# Rand Paul's Grasp of the Constitution and Its Amendments

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swansont    6166

I think the distinction between our views is that you interpret this reference in our Constitution as a reason for the right; whereas, I interpret it as the only reason because it is in fact the only reason the Constitution provides. Even If we accept the militia reference as just a reason, the only inference we may take is that our Constitution's framers did not perceive there to be any other legitimate reason for the protection of that right. Therefore, those who cite the Constitution to legitimize their gun possess should adhere to the only reason for that legitimacy the Constitution provides.

You're ignoring my previous point that if the right was to be narrowly defined, it would have been written in that way, and the ninth amendment tells you that you can't exclude rights unless there is specific wording to do so.

The existence of militia is enough to enumerate the right, because without the right there can be no militia.

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KipIngram    129

Obviously, you've interpreted my comment "in the way that suits your politics as opposed to the way it is written." If our Constitution provides no other reason legitimizing the right to keep and bear arms other than a well trained state militia, then my comments are indeed according to the Constitution. If you can cite other reasons specifically written into the Constitution, I invite you to post them here.

Proper definition of semicolon is as follows:

The punctuation mark ( ; ) is used to indicate a major division in a sentence where a more distinct separation is felt between clauses or items on a list than is indicated by a comma, as between the two clauses of a compound sentence.

​I believe my use was proper.

It's impossible to know the mind of our Founders except for what is written and what is written in the Constitution likely express that mind. If there is more, it was well within their purview to amend the Constitution.

Yes, that's one way to use a semicolon. Separating items in a list is also a proper way.

Ok, maybe it wasn't you that brought up researching what the Founders actually thought. But you can't have it both ways - you either care what they thought in addition to what they wrote (in the Constitution), or you don't. The Supreme Court has never taken the position that the 2nd Amendment only refers to state militias. It might someday, if you can get yourself enough liberal minded "loose interpretation" Justices on there, but historically the position has steadfastly been that it applies to individual rights.

"Hi" said Kettle.

I agree that, legally speaking, it's only what's actually written in the Constitution that matters. The opinions of the Founders beyond that is of interest, but it's really not terribly admissible in a legal process. What is pertinent, though, is the "standard rules of writing" at the time the Constitution was written. Arguing over whether the semicolon should be interpreted "this way" or "that way," how we use semicolons today is beside the point. What matters is how they were customarily used then. Because that's how you get at what they were really meaning to write into the document.

You're ignoring my previous point that if the right was to be narrowly defined, it would have been written in that way, and the ninth amendment tells you that you can't exclude rights unless there is specific wording to do so.

The existence of militia is enough to enumerate the right, because without the right there can be no militia.

Yes, at that time there were no "standing militias." Militias were "formed up" as needed from the body of citizens.

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swansont    6166

You interpret it in the way that suits your politics as opposed to the way it is written.One of the ways you use a semicolon is as follows:

Use a semicolon between items in a list or series if any of the items contain commas.

1) The part about the people keeping and bearing arms

Items. On. A. List. Separate items.

Someone earlier mentioned "what the Founders really thought" as a topic of research. If you really think that the Founders had it in mind that individual citizens wouldn't be allowed to own guns, then I don't think you have a very sound understanding of the culture of the 1700's.

It's not a list, and there is no semicolon.

Yes, at that time there were no "standing militias." Militias were "formed up" as needed from the body of citizens.

So would you lose the right if you were old or infirm and couldn't serve? Did women not have this right when they were excluded from militias?

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KipIngram    129

What the heck. You're right - I just looked it up. I could have sworn I read it that way somewhere in years past, but that's what you get when you read on the internet, I guess. I'll put it here just for our reference:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (http://constitutionus.com/)

I still think you're right, though - if they had meant "militias only" they would have said so more definitively. It clearly says that it is "the people" whose right to bear arms won't be infringed. That's the same "people" as in "We the people."

Thanks.

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DrmDoc    205
Posted (edited)

You're ignoring my previous point that if the right was to be narrowly defined, it would have been written in that way, and the ninth amendment tells you that you can't exclude rights unless there is specific wording to do so.

The existence of militia is enough to enumerate the right, because without the right there can be no militia.

Although I understand your point, the inverse could be suggested in that if the right to bear arms was meant to be broadly defined, the framers of the Constitutions would have included some broad wording to that effect, which they did not. I don't think the ninth amendments applies to activities claimed as rights but not officially designated as rights by a then recognized governing body. Non-excludible rights, except by specific wording, infers rights already established by a governing body rather than by some traditionally accepted use or practice, Prior to the Constitution, there were no rights established with respect to arms possession by ordinary citizens; therefore, the ninth amendment would not apply.

What the heck. You're right - I just looked it up. I could have sworn I read it that way somewhere in years past, but that's what you get when you read on the internet, I guess. I'll put it here just for our reference:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (http://constitutionus.com/)

I still think you're right, though - if they had meant "militias only" they would have said so more definitively. It clearly says that it is "the people" whose right to bear arms won't be infringed. That's the same "people" as in "We the people."

Thanks.

"...the right of the people" for the purpose of "A well regulated Militia". There's no wording for any other reason.

Edited by DrmDoc

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KipIngram    129

Well, first of all, the amendments, while not part of the original main body of the Constitution, are nonetheless equally binding in a legal sense - legally "the Constitution" is the starting document and all amendments. The first ten amendments (as well as two others that didn't get ratified) related to topics that were discussed at length during the original debate on the Constitution. A decision was made to follow the main document, once ratified, with those amendments.

Legally it doesn't matter that it's not in the main document. And they did include broad wording to that effect: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

It's hard to get much more broadly worded than that.

Would you say that the Founders didn't really intend to protect the right to free speech, since they didn't address it in the main body of the document but "only in an amendment"?

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DrmDoc    205
Posted (edited)

Well, first of all, the amendments, while not part of the original main body of the Constitution, are nonetheless equally binding in a legal sense - legally "the Constitution" is the starting document and all amendments. The first ten amendments (as well as two others that didn't get ratified) related to topics that were discussed at length during the original debate on the Constitution. A decision was made to follow the main document, once ratified, with those amendments.

Legally it doesn't matter that it's not in the main document. And they did include broad wording to that effect: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

It's hard to get much more broadly worded than that.

Would you say that the Founders didn't really intend to protect the right to free speech, since they didn't address it in the main body of the document but "only in an amendment"?

You crafted that wording into a broad statement when you excluded or omitted that bit about "A well regulated Militia." ​It's right there for all to see no matter if one choses to ignore it. Definitively, the amendment was not broadly worded.

Edited by DrmDoc

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KipIngram    129

Those words are there, but the provide a reason for the main clause of the sentence, which is what I quoted. It does not say "the right of the people to form militias shall not be infringed." It says what it says.

This is an endless argument, though - I think you're completely wrong and I won't be changing my mind - you think I'm completely wrong and you won't be changing your mind. I'll note again that the Supreme Court has repeatedly taken the position that the amendment does, in fact, describe some sort of individual right.

I'll tell you where I think this gets hardest and thorniest. Interpreted directly, the amendment places no limitation on the right. An individual in the 1700s who owned a cannon could have claimed constitutional protection. And I imagine there were at least some people who did own cannons. Probably a small minority, but I imagine you could have found some. We just can't let it be that broad today - it's not ok for my neighbor to own a nuke. In other words, no one in their right mind would really claim that there should be no limitations on "arms bearing" in today's world. But the amendment doesn't provide for any limitations, so once you admit a single limitation of any kind you've breached the integrity of the amendment. So no one (in their right mind) is really calling for a 100% literal and total application of the 2nd amendment.

Once you've admitted one limitation (citizens can't bear nukes), then there's no really good way to decide when to stop. What about tanks? RPGs? Etc. We are not helped in any way by the Constitution to decide where to draw that line. Someone who takes the position that it's ok to own a handgun for home defense but not ok to own a fully automatic military assault rifle doesn't find that opinion defined for them in the Constitution.

But to get back to the OP of this thread, Rand's remark was not incorrect - it remains true that the whole point of the second amendment was to ensure that a government gone sour could be resisted with force of arms. Things may have changed such that the likelihood of success of such resistance would be a lot lower today than back then, but the right to try still remains. And it remains true now, just as it would have been then, that having things come to that (an armed uprising) would represent an utter failure of the system to work the way it's supposed to.

Anyway, the whole business about then vs. now and nukes vs. cannons just means that we are no longer able (because of our advanced technology) to make this a clean and simple debate about the Constitution. All of us except nuts agree that some degree of limitations, in violation of the strict words of the Constitution, are necessary. So instead of that clean logical debate we're left with a public opinion debate about "how much" do we break the Constitution. What should be a matter of Constitutional law becomes a matter of public opinion.

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StringJunky    1485
Posted (edited)

What the heck. You're right - I just looked it up. I could have sworn I read it that way somewhere in years past, but that's what you get when you read on the internet, I guess. I'll put it here just for our reference:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (http://constitutionus.com/)

I still think you're right, though - if they had meant "militias only" they would have said so more definitively. It clearly says that it is "the people" whose right to bear arms won't be infringed. That's the same "people" as in "We the people."

Thanks.

Reading that piece of the Constitution, which I think is lousily written should read:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State; the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

It needed a semicolon.

Or my way:

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, but the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Both of my amendments mean the same thing.

Edited by StringJunky

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DrmDoc    205
Posted (edited)

Those words are there, but the provide a reason for the main clause of the sentence, which is what I quoted. It does not say "the right of the people to form militias shall not be infringed." It says what it says.

This is an endless argument, though - I think you're completely wrong and I won't be changing my mind - you think I'm completely wrong and you won't be changing your mind. I'll note again that the Supreme Court has repeatedly taken the position that the amendment does, in fact, describe some sort of individual right.

Indeed, the words are there and they do specifically provide the reason for those other words you appear to hold most sacred. It was not my intent to enter into a debate that would change your mindset because, as I understood from the outset, you were dead set against any form of reasoning if it meant you'd have to give an inch of deference fearing I might demand a mile. As for the Supreme Court, your comment acknowledges the historically political nature of their rulings that, increasingly, have very little to do with the true spirit of the Constitution and our nation, IMO. However, admittedly, I can't denied that people like James Hodgkinson would not have been able to take action with armed resistance against his perception of "a government gone sour" this past week without the favor of past Supreme Court rulings.

Edited by DrmDoc

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swansont    6166

Although I understand your point, the inverse could be suggested in that if the right to bear arms was meant to be broadly defined, the framers of the Constitutions would have included some broad wording to that effect, which they did not. I don't think the ninth amendments applies to activities claimed as rights but not officially designated as rights by a then recognized governing body. Non-excludible rights, except by specific wording, infers rights already established by a governing body rather than by some traditionally accepted use or practice, Prior to the Constitution, there were no rights established with respect to arms possession by ordinary citizens; therefore, the ninth amendment would not apply.

US law is based in large part on English common law, and there was a right for Protestants to bear arms for defense, enumerated in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. But I don't see how that matters.

The ninth amendment says that just because the right is not enumerated, you can't assume it doesn't exist; you have to assume it does. To take anything away, the government has to be empowered to do so. That said, one thing that always seems to be part of this is the assumption that somehow the second amendment can have no limits, and yet we recognize limits on e.g. our first amendment rights. They aren't absolute.

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DrmDoc    205

US law is based in large part on English common law, and there was a right for Protestants to bear arms for defense, enumerated in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. But I don't see how that matters.

The ninth amendment says that just because the right is not enumerated, you can't assume it doesn't exist; you have to assume it does. To take anything away, the government has to be empowered to do so. That said, one thing that always seems to be part of this is the assumption that somehow the second amendment can have no limits, and yet we recognize limits on e.g. our first amendment rights. They aren't absolute.

You're quite right and, perhaps, that was the way our Founders intended.

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HB of CJ    19

Many times we learn and maintain our particular points of view based upon what we have learned and experienced with life. This Forum represents a higher level of intelligence and education. After all it is a Science Forum. We must respect that. Are most here sharing their particular life views BASED upon a particular upbringing?

The following is an unfounded reach. Are most here Eastern? Are we all USA Citizens? Or are some of us visitors? Did we grow up in an urban environment? Cities. Universities. Many social services. Public transit. Libraries. Grocery stores. Electricity. Running water. Flush toilets? The basic stuff expected as a norm today.

Some of us did not. I grew up on a homestead farm. Imagine the clock turned back 100 years. My skill level and life experiences have taken a different path. I now live in the woods in SW OR USA. About 43N, 123W. Kinda. Many things I take as given life skills are completely foreign to the experiences of many here on this Forum.

And never start a paragraph with a conjunction. No ... wait. A feeble joke. It is obvious to me that many of you here are experienced working science types. Educators. Teachers. Researchers. All very good. But ... it is difficult for me to relate to most of you. Just as it is probably difficult for most here to relate to me. Understandable.

Solar panels power this computer. Nickel Iron batteries. We do have solar hot water. Flush toilets. But everything was designed and built with my own hands. We live close to nature. We do not live in a big city nor would we want to. We are profound Conservative Libertarians. Not a oxymoron. Conservative. Agnostic. Simple life style.

Sossss ... when relating to the US Constitution, we take the Conservative point of view. Original intent using the simple language and meaning of words and punctuation at the time of the writing. The mind set of the writers. Pure geniuses. Also maybe time patrol agents. Just kidding. Also possibly space aliens. Another feeble joke.

The Second Amendment means what it says and says what it means. Simple language of the day. The US Constitution is most certainly NOT a living document. Morphing it into something different is tantamount to intellectual sedition. It is NOT about hunting. It IS about requiring an important check and balance of responsible citizenship.

Finally, yes I do own a machine gun. Doesn't everybody? I grew up around firearms. Mostly farm tools plus some great recreational experience hunting for the pot. I probably have 60 years experience with guns. Probably 100,000 shots fired. Have not kept count. I understand this if very foreign to some here. Thank you for reading.

Respectfully. All Oregon USA State Laws, USA Code Laws And NFA Rules Apply. This is a legal disclaimer stating that owning and shooting a machine gun is completely legal here. Your local, city, county or state laws may very greatly. Today is 18 June, 2017. Fathers Day in the USA. A nice extended family dinner coming soon.

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swansont    6166

Many times we learn and maintain our particular points of view based upon what we have learned and experienced with life. This Forum represents a higher level of intelligence and education. After all it is a Science Forum. We must respect that. Are most here sharing their particular life views BASED upon a particular upbringing?

The following is an unfounded reach. Are most here Eastern? Are we all USA Citizens? Or are some of us visitors? Did we grow up in an urban environment? Cities. Universities. Many social services. Public transit. Libraries. Grocery stores. Electricity. Running water. Flush toilets? The basic stuff expected as a norm today.

Some of us did not. I grew up on a homestead farm. Imagine the clock turned back 100 years. My skill level and life experiences have taken a different path. I now live in the woods in SW OR USA. About 43N, 123W. Kinda. Many things I take as given life skills are completely foreign to the experiences of many here on this Forum.

And never start a paragraph with a conjunction. No ... wait. A feeble joke. It is obvious to me that many of you here are experienced working science types. Educators. Teachers. Researchers. All very good. But ... it is difficult for me to relate to most of you. Just as it is probably difficult for most here to relate to me. Understandable.

Solar panels power this computer. Nickel Iron batteries. We do have solar hot water. Flush toilets. But everything was designed and built with my own hands. We live close to nature. We do not live in a big city nor would we want to. We are profound Conservative Libertarians. Not a oxymoron. Conservative. Agnostic. Simple life style.

Sossss ... when relating to the US Constitution, we take the Conservative point of view. Original intent using the simple language and meaning of words and punctuation at the time of the writing. The mind set of the writers. Pure geniuses. Also maybe time patrol agents. Just kidding. Also possibly space aliens. Another feeble joke.

The Second Amendment means what it says and says what it means. Simple language of the day. The US Constitution is most certainly NOT a living document. Morphing it into something different is tantamount to intellectual sedition. It is NOT about hunting. It IS about requiring an important check and balance of responsible citizenship.

Finally, yes I do own a machine gun. Doesn't everybody? I grew up around firearms. Mostly farm tools plus some great recreational experience hunting for the pot. I probably have 60 years experience with guns. Probably 100,000 shots fired. Have not kept count. I understand this if very foreign to some here. Thank you for reading.

Respectfully. All Oregon USA State Laws, USA Code Laws And NFA Rules Apply. This is a legal disclaimer stating that owning and shooting a machine gun is completely legal here. Your local, city, county or state laws may very greatly. Today is 18 June, 2017. Fathers Day in the USA. A nice extended family dinner coming soon.

Should I be allowed to arm myself with a tank, or a nuclear weapon?

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HB of CJ    19

A tank would be nice if you can find one. The expense and learning curve would be considerable. Actually where I live it would be legal. Getting the tax stamp, (license) for the cannon would be difficult, lengthy and expensive. The machine guns would be doable but also expensive. The individual armor piercing sabot rounds would be easy to legally have. The HEAT rounds would take special licensing but doable if you are rich and have lawyers and such. To possess the powder charges would require a special state and federal license. Also understand owning a nice newer tank from whomever country would take a maintenance crew to keep it running. Expensive to operate.

I do not think you are serious about the nuke. We will leave it at that. All Oregon USA State Laws, USA Code Laws And NFA Rules Apply. The legalities of lots of Constitutional stuff probably, (certainly) is poorly understood by most here. Different environments. Different life styles. Different expectations of government. The normal human reaction to different views is usually a negative one. It rocks our sense of comfort. Critical self examination is always difficult. We all here understand this. My point of view may not be shared by others. Also understand other points of view are not shared my myself. But there should always be room for common courtesy and respect.

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swansont    6166

A tank would be nice if you can find one. The expense and learning curve would be considerable. Actually where I live it would be legal. Getting the tax stamp, (license) for the cannon would be difficult, lengthy and expensive. The machine guns would be doable but also expensive. The individual armor piercing sabot rounds would be easy to legally have. The HEAT rounds would take special licensing but doable if you are rich and have lawyers and such. To possess the powder charges would require a special state and federal license. Also understand owning a nice newer tank from whomever country would take a maintenance crew to keep it running. Expensive to operate.

I do not think you are serious about the nuke. We will leave it at that. All Oregon USA State Laws, USA Code Laws And NFA Rules Apply. The legalities of lots of Constitutional stuff probably, (certainly) is poorly understood by most here. Different environments. Different life styles. Different expectations of government. The normal human reaction to different views is usually a negative one. It rocks our sense of comfort. Critical self examination is always difficult. We all here understand this. My point of view may not be shared by others. Also understand other points of view are not shared my myself. But there should always be room for common courtesy and respect.

I am serious about the nuke. Why can't I have one?

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Posted (edited)

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Seems to me it's saying you can over throw it should it become tyrannical.
And I know, somebody is going to argue that it doesn't explicitly say "Over throw" but instead "Abolish."
I'll comment on this.
If the government is tyrannical, do you really think it would just step aside while you told them they were no longer in charge?
I doubt it.
So fighting would go down.
And if the people had no weapons, it diminishes their ability to do this at any time.
While I'm not saying that our current government is tyrannical(stupid and racist, yes, but not yet a dictator), it could one day become tyrannical.
As with all governments.
At that time, if we no longer have guns because our right to own them was taken away(another thing I doubt will happen), it'd be much harder to over throw the government.
And I know what you're saying.
"The American people could never defeat the military!"
But clocking out at the idea of 35%(there was a study that came up with this number) of 330,000,000 people owning guns, that's 115,000,000 people with guns.
That's a hard number of people to suppress.
Additionally, other countries might join in too.
All depends.
But regardless, people owning guns gives the people power against their government.

In that time, the State's were not all one government.

They were all separate, under the rule of the union.

I am serious about the nuke. Why can't I have one?

Because the second amendment gave us the right to bear arms.

Not to carry around an inter continental ballistic missile.

I am serious about the nuke. Why can't I have one?

Wait.

I looked it up.

You can own a nuke legally inside the united states.

You just have to pass all the safety standards, and there's nobody that's going to give you an instruction manual to build it.

It'd also amount to hundreds of billions of dollars to make the storage area, getting the material, development, etc.

On top of that, it'd also add on another few hundred billion to be able to launch it any where.

Note, the richest man on earth has $79.2 billion dollars. The united states spent$80 billion on just the PLANES to carry nukes.

With enough money, you can own just about any weapon.

Edited by Raider5678

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swansont    6166

Wait.

I looked it up.

You can own a nuke legally inside the united states.

You could perhaps share the citation?

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Posted (edited)

You could perhaps share the citation?

Well.

It's a law that doesn't exist.

And most of the citations are from things like forums and such where nobody can find the law prohibiting it.

But here's a few of the forums.

https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-law-in-the-US-prohibiting-private-citizens-from-owning-nuclear-weapons

Somebody on there says it's illegal to own radioactive materials.

That's not true.

There's severe regulation, but not illegal if you have the proper safety precautions.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The NRC is the Federal agency responsible protecting the health and safety of the public and the environment by licensing and regulating the civilian uses of the following radioactive materials:

The NRC regulates the use of these radioactive materials through Title 10, Part 10, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 20), "Standards for Protection Against Radiation," which spells out the agency's requirements for the following aspects of radiation protection:

• Dose limits for radiation workers and members of the public
• Exposure limits for individual radionuclides
• Monitoring and labeling radioactive materials
• Posting signs in and around radiation areas
• Reporting the theft or loss of radioactive material
• Penalties for not complying with NRC regulations

Of more than 20,000 active source, byproduct, and special nuclear materials licenses in place in the United States, about a quarter are administered by the NRC, while the rest are administered by 37 Agreement States.

Edited by Raider5678

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swansont    6166

Just found this in wikipedia, about the adoption of the Bill of Rights

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

"A proposal to insert the words "for the common defence" next to the words "bear arms" was defeated."

Anyway, US v Miller restricts the 2nd Amendment to "ordinary military equipment"

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HB of CJ    19

US vs Miller was about a shotgun. Quite a reach to suggest it deals with all ordinary military equipment. Can you provide a link outlining your statement tied to specific court language regarding this ruling?

Respectfully.

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StringJunky    1485
Posted (edited)

US vs Miller was about a shotgun. Quite a reach to suggest it deals with all ordinary military equipment. Can you provide a link outlining your statement tied to specific court language regarding this ruling?

Respectfully.

United States v. Miller involved a criminal prosecution under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). Passed in response to public outcry over the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the NFA requires certain types of firearms (including but not limited to fully automatic firearms and short - barrelled rifles and shotguns) to be registered with the Miscellaneous Tax Unit (later to be folded into what eventually became the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or ATF) which at the time was part of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (ancestor of today's Internal Revenue Service),[1] with a \$200 tax paid at the time of registration and again if the firearm was ever sold.

My bold

Edited by StringJunky

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swansont    6166

US vs Miller was about a shotgun. Quite a reach to suggest it deals with all ordinary military equipment. Can you provide a link outlining your statement tied to specific court language regarding this ruling?

Respectfully.

The quotation marks weren't accidental

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/307/174#

It's also of note that the decision was based, as it should be, on the Constitution as a whole, and not just on the second amendment. As ydoaPs noted, there are several mentions of the militia elsewhere in the Constitution. That's the reason for interpreting the amendment in terms of militia. The government has (or had) a vested interest in people having the right. You could argue that it's not necessary anymore.