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Old December 30, 2012, 05:23 PM   #26
Uncle Billy
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Each of the colonies needed private citizens to be armed and available for defense (the militia) because there weren't enough British army troops to adequately defend the citizenry against hostile Indians. That's where the argument comes from that the 2A applies to the National Guard and Reserve. These militia joined the Continental army which was formed to fight the Revolution, after which the Continental army was disbanded and the militia - the "Minutemen"- were all the nation had in the way of land-based military capabilities to provide defense against hostile Indians. Everyday citizens (all fit males between 16 and 60) engaged in a variety of professions would be called to military duty in the event of an emergency, bringing their personal firearms. That's why the first part of the 2A reads like it does. About 2 years after the Bill of Rights was ratified the Congress formed a standing Federal army in order to provide better defense of the citizenry against the Indians, a role the British army of course wasn't going to fill any longer.

In those days some of the guns used for hunting, which just about every household did, were not all that different from the ones the military used. The civilians had smooth bore shotguns which were very close to the Charleville muskets they got from the French and Brown Bess muskets from the Brits. The civilians also had smaller bore "Kentucky" rifles that were much more accurate that they hunted with; these and the smooth bores were what the militia would bring with them when they were called to duty- their personal firearms.
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Old December 30, 2012, 05:24 PM   #27
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Too many people misunderstand the purpose of the COTUS. It is intended to preserve the rights of the people and to SPECIFICALLY delegate SOME of THEIR power to the government. The whole point is FREEDOM. Some things were foreseen as likely ways that the government would abuse the power GIVEN to it by TAKING powers RESERVED (reserved, that means belonging to and kept) to the people.

The type of weapons is irrelevant. The issue is one of a particular freedom that had been stolen before and was feared to be stolen again.

The most important line in the COTUS is:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The current state of affairs is sadly far removed from the intention. The National government was supposed to do what is directly spelled out in the COTUS. DIRECTLY spelled out. It is specifically NOT supposed to do those things specifically spelled out.

Everything else. EVERYTHING ELSE is reserved to the people or to the states.

Specifically in regards to firearms, the COTUS is clear that the issue of firearms is OFF THE TABLE. There should be NO National level prohibition regarding firearms. NONE.
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Old December 30, 2012, 05:30 PM   #28
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I don't think it's as much of a stretch from a Brown Bess Musket to an M-16 as it is from a printing press to radio and television. The former is a logical advance of technology, while the latter would be sheer magic to an 18th Century intellectual.

Be that as it may, the "assault weapon" of the late 18th Century was the Brown Bess or Charleville Musket. It wasn't particularly useful for hunting, although it would serve in a pinch. It had two virtues: It could be loaded and fired rapidly, and it could mount a bayonet. As has been noted, that's exactly the type of "arms" our forefathers intended us to "keep and bear."
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Old December 30, 2012, 05:51 PM   #29
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Yes....
As I read the constitution I believe that they were aware of the future.

I have seen numerous quotes from Thomas Jefferson about individual gun ownership.

Shall not be infringed, tells me that they foresaw government attempting to take those rights.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:03 PM   #30
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The founding fathers thought that the citizen should be armed as well as a rifleman in King George's army (or the government, ie potential tyrant). Back in the 1780s, that meant a muzzleloader. Today, that means a semi-automatic with a large capacity magazine, aka the dreaded 'assault rifle'.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:42 PM   #31
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The militia was required to have a musket, ball, powder and a bayonet equivalent to that used for military service and to drill with same. The rationale that the people would be armed with the same arms as a regular army troop means that what they had they not only could have but should have.

Off the top of my head I am thinking that was the second militia act of 1792 but don't take my old memory's word for it.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:48 PM   #32
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That's like asking if free speech applies to TV or the Internet... or that freedom of Religion to any other religions besides Christianity.
Exactly.

The way citizens arm themselves is commensurate to the way our government is armed and as well as our enemies abroad.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:49 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Old Grump View Post
The militia was required to have a musket, ball, powder and a bayonet equivalent to that used for military service and to drill with same. The rationale that the people would be armed with the same arms as a regular army troop means that what they had they not only could have but should have.

Off the top of my head I am thinking that was the second militia act of 1792 but don't take my old memory's word for it.
I think they had weaponry on par with military technology at the time. I dont think that changed. I believe the wanted us to be able to defend ourselves from al enemies, foreign and domestic, with the best means possible. I think they would still think so today. And be rightly appalled at our current situation.

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Old December 30, 2012, 07:09 PM   #34
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The key here is "well regulated militia", while I believe they would have expected/required/desired the militia to have equivalent arms, they also had an expectation that the militia was regulated, not simply citizens with arms. I believe that is where the 2nd amendment is weak as it pertains to civilian privileges of arms, and subsequently is at risk.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:18 PM   #35
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The key ISN'T "well regulated militia". That clause has always been understood by common sense, history and now codified by the SCOTUS to be only a single example, not an exclusive purpose.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:19 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by 1stmar View Post
The key here is "well regulated militia", while I believe they would have expected/required/desired the militia to have equivalent arms, they also had an expectation that the militia was regulated, not simply citizens with arms. I believe that is where the 2nd amendment is weak as it pertains to civilian privileges of arms, and subsequently is at risk.
What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" doesnt spell out civilian privileges? The people are the citizens. Thats a fact.

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Old December 30, 2012, 07:20 PM   #37
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Now what would it take for the NRA to become a "regulating" body? The definition of "well regulated" is certainly loose. If the NRA was smart perhaps being a member could be enough to constitute regulation with some small level of administration.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:23 PM   #38
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Buffalo44, the part that states a well regulated militia. Are you part of a well regulated militia?
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:23 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by 1stmar
they also had an expectation that the militia was regulated, not simply citizens with arms.
Yes, something -maybe a sense of community- was lost when militia meetings ceased. However, I somehow doubt that the more pacifist members of society would be thrilled by reviving periodic mandatory militia meetings that would involve practicing marksmanship, learning to maintain arms, or any of the other attributes of a well regulated militia.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:25 PM   #40
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Brian, that is open to interpretation. It's vague at best. You and I can read it however we see fit, but what matters is how the Supreme Court sees it, and that body is moving left.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:26 PM   #41
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1stmar, do you know what "regulated" meant in the 18th and 19th century? (and it still means that today, it's just no longer a common use of the word)
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:29 PM   #42
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Quote:
The militia was required to have a musket, ball, powder and a bayonet equivalent to that used for military service and to drill with same. The rationale that the people would be armed with the same arms as a regular army troop means that what they had they not only could have but should have.

Off the top of my head I am thinking that was the second militia act of 1792 but don't take my old memory's word for it.
This, of course, post dated the Bill of Rights and the 2nd amendment of 1791 with the two militia acts of 1792 (OMG, imposing regulations on the 2A!) which were made permanent in 1795 (because of expiration), but then amended in 1862, and finally replaced by the Militia Act of 1903 that set up the National Guard.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:29 PM   #43
1stmar
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Yes, according Alexander Hamilton it meant, organizing, training, arming and disciplined. What do you think hey meant?
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:33 PM   #44
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It means functional.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:36 PM   #45
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May want to check the federalist papers.
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Old December 30, 2012, 07:41 PM   #46
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Buffalo44, the part that states a well regulated militia. Are you part of a well regulated militia?
In every version of the 2nd amendment there is punctuation between those clauses. They didnt see need for redundancy, the need for a well regulated militia and the right for people to keep and bear arms are two important, but different, things.

Common sense dictates a militia is armed, no need to repeat it.

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Old December 30, 2012, 07:42 PM   #47
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Yes, something -maybe a sense of community- was lost when militia meetings ceased. However, I somehow doubt that the more pacifist members of society would be thrilled by reviving periodic mandatory militia meetings that would involve practicing marksmanship, learning to maintain arms, or any of the other attributes of a well regulated militia.
Militia groups across the nation continue to do this voluntarily.

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Old December 30, 2012, 07:47 PM   #48
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May want to check the federalist papers.
Federalist papers no. 29

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Old December 30, 2012, 07:51 PM   #49
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No, I don't think for the most part that the founding fathers thought about the weapons generally owned by civilians today when they wrote the 2nd Amendment.

Since at the time, private individuals could own ships of the line and canon and any ordinance they could shoot. I think the founding fathers were more likely thinking of privately owned artillery, mortars, crew served machine guns, and machine guns - as well as the standard issue military infantry arms.
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Old December 30, 2012, 08:02 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Buffalo444
Militia groups across the nation continue to do this voluntarily.
In those states that have not declared such activity illegal.
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