- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gun rights and the Federalist Papers

It’s amazing the lack of historical knowledge many of our illuminated judges show when they rule that the Second Amendment is not an individual right but a collective one.

Historical documents prove unequivocally exactly what the Second Amendment means.

According to the Library of Congress Web site, the Federalist, commonly referred to as the Federalist Papers, is a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788. The essays were published anonymously, under the pen name “Publius,” in various New York state newspapers of the time.

The Federalist Papers were written and published to urge New Yorkers to ratify the proposed U.S. Constitution, which was drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. In lobbying for adoption of the Constitution over the existing Articles of Confederation, the essays explain particular provisions of the Constitution in detail.

For this reason, and because Hamilton and Madison were both members of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers often are used today to help interpret the intentions of those drafting the Constitution.

According to Hamilton in Federalist No. 29, written Jan. 10, 1788: Creating a militia “will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but … can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens … who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.”

This one piece of history proves that the right to own and bear arms was and always will be an individual right, which may be used collectively, when needed.

It was never about one or the other, as many wish it were.


Mount Airy, Md.

The Southwick nomination

The article “GOP fights for stalled judicial nominee” (Nation, Friday) does not reflect the full scope and nature of the problems with Leslie Southwick’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The article states that “Some outside groups oppose Judge Southwick’s nomination because of two previous state court decisions Judge Southwick joined.”

Other aspects of his record as a Mississippi Court of Appeals judge, however, were the exclusive or primary focus of many groups whose letters can be found at judgingtheenvironment.org.

Story Continues →