Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Adam Winkler’s latest gun control howler

Written By: Bob - Feb• 17•13

Adam Winkler is a anti-gun professor for the University of California who exists to “find” interpretations for liberals hoping to undermine the clear intention of the Second Amendment.

Winkler has made a modest career out of “squinting,” squeezing his eyes shut to block out original intent, ignoring the plain language of the time, and ignoring private letters, public correspondence, and newspaper articles written by the Founding Fathers and the first Supreme Courts of the 1780s-1830s who reinforced the explicit truth that the Second Amendment means precisely what they intended it to mean, without nuance or re-imagining. Winkler has made a small name for himself in a certain circle of zealots for completely ignoring all original sources in order to fabricate an Orwellian fiction that leaves us with side-splitters like this:

In recognizing the legitimacy of many gun laws, the Supreme Court did no more than adhere to the text of the Second Amendment. In the part of the amendment that gun-rights absolutists usually ignore, the Founders extolled the importance of a “well regulated Militia.” (For years, the NRA’s headquarters displayed a sign promoting “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” conveniently omitting the amendment’s opening clause.) Gun advocates are right that this language was not designed to limit the right to people serving in military organizations like the National Guard; the framers repeatedly said the “militia” was composed of we the people, ordinary citizens with our own guns. Yet it’s also clear that the framers thought that the people who make up the militia should be “well regulated”—trained, disciplined, and properly instructed by the government to use arms effectively, safely, and properly.

Yes, Winkler is claiming that the Founders intended the government to train, discipline and control the unorganized militia… the same unorganized militia that exists for the explicit purpose of threatening war against foreign enemies or domestic government when it becomes tyrannical.

Gee, there’s no obvious potential for abuse there.

It’s an argument for putting pedophiles in charge of a daycare, or for arsonists to teach fire safety.

It is a claim so obviously, flagrantly false that a sober person would wonder if he was trying to slip it past the editors of the Daily Beast as an absurd joke. But he isn’t. He’s made a career of  squinting to see only the truth he desires to create.

There is a reason they are called “the unorganized militia,” Mr. Winkler.

The Founders don’t want the government knowing their training, capabilities, organization, methodology, or tactics. They trusted “we, the people,” not “you, the government” to develop the sort of skills that one can find freely in the private sector, ranging in content from the basic rifle marksmanship that you may find via Appleseed to the more advance skills you might pick up at Front Sight or Academi.

The want us “armed with every terrible weapon of war,” and would want us armed with weapons of contemporary military utility, whatever that means in a given time period. Don’t take my word for it; read the Founding Fathers in their own words.

In 2013, the singular firearm that most clearly matches the explicit intent of the Founding Fathers is the AR-15 platform rifle with 30-round magazines. There is a very strong constitutional argument to be made that the M-16 selective fire rifles and M-4 selective fire carbines, along with M-240 machine guns and M-249 squad automatic weapons also meet that intent as they are the small arms in common use with our military.

Winkler doesn’t have a constitutional leg to stand upon in his absurd arguments, though I hope he continues to push them; if gun control advocates do attempt to pass laws upon his “unique” interpretation, it will eventually lead to a United States Supreme Court challenge that will be predicated upon original intent, Miller (1939), and Heller, destroying the liberal gun control movement forever.

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  1. Orion says:

    Let’s try some re-writes of the opening clause and see if it affects the meaning at all:
    The possibility of invasion by rabid Canadians being extant, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Does this mean that the people shall only keep and bear Arms when rabies is rampant in Canada? No. It means that there is SOME reason out there, so that people shall be armed and their rights not infringed.

    How about:
    Because Ben Franklin is a drunken, womanizing old sot, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Again, dos this mean that we only get to keep and bear arms while Ben Franklin is alive, drunk, and womanizing? No. It simply means that there is or was, some reason that the people’s rights shall not be infringed. Period.

    It breaks down like this:
    And so, the people’s right to shall not be infringed.

    Only a Liberal could have difficulty understanding this.


  2. Catseye says:

    As I have said before “if they had a brain they would worry more about what kind of weapons we come up with instead of Guns”, but they are brainless herd animals acting in concert as if by instinct or group consensus. Do they want to face an improved form of the Arc Gun (the predecessor to the taser) how about an EMP cannon, or an automatic airgun. All these things are currently within the feasibility of todays technology. And many other things besides.

  3. Orion says:

    In a civil war situation:
    Easy enough to make a flamethrower from PVC.

    Easy enough to make a supersonic ping-pong ball cannon – and replace the ping-pong ball with a ball bearing.

    Easy enough to make a wide variety of chemical weapons.

    But they’re just hoping to have more ways to make everyone a criminal. It allows them to enslave people in small groups when they become troublesome.


  4. MSO says:

    A well educated populace being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.

  5. Publius says:

    For leftist lies to work, they must be repeated over and over at every opportunity. Tossing dust in the air works to their advantage.

    Remember, they see their task as decades-long. And like water under pressure, they will find any opening and exploit it — and where no opening exists, they strive to create one.

    As Mary McCarthy once said about Lillian Hellman, every word they write is a lie, including “and” and “the”.

  6. Junk Science Skeptic says:

    I suppose Winkler also thinks army “regulars” are those with good digestive health, right?

    I seem to recall a recent post here that covered the mechanical definition of “well regulated.”

    The other 18th century use of the term would equate to today’s use of the term “competent.”

    Whichever definition, or combination of the two, was/is most applicable, where does Winkler find any indication that the amendment directs the federal government to ensure such mechanical accuracy and/or competency?

    Had the amendment been focused on the government’s need/responsibility to ensure the readiness of the militia, it’s directive (the second half) would have spelled that out, rather than solely admonishing the government that the peoples’ right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    As mentioned above, the phrasing prior to the amendment’s directive is purely editorializing. While it does state an important justification for the directive, it places no conditions or limits on the directive. It doesn’t say “when” or “if” a well regulated militia . . ., or modify the directive in any other way.

    If I say “Chocolate is tasty, it must be included in every meal,” does the opinion that it’s tasty modify that it must be included in every meal?

    Why are the same people who are so against torturing known terrorists so willing to torture language and logic?

  7. Adam Winkler says:

    Just to remind you, Bob, that Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the power of “organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.” And state and local govts did “regulate” the militia, including requiring appearance at mandatory musters, requiring the purchase of military style guns, and even going door to door in some states to register the guns available for national defense. But govt had no role to play, huh? Who’s the one ignoring history again?

    • Rob Crawford says:

      What part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is unclear to you? It says “THE PEOPLE”, not “THE MILITIA”.

      What is your motive in trying to disarm the people? What do you intend to do to us?

    • The2ndisthe1st says:

      How do you see through those eyes?

      “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
      George Mason
      Co-author of the Second Amendment
      during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

      “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”
      Richard Henry Lee
      writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.

      “And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …”
      Samuel Adams
      quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, “Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State”

    • Obamao says:

      Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the power of “organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.”


      So the authors of the Constitution felt that Article I was insufficient and needed to reinforce an intrinsic Governmental power within The Bill of Rights, and kinda goofed when they used the term “the people” when they really meant “state” or “Congress”?

      Makes sense if you really believe that a reasonable interpretation of any Constitutional clause is without substance or limit.

    • Mudlark says:

      oBVIOUSLY YOU ARE SINCE THERE IS MORE THAN ONE MILITIA, and the government has zero role regulating the unorganized militia. By the way none of the specifics you claim are required or granted to the government.

  8. Publius says:

    Actually, the “why” is crystal-clear. Now that the left is in control of the media, education, culture, and much of the politics, they are — surprise, surprise — strongly anti-Second Amendment.

  9. Comrade X says:

    We are only one change in the supreme court away from when our 2nd amendment rights will be declare null and void. It doesn’t matter what was intended, it doesn’t matter about defending against tyranny because our suppose freedom to bare arms rest with one vote on the supreme court and folks if you think the GOP has the back bone to stand up against all the powers that be that will be bought against them then you are not paying attention. Our GOD given rights rest in the hands of the likes of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell etc to stand up against the media, the democrats, Obama and all of their allies.

    GOD help us! We are going to need it!

    Death before slavery!

    • mytralmann says:

      this is absolutely true. Scalia himself mentioned in a clip I saw somewhere that it might be possible to limit gun possesion to a specific area (ie the home, or a club) Obama remains the biggest threat to owning guns for “militia”” duty bob talks about because of his control of the senate and the looming SC changes. And if not him, any other Dem that gets elected. It is possible that some day owning these weapons will require the will to break federal law by hiding them away. The government class seems to increasingly see itself as the defender of “public order”, ie their jobs, not the second A as most gun owners interpret it. Restricting ammo availability is their first move.

  10. Neo says:

    Appearing on a Chicago Sunday morning talk show, [Chicago Police] superintendent Garry McCarthy expressed his conviction that firearm owners who lobby their elected representatives or who donate money to political campaigns are engaged in corruption that endangers public safety. McCarthy went on to express his belief that judges and legislators should rely on public opinion polls when interpreting our Constitution.

    After dismissing the citizen’s right to redress grievances, McCarthy focused on the 2nd Amendment. Despite recent court decisions to the contrary, McCarthy opined that the 2nd Amendment limits citizens to owning smooth-bore muskets. McCarthy went on to say that he believes the 2nd Amendment supports mandatory liability insurance for firearm owners and the mandatory application of GPS tracking devices to civilian owned firearms.

    So this is Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s man. Ouch.

  11. Comrade X says:

    …Forget police drones flying over your house. How about police coming inside, once a year, to have a look around?

    Death before slavery!

  12. Kylie says:

    This whole page is illegitimately biased. The section you quoted from Winkler was taken from a section in his book where he points out the flaws of “Gun Nuts,” or extremely pro-gun activists. HOWEVERRRRRRR, you failed to mention the entire chapter he devotes to the flaws of “Gun Grabbers,” or extremely anti-gun activists! HELL-FUCKIN-O! He does not lean to the left or the right when it comes to gun regulations and rights. He presents both sides EQUALLY.
    Winkler is a member of the NRA and does not actually believe everyone should have their guns taken away! He believes in balance between gun regulation AND rights, as he outlines in his 300 page book.
    Have you written a peer-reviewed, scholarly book with pages and pages of references?
    Do you have a degree in constitutional law?
    Are you a professor at a goddamn law school?
    No! You’re a cute little blogger. So you have no right to slam this guy as someone who makes flagrantly false claims. The only claim he has made is that gun control and gun rights can co-exist, a claim he makes clear in the introduction to his book Gunfight.

    Seriously it’s disgusting to see all these comments coming from people who don’t have a clue about gun culture’s true history. The constitution weeps today.

  13. Kylie says:

    To Comrade X,
    During the revolutionary era, more than once a year city officials required all citizens to attend musters, where their guns were inspected and registered.
    Officers also came into homes to see where guns were so they could seize them if they ever needed to.
    The citizens at the time thought this was ok, so I don’t understand why we can’t be ok with it now. Police are here to help us, I don’t see why you might have a problem with police coming in once a year to have a look around. Our tax dollars go to them to protect us; we certainly should trust them, and quite frankly, if you’re worried about what police might find after coming in for a look, you probably have some legal issues to work through.