Letter: What the words in the Second Amendment mean

FILE - A man carries his weapon during a second amendment gun rally at Utah State Capitol on Feb. 8, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Stephen L. Black seems a little confused about what the words in the Second Amendment mean (“One Militia, well regulated,” April 18). There are two clauses of the Second Amendment, the prefatory clause and the operative clause. The operative clause says, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That’s a stand alone right, as the Supreme Court correctly ruled in Heller. When the Bill of Rights says, " the right of the people,” it clearly means every individual. If it doesn’t, I worry what can happen to the First and Fourth Amendments.

The prefatory clause discusses the “well regulated Militia.” Sadly, it seems many don’t understand what “well regulated” and “militia” mean. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution informs our understanding of “well regulated.” It means the “arming and disciplining [and]...training” of the militia. The word “regulated” does not refer to policy regulation. And then in U.S. vs Miller, the Supreme Court makes clear the militia is “all able-bodied [people].”

How do we know the Supreme Court correctly interpreted these words? In 1788, Samuel Adams said, “the Constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

Jeremy Roberts, Draper

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