FAIL: How a High School Textbook Summarizes the Second Amendment

High School in Denton, Texas, Using History Book the Summarizes Second Amendment as Only for Militias
Photo credit: Sean Getts

Controversy is brewing around a high school in Denton, Texas, that is said to be using a United States history book that seems to summarize the Second Amendment inaccurately. And there are several other schools currently using the book.

“The people have the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia,” the definition in the book, “United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination,” which acts as a study guide for the Advanced Placement U.S. history test, reads.

The amendment as ratified by the U.S. reads [emphasis added]: “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.

Based on the book’s interpretation, citizens only retain the right to bear arms in a “state militia,” a case where citizens are called upon during emergencies to protect the state. Not surprisingly, many would take issue with that interpretation.

It could certainly be an accidental misinterpretation by the text book’s author, but people are clearly unhappy with the language and there is already an effort underway to make school officials at Guyer High School aware of the discrepancy. A Texas blogger has also pointed out that the Denton ISD Board of Trustees meets on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. and is encouraging parents to show up and demand answers.

It should be noted that all of the amendments found in the Constitution are summarized in the referenced text. However, the other amendments don’t appear to have raised eyebrows.

David Corbin, PhD, a professor of politics at Kings College in New York, told TheBlaze that the description of the Second Amendment is “inaccurate.”

“The incorrect description of “the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia” above makes one’s right dependent upon’s one’s membership in a state militia,” he said. “The founders believed, to quote William Blackstone, that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right “auxiliary to the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.”

Again, the poorly worded summary doesn’t mean there was a deliberate attempt to undermine the Second Amendment. But so far, attempts to clarify have been unsuccessful.


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