in The News-Enterprise for Friday, Feb. 15, illustrates the complete lack of understanding by many opinion writers of what the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says and means.
The Amendment states: “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.”
Each word must be defined and understood in the context of the original meaning and common usage of the English language.
“Well regulated” means trained and disciplined. “Right of the people” means individual owner-ship of the power to act in one’s own interests without interference or prohibition of any kind. “Keep” means private ownership and retention of a possession of any kind. “Bear” implies something man-portable, to carry or transport by ones self. “Arms” is undefined in the Constitution, so it must be taken in the context of ordinary usage as meaning weapons. Anything can be a weapon, but within the meaning of the term “Keep and bear arms” it must mean to own, retain and bear weapons of the user’s choice or availability. The term “Infringed” is defined in the English language as meaning to violate, attempt to conform, actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.): “infringe a copyright”. Act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on: “infringe on his privacy.”
Therefore, the key to the meaning to the of the Second Amendment is the term “Shall not be in-fringed.” The “right” “shall not be infringed.”
Nothing could be more clearly stated in the English language. One needs only to read with an open mind and a modern dictionary at hand.
Charles W. Jones