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Old October 21, 2019, 07:05 PM   #1
PolarFBear
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What DID the Founding Fathers really mean?

I recently had interaction with a younger member of our society. They posed this platform for which I have meager reply.

"The framers of the Constitution had never even imagined assault weapons that can slaughter hundreds of people in mere minutes. --- Their wording related to private citizens having the right to have simple weapons of that time in their homes."

I have searched TFL in depth and find no good replies. I ask for assistance on historical documentation from our Founding Fathers. What did they envision for our Right to bear arms? The Militia Act of 1792 is as good as I can find.
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Old October 21, 2019, 07:26 PM   #2
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It's factually false in that there were complex and expensive multishot arms of which that generation were aware. Someone posted about it here within the last month, with pictures iirc, but I can't locate the post.

Quote:
"The framers of the Constitution had never even imagined assault weapons that can slaughter hundreds of people in mere minutes. --- Their wording related to private citizens having the right to have simple weapons of that time in their homes."
How exactly did we kill Indians, bears and Canadians if all our rifles were kept in our homes?

I have a radical method for decoding the secret meaning of constitutional language. I read it.

Quote:
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.
Emphasis added.

That's peculiar wording if they meant arms needed to be left at home.
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Old October 21, 2019, 07:27 PM   #3
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Read Federalist 46 by Madison.

It lays out that The People were to retain the power of individual arms ... particularly the arms of the common soldier ... as ultimate use as weapons of war in defense against enemies outside, and Inside.

Don't ever let any audience forget that it was The Federalist Papers that were primary argument for the otherwise truly Sovereign States at the time to cede power to a federal gov't.... and that prevention of abuse of such power lay in literally the People and their " . . .advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation . . . . "

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Old October 21, 2019, 07:31 PM   #4
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How about Tench Cox?

Quote:
The power of the sword, say the minority..., is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.

Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
emphasis added

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Tench_Coxe

"... and every terrible implement of the soldier ..." In other words, any weapon a soldier might have, the American citizen has a right to have. In many of the colonial militia, the cannon(s) was/were privately owned, by the more prosperous squire(s) of the particular colony.

The framers of the Constitution also never envisioned personal computers and word processing software that would allow any useful idiot to spew out thousands of words ... all printed in Times New Roman 12-pont type ... in a couple of hours from the comfort of their sofa. Does that mean the First Amendment only guarantees a free press if it uses manually-powered printing presses with hand-set metal type?
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Old October 21, 2019, 07:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehavey
Read Federalist 46 by Madison.

It lays out that The People were to retain the power of individual arms ... particularly the arms of the common soldier ... as ultimate use as weapons of war in defense against enemies outside, and Inside.
Link: https://www.constitution.org/fed/federa46.htm
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Old October 21, 2019, 07:37 PM   #6
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I don't have any historical documentation, but I don't think the founding fathers envisioned today's democrat/socialist party. I don't think they envisioned a "at the time" civilized nation like Germany, first disarming and then rounding up millions of Jews and Gypsies and annihilating them in mass.

I'd ask that person if they believe they are entitled to safe and prosperous life. This nation was built on back breaking work and was a very dangerous place. No one but the people in the last few generations thought the government should have to protect them. And everywhere in this country where freedom is sacrificed in lieu of government protection, it is far more dangerous for them than elsewhere in the country.

I'm not going to list all the doomsday type threats we could face tomorrow or a year from now, but If someone can't envision the need for an AR15/AR10 today, I would ask them to think about it for a few weeks and try and come up with some reasons... write them down... and then I'd compare my list to theirs.
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Old October 21, 2019, 07:53 PM   #7
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And Jacob made pottage stew: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint:

And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die:
and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way:

Thus Esau despised his birthright.
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Old October 22, 2019, 12:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
"The framers of the Constitution had never even imagined assault weapons that can slaughter hundreds of people in mere minutes. ---
Perhaps not, but what's the point? The Founders absolutely were intimately and personally familiar with weapons firing hundreds of rounds slaughtering hundreds of people in a single minute.

Do remember that those "simple arms of colonial times" were the state of the art military arms of those same times. This point is made in several of the posts, "every terrible implement of the soldier" meant and means exactly that.

But even this ignores the root cause of the problem. Which is, individuals defying the highest laws, those against murder.

If it is right for the govt to take property from all of us, because some people broke the law with it then we do not have a right to property.

If it is right for the government to confiscate or prohibit ownership of property because it was used in a crime, then it is right for the government to take your cell phone, and computer, because somebody downloaded kiddie porn, or a bootleg copy of a movie. Those are crimes, too...

Wait, you say, I didn't do any of that! Ok, you didn't, so what? somebody did, so we're taking them all, for everyone's safety...

Millions and millions of guns in private hands in the US shot nobody last night, and millions and millions never will.
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Old October 22, 2019, 06:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Wait, you say, I didn't do any of that! Ok, you didn't, so what? somebody did, so we're taking them all, for everyone's safety...
and thus... Esau despised his birthright.
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Old October 22, 2019, 06:53 AM   #10
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I love it when someone misinterprets the “well-regulated” militia part. They think the constitution says we need to be extremely regulated with gun laws instead of what the founding fathers actually meant when they wrote those words, which didn’t mean today what it did back then.




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Old October 22, 2019, 07:15 AM   #11
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The framers would never have imagined the huge, bloated, overreaching federal government we have now. Besides outside enemies, the second amendment was to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government inside the country. They will come after me with military weapons, so I should be able to have parity. Private citizens have always owned whatever is the state of the art, private industry developed it and sold it to the government. You also might point out that in the 1860 - 1870's, there were rifles like the 44 Evans, which held 30 rounds of 44 short, and of course, the Henry rifle, "That darn Yankee rifle you loaded in the morning and shot all day."
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Old October 22, 2019, 07:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corneileous
I love it when someone misinterprets the “well-regulated” militia part. They think the constitution says we need to be extremely regulated with gun laws instead of what the founding fathers actually meant when they wrote those words, which didn’t mean today what it did back then.
True. Back when New England was overrun by clock makers, IIRC there was a company called the Regulator clock company. The term in general applied to pendulum clocks:

https://www.collectorsweekly.com/clocks/regulator

Today there is an antique clock company that carries on the name: https://www.theregulatorclockcompany.com/
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Old October 22, 2019, 08:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
True. Back when New England was overrun by clock makers, IIRC there was a company called the Regulator clock company. The term in general applied to pendulum clocks:

https://www.collectorsweekly.com/clocks/regulator

Today there is an antique clock company that carries on the name: https://www.theregulatorclockcompany.com/


Interesting.


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Old October 22, 2019, 08:20 AM   #14
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Do ya suppose they envisioned the policies of either of the Roosevelts or Lincoln?
Lincoln for certain. Slavery was a hugely divisive issue even in the revolutionary period. It wasn't until Tocqueville published in 1835 that socialism was foreseen as bringing about the end of democracy and causing America to fail as a nation. By then all the founding father were dead except for James Madison and at such an advanced age it is unlikely he ever read it or commented on it.

But in answer to the OP's question.... Yes there is lot but it is best encapsulated in the following document by people much smarter than me:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

It is a long read but well worth it.
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Old October 22, 2019, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolarFBear View Post
I recently had interaction with a younger member of our society. They posed this platform for which I have meager reply.

"The framers of the Constitution had never even imagined assault weapons that can slaughter hundreds of people in mere minutes. --- Their wording related to private citizens having the right to have simple weapons of that time in their homes."
Constitutional rights apply to principles and are NOT technology dependent. If they were, you'd only have freedom of speech when standing on a soapbox or via printed word. Yet freedom of speech covers TV and the internet, which didn't exist in the 18th century.

The "muzzleloader argument" was debunked quite thoroughly by SCOTUS in DC v Heller:

"Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications,... and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, ...the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding."
DC v Heller, page 8
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Old October 22, 2019, 09:57 AM   #16
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As already mentioned the Second Amendment was put in place to help protect the citizens from tyranny from within just like they experienced with their government of England who they went to war against because of tyranny. The citizenry at that time provided men, women, firearms, ammo, and other supplies for the militia made up of "we the people" and the founders wanted future generations to be able to do the same. They certainly knew there would be advances in weaponry over time and that the citizens should be able to keep and bear the same type of "arms" /weapons that the government military soldiers of the day would bear.

Many have mentioned that the founders never envisioned radio, television, the internet, cell phones, social media, etc. Would that mean then that the First Amendment only pertains to printed media as in newspapers made on printing presses?

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Old October 22, 2019, 10:16 AM   #17
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They well understood the evolution of weapons.

Quote:
"The framers of the Constitution had never even imagined assault weapons that can slaughter hundreds of people in mere minutes. --- Their wording related to private citizens having the right to have simple weapons of that time in their homes."
That would be true if we assumed that the founding fathers were shallow-minded ignorant simple citizens, lacking vision of what was to come. Of course, this is not the facts at all. It's true that they were not familiar with AR's and AK's but they did experience technological evolution on many aspects of their daily life. A good example was the "Brown-Bess" that was the AR of it's day...

Today, we are not aware of future weapons but in our own simple minds, we know they are certainly on the horizon. The 2A does address all weapons, From LRB's to Lasers or whatever...….

Be Safe !!!
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Old October 22, 2019, 10:18 AM   #18
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I love the argument that the "militia" refers to the National Guard, Reserves, or any other State, Local, or Federal Government body.

In fact:

Quote:
The militia, as indicated, when defined in the most general sense and as the term is used in the Constitution, has reference to the whole body of arms-bearing citizens.
From:

Quote:
LEGAL AND HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF THE MILITIA
Quote:
Volume 26 Issue 6 Yale Law Journal
http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/c...48&context=ylj
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Old October 22, 2019, 11:17 AM   #19
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The militia is every able bodied citizen with the exception of a few public officials. Well regulated is "working properly." The Second Amendment is to guarantee the people have the ability to strike out against oppressive government.

Early American and world history shows why all this is essential to a free people.

Can this be explained more clearly?
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Old October 22, 2019, 11:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by an Old Shooter View Post
The militia is every able bodied citizen with the exception of a few public officials. Well regulated is "working properly." The Second Amendment is to guarantee the people have the ability to strike out against oppressive government.

Early American and world history shows why all this is essential to a free people.

Can this be explained more clearly?


I don’t think it can. But no matter how well it gets explained, no matter what words or terminology you use, it still gets twisted around and argued by people who just simply don’t get it or just don’t care. They see guns as the problem instead of a people problem or society problem to the point that they believe taking guns away and levying more and more modern-day regulation is the answer. They don’t understand or don’t care that background checks are useless against someone who obtains a gun illegally, or someone who buys a gun legally who had no record to begin with for a background check to find, before they decided to do something awful with that legally-bought firearm.

The second amendment was written, outlined and explained years and years ago long before any of us living today was ever even thought of.

The founding fathers did a good job.


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Old October 22, 2019, 12:05 PM   #21
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The founders had cannons, so yes they did. Also someone with a MSR cannot "kill 100's of people in minutes", so that's a patently false statement.

I don't know the proper attribution at the moment, however when asked what is covered under the 2nd Amendment one response at the time (paraphrased) was 'every evil instrument of war carried by the foot-soldier'.

The 2nd Amendment is the teeth of our Constitution. It's the doomsday provision. If all else fails, it allows the people to retake their Liberty. If we ever lose this our freedom will be forever lost.

During WWII a Japanese General was asked why he didn't invade the US. His answer was it couldn't be done. 'There would be a rifle at every window and corner to confront them.'

Gift that person a copy of the Federalist Papers, Paul Revere's Ride, and Washington's Crossing. They will then fully understand our history and the intent of the Constitution.
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Old October 22, 2019, 12:17 PM   #22
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In addition to protection from tyranny, I’m sure our founding fathers understood the need for private gun ownership for defense of home, family, and property. Colonial times didn’t have the same types or degree of threats as we have today, such as rampant drug addiction, armed gangs, drug dealers, terrorism, and armed home invasions. Not to say there wasn’t any crime and violence back then, but home defense weapons must evolve to meet evolving threats, including threats that our founding fathers did not foresee.

A 30 round magazine is not unreasonable considering:

- Home defense often takes place at night against moving targets by frightened citizens

- The average trained police officer typically misses 3 out of 4 shots in a close range fire fight

- Two or three hits per person may be needed to stop the threat

- The typical home invasion involves 3-5 attackers

Given the above, if you woke up at night to find your house was broken into by multiple invaders and you had two firearms available to you, one with 10 rounds and one with 30 rounds, which would you reach for? Ask that of your young friend.

For these reasons, high capacity firearms have a place in home defense against a worse-case scenario where the consequences could be severe harm or death to you and family members. There are downsides of course to defending your home with high capacity powerful rifles (or any firearm for that matter), but that choice should be made by the home owners, not the government.

Many feel a line needs to be drawn somewhere with regard to private ownership of powerful weapons. The semi-automatic rifle appears to be the current battleground as to where a line should be drawn between weapons of mass destruction and a .22 revolver. If the line settles below semi-automatic rifles you can be sure the battleground will quickly sink a level, then another, then another.

You may want to ask your young friends what their plan is for removing the 16 million semi-automatic rifles in circulation today. Since laws only work on law-abiding citizens, banning them will only serve to weaken the defensive abilities of good people, which the bad people will love. If they want to disarm only bad people, suggest they focus on enforcing the thousands of existing laws regulating firearms, and work to break up the thriving underground market that feeds the weapons to the bad people. Then turn their attention to the social issues that lead to sick and twisted people wandering among us. Banning guns feels good but is simply ineffective.
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Old October 22, 2019, 12:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USNRet93
Social Security and medicare/medicad are both 'socialism' in action.
No, those are social welfare programs, not Socialism. Socialism is when the government owns the means of production. If the government confiscates US Steel from the shareholders and nationalizes it, that's Socialism. Providing for social welfare and infrastructure is not Socialism.
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Old October 22, 2019, 12:46 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGunGeek
I don't know the proper attribution at the moment, however when asked what is covered under the 2nd Amendment one response at the time (paraphrased) was 'every evil instrument of war carried by the foot-soldier'.
Not quite, but close. See post #4.
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Old October 22, 2019, 01:18 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armed Chicagoan
Quote:
Originally Posted by USNRet93
Social Security and medicare/medicad are both 'socialism' in action.
No, those are social welfare programs, not Socialism. Socialism is when the government owns the means of production. If the government confiscates US Steel from the shareholders and nationalizes it, that's Socialism. Providing for social welfare and infrastructure is not Socialism.
I would take the other end of that argument any day. It is only the most primitive form of socialism that requires the state to own all manufacturing. Ever since Lenin reduced the Russian population by means of starvation, socialists have known that they are better off controlling private production by means of regulation and fiat than outright ownership. Socialism is not merely a theory or an ideology; it is also the practice of more than century of socialists in politics.

Bernie Sanders describes himself as a socialist, yet he allows for privately owned manufacturing. Is he not truly a socialist? In this matter, I defer to those who self identify as socialists.

That said, the idea than voting, maintaining a military and building highways are examples of socialism cannot withstand a moment’s scrutiny. Ideas that predate both socialism has an idea and any self identified socialists are not reasonably identified as examples of socialism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by USNRet93
Do ya suppose they envisioned the policies of either of the Roosevelts or Lincoln?
Whether specific men foresaw restrictions of on individual economic freedom as championed by FDR is not pertinent to their constitutionality. That is part of the reason the Supreme Court found those restrictions unconstitutional.

That is the closer analogy to Second Amendment rights. Those rights can be lost politically just as a large degree of economic freedom was lost under FDR because a court bent to political pressure to allow momentarily popular restrictions.
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