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"And on the third day, God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so that man could fight the dinosaurs. And the homosexuals." - home-schooled boy in the movie Mean Girls (2004)

"I can understand why Goldman Sachs would want to be included in the conversation about what to do about Wall Street. What I can't understand is why anyone would listen to them." - Steve Eisman, FrontPoint partners

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1The Second Amendment is actually 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". This was ratified in 1789, when the existence of the United States as a sovereign nation could not be taken for granted, and then the meaning was clear enough: state laws may not be enacted which prevent citizens from keeping arms as these citizens could be needed for the nation's defence.

How should it be interpreted now, though? Do Americans fear that acid put-downs by Simon Cowell, or the vandalism of east-coast eateries by Gordon Ramsay may be the prelude to a renewed invasion by the redcoats?

The vast majority of "second amendment" test cases seem to suggest that the Supreme Court, at least, do not see this as a particular worry, and what is more, that a lone gun nut does not comprise a "well regulated militia", and even if he did, it would have little to do with the security of the state. The second amendment is thus a piece of history, and no more. The responsibility of defending a modern state nowadays tends to belong solely to the legitimate armed forces.