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Jefferson to Madison: Can we fix that comma?

You might get a laugh out of this imaginary exchange about the Second Amendment between James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.

I suppose this won’t be quite as funny to readers who believe that the famously ambiguous and ungrammatical Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution pretty much guarantees the fundamental right of every American to “keep and bear” just about any weapon in just about any circumstance. But those who believe otherwise might get a laugh out of this imaginary exchange of letters between “Father of the Constitution” James Madison, writing in his capacity as a key figure in the first Congress and key player in the creation of the Bill of Rights, and Thomas Jefferson, then secretary of state in the George Washington administration, as the proposed amendments were making their way through Congress.

If you need a little help with the discussion of the misplaced comma, the commas after “militia,” and “free state” render the text of the Second Amendment (“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.”) grammatically confuzled on the key question of what participation in state militias may have had to do with the right to “keep and bear arms.”

The satire is by John Quaintance, my new favorite parodist of Constitutional matters, and was published by The New Yorker.