The Right’s Second Amendment Lies

Exclusive: A big obstacle to commonsense gun control is the Right’s false historical narrative that the Founders wanted an armed American public that could fight its own government. The truth is that George Washington looked to citizens militias to put down revolts and maintain order, says Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Right-wing resistance to meaningful gun control is driven, in part, by a false notion that America’s Founders adopted the Second Amendment because they wanted an armed population that could battle the U.S. government. The opposite is the truth, but many Americans seem to have embraced this absurd, anti-historical narrative.

The reality was that the Framers wrote the Constitution and added the Second Amendment with the goal of creating a strong central government with a citizens-based military force capable of putting down insurrections, not to enable or encourage uprisings. The key Framers, after all, were mostly men of means with a huge stake in an orderly society, the likes of George Washington and James Madison.

President George Washington, as Commander-in-Chief, leading a combined force of state militias against the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.

The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 weren’t precursors to France’s Robespierre or Russia’s Leon Trotsky, believers in perpetual revolutions. In fact, their work on the Constitution was influenced by the experience of Shays’ Rebellion in western Massachusetts in 1786, a populist uprising that the weak federal government, under the Articles of Confederation, lacked an army to defeat.

Daniel Shays, the leader of the revolt, was a former Continental Army captain who joined with other veterans and farmers to take up arms against the government for failing to address their economic grievances.

The rebellion alarmed retired Gen. George Washington who received reports on the developments from old Revolutionary War associates in Massachusetts, such as Gen. Henry Knox and Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. Washington was particularly concerned that the disorder might serve the interests of the British, who had only recently accepted the existence of the United States.

On Oct. 22, 1786, in a letter seeking more information from a friend in Connecticut, Washington wrote: “I am mortified beyond expression that in the moment of our acknowledged independence we should by our conduct verify the predictions of our transatlantic foe, and render ourselves ridiculous and contemptible in the eyes of all Europe.”

In another letter on Nov. 7, 1786, Washington questioned Gen. Lincoln about the spreading unrest. “What is the cause of all these commotions? When and how will they end?” Lincoln responded: “Many of them appear to be absolutely so [mad] if an attempt to annihilate our present constitution and dissolve the present government can be considered as evidence of insanity.”

However, the U.S. government lacked the means to restore order, so wealthy Bostonians financed their own force under Gen. Lincoln to crush the uprising in February 1787. Afterwards, Washington expressed satisfaction at the outcome but remained concerned the rebellion might be a sign that European predictions about American chaos were coming true.

“If three years ago [at the end of the American Revolution] any person had told me that at this day, I should see such a formidable rebellion against the laws & constitutions of our own making as now appears I should have thought him a bedlamite – a fit subject for a mad house,” Washington wrote to Knox on Feb. 3, 1787, adding that if the government “shrinks, or is unable to enforce its laws … anarchy & confusion must prevail.”

Washington’s alarm about Shays’ Rebellion was a key factor in his decision to take part in – and preside over – the Constitutional Convention, which was supposed to offer revisions to the Articles of Confederation but instead threw out the old structure entirely and replaced it with the U.S. Constitution, which shifted national sovereignty from the 13 states to “We the People” and dramatically enhanced the power of the central government.

A central point of the Constitution was to create a peaceful means for the United States to implement policies favored by the people but within a structure of checks and balances to prevent radical changes deemed too disruptive to the established society. For instance, the two-year terms of the House of Representatives were meant to reflect the popular will but the six-year terms of the Senate were designed to temper the passions of the moment. 

Within this framework of a democratic Republic, the Framers criminalized taking up arms against the government. Article IV, Section 4 committed the federal government to protect each state from not only invasion but “domestic Violence,” and treason is one of the few crimes defined in the Constitution as “levying war against” the United States as well as giving “Aid and Comfort” to the enemy (Article III, Section 3).   

But it was the Constitution’s drastic expansion of federal power that prompted strong opposition from some Revolutionary War figures, such as Virginia’s Patrick Henry who denounced the Constitution and rallied a movement known as the Anti-Federalists. Prospects for the Constitution’s ratification were in such doubt that its principal architect James Madison joined in a sales campaign known as the Federalist Papers in which he tried to play down how radical his changes actually were.

To win over other skeptics, Madison agreed to support a Bill of Rights, which would be proposed as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Madison’s political maneuvering succeeded as the Constitution narrowly won approval in key states, such as Virginia, New York and Massachusetts. The First Congress then approved the Bill of Rights which were ratified in 1791. [For details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative.]

Behind the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment dealt with concerns about “security” and the need for trained militias to ensure what the Constitution called “domestic Tranquility.” There was also hesitancy among many Framers about the costs and risks from a large standing army, thus making militias composed of citizens an attractive alternative.

So, the Second Amendment read:  “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.” Contrary to some current right-wing fantasies about the Framers wanting to encourage popular uprisings over grievances, the language of the amendment is clearly aimed at maintaining order within the country.

That point was driven home by the actions of the Second Congress amid another uprising which erupted in 1791 in western Pennsylvania. This anti-tax revolt, known as the Whiskey Rebellion, prompted Congress in 1792 to expand on the idea of “a well-regulated militia” by passing the Militia Acts which required all military-age white males to obtain their own muskets and equipment for service in militias.

In 1794, President Washington, who was determined to demonstrate the young government’s resolve, led a combined force of state militias against the Whiskey rebels. Their revolt soon collapsed and order was restored, demonstrating how the Second Amendment helped serve the government in maintaining “security,” as the Amendment says.

Beyond this clear historical record – that the Framers’ intent was to create security for the new Republic, not promote armed rebellions – there is also the simple logic that the Framers represented the young nation’s aristocracy. Many, like Washington, owned vast tracts of land. They recognized that a strong central government and domestic tranquility were in their economic interests.

So, it would be counterintuitive – as well as anti-historical – to believe that Madison and Washington wanted to arm the population so the discontented could resist the constitutionally elected government. In reality, the Framers wanted to arm the people – at least the white males – so uprisings, whether economic clashes like Shays’ Rebellion, anti-tax protests like the Whiskey Rebellion, attacks by Native Americans or slave revolts, could be repulsed.

However, the Right has invested heavily during the last several decades in fabricating a different national narrative, one that ignores both logic and the historical record. In this right-wing fantasy, the Framers wanted everyone to have a gun so they could violently resist their own government. To that end, a few incendiary quotes are cherry-picked or taken out of context.

This “history” has then been amplified through the Right’s powerful propaganda apparatus – Fox News, talk radio, the Internet and ideological publications – to persuade millions of Americans that their possession of semi-automatic assault rifles and other powerful firearms is what the Framers intended, that today’s gun-owners are fulfilling some centuries-old American duty.

The mythology about the Framers and the Second Amendment is, of course, only part of the fake history that the Right has created to persuade ill-informed Tea Partiers that they should dress up in Revolutionary War costumes and channel the spirits of men like Washington and Madison.

But this gun fable is particularly insidious because it obstructs efforts by today’s government to enact commonsense gun-control laws and thus the false narrative makes possible the kinds of slaughters that erupt periodically across the United States, most recently in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 schoolchildren and six teachers were murdered in minutes by an unstable young man with a civilian version of the M-16 combat rifle.

While it’s absurd to think that the Founders could have even contemplated such an act – in their 18th Century world of single-fire muskets that required time-consuming reloading – right-wing gun advocates have evaded that obvious reality by postulating that Washington, Madison and other Framers would have wanted a highly armed population to commit what the Constitution defined as treason against the United States.

Today’s American Right is drunk on some very bad history, which is as dangerous as it is false.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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82 comments on “The Right’s Second Amendment Lies

  1. Kathleen Flanagan on said:

    Finally, someone who reads, understands the history surrounding to Founders wording of the 2nd Amendment. The key is “A well-regulated Militia”… It was never intended for peolple to be armed, except that they belonged to a well-regulated Militia that was formed to defend the country. Thank you for this article.

    • Tom Alpers on said:

      Sorry, but the Key is “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I don’t know how it could be clearer. They didn’t say “the right to keep and bear arms is limited to use in the militia.” The militia part is just them giving an example of when such an un-infringed right will be needed.

      • Jeff Krull on said:

        Tom, please read the Amendment honestly–and grammatically. It is a sentence of four clauses. The first clause introduces the subject. The other three clauses modify (expand or illuminate) the subject clause. And it does not read (as you have it)”the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” You forgot the comma that separates the third from the fourth clause. That comma makes no sense if the framers intended your interpretation. It does make sense when seen–with the other commas–as separating each of the modifying clauses from the subject clause.

        “A well regulated Militia” is the subject. A well regulated militia, in the minds of the framers, is necessary to “the security of a free state.” A well regulated militia is the framer’s fulfillment of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” And this right–to a well regulated militia–shall not be infringed. It is the right of “the people” to keep and bear arms; that is a collective reference. It does not say it is the right of individuals (though neither does it forbid it).

        It was already an established practice for communities to “keep…arms” locked up in armories until times of crisis, then handed out to volunteer fighters to “bear” in battle and return afterward. This was common–and necessary–in the 18th century and well into the 19th century (long after and in spite of the Militia Acts) because, contrary to popular assumption, most Americans did not own firearms. They were costly and not manufactured in most areas. Even on the frontier, most were farmers, not hunters.

        • SharpDonkey on said:

          As a matter of fact, if I remember my American History correctly, the Shot Heard Round the World came about when the Brits marched on an armory holding militia weapons to seize them. An armory, not Bubba’s double wide.

        • I see a bullshit artist twisting words that are plain and simple. Do you honestly think that the people who had just revealed against a tyrannical government instituted the law to keep people from rebelling? That makes no sense whatsoever. I love how you morons try to say you forgot a comma and this clause supersedes that clause…no it doesn’t. The right of the people…inalienable…what do you not understand about that? Stop twisting words to fit your “logic”…you’re not enlightened. You are just an idiot who needs to be punched in the face several times.

          • Steve Krulick on said:

            Yes, James, violence solves all debates! Just call persons idiots and punch them in the face! That is how to refute logic and evidence. Guffaw!

            IF you don’t understand the words and terms used in 18th century legal documents by 18th century elite educated lawyers, the words might as well be in Chinese to troglodytes such as you seem to be. EACH term had a specific legal meaning, and the best way to find out what they meant is to review many documents from that era, or see what they themselves had to say about their intent and purpose. Fortunately, we have those documents, and they seem to confirm much of what Jeff says, and all of what I have said.

            Yes, the Constitution is NOT a suicide pact, and it replaced a group of subject colonies that became 13 independent states into a FEDERAL REPUBLIC, by giving them an organic framework that allowed for PEACEFUL change and checks and balances to minimize the chance of tyranny. Indeed, if you actually READ the Constitution, you’d see that it specifically defines treason as “levying war against” the US, and authorizes the Congress to provide for “calling forth the militia to… suppress insurrections” which is what Washington did in 1794 to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. No, James, it’s your hysterical ranting that makes no sense whatsoever, when contrasted to the evidence of history. Oh, and NO clause “supersedes” another; Chief Justice John Marshall said there was no “surplusage” in the Constitution, and EACH word and clause must be given equal weight, and can’t be ignored. And THE PEOPLE, as the founders understood and stated, was the WHOLE enfranchised body politic in its collective and political capacity, NOT just each and every person (in 1789, only free white adult property-owinging males were “Freemen” or “Freeholders” of the PEOPLE Class; women, kids, injuns, furreners, felons did NOT belong, nor share in the collective or distributive rights of THE PEOPLE!)

            I explain it all in my essays at http://kryo.com/2ndAmen/ but I doubt you have the capacity to understand it, and will keep right on believing the simplistic nonsense fantasy that the NRA and Fox Noise has mind-shtupped you with.

      • Read the whole thing as well as the amendments in the Bill of rights. What you are doing is “cherry picking” to back up a misguided belief. The founding fathers never intended the 2nd amendment as a do what the hell you want and damn the government law. Understand the historical context of the document and not a the blind faith to a group or party who do harm to American values.

    • Jack Lee on said:

      Funny, I think these quotes from the founders paint a much different picture.

      http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/quotes/arms.html

      Funny that you missed ALL of these quotes and didn’t bother checking the Federalist Papers for most of them. You know, the papers that were actually authored by the founders.

      • Steve Krulick on said:

        Replying to Jack Lee and his laughable list of supposed quotes at http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/quotes/arms.html

        Sorry, but most of these quotes are woefully out of context. Unless you understand what each term actually meant to educated persons of the 18th century, and realized the context they were uttered in (almost entirely about the well-regulated militia being composed of most of the free white adult males as a CONSCRIPT DUTY, and not at all about private use of firearms for non-militia purposes!), you are being misrepresentative at best, and disingenuous at worst. When you put these snippets in context, they all are about the states maintaining their universal militia against federal infringement, EXACTLY the purpose and meaning of the 2nd Amendment!

        There is no evidence Sam Adams said the cite attributed to him, but no matter… that proposal was never acted on. Even so it isn’t about private guns but maintaining the militia against federal infringement.

        The Madison quote is a mangled misrepresentation! It is NOT what he said, and NOT what he argued for. It is deceitful to pass this off as what he meant!

        The John Adams quote actually says the OPPOSITE of what individual rights advocates are claiming!

        DISARMING in the contexts here does NOT mean to confiscate existing guns! It means to FAIL TO ARM the militias so that a standing army under a dictator can take their place. The “whole body of the people are armed” does NOT mean that each person is his own “army of one” acting “at individual discretion,” but that the universal militia is the large part of the body politic, the state militia the 2nd Amendment was meant to protect. Coxe, Webster, Hamilton, Madison, Adams were all FEDERALISTS who wanted a strong central government! They were hardly going to argue the anti-federalist position. They were not speaking about individual gun rights, but the maintenance of the militia, and allaying anti-federalist fears that the Congress would fail to arm the state militias, as the Constitution required.

        Lee was promoting the universal militia versus the select militia Hamilton preferred; Madison’s amendment was to allay anti-fed fears that the universal militias of the states would be weakened.

        The second Jefferson quote is incomplete as it only refers to use of arms in ones OWN property! And “use of arms” is NOT “bearing arms” which only means military service (see Jefferson’s use of that term in the Declaration of Independence for proof). And it’s moot as the proposal was never adopted! It was written in 1776, many years before the Bill of Rights, so it has no bearing on it. A decade later, Jefferson wrote Madison for a Bill of Rights and all he asked for AND GOT in this regard, according to he himself, was an amendment making the militia primary over a standing army. THAT is what Jefferson himself said was the purpose and meaning of the passed 2nd Amendment!

        The Madison proposal is CUT down from his actual original! He included a conscientious objector clause that spells out EXACTLY what he meant by bearing arms: “but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.” There you have it… the author of the 2nd Amendment clearly defines “bearing arms” as serving in the militia! It is inconceivable he used the term in the previous clause in any other way.

        Gerry’s quote, also out of context, is more proof that ALL the debates on the 2nd Amendment were about THE MILITIA! That is ALL they discussed; nothing about individual rights or use of guns! Because it was a MILITIA amendment, not a GUN amendment!

        Again, Mason meant “disarm the people” to mean, in context, failure of Congress to arm and maintain the state militias, period.

        Hamilton is speaking of the state militias, not men with guns “acting at individual discretion”! You have to read the whole essay to see what he means.

        Henry was speaking ONLY of the question of WHO should pay for state militia arms! HE wanted the states to fully control and arm the militias, because he was an anti-federalist who didn’t trust Madison or the federalists. He was talking ONLY about MILITIA GUNS and who would pay for them! But this snippet leaves out the details that show this and that he simply was saying it was absurd to pay twice for the same weapons needed! This is the kind of disingenuous clipping that turn the founders into liars! Oh, and anti-federalist Henry LOST the battle to Madison!

        Johnson is merely confirming that the state militias will not be deprived of their required arms (not just guns but ALL militia equipment) and the states will continue to control their state militias. It’s NOT about private guns!

        Since when is Hubert Humphrey a founding father? Sheesh!

        If you read Story’s full essay you see even more than here that he is ONLY speaking of the value of maintaining the militia and the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to ensure them! It is NOT about sovereign individuals owning private guns, but about the PEOPLE as a whole maintaining their militias, and how this was already beginning to become a non-working ideal. You have to read it all, but even here the point is STILL only about the militia itself.

        Burgh and Cooley are not founders! Unless you understand that THE PEOPLE Cooley refers to is NOT “just people” or “persons” but THE PEOPLE, as the collective enfranchised body politic, comprised of ALL the voting citizens (in 1791, only free white adult males, mostly property-owing) and it is this “WE THE PEOPLE” singular entity from which all power is derived and who CONTROL and MAINTAIN that militia which is drawn from that larger Freeman class, and is the larger part of it. He also shows that militia service is a DUTY, under DISCIPLINE and LAWS, and for PUBLIC ORDER, and not just every jerk with a gun acting “at individual discretion.”

        Again, no evidence Sam Adams said this or originated it; he may only have passed on this PROPOSAL meant for Madison to consider, but it DID NOT get acted on per se. Properly read, though, the 2nd amendment, by not letting Congress infringe on the right of the state militias to maintain themselves, did just what the proposal actually meant!

        Look, these and other bogus, out-of-context, mischaracterized quotes are all the hoplophiles keep spewing over and over, because the TRUTH would completely blow their claims and beliefs! They have to lie and deceive because that is all they have! Actual relevant quotes explain WHY the 2nd Amendment was written and what it means, and that just can’t be allowed to show that their own false interpretation is without any merit.

        For further examples of bogus or inaccurate or misrepresentative quotes, and what the founders REALLY said that was relevant to the 2nd Amendment, go to: http://kryo.com/2ndAmen/Quotes.htm

        • Too bad scotus says you’re full of it. It disgusting how complicit you are in giving away our rights because you believe in a bit more safety. Our founders also wrote of the idiot masses trying to change everything in an effort to better themselves…giving away rights, taking more from the larder. Your time will come and I just hope I’m around to see you guys fall…and fall hard with nothing to catch any of you except for the angry arms of citizens who are ready to tear you apart.

          • Steve Krulick on said:

            What does the SCotUS have to do with these bogus or misrepresentative quotes above? Five justices to four is hardly a slam-dunk of consensus; and the four in the minority were RIGHT, and held with 200 consistent years of consistent interpretation, while the rogue five simply “found” an invisible “right” that somehow eluded EVERY court and legitimate legal scholar for 200 years.

            Who is for giving away rights, strawslinger? Where is that in anything I said? On the contrary, I am a big supporter of actual rights that have stood the test of time and judicial review; it’s “fantasy” rights I don’t care much for. Can you give an example of something “the idiot masses” tried about which you blatantly assert the “founders” (which ones? they were a diverse lot, you know.) What do you mean by “you guys”? Care to define your terms? Why would “angry” citizens want to tear ME apart? You seem to be hyperventilating over an imaginary image of someone you know nothing about. Calm down, pal.

        • Ernst Blofeld on said:

          Federalist #46 (Madison) has a long discussion about the people and states defeating a tyrannical federal government with the aid of an armed people.

          Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.”

    • Voice of Reason on said:

      Your problem is, you would have to convince the majority of the House and Senate to think that way, and repeal the 2nd Amendment, and THAT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. It would spark a civil war and revolution- how would you like to have that blood on your hands ?

    • Judson Witham on said:

      FACT IS …. The so called US Government’s Intentions were Criminal Acts and Illegal to their Oppressors. The UNREGULATED Militias were NOT Under the newly formed USA Inc. command. Anyway ALL the Musket’s were Military Arms and All the Flint Lock Pistols were as were the Long Guns Military Grade Assault Weapons. Reality is that All The Cannon and Mortars, Grenade Launchers and other ARMS used to Kill British Soldiers were Illegal. The articles ludicrous focus on A Well Regulated Militia falls to take into account the REAL History and that real History is that ALL The Frontier Families were NOT Subjects of the New Republic they were and remain Sovereigns. The Reality is The ARMS all of them were OUTLAWED by the British … Go Figure. The Right of Revolution Remains …. That’s Correct … The RIGHT TO CAST OFF any corrupt Government Remains. We all KNOW the Great effectiveness and Great Help the States and Feds have been with enforcing the Fraud Laws on the BANKSTERS right … LOL … just about WORTHLESS. I know I will take lots of heat on this BUT my answer to Barry Soentoro on MORE Restrictions on My Rights to Keep and Bear ARMS is a GIANT ABSOULTELY NOT. Every Crime at WACO, Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook and so many other CRIME SCENES is the ARMS were legal the Crimes were NOT. NO Barry Soentoro NO ……. LOL …. Maybe just maybe … IF one were to take a look at the purpose of the Right to Bear Arms and be intellectually honest about what ARMS include maybe LOL some people would Ha Ha Ha care about the craftiness of such prose. The Reality Arms of the Military Assault Grade were the Muskets of the Day as were the many other ARMS that were regularly available to the Criminal and outlawed American Militias and Army. You see the English had placed Death Sentences and Bounties upon the CRIMINALS that were later known as the Founding Fathers … Funny Stuff Huh. My Family fought the French and Indian War and I do NOT need from Occupy or Barry Dunham a lesson in what MILITARY STYLE WEAPONS ARE … the Musket and all the Flintlock Pistols of the 1700s era were Military Style ARMS. Barry Dunham’s or OBama’s or Soentoros SPEECHES and SPEECH WRITERS can play Sophistries all they want BUT they can not change the meaning of ARMS. Try as they might to DIS-ARM the American People leaving only Barry’s Private Military and the DOD with what now they are calling MILITARY STYLE WEAPONS is leading the Sheeple to the Slaughter. One thing I’ve learned about Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing they have the Lying Tongues of Devils. Buses, Trucks and Cars are Far Far Far Far deadlier than the ARMS associated with the Sandy Hook matter. My steadfast position is very simple … NO …. Barry Soentoro NO. They will never be allowed to Steal Our Freedom …. https://sites.google.com/site/selfdefenseaprimerthelaw/

    • It doesn’t matter how the left percieves the 2nd amendment . You won’t disarm this country now without destroying it. The military will split just like it did in Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed . They won’t be too pleasant with the communists in this country . Think about that when you weak hearted pansies scream for more gun control . You will lose in the end .

    • Frank Brittain on said:

      So the people were supposed to turn their guns in after the war. Put them in an armory? Wow, I wonder why that didn’t happen? Madison wrote the 2nd and he wasn’t a farmer. He was a land owner but not a farmer. The idea that people just didn’t need their rifles after the war is absurd. Spin it the way you want but our founders put the 2nd in to allow “The People”, to protect themselves from whatever. Not just friendly and foreign governments but thieve’s, marauders, Indians and wild animals. The way you tell it, it sounds like folks never used their guns to hunt. The government would provide beef…kind of like on the reservations huh? And Subaru Outbacks too…

      • Steve Krulick on said:

        It’s more complex. For a war, you “raise” an army; after the war, they stand down, what is called “deponed.” By contrast, the MILITIA is MAINTAINED ready at all times, manned by citizen-soldiers who can be called forth by qualified legal entities, usually the state government (and, by the Constitution, the Congress) or even by county govts to handle more local emergencies. To accomplish this, most weapons and supplies were best “kept” (the “keep” in “keep and bear arms”) in “keeps” “stands” or “stores” (later called armories) to protect and maintain them in good order (maintaining a musket is not that easy, and unless you keep it clean and oiled, it tends to rust).

        This is from historian Garry Wills:

        (http://www.potowmack.org/garwills.html)

        To keep. Gun advocates read “to keep and bear” disjunctively, and think the verbs refer to entirely separate activities. “Keep,” for them, means “possess personally at home” — a lot to load into one word. To support this entirely fanciful construction, they have to neglect the vast literature on militias. It is precisely in that literature that to-keep-and-bear is a description of one connected process. To understand what “keep” means in a military context, we must recognize how the description of a local militia’s function was always read in contrast to the role of a standing army. Armies, in the ideology of the time, should not be allowed to keep their equipment in readiness…

        The idea of militia “stands” in common depots or arsenals was not confined to England. In America, the Articles of Confederation required that “every state shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.” (equipage being etymological sense of arma). Thus it is as erroneous to suppose that “keep” means, of itself, “keep at home” as to think that “arms” means only guns. Patrick Henry tells us, the militia’s arms include “regimentals, etc.” flags, ensigns, engineering tools, siege apparatus, and other “accouterments of war.”

        Some arms could be kept at home, of course. Some officers kept their most valuable piece of war equipment, a good cross-country horse, at home, where its upkeep was a daily matter feeding and physical regimen.

        But military guns were not ideally kept home. When militias were armed, it was, so far as possible, with guns of standard issue, interchangeable parts, uniform in their shot, upkeep and performance — the kind of “firelocks” Trenchard wanted kept “in every parish” (not every home). The contrast with armies was not to be in performance (Trenchard and others boasted of the high degree of efficient organization in militias). The contrast was in continuity. The militia was always at the ready, its arms “kept.” Armies came and went — their “continuation” was what Trenchard attacked…

        To keep-and-bear arms was the distinguishing note of the militia’s permanent readiness, as opposed to the army’s duty of taking up and laying down (“deponing” is Trenchard’s word) their arms in specific wars. The militia was maintained on a continuing basis, its arsenal kept up, its readiness expressed in the complex process specified by “keep-and-bear.” To separate one term from this context and treat it as specifying a different right (of home possession) is to impart into the language something foreign to each term in itself, to the conjunction of terms, and to the entire context of Madison’s sentence.

        Review of records show only about 10% of Americans had guns at that time, and rifles for hunting were usually not the type of militia weapon (muskets usually) that went to war. So if you had a rifle, it stayed at home, while the militia musket was best drawn from the armory as needed. AS for the purpose of the militia and how this related to the general use of arms outside militia service:
        “It must be made a sacred maxim, that the militia obey the executive power, which represents the whole people in the execution of laws. ***To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man – is a dissolution of the government.*** The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed, and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.” — John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, p. 474-5 (1787-88)

    • “The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.”

      Alexander Hamilton

  2. Lauren Hogan on said:

    The actual quote comes from Washington’s address to Congress on January 8th, 1790 and goes like this: “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a Uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.” Note that the quote has nothing to do with gun rights and is clearly concerns properly equipping the military.
    http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/

    • …properly equipping a military which at the time was the militia, comprised of individuals. Washington was well known for his distrust of standing armies, as were other founders. Having the people be the army was a way around this problem, but as you can see above Hamilton thought that this was an impossible task, and that the best they could hope for was to ensure the people were armed, and to have them show up for an inspection “once or twice a year” to PROVE they were armed.

  3. Leftcoaster on said:

    Thanks, Laura Hogan!

    It was from Washington’s First Annual Message to Congress. (Later called “State of the Union.” You have the correct quotation.

    Link: http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/union/state1.html

  4. Hector Mandel on said:

    That’s a phony quote.

    Here’s what Washington actually said:

    A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.
    —George Washington’s First Annual Message to Congress (January 8, 1790)

  5. rosemerry on said:

    I don’t think the problem is the arms which the “people” want to bear and use, but the people themselves, and their individualistic, violent, exceptional attitude and behaviour. Reading so many articles recently, egwhere throwing a cigarette end out a car window led to two women being sexually abused in “searching for drugs” in public. Children are manhandled by TSA officials “searching for drugs” or explosives. Over 200000 Latinos are deported dspite having US citizen children dmending on their care in the USA.Special laws are made for “terrorism charges” refined to apply only to Muslims, some of whom sent money to groups LATER designated as US enemies. Teens are shot by “stand your ground” ALEC brave men. Arguments in pizza parlours lead to a gun used on one customer who complained. Is this a civilised country?

  6. cộng đồng on said:

    Tom Alpers: Item 1 – on January 8, 1790 our first President was in NY City delivering his first State of the Union address to the Congress assembled there, the first capital of the U.S. Item 2 – your citation is bogus, an alteration of the actual part of his SoTU speech of January 8. Either you are a sloppy, naive researcher or you are a deliberate deceiver.

    • Lauren Hogan on said:

      YOUR version is the alteration, Tom. Tea Party garbage!

      • Voice of Reason on said:

        good luck trying to repeal the 2nd Amendment, the result would be widespread civil strife, far worse than the school shootings, and a revolution. The Founding Fathers got a 250 year head start on you. It’s already grandfathered into the Constitution, and Obama has SWORN to uphold it- not doing so, is an IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.

        and that’s all I have to say, about that.

      • Ah, namecalling- the hallmark of every intelligent discussion. “Are we not a civilized society?”.

        Personally, I’ll give a pass to a guy who shoots a football player who’s bashing his head into the ground. I don’t so much give a pass to “refutation by denigration”.

    • Tom Alpers on said:

      There seems to be quite a bit of disagreement on which is the correct quote. In looking for some info I also found more quotes that I’m sure people will dispute depending on which side of the fence they are on….

      “The said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” – Sam Adams, as reported in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1879.

      “The great object is that every man be armed. Everybody who is able may have a gun.” – Patrick Henry

      “Americans need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.” – James Madison

      “When firearms go, all goes….we need them every hour.” – George Washington

      “I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” – George Mason

      “Laws that forbid the carrying of guns…disarm only those who are neither inclined not determined to commit crimes….Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailant; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson

      “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence…From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference, they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” – George Washington

      “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion…in private defense.” – James Madison

      “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” – Tench Coxe, June 18,1789

      “The true importance of the Second Amendment will not be fully understood, until they begin to usurp its power.” – Thomas Jefferson

      “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America can not enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops.” – Noah Webster, 1787

      “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson

      “But there are some persons who would…persuade the people never to make use of their constitutional rights.” – Samuel Adams

      From an earlier historic perspective we find; “Both Oligarch and Tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of arms.” – Aristotle

      • thomachuck on said:

        The founding fathers were thoughful and insightful people, but they understood neither the future technology of rapid fire weapons and the carnage they are capable of nor the intricacies of mental illness. We’ve changed the Constitution over the years for reasons less compelling than mass murder. There has to be some middle ground between what we have now and outlawing guns entirely. The missing ingredient is political will to do something.

        • Jeff Krull on said:

          Thank you.

        • Tell me what reasons were less compelling? Also…do you not think they couldn’t see? You’re obviously a logical person…which means you’re not capable of drawing pictures in your head like a visionary…like a founding rather…weapons had evolves from clubs to cannon…don’t be stupid, they knew they would evolve. You purely logical idiots can’t paint a future unless it’s completely outlined for you. You bring nothing new to the table and no original thought. Our founders were far more intelligent than any of the fact talking nerds they produce these days.

          • Steve Krulick on said:

            Since it was a MILITIA amendment, and not a WEAPONS amendment, the nature of the weapons is moot and irrelevant. The “arms” part of the verb phrase “bear arms” (which means “to render military service in person,” the exact definition Madison himself used in his draft proposal) refers to ALL the standard equipage of the well-regulated militia, weapons, tents, flags, siege apparatus, engineering tools, drums, wagons, etc. and would be whatever Congress determines is necessary to keep the militia viable, and MUST be provided to assure the state militias are not weakened or made useless, which was the ONLY fear of the anti-federalists, and the ONLY thing the 2nd Amendment was meant to address. You’re welcome.

      • Steve Krulick on said:

        Another series of bogus or misleading or out-of-context quotes! These appear with dreary regularity at pro-gun sites, and are resistant to correction when pointed out how false they are; the hoplophiles would rather perpetuate these lies than admit that they have NO evidence that holds up to support their idiomatic claims.

        I’ve commented on some of these in a previous post, so on some I’ll just be brief.

        There’s no evidence Sam Adams originated this, though he may have repeated it, in passing, as one of the Massachusetts proposals to Madison, who was preparing a Bill of Rights. It was not adopted. But it is NOT about individual guns but about the PEOPLE, as the collective body politic, NOT individual persons (the term THE PEOPLE is ALWAYS a singular entity acting in a collective political capacity) maintaining ALL their militia arms, which was not just guns but all the equipage of war, from tents and flags and drums to wagons, siege equipment, ensigns, etc. against federal infringement, which IS what the final 2nd Amendment actually says!

        Henry was speaking of nothing more than WHO, the state or federal govt, was going to PAY for the militia equipment! Like Mason, he feared the feds would FAIL to ARM the state militias (what they both meant by “disarm”), and build a standing army on the ruins. The guns he speaks of are ONLY militia arms, and NOT private weapons!

        The Madison “quote” is bogus! He NEVER said these words! His entire Federalist essay # 46 is a sarcastic response to anti-federalists who feared a standing army on the ruins of weakened state militias. The “being armed” was not because of individuals with guns, but because of STATE MILITIAS of citizen soldiers (officered by men they knew and trusted, appointed by their state governments), who outnumbered any potential standing army.

        The Washington quote is proven bogus.

        The Militia was NEVER “everyone” but basically the same Freeman Class as made up “THE PEOPLE,” being the free, white, adult males, mostly property owners, who could vote, serve on juries, and, if 17-45, serve in the militia. This is what Mason meant by “the whole people”; but if you read what is left out, he was concerned that someday, which is what happened, that democratic ideal was lost, and a select militia (our current national guard) replaced it, and thus the republican spirit of shared duty was lost.

        As noted, the “Jefferson” quote was not his, but only that he copied some quotes from Cesare Beccaria, which only means he was interested in it, not that he agreed with it or that it is relevant to the 2nd Amendment; he copied this decades before the BoR was conceived!

        The Washington “quote” is proven bogus. He NEVER said it!

        The Madison “quote” is a deceitful abridgement of a JOHN ADAMS cite! It’s the OPPOSITE of what Adams meant!

        Coxe was a friend of Madison and ardent federalist. He was merely saying that the state militias were not in danger of being weakened, because THE PEOPLE, being the collective body politic or STATE, would be able to keep whatever existing arms and equipment without the feds infringing on their ability to maintain themselves. In those days “private” arms were subject to being called upon for public use, as the alternative was a standing army few wanted.

        The next Jefferson “quote” is proven bogus.

        Webster was another ardent federalist, so he would hardly be speaking against Madison’s agenda. “The whole body of the People” is the bulk of THE PEOPLE CLASS, who make up the militia. IT is the MILITIA he is talking about, as was Hamilton, and NOT lots of guys with guns acting “at individual discretion.” Same as Madison said in Federalist 46, and Hamilton in Federalist 29.

        The next Jefferson quote is a bungled cobble… the first part is only PART of a proposal and referred to “USE of arms” NOT “BEARING ARMS,” and ONLY on one’s OWN PROPERTY. The proposal was NEVER adopted, so it’s moot. The second sentence is proven bogus; Jefferson never said it!

        I have no evidence that Sam Adams ever said this, but what of it? It’s not relevant.

        I didn’t know Aristotle was a founding father! “Arms” have ALWAYS meant more than guns! It’s the entire equipage of war. I doubt this is a valid cite anyway.

        For more on bogus quotes versus real and relevant ones, go to http://kryo.com/2ndAmen/Quotes.htm

        For far more information on the 2nd Amendment, its meaning and purpose, including detailed info on what each word and term meant, why it was written, its grammar, and what two centuries of judges and scholars have said about it, go to http://kryo.com/2ndAmen

      • Not the least bit true. Congress ordered 100 Belton Flintlocks in 1777. The design was supposed to fire as many as twenty rounds in five seconds. Get out your stopwatch and try that out.

        The Puckle Gun was a giant eleven shot repeating gun that was invented in 1718. The common narrative that the Founders had no concept of advanced weaponry is baseless wishful thinking.

  7. “Congress is given the power to “provide for calling forth the militia,” §8, cl. 15; and the power not to create, but to “organiz[e]” it—and not to organize “a” militia, which is what one would expect if the militia were to be a federal creation, but to organize “the” militia, connoting a body already in existence, ibid., cl. 16. This is fully consistent with the ordinary definition
    of the militia as all able-bodied men.

    Page 26

    “There are many reasons why the militia was thought to be “necessary to the security of a free state.” See 3 Story §1890. First, of course, it is useful in repelling invasions and suppressing insurrections. Second, it renders large standing armies unnecessary—an argument that Alexander Hamilton made in favor of federal control over the militia. The Federalist No. 29, pp. 226, 227 (B. Wright ed. 1961) (A. Hamilton). Third, when the able-bodied men of
    a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny.

    Pages 27-28

  8. Tom Alpers on said:

    That’s interesting. I tried to verify which is correct and there seems to be no agreement. In the process I ran across this (below) which I suppose there is also argument over.

    “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. . . From the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. . . The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. . . A free people ought to be armed.”
    (George Washington speech, Jan. 7, 1790, printed in the “Boston Independent Chronicle”, Jan. 14, 1790.)

  9. To a great extent, all this 2nd Amendment textual analysis and legislative history is putting the cart before the horse. The important “originalist” question is this: Does the 2nd Amendment mean, did the Framers intend, and do we want to continue with an Amendment allowing, that insane or evil people have *easily* at hand the means by which to murder dozens of children and teachers &c.?

    I doubt anyone worth listening to would answer “Yes.” Even the philosophical gun equivalent of “better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man is convicted” is facially repulsive. Is it better that 26 children and teachers die at the easily fulfilled whim of a crazy or evil person, than that however many innocent people cannot own guns? If one answers, “Yes,” then one is effectively arguing that these massacres and deaths are the price of the 2nd Amendment.

    Let’s have a discussion about that price. Let’s consider the due process rights of the 26 innocents massacred, while we’re at it. Because under present conditions and pro-personal-2nd-Amendment-rights arguments, those are the unavoidable consequences. We may not know precisely which people are to die in 2013, but we can be certain that X number of people WILL die in unagreed and undiscussed sacrifice to the 2nd Amendment.

    • Jeff Krull on said:

      Thank you, Mike.

    • They died in gun free zones moron. You can get rid of all weapons…there are too many. We have Mexican cartels to contend with in the south. Getting rid of everyone’s weapons would embolden them like barbarians of past…there are no guarantees…you cannot prevent death by trying to remove law abiding citizens abilities to defend themselves. No one had a gun and a lot of folks died and you somehow seem to think that registering weapons and removing every new one will stop that. You are a naive person.

      • Gradumacated on said:

        It’s interesting that those in support of individuals owning guns point out loud and proud that Americans are murdered in “gun free zones,” yet conveniently ignore not only the Fort Hood mass shooting in 2009 (an army base with plenty of weapons available), but also all those other countries that have strict gun control laws – Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Norway, Ireland, etc. – that have had a couple, or any mass-shooting events or even single shooting events.
        Sure, a “good guy” with a gun can take out a “bad guy” with a gun, but if you prevent the “bad guy” from having a gun in the first place, you don’t need the “good guy”.
        Even then, “good guys” can still hit, injure, and kill innocents. It’s the nature of guns. They’re indiscriminate.

      • Military bases are very much gun free zones, and anyone who thinks otherwise has never spent any considerable time in one.

      • And, by your very own examples, gun laws don’t stop “bad guys” from getting guns!

        Shall we review the history of over 100 years of increasingly strict gun laws in the UK? No, that would be tedious. How about just the greatest hits-

        1987 Hungerford shootings: 16 people killed in one day by a madman armed with two semi-auto rifles (AK47 and M1 carbine) and a pistol, all legally owned despite strict licensing regulations. Resulted in a complete ban on all semi-auto rifles in the UK.

        1996 Dunblane shootings: 16 elementary school children and a teacher killed by a madman armed with two 6-shot revolvers and two Browning pistols, all legally owned despite even stricter licensing regulations implemented after Hungerford. Resulted in a complete ban on all handguns in the UK.

        2010 Cumbria shootings: 16 people killed by a madman armed with a double-barrel shotgun and a .22 bolt action rifle, all legally owned despite even stricter licensing regulations implemented after Dunblane. Pretty much nothing left to ban so the UK Government just shrugged.

        But what if we got rid of ALL the guns you ask? Assuming that were possible, which it isn’t, these guys would just go back to bombs and fire.

        May 1927, Bath Michigan- 44 people killed, 38 of them children
        June 2000, only four years after Port Arthur, the Childers Palace Fire- 15 people burned to death by a drifter with a pack of matches.

        But let’s say you REALLY want to get rid of the guns, because say for example, you don’t actually care about the human lives you just care about getting rid of those awful things…

        …how do you propose we do that? The much vaunted European disarmament is a complete myth- the number of people who actually turn their guns in is only 50% AT BEST, and that’s after the government suddenly realizes that there weren’t as many guns as they thought so that they can pronounce the thing a success.
        —————-

        http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/files/sas/publications/year_b_pdf/2003/2003SASCh2_full_en.pdf

        Contrary to widely-accepted national myths, public gun ownership is commonplace in most European states. It may appear to some outside observers—especially Americans—that Europeans have blindly surrendered their gun rights (Heston, 2002). The reality is that the citizens of most European countries are better armed than they realize. …

        Regulations tightly control gun ownership in only a few European countries like the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. In much of the rest of the continent, public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones. …

        —————-

        http://www.balkanalysis.com/greece/2011/05/15/organized-crime-in-greece-statistics-trends-and-police-countermeasures-in-2011-2/

        Greek authorities estimate that some 1.5 million firearms exist in the country; however, the number of licensed owners of hunting rifles does not exceed 300,000 people, meaning that the rest of the weapons are illegally owned.
        —————-

        Even if you magically vanished the guns out of the country, it wouldn’t be 24 hours before guns would be flowing right back in. We can’t keep people and bales of drugs out of this country, why would guns be any different? Only THESE guns would be real honest to God assault rifles from Mexico, not the “assault weapons” the media’s been talking about.

        NOW do you want to put a fence up? Let’s try that- 2000 miles of Mexican border and 13,000 miles of coastline that needs to be fenced off to keep people from smuggling guns into this country. Who here is aware that no more than 20% of the cargo coming into the country is checked? Even when Bush was spending money on DHS like….who’s a good example….well anyway, someone who spends money carelessly…even THEN we weren’t even checking half of over a billion tons of waterborne foreign cargo.

        Eastern Europe is literally buried in armament right now. The Odessa mafia alone shipped 13,000 tons of arms including 30,000 real deal AKs and missles. Who here thinks we can keep them all out?

        The French have a continuous problem with this, as Safir Bghioua proved in 2001, and France is a relatively tiny country that doesn’t share a border with Mexico.

        Guns are here to stay. Outlaw them, and the criminals will have no problem getting them. You can eternally chase your tail on this issue, or you can admit to yourself that we don’t have a gun problem, we have a VIOLENCE problem.

        Iceland- 30.3 firearms per 100 people, 90,000 total firearms.
        ZERO firearm homicides.
        And they’re not the only ones.

        Bahrain- 24.8 firearms per 100 people, 180,000 total firearms
        Brunei- 1.4 firearms per 100 people, 5,400 total firearms
        Malta- 11.9 firearms per 100 people, 48,000 total
        Solomon Islands- 0.4 firearms per 100 people, 1,800 total

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list

        Clearly, guns are not the problem.

        Stop wasting your time arguing what SCOTUS has already decided.
        Stop wasting time trying to minimize the damage from a problem, and WORK ON THE DAMN PROBLEM.

        Crazy is the problem. Do what Clinton suggested after Columbine and put armed guards in schools. Columbine proved that what works is having an armed guard. What DOESN’T work is letting them leave the school to go to lunch.

      • Resubmitted without links-

        And, by your very own examples, gun laws don’t stop “bad guys” from getting guns!

        Shall we review the history of over 100 years of increasingly strict gun laws in the UK? No, that would be tedious. How about just the greatest hits-

        1987 Hungerford shootings: 16 people killed in one day by a madman armed with two semi-auto rifles (AK47 and M1 carbine) and a pistol, all legally owned despite strict licensing regulations. Resulted in a complete ban on all semi-auto rifles in the UK.

        1996 Dunblane shootings: 16 elementary school children and a teacher killed by a madman armed with two 6-shot revolvers and two Browning pistols, all legally owned despite even stricter licensing regulations implemented after Hungerford. Resulted in a complete ban on all handguns in the UK.

        2010 Cumbria shootings: 16 people killed by a madman armed with a double-barrel shotgun and a .22 bolt action rifle, all legally owned despite even stricter licensing regulations implemented after Dunblane. Pretty much nothing left to ban so the UK Government just shrugged.

        But what if we got rid of ALL the guns you ask? Assuming that were possible, which it isn’t, these guys would just go back to bombs and fire.

        May 1927, Bath Michigan- 44 people killed, 38 of them children
        June 2000, only four years after Port Arthur, the Childers Palace Fire- 15 people burned to death by a drifter with a pack of matches.

        But let’s say you REALLY want to get rid of the guns, because say for example, you don’t actually care about the human lives you just care about getting rid of those awful things…

        …how do you propose we do that? The much vaunted European disarmament is a complete myth- the number of people who actually turn their guns in is only 50% AT BEST, and that’s after the government suddenly realizes that there weren’t as many guns as they thought so that they can pronounce the thing a success.
        —————-
        http://www.smallarmssurvey.org study

        Contrary to widely-accepted national myths, public gun ownership is commonplace in most European states. It may appear to some outside observers—especially Americans—that Europeans have blindly surrendered their gun rights (Heston, 2002). The reality is that the citizens of most European countries are better armed than they realize. …

        Regulations tightly control gun ownership in only a few European countries like the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. In much of the rest of the continent, public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones. …

        —————-

        organized-crime-in-greece-statistics-trends-and-police-countermeasures-in-2011-2/

        Greek authorities estimate that some 1.5 million firearms exist in the country; however, the number of licensed owners of hunting rifles does not exceed 300,000 people, meaning that the rest of the weapons are illegally owned.
        —————-

        Even if you magically vanished the guns out of the country, it wouldn’t be 24 hours before guns would be flowing right back in. We can’t keep people and bales of drugs out of this country, why would guns be any different? Only THESE guns would be real honest to God assault rifles from Mexico, not the “assault weapons” the media’s been talking about.

        NOW do you want to put a fence up? Let’s try that- 2000 miles of Mexican border and 13,000 miles of coastline that needs to be fenced off to keep people from smuggling guns into this country. Who here is aware that no more than 20% of the cargo coming into the country is checked? Even when Bush was spending money on DHS like….who’s a good example….well anyway, someone who spends money carelessly…even THEN we weren’t even checking half of over a billion tons of waterborne foreign cargo.

        Eastern Europe is literally buried in armament right now. The Odessa mafia alone shipped 13,000 tons of arms including 30,000 real deal AKs and missles. Who here thinks we can keep them all out?

        The French have a continuous problem with this, as Safir Bghioua proved in 2001, and France is a relatively tiny country that doesn’t share a border with Mexico.

        Guns are here to stay. Outlaw them, and the criminals will have no problem getting them. You can eternally chase your tail on this issue, or you can admit to yourself that we don’t have a gun problem, we have a VIOLENCE problem.

        Iceland- 30.3 firearms per 100 people, 90,000 total firearms.
        ZERO firearm homicides.
        And they’re not the only ones.

        Bahrain- 24.8 firearms per 100 people, 180,000 total firearms
        Brunei- 1.4 firearms per 100 people, 5,400 total firearms
        Malta- 11.9 firearms per 100 people, 48,000 total
        Solomon Islands- 0.4 firearms per 100 people, 1,800 total

        Guardian/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list

        Clearly, guns are not the problem.

        Stop wasting your time arguing what SCOTUS has already decided.
        Stop wasting time trying to minimize the damage from a problem, and WORK ON THE DAMN PROBLEM.

        Crazy is the problem. Do what Clinton suggested after Columbine and put armed guards in schools. Columbine proved that what works is having an armed guard. What DOESN’T work is letting them leave the school to go to lunch.

  10. This website removes comments critical of their writings. What’s the difference between this scumbaggery and the MSM?

    NONE.

    You sold out, Parry. Give me back my donation!!!

  11. Guy McCullough on said:

    For the next person who demands their Second Amendment Rights; give them what the Founding Fathers intended: a musket.

  12. Marilyn A.F. on said:

    Ben Swann at the Cincinnati FOX affiliate tries to separate founding ideas and personal beliefs from that much-quoted second entry in the Bill of Rights.

    I like his succinct interpretation. Never thought I’d come down on this side of the issue, but I think an armed citizenry is the best defense against our own government. Can we deny the PATRIOT ACT abomination? Can we avert eyes from the equally intrusive (and unconstitutional)NDAA or executive orders calling for detention of Americans without due process?

    Don’t get tripped up on technicalities or Orwellian terms. Totalitarian suppression by any other name is still tyranny.

    http://www.dailypaul.com/267176/reality-check-ben-swann-the-very-politically-incorrect-truth-about-the-second-amendment

    • Jeff Krull on said:

      An armed confrontation by citizens against the US military machine would be suicide. It would be a senseless waste. The framers of our Constitution devised a complicated system of divided government and checks and balances, including a citizen-governed military as instruments to check against tyranny. Its effectiveness depends on an informed and engaged electorate.

      This is what the Federalist voices in the drafting process called for. They saw a strong, central government–under necessary checks and balances–as better protections of security and social order, and protection of minorities from the oppression of majorities. Better, that is, than the more libertarian vision of the anti-federalists. The Federalist voices, thankfully, prevailed. If the proto-libertarians had prevailed, American democracy may well have self-destructed by now. American society would be dominated by strong, bullying factions and at war with other strong, bullying factions.

      Like un-regulated markets, an un-regulated, “absolute” democracy too quickly paves the way for bullies (conglomerates, monopolies, mega-corporations, tyrannical “strong man” governments, oligarchies) that squash competition/opposition. The Federalists recognized that a modified, representative democracy ultimately proves to be more democratic.

      Demagogues and misguided libertarians have used our democratic system to their own ends. Progressives and humanitarians need to be better engaged so as to confront subversions of democracy like Homeland Security.

    • Marilyn A.F. on said:

      Another link to contemplate. Obama, so far, is asleep at the wheel or can we admit he isn’t what his press releases promised?

      http://reason.com/archives/2012/09/21/were-all-in-detention-now

  13. Larry Morris on said:

    If you illiterates will only read the 2nd amendment, you will see that the first seven words contained therein explain the reason for the whole amendment. FOR THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE. The next clause is one of the two ways mentioned in this constitutional amendment to bring security to a free state. The first is a well regulated militia. The other way is The right of the people to keep and bear arms. This amendment goes on further to say that neither of the previous means to keep a free state may be infringed. So, for anyone who wishes to legislate against ownership of firearms in any way, wishes to violate this amendment. To infringe any part of this amendment is to violate my civil rights, which, by the way, is a federal felony.

    • A lot of different viewpoints that obviously contradict each other. But I do not know how you misconstrue the words “well regulated militia”? I am a gun owner. But I do not think I have any reason to own AR-15 type guns. Do not understand handguns even though I have always been interested in them. Like I always tell my gun toting friends. “You have a better chance of hurting yourself with that handgun than ever using it to protect yourself or family. Besides, most criminal guns are stolen from legitimate owners anyway. We just keep feeding the problem. Also I do not TRUST most gun toters. Seem too unstable. Now what about them being “well regulated”? Maybe they should be evaluated before allowing them to own a gun.

    • Jeff Krull on said:

      Larry, your reading is incorrect. Please see my response to Tom Alpers above: Jeff Krull on December 23, 2012 at 3:07 am.

      In addition to what I wrote to Tom, let me suggest that you look at the First Amendment. It references six distinct rights against which Congress shall not make a law. It separates each of these items with either the word “or” or “and.” This is not the case in the 2nd Amendment. It has ONE subject clause (the militia clause); the other three clauses are modifying clauses that qualify the subject clause. The right to a well regulated Militia is what the framers see as “necessary to the security of a free state;” this IS what the framers propose as the way to satisfy “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

      If its primary subject were “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” THAT would have been presented in the subject clause at the outset. But it was not. The militia clause would have been presented as a modifying clause, but it was not.

      Seeing “a well-regulated militia” as the subject clause is the proper grammatical reading of this amendment. It in no way forbids private gun ownership; nor does any other part of the Constitution. But THIS particular amendment is about a right to MILITIAS.

      BTW, I do not call you an “illiterate” because I see you misreading this amendment. I simply disagree with your reading, and I disagree on the basis of proper grammar. I do not believe the framers got their grammar wrong.

    • Jeff Krull on said:

      Larry, see my comment to you below (two comments below this one).

      • Jeff Krull on said:

        Apologies to anyone confused by the placement of my comments. This system is not placing them at the place where I hit “reply.”

    • Jeff Krull on said:

      Larry, please see my comment below, addressed to you.

    • Jeff Krull on said:

      Larry, I’ve addressed a comment to you below, but I’m having a hell of a time getting it attached to your comment.

  14. At the time the Constitution was adopted, an expert musketeer could get off about two rounds a minute with questionable accuracy. The founders could not even imagine twenty-first century military weapons. I find it impossible to believe they would sign off on unrestricted accesss to today’s weapons had they known.

    • Voice of Reason on said:

      and 100 years from now, the AR-15 used in these killings, will be an antiquated wallhanger, just like the flintlocks used during 1776. They’ll have ray guns in 100 years. It’s not about the weapons, it’s about an inherent right to OWN A WEAPON, as a safety measure against invasion, or tyranny, or crime.

      How can they ban semi-automatics, when machine guns are still legal today, all you have to do is buy the correct permit from the Federal Government ??

      That’s why a ban won’t work. You need to look some stuff up.

      • But the tyranny part is what the right pits there beliefs on. A nd I say tyranny from what invasion, aliens, zombies, but it was never intended to be used against the government and that is where the right wing nut jobs have it all wrong.

  15. Voice of Reason on said:

    Obama is going to meet his match taking on the 2nd Amendment, just like all people get overly-confident and eventually fail due to pride, in a big way. When he was SWORN INTO office, he pledged to uphold the Constitution, that contains the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It can’t be changed by a mere whim or decree, it would be challenged in court, and he’d lose. It may even be an impeachable offense, to try to do so. The Supreme Court recently upheld the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, just like they upheld Obamacare. We can’t take away everyones Rights, due to one offender. It would be like taking away everyones drivers licenses, because one person got a DUI and hit someone with a car.

    Be careful, because you are treading on thin ice there, that same section of the Constitution holds our Freedoms of Press, Religion, Speech. It would set a dangerous precedent, and those Rights could also then be easily taken away- and you would not even be able to post on the net, unless it was authorized by a state run media.

    Then we’d have a tyrannical dictatorship.

    Furthermore, 50% of the law enforcement would quit and resign within 2 day, on principal, rather than go house to house confiscating guns. Elderly widows and senior citizens would refuse to turn in their guns. When FDR tried to confiscate all the gold during the 1930′s by decree, people simply hid it and didn’t turn it in. It will be even worse trying to ban and confiscate guns- it would spark civil strife and a revolt, and the mayhem and carnage would be far worse, than these school shootings.

    Do you really want that in your home town and nation ?

    • The real danger to our democracy is multinational corporate control and influence of our elected officials. Our government has become the hand maiden of the military/industrial/financial corporate “state” If you gun owners really want to defend your freedom then get all money out of the political process.

  16. Marilyn A.F. on said:

    This is a hot button issue; I respect differing opinions and understand that simple solutions aren’t possible. But clarification of terms is useful. I never owned a gun, have never shot one. I am carefully watching the erosion of civil liberties, however, and must speak in defense of our people. As one bright fellow observed: without the Second Amendment, there would be no First Amendment.

    Excerpt from article by Earl Griffin, former law officer, and a gun owner with many years experiene in handling and selling guns, at Infowars.com:

    The AR15 is made of modern materials and because of that its detractors like to say it is something that it is not.There is a falsehood being perpetrated upon the public. You see an “Assault Rifle,” has what is known as a selector switch. This switch allows the shooter to change the weapons function from semi automatic (like a hunting gun) to rapid fire or in some cases auto fire. Rapid fire allows the weapon to fire a burst of three rounds. Auto fire allows it to continue to fire so long as the trigger is depressed.

    This is important: An AR15 is NOT an “Assault Rifle.”

    It’s Military counterpart, the M16 IS an “Assault Rifle.”

  17. Richard on said:

    Tom Alpers,
    (ref: Tom Alpers on December 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm)

    I’ve even read pro-gun websites that list this “Washington” quote as being bogus. I’ve seen a few versions of it and always laugh.

    Your view that “I suppose there is also argument over [this]” was prudent.

    R

  18. Why do so many gun enthusiasts think that gun laws banning guns such as the AR-15, large bullet clips or mandatory background checks will impact the 2nd amendment? I have not heard anyone, including the President, suggest any amendment to the Constitution. It’s a ridiculous argument that just propagates mindless fear, mostly in those people who are already so fearful that they need their guns to feel “safe.”

  19. Hay, Tiber – they are called “magazines” not clips . If you had ever served in the military you would know their proper name .

    • Hey Bob, it’s spelled “Hey” not “Hay” and I actually did serve in the Navy for 5 years. I am unclear on what your point is…

  20. Just as man has interpreted the Bible from its original authors and twisted its “true” context to their modern day beliefs, so it continues with the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and the context and meaning of those that drafted it. Read these quotes and then see how you interpret the 2nd Amendment based on “their” quotes and without modern day re-interpretation and bias.

    http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/quotes/arms.html

  21. What?

  22. Just wrote a piece on this subject line but was “blocked” by Span Free WordPress…nothing offensive. What criteria does this program use?

  23. This article isn’t accurate. There is a lot of literature and quotes from some of the founding fathers that cites individual gun ownership as a deferent to tyranny.

  24. I agree that to be a good historian you need to do your best not to be a “presentist” when interpreting historical events, documents, people, etc. I also believe that a document such as a constitution, for any government that is a democracy or republic, is more than a historical or “true” document but rather a “living” document that must evolve with a society.

    The founders of the US Constitution did their best to create a document that represented a government that encompassed the beliefs and principles that were fought for our independence. As this article touches on, there were many compromises that were made from the point of declaring our independence to forming our government. The Bill of Rights was a result of some of those compromises to the initial writing of the Constitution. Part of our Constitution allows for a due process to amend the Constitution when the people feel changes are needed. Clearly, that has been done numerous times…mostly for the betterment of the country. It shows that at the time of the writing of the Constitution, the founders did not always know best or what was “true”, they succumbed to pressures that allowed for compromise and the forming of our government, and they too were subject to or constrained by the same biases and prejudices that exist for most people in a given time they live.

    With that said, I am not in favor of any changes to the 2nd Amendment. I am not a gun owner but I do believe that US citizens have the right to bear arms but I also believe that there is a need to debate what “bearing arms” means in the context of the present.

  25. jimmy the one on said:

    Tho Justice Scalia in ’2008Heller’ obscenely reversed 1830′s Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story’s view of the 2ndA, as well as some of Wm Rawle & Tucker, Justice Story explains how the 2ndA right to keep/bear arms, was militia based:

    [from my book]: >>> Note how Justice Story uses ‘the people’ in the following sentence, where he is clearly referring to a well regulated militia:

    Justice Jos Story, ~1830′s: “And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burdens, to be rid of all regulations.
    How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt, and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our National Bill of Rights.”

    When Justice Story observed in his final sentence – that militia indifference might gradually undermine all the protection intended by the 2ndA – he could not possibly have been referring to an individual RKBA disconnected from militia, since it was a militia disconnect which was his concern.
    Clearly Justice Story is referring to the well regulated militia, and is concerned with keeping ‘the people’ duly armed in some organization, which is obviously the militia. The people Story was writing of were thus predominantly white males aged 17 thru 45, the militia definition.<<<

  26. jimmy the one on said:

    Voice of???:.. “Obama is going to meet his match taking on the 2nd Amendment.. When he was SWORN INTO office, he pledged to uphold the Constitution, that contains the Right to Keep and Bear Arms… The Supreme Court recently upheld the Right to Keep and Bear Arms..”

    What you say is not fully arguable in this reply format.
    What you say does raise a quick question, that of whom does the obama/biden admin believe in the 2008 & 2010 supreme court5 rulings on the 2ndA? the 5 rightwing justices? or the 4 liberal justices?
    Several times I’ve seen both Joe & Barack concur that the 2ndA *grants an individual right to keep & bear arms* (RKBA). It makes me wince for more than the vote maintaining ballyhoo, for does this mean, Joe & Barack, that you disagree with what the 4 liberal justices ruled on these two cases?
    Justices Ginsburg, Stevens, Breyer, & one other (sorry) ruled that the 2ndA was a RKBA incumbent upon a well regulated militia (wrm), in direct opposition to what Scalia, Robts, Alito Thomas & kennedy ruled.
    Do you, Joe & Barack, AGREE with the ruling of the 5 rightwing justices & disagree with the liberals? It appears so.
    .. in the last supreme court ruling in 1939 miller case, the ruling was UNANIMOUS, 9-0, that a sawed off shotgun had no relevance to a well reg’d militia, & the 2ndA had to be interpreted with the wrm in mind. You’d think if the 1939 supreme court had thought 2ndA pertained to individual RKBA, at least ONE of those 9 justices would’ve chirped up ‘Whoa fellow justices, look how we’ve worded our ruling, future generations will think we ruled for a militia based right’… yet not one objected to their well regulated militia RKBA wording.

    It can’t be changed by a mere whim or decree, it would be challenged in court, and he’d lose. It may even be an impeachable offense, to try to do so.

  27. jimmy the one on said:

    I recognized immediately 3 bogus quotes from alpers post (links below): (guncite): Perhaps the most ‘infamous’ bogus saying is the ‘liberty teeth’ quote alleged to have been said by Washington.

    1. (bogus)“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence….. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference, they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” George Washington

    2. (Bogus, jumbled): Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion…in private defense.” – James Madison

    The correct quote: To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.—John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions (1787-1788) [prior to 2ndA 1791].

    3.“Laws that forbid the carrying of guns…disarm only those who are neither inclined not determined to commit crimes….Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailant; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson

    This is not something Jefferson wrote, but rather comes from a passage he included in his “Legal Commonplace Book.” The passage is from **Cesare Beccaria**’s Essay on Crimes and Punishments.

    http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndbog.html
    http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/laws-forbid-carrying-armsquotation

    4? “When firearms go, all goes….we need them every hour.” Washington

    I believe this is bogus too, but could not find a rebuttal.
    PS: the last sentence in a previous post, incl ‘whim or decree’, was inadvertently left in my post, & was not mine but the posters I replied to.

  28. Pete Schult on said:

    The gun nuts and their worship of the 2nd Amendment are completely ignorant. Look at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is very similar to the US Bill of Rights but does not have anything like a right to bear arms in it, whether as an individual or provincial right. Canada is not tyrannical. Many Canadians own guns. No government in Canada is trying to take guns away from the people. The difference between Canada and the US is that in Canada, gun ownership and use can be and are regulated. The result is that Canadians are safer than people in the US.

    THAT is why we need to repeal the 2nd Amendment or at least rewrite it so that it unambiguously only grants a right to the states to maintain well-regulated state militias. In its present form, it serves as a fetish for nut cases that see themselves as freedom fighters who, in the process of defending their fantasies, end up keeping the rest of us in a tyranny of gun users.

  29. jimmy the one on said:

    Robt Parry: >>> the Framers wrote the Constitution and added the Second Amendment with the goal of creating a strong central govt with a citizens-based military force capable of putting down insurrections, not to enable or encourage uprisings.<<>> “… a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state; a proposition from which few will dissent.
    … The corollary, from the first position is, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
    The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”<<<<

    Tho he was errant in thinking that bill of rights pertained to the states, rawle indeed thought 2ndA could be 'appealed to as a restraint' on both the federal congress & a state legislature which became tyrranical. Thus rawle felt the states could apply the 2ndA if a tyrranical congress came about, & vice versa congress could apply the 2ndA 'against' a states legislature trying, by legislative means, to disarm or hogtie the militia.
    .. but this was not justification to activate militia based merely on 'the people's' whims.

    This was the highlight of scalia's use of wm rawle, using rawle's passage to justify rawle thinking 2ndA an individual RKBA, but was only scalia reaching too far. Rawle in other passages inferred a strong belief in the militia RKBA, as evidenced above by calling the 2nd clause 'a corollary' to the militia clause, and a corollary is something which is derived from a higher rule or law.

  30. jimmy the one on said:

    (Please delete my previous post which didn’t post properly)

    Robt Parry: —the Framers wrote the Constitution and added the Second Amendment with the goal of creating a strong central govt with a citizens-based military force capable of putting down insurrections, not to enable or encourage uprisings.—

    Basically concur; William Rawle in 1825 wrote ‘A View of the Constitution of the United States’, and within it a treatise on the 2nd amendment. Here is a relevance:

    Rawle’s 2nd Treatise, excerpted: — “… a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state; a proposition from which few will dissent.
    … The corollary, from the first position is, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
    The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”—

    Tho he was errant in thinking that bill of rights pertained to the states, rawle indeed thought 2ndA could be ‘appealed to as a restraint’ on both the federal congress & a state legislature which became tyrranical. Thus rawle felt the states could apply the 2ndA if a tyrranical congress came about, & vice versa congress could apply the 2ndA ‘against’ a states legislature trying, by legislative means, to disarm or hogtie the militia.
    .. but this was not justification to activate militia based merely on ‘the people’s’ whims.

    This was the highlight of scalia’s use of wm rawle, using rawle’s passage to justify rawle thinking 2ndA an individual RKBA, but was only scalia reaching too far. Rawle in other passages inferred a strong belief in the militia RKBA, as evidenced above by calling the 2nd clause ‘a corollary’ to the militia clause, and a corollary is something which is derived from a higher rule or law.

    (dunno what happened to my previous post, think I misused the sideways arrows trying to quote. Please delete my previous post).

  31. jimmy the one on said:

    Agree with pete schult, tho it’ll never happen; consider a simple trigger lock law couldn’t get passed, less yet try to do away with 2ndA, which is what a quarter of americans appear to live for.
    .. here’s a good read, ‘Have Arms’, where a group of 8 british scholars (amici curiae) sent scalia a paper explaining to him how he had misinterpreted their english bill of rights (1688) errantly, to reach a false conclusion that it had given the 2ndA the basis for an ‘individual RKBA’.

    british scholars: Amici Curiae are scholars and professional historians whose collective expertise covers the following areas: the history of Stuart England, the Restoration, the 1689 Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, the Early Republic, American legal history, American Constitutional history, and Anglo-American history. Each has earned one or more advanced degrees in history, political science and/or law. The depth of knowledge they bring to the Court’s inquiry in this case is reflected in the biographical informationprovided in the accompanying Appendix.
    Amici Curiae have an interest in the Court having a well-informed and accurate understanding of the Anglo-American tradition to “have arms” from which the Second Amendment originated.

    The ultimate question in this case is whether the Second Amendment is a right that is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “necessary to the Anglo-American conception of ordered liberty that we have inherited” such that it applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

    In Heller, (2008), the Court examined the English Declaration of Rights of 1689, correctly finding that the right to “have arms” in Article VII is the basis of the right enshrined in the Second Amendment. The Court also correctly recognized that (2ndA) right to bear arms was an individual right to have and use arms for “self preservation and defense” as in its English predecessor. However, contrary to discredited scholarship upon which Heller relied, the right to “have arms” embodied in the English Declaration of Rights did not intend to protect an individual’s right to possess, own, or use arms for private purposes such as to defend a home against burglars (what, in modern times, we mean when we use the term “self-defense”). Rather, it referred to a right to possess arms in defense of the realm. Accordingly, the right to own or use arms for private purposes is not a right deeply rooted in our nation’s tradition, and should not be incorporated as against the states by the 14th Amendment.

    The “have arms” provision in the English Declaration of Rights, which was later codified as the Bill of Rights, provided two protections to the individual.
    First, the right to “have arms” gave certain persons (qualified Protestants) the right to possess arms to take part in defending the realm against enemies within (i.e., Catholics) as well as foreign invaders.
    Second, the grant of a right to “have arms” was a compromise of a dispute over control of the militia that gave Parliament concurrent power (with the sovereign) over arming the landed gentry. It allowed Parliament to invoke its right of “self-preservation” and “resistance” should the sovereign usurp the laws, liberties, estates, and Protestant religion of the nation.

    http://www.oyez.org/sites/default/files/cases/briefs/pdf/brief__08-1521__22.pdf

  32. Morons, the Founding Father knew just how evil government can and would become – and they ALWAYS wanted the citizens to have the right and power to defend themselves against the crocked evil bastards that are trying to enslave them and take away their rights.

    Pretty much the same way Bush (with the fake 911)&HR 6166 power grab, and Obama with the (fake Sandy Hook) (by fake I mean – government planned and sponsored), who (Obama – Anti Christ (NWO) puppet)by the way has posted over 5,797 new regulations in the last 90 days, taking away massive amounts of FREEDOM by the hour.

    Wake up – it is almost over you numskulls.

    • Steve Krulick on said:

      Please don’t lump ALL the founding fathers (I assume you don’t mean “father” singular) together; although they agreed on some basic principles, they surely had serious disagreements on plenty of things, including the best way to share and balance power. But they were not anarchists or totalitarians! But neither did they draft a Constitution as a suicide pact! The PEOPLE, being the WHOLE enfranchised body politic in its collective and political capacity, was the source of all authority, power, and rights, and the Constitution provided a legal and organic framework to deal with all manner of issues in a constructive and prudent manner. A REPUBLIC, “if you can keep it,” as Franklin said. They hardly started out with the idea of an evil government, but an experiment in self-rule that required an educated and involved citizenry. Alas, to the extent we have allowed a kleptocratic oligarchy to steal our democratic republic, WE are, ourselves, to blame for letting it get so far. We have been bamboozled, but we let ourselves be, by sweet-talking grifters from all political persuasions, selling us out to and for, ultimately, corporatists and banksters who line their pockets during and after their stint in office.

      Personally, I apologize to Franklin; we haven’t “kept” our republic, and the “noble experiment” has failed.

  33. odellc2 on said:

    The Supreme Court, with all the liberalism that entails, has already ruled on this. It’s an individual right. The Constitution was written to preserve individual rights.

    It’s not up for debate.

  34. The reality is, bans don’t work. The market rules. This country has banned cocaine and pot. Its use is rampant. Ban guns here and the cartels will have their mules bring a few Glocks and AK’s along with the dope. It will make guns more expensive but not more scarce.