'Well regulated' doesn't mean what you think

I am writing regarding your editorial, “Alternative Fact of the Week: Trump’s promise to end birthright citizenship and other assorted xenophobia” (Nov. 1), particularly the observation, “As a side note, it’s interesting that the same crowd who make much of the parenthetical phrase ‘and subject to the jurisdiction thereof ’ in the 14th Amendment seem all too eager to ignore the ‘well regulated militia’ bit in the 2nd.”

The writer seems to think that the term “well regulated” in the amendment means regulated by the government as we think in terms of the government controlling a process through regulations today such as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations or Food and Drug Administration rules. Anyone who truly understands the words of the Second Amendment knows that the term “well regulated” as used in 1789 meant “well-functioning” or “efficiently run.” The common usage of the term “well regulated” to express that something was functioning well or efficiently fell out of favor in the mid- to late-19th century.

There is no need to ignore the “well regulated” terminology of the introductory phrase of the Second Amendment. To think that the Founding Fathers wanted the government to regulate them is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Tom Beaufelter, Timonium

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