Harnessing all the outrage she can muster, Dahlia Lithwick insists that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that Americans have the right to well regulated state militias. Says she, (emphasis added)
'The Second Amendment to the Constitution says this: “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.” For most of U.S. history, that was understood to mean that the freedom guaranteed by the Second Amendment was precisely what it said: the right of the people of each state to maintain a well-regulated militia.'
Of course, anyone who can read, and who has some familiarity with the English language can see that the Second Amendment does not precisely guarantee "the right of the people of each state to maintain a well-regulated militia." The Second Amendment actually says, precisely, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." But according to Ms. Lithwick the NRA has perverted the meaning of the Second Amendment. This is only true however, if you take faithful adherence to the actual words in the Constitution as a perversion. In reality the NRA has helped to courts to restore the true meaning of the Second Amendment.
This sort of misinterpretation is typical of progressive political discourse. Progressives routinely propose utter nonsense, passing it off as some kind of brilliant but obscure concept. The Bill of Rights, those rights explicitly reserved for the people, include the right to a state militia? How does make any sense? Which people were clamoring for that one?
Nobody, of course. But we little people are ill equipped to grasp these complex constitutional nuances, and therefore must rely on our intellectual betters to explain them to us, which is what progressives think is their job. And so Ms. Lithwick explains, citing what she feels are the appropriate Supreme Court precedents along the way.
The Supreme Court had clearly agreed with Burger’s interpretation and not that of the special interest groups he chastised, perhaps most famously in a 1939 case called U.S. v. Miller. That ruling said that since the possession or use of a “shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length” had no reasonable relationship to the “preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia,” the court simply could not find that the Second Amendment guaranteed “the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” Period, full stop. And that was the viewpoint adopted by the courts for years.
Since progressives have long known that they can find judges galore who will rule in whatever they want, they fight desperately to elect Hillary, knowing that she will appoint several such a judges to the Supreme Court if she ever gets the chance. Then the "Living Constitution" will mean what progressives say it means. And better still, its meaning can change when progressives decide it should mean something else. That freedom of speech thing has been very troubling for progressives in recent years. With the right Supreme Court justices they'll be able to fix that.
To get a sense of the purpose of our Second Amendment rights, and what infringement of them can ultimately mean, look to the origins of gun control in America in the post-civil war Black Codes. Here is a snippet from the Mississippi Black Code of 1865.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi, that no freedman, free Negro, or mulatto not in the military service of the United States government, and not licensed so to do by the board of police of his or her county, shall keep or carry firearms of any kind, or any ammunition, dirk, or Bowie knife; and, on conviction thereof in the county court, shall be punished by fine, not exceeding $10, and pay the costs of such proceedings, and all such arms or ammunition shall be forfeited to the informer; and it shall be the duty of every civil and military officer to arrest any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto found with any such arms or ammunition, and cause him or her to be committed for trial in default of bail.
One side effect of such law was the protection of Ku Klux Klan members from harm as they went about the business of lynching former slaves. Such a noble and wonderful thing, gun control. The key to understanding gun control and its purposes can be found in the study of its origins. The key to Constitutional protections can be found in the text of the Constitution, not some progressive interpretation.