Friday, July 1, 2016

Bill O'Reilly Is Killing The Second Amendment

Bill O'Reilly's Historical Error On The Second Amendment

This blog normally examines and documents historical errors of dissenting Supreme Court justices and professional historians who file briefs supporting gun control in Supreme Court cases such as Heller and McDonald. It does not normally address erroneous current comments on television shows relating to the Second Amendment because time is precious and one could spend their entire life trying to correct all the erroneous statements about the Second Amendment that appear regularly. However, since the Second Amendment is under continuing and heavy attack at the present time, and Bill O'Reilly has a connection to American history, this post is an exception. Bill O'Reilly's background includes teaching history, and he has an extensive series of history books, the Killing series, which hopefully are based on historical reality rather than just his personal opinions. His books are widely read and likely accepted as historically accurate, and his large number of regular viewers are apt to accept his personal views on other historical subjects as if actually based upon some documented historical evidence he has researched.

On the June 14, 2016 O'Reilly Factor, Bill had this to say regarding the Second Amendment in his Talking Points, entitled Acceptable Losses:

"the Second Amendment clearly states the government has a right to regulate militias, made up of individuals."

In reality, the Second Amendment states no such thing. Instead, it clearly states:

"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."

[Taken from Thomas Jefferson's authenticated official imprint of the amendments proposed by Congress and ratified by the states reprinted in The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms, p.221]

Bill O'Reilly has the Second Amendment, a U.S Bill of Rights provision written in 1789, confused with Article 1, Section 8 powers relating to the militia written in 1787. This Bill of Rights provision was intended to limit the powers of the Federal Government, and both of its clauses were based directly on existing state declaration of rights language intended to limit state governments. The Second Amendment is like the other enumerated rights of the first eight amendments to the Constitution that were reenactments in the U.S. Bill of Rights as limits on power at the Federal level based directly on limits upon state governments taken from state bills of rights. There is nothing stated in the Second Amendment giving any government power to regulate any thing.

Mr. O'Reilly, or one of his producers, should spend a little time studying the actual historical evidence regarding Second Amendment development and purpose rather than relying solely on the host's personal opinions because the historical evidence regarding this matter is extensive, conclusive, easily available, and it directly contradicts what Bill O'Reilly believes and states on the show. A good start would be to examine The American Revolutionary Era Origin Of The Second Amendment's Clauses, a short, fully documented historical article from the 2011 Journal On Firearms And Public Policy that can be found online by clicking the above link.

Or, they could take a look at the book cited above, The Founders' View Of The Right To Bear Arms: A Definitive History Of The Second Amendment, which traces and fully documents the Second Amendment's predecessor language, authors, and historical development back through the Ratification Era into the Revolutionary Era and beyond into Colonial Period usage of terms.

Hopefully, at some time in the relatively near future, Mr. O'Reilly will correct the misinformation he broadcast on The O'Reilly Factor on June 14, 2016 regarding what he believes the Second Amendment "clearly states".

1 comment:

  1. This is what O'Reilly and his ilk are paid to do. I am not shocked by this. Their job is to help cow and propagandize the citizen. Every tyranny has used this tactic at some point.