Letter to the Editor

The logic of the Second Amendment

Saturday, July 26, 2008

To the editor:

It has been charged that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing the Washington, D.C., ban on handguns was "a case of judicial activism" and even an offense against logic.

This simply is not the case.

The "well regulated militia" clause is indeed a type of qualification. It is an affirmation.

The question is, "Is a militia necessary for the defense of the nation?" and the Framers decided yes.

The militia that was in the mind of these men of the late 18th century was one of individual citizens providing their own equipment in the same manner as colonial militias that served successfully in the Revolution.

The logical statement of relevance is the "if-then" (conditional) statement. If a militia is necessary, then the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. A militia is necessary.

Therefore, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. That is logic that a first-year student of logic can understand.

If you want to disagree with the ruling, you need to disagree with the premise that the militia is necessary.

The problem is not one of logic, it is one of truth assignment. And the beauty is that if we decide to disagree with the Framers now, we could change it with a new amendment.

Personal or political bias is not the necessary or probable primary influence on the decision. Instead, logic under one of the least activist of all constitutional interpretation theories, originalism, is likely the reasoning behind this landmark decision.