Monday, November 26, 2007

This Post has Absolutely Nothing to do with Gun Control

Beware the flighty argument that seeks to speak to a specific subject and quickly devolves into a barrage of generalities ...

Jonathan Krause wants to discuss the pending Supreme Court case involving the District of Columbia's ban on handguns. He makes an interesting declarative statement early in his argument:

I am a strict Constitutionalist--believing the Founding Fathers put a lot of thought into the words and the order of them in the document that forms our government and that defines our rights.

Fair enough. But if the Founding Fathers put so much thought into the words they chose, why does Krause feel the need to parse the language of the Second Amendment?:

I believe the framers of the constitution meant "malitia" to mean the general public--that could be called to fight an enemy (or a domestic) threat with their own weapons.

(emphasis added)
Well, if that's the case Krause is the only person in the English-speaking world to think that. I don't know anyone who has ever confused the word "militia" with the phrase "general public." They are two completely separate nouns denoting two completely different concepts.

A "Constitutionalist" is one who, as Krause himself says (or at least seems to suggest), reads the Constitution literally. That's not what Krause is doing here. If, according to Krause's own espoused philosophy of "Constitutionalism," the framers chose their words carefully they would have used the phrase "general public" (or some derivation thereof) if they wanted to mean "general public."

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