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Second Amendment


What follows is a diagram of the 2nd amendment.  A sentence diagram.  I know sentence diagramming isn’t taught in most schools these days (which is a real shame, because it’s great for reading comprehension, which is probably why some people don’t want you to learn it), so I am including some explanatory notes.

Actually diagramming the 2nd amendment puts to rest any argument that the right to own a gun is for militias and not individuals. It drives me crazy when people argue about original intent in favor of the individual right to own guns.  This isn’t because they are wrong, but because they overlook this important fact: to come to the conclusion that the right to own a gun is for individuals and not militias, all you need is an understanding of the English language.

Anyway, on the to actual diagram.  The subject of this sentence is “right,” namely, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”  The predicate (the action the subject is taking) is “shall not be infringed.”  “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state” is a nominative absolute.  It has a noun, but no verb.  Grammatically speaking, it has no bearing on the meaning of the rest of the sentence, which is why it is unconnected in the diagram.  That first phrase could say anything at all, and the subject and predicate would remain the same.

In short, anyone who believes that the right to keep and bear arms is for militias is ignorant.




  1. Lori says:

    You have to wonder, too, where people think the “militia” got their arms.

    • mac says:

      the entire 2nd amendment is referring to a” well-regulated militia”, this so-called self-educated conservative ..shows he is not educated at all…..the predicate is the opening..”a well-regulated militia COMMA!

      • Really? I’m the one who’s not educated? You couldn’t even figure out that a person named “Fiona” is female, not male.

        A predicate must have a verb. “A well-regulated militia” has no verb. Commas also don’t make a phrase into a predicate. The part of a sentence that gets “referred to” is the subject, not the predicate. Do you even know what a predicate is?

        Also, when calling someone else uneducated, you might want try using correct capitalization and connecting independent clauses with a semicolon instead of a comma.

        • David Davis says:

          I noticed that many years ago and wondered why I had never seen anyone use that argument. It’s been over 50 years since I learned diagramming, but I seem to remember to look for the complete sentence. In this case it’s, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

  2. Greg says:

    This is not true, the subject of the sentence is ‘militia.’ And taking solely the 2nd amendment and not including Article I, Section 8, Paragraphs 15 & 16 is to take the 2nd out of context. The reason we have the right to own weapons is to be able to support of the militia if necessary. Examining Article I reveals the purpose of the militia is to repel invading armies and to put down insurrection against the government, which is what the 2nd means when it says “… being necessary to the security of a free State,” This is what the Constitution directly says and why we have the right to own weapons. To exclude the militia and its purpose in discussing the 2nd is to ignore the both the subject of that one single sentence, and it’s intent.

    • How exactly does using force against its own citizens make a state “free”? You also give no evidence that “militia” is the subject, besides your own assertion. Grammatically, it has no bearing on the rest of the sentence.

  3. Phoebe says:

    has anyone researched what the Militia is? (from 1520-1789) it was every able bodied man (age 18-54 on another cite 18-60) so to me militia and people are one and the same… recall the green mountain boys? teddy’s rough riders??? they were people doing their every day job and lives until called upon to protect the people as they are the people and have a vested interest in their people/town/family/businesses

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