How would you rewrite the Second Amendment?

The Los Angeles Times has invited its readers to suggest new and “better” wording for the Second Amendment to the US constitution.

It’s about the length of a tweet and has been interpreted to give us the right to bear arms. To own and carry a gun. To defend ourselves.

But it was written more than 200 years ago. Are the words still relevant in 2017? How would you change the language in your revision? What details would you add to your interpretation?

There’s more at the link.  You’ll find readers’ suggestions below the article.

What do you think?  How – if at all – would you reword the Second Amendment?  Given its history of widely differing interpretations, I’d simplify it, to remove any possibility of confusion.  I’d word it like this:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

What say you, readers?  Let us know your suggestions in Comments.



  1. The occasional lynching or defenestration of a self-important government stooge being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear such arms as might be appropriate for an infantry soldier shall not be infringed, restricted, registered, or taxed. KYFHO.

  2. Perfect! Peter. Let's see them misread that.

    Of course, there's the discussion as to what the meaning of "is" is….

  3. Schofield:

    Thinking like a liberal lawyer here.
    "AN infantry soldier" suggests a limitation on crew-served weapons, and hardly any infantry soldier is issued more than 1 rifle and 1 pistol along with a "battle pack" of ammo of 60-120 rounds for each.

    I like Peters simplified version.

  4. I grant that the limitation on ‘battle pack’ is a possibility, but I didn’ say other weapons HAD to be restricted, just that those that might be carried by a dogface could not be. As for the Crew serviced weapons, I guess I have an instinctive feeling that doing might hold down the damage done by “hold my beer” incidents.

  5. It is the right and responsibility of every person everywhere to defend himself, his family, his property, and his community against unwarranted attack. Accordingly, Congress shall make no law regarding the possession and carrying of personal weapons. Where a specific named individual is to be deprived of his right of self defense, such determination shall be made by a jury of his peers at a trial convened for that particular purpose.

  6. I have long felt that the militia clause of the Second Amendment, which the left twist in hopes of destroying the true meaning of the right, was added for the sole purpose of allowing the government the ability to require citizens to maintain such arms and equipment to keep them ready in case of a militia callup. I see the intent as much the same as the decree in earlier times by the British Crown mandating that English yeomen be required to practice regularly with their long bows.
    It has been unfortunate that the modifying clause has provided the rabid anti gun crowd a toe hold to attack what ultimately is precisely what Peter says, The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

  7. That's it: get rid of the superfluous subordinate clause.
    And I'd add the word "any" before "arms".

    And when someone squawked about that, I'd point out to them that Letters of Marque and Reprisal assumed that private sea captains would own and possess crew-served naval artillery without missing a beat, and that the British were marching on Lexington and Concord to seize privately-owned artillery.

    If the military can buy it, so can I.

    I'd be a lot less worried about cops acting like a standing army when they had to worry about no-knocking a guy with a Stryker or Abrams tank in his garage.

    "An armed society is a polite society."

  8. Read the Second Amendment. It is little more than a sticky note to the government that the government needs an armed populace.

    Our right to keep and bear arms flows from the first principles stated in the Declaration of Independance; the phrase being, "That among these rights are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". If you have the right to life then you have the right to the means to protect and preserve that life. I'm not sure that reducing the right to life to a constitutional amendment is such a good idea.

  9. I think you nailed it, Peter. I was thinking of posting the exact same wording until I scrolled down and saw you beat me to the punch.

  10. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall be unrestricted and unrecorded.

    some people seem to thing NFA is not an infrignment

  11. "Any attempt by any government representative to keep or prevent an otherwise law-abiding citizen from owning or carrying weapons capable of resisting government tyranny shall be punishable by death."

  12. stencilh.stencil,

    I would replace : "Congress shall make no law" with "Neither Congress, nor any lesser legislature shall make any law" Otherwise, yours is a good serious take. Mine is, at least partly snark. That's because if I take government seriously I will weep. Better I laugh at it. Even a graveyard laugh….

  13. I'm with you on the rewording. Simple, hard (I'd say impossible, but lawyers and SJWs and scoundrels, but I repeat myself) to misinterpret.

    I did rather like this one from the linked article: "The government shall have NO weapons in excess of that of the People. ANY infringement is punishable by death. Jack Meoff Oct 4, 2017 Baltimore, MD"

    This response: "It is illegal for an individual to own arms of any form, shape, type as his security is responsibility of the government. Sastry Oct 3, 2017 Herndon, VA" made me want to slap some sense into the individual. It does show something that Brad Torgersen identified a while back on Facebook that, in the view of the left, all protection of every sort comes from the government. they've replaced God with the government, God help us all.

    As for me: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

  14. A modification of Mogrith's statement.

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall be unrestricted and unrecorded. AND WE MEAN IT!

    Or how about something the socialists would understand:

    Four Guns Good, No Guns Bad.

  15. I like what was suggested in The Road to Damascus by John Ringo and Linda Evans:

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense and defense of the homeland shall never be infringed, limited, rescinded, interfered with, or prohibited by any decree of law, decision by court, or policy by executive branch or any of its agencies, And this time, we mean it. (Pages 152-153)

    It only lacks a "So there!"

  16. The Second Amendment doesn't need to be rewritten. Anyone on the sunny side of the bell curve, and about half that are on the dark side, can understand the meaning of the 2A just fine. In particular, the fascist anti-freedom zealots that make gun control laws have no trouble understanding the 2A.

    They don't care what the 2A says, and they don't care about civil rights.

    They, being the anti-freedom fascist jack booted thugs that populate Federal, State, and Local governments, have been getting away with civil rights violations for years. All three branches of the Federal Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) are supposed to protect our civil rights. They don't.

    That's where we are now. Rewriting isn't going to help.

  17. But eliminating the Second Amendment would make us all safer. To any left wing liberal that is a fundamentally true statement.
    But how to test it?
    We need only look to our cousin across the Atlantic, Great Britain, as the perfect test case.
    GB has the sort of arms control that our banners salivate over. No handguns whatsoever, no semi auto, pump, or lever action long guns, strict regulations on airguns, and heavy restrictions on swords and large knives.
    Must be a peaceful idilic place, certainly according to the beliefs held by our betters on the left.
    The thing is, Great Britain with roughly 60 million inhabitants has just as many incidents of violent crime as does America with our 330 million citizens. Let me say it again, this bastion of gun control has a violent crime rate five times as great as we in gun happy America.
    And if you do the research you will find a similar story for much of Western Europe, more gun control, more crime, in particular home invasions with the homes occupied, as self defense is either frowned upon or completely prohibited.

  18. @Uncle Lar;

    The thing is, the vast majority of the Liberal Left never learned to think, and only emote in response to stimuli taught home by Liberal teachers. The small minority of the Left that is actually steering is composed of vicious little vermin that firmly believe that they should be running the world.

    In other words, exactly the same kind of parasite that made up the majority of the politically active Aristocracy, the Plantation owners who drove the Confederacy, and the intellectual idiots who backed Lenin.


  19. There is a call to ban "slidefire stocks".
    If you think about it you can bump fire any SA long arm as long as you thumb is not wrapped around the grip to stop recoil so the easiest type of AR15 to do it with are the California Compliant ones with out a pistol grip.

  20. Hey Peter;

    Our founding fathers were much wiser than what I see running around today, I wouldn't presume to change what they wrote. It is pretty clear to me.

  21. Whereas it is the moral duty of every adult to defend life and property and to resist foreign invaders and domestic tyrants, the right to bear arms is absolute.


  22. C. S. P. Schofield et al…

    One of the reasons the Constitution has lasted so well so long is that there are very few instances where the government it creates is allowed, let alone encouraged, to /do/ anything. And "do" includes "make the people do or not do something." So, the weakness of the "shall not be infringed" clause is that it permits a discussion of what does or doesn't constitute infringement.
    If we simply put the whole discussion out of reach of the legislators, we restrict their wiggle room. As far as concerns extending the prohibition on gun legislation to the States, if we don't provide refuges for Those Who Know Better, they will come and live among Us.

  23. I like this version excerpted from Tom Kratman's novel, 'A State of Disobedience':

    "The federal government shall insure that no private individuals keep or possess nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction. All other forms of weapons may be owned, borne and possessed by the citizens of the United States without restriction or registration. Such weapons may not be taxed."

  24. Not sure why the left…and the LA Times is a voice of the left…is concerned about changing/eliminating the Second Amendment. When they are in power they simply IGNORE IT. Which is why we have some 20K laws in America that violate the Amendment. Those in power routinely ignore ALL of our right when it serves them.

  25. I would point out that among the enumerated powers of Congress is the ability to issue letters of marque. These were historically issued to the master of a warship. Warships in letters of marque are described by the guns carried on that ship.
    In order to receive a letter of marque, a captain must already be in possession of a warship, or the letter can't very well name and describe the ship.
    So I do not ascribe to the theory that the 2A was never meant to apply to crew served weapons.
    See "George Washington's Private Navy" or "Patriot Pirates," both available on Amazon.

  26. The freedom of the People of the United States of America to keep and to bear arms predates this Constitution and shall survive its termination.

    That's how I would reword it.

    The "right" to keep and to bear arms predates the present Emergency Powers Act 1933 regime as well as the governments that came before it.

  27. As written, when you consider the thoughts and writings of the founders, it is very clear what their intent was. That so many gun laws exist and are upheld in courts spits on their graves. But it is dangerous to even give voice to the idea it could be changed. Once you open that door, the govt swine will rewrite the whole constitution, and nobody will like how that turns out…

  28. The 2nd ammendment like the first protects multiple rights. The right to form a militia and the individual right to keep and bear arms
    Paul in Texas

  29. The amendment as written is quite clear. But the subordinate clause regarding the militia has been willfully misinterpreted as a means to subvert the intent and justify infringement of this basic right.

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