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January 6, 2013


The Gun Thing, Part III: Technology

Third in the series of what kind of exquisite nonsense to expect from anti-gun loons in the coming months.

The Second Amendment is not limited to muskets, or for that matter any particular type of late-18th century firearm technology. Anyone who says this has actually done you a favor, because he has identified himself as someone of highly questionable intelligence, thereby sparing you the suspense of wondering any longer.

For one, the word “musket” is found nowhere in the wording of 2A.

For another, the Founding Fathers were well aware that all technology, including firearm technology, undergoes continual change. They had seen for themselves remarkable advancements in firearm technology just in the span of their own lifetimes, and they were well aware of the technological evolution of firearms before they were born. It defies belief that they were incapable of imagining a future in which firearm technology ceased to evolve. But hard as it is for them to believe, it was in fact something people living in the 18th-century were unaware of, especially intellectual giants like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Adams.

To assert that they intended 2A to freeze in technological amber the firearms of the 1780’s is not only to ignore the clear intent of the amendment, but it’s something liberals have simply pulled out of their collective derriere. It is meaningless and stupid, and is best met with a show of pity and derisive laughter.


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15 comments

Besides which, the Founders knew that muskets could be the instruments of civil unrest, as in Shay’s Rebellion , which took place between the Revolution and the adoption of the Constitution.  Muskets didn’t lend themselves to lone gunmen shooting up public places; they had to be fired in formations due to their smooth bore inaccuracy (another thing gun grabbers might not know… that’s why the few defenders at the Alamo, armed with rifles, could hold off a much larger, musket bearing Mexican army for 13 days).

While the outbreak of violence by armed civilians (Shay’s militia) lent urgency to forming a stronger federal government, it did not lead to disarming the populace.  The framers went ahead with 2A, fully aware that musket-or-however-armed militias could be the agents of revolt.

After the signing of the Constitution, during Washington’s presidency, the Whiskey Rebellion took place.  Guess what?  They dealt with the rebellion and kept 2A.

[1] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 1-6-2013 at 10:21 AM · [top]

As you point out Greg, it says “arms” and not guns.  As far as I read it, if I had the money, I should be able to own a fully equipped M1A1 tank, an F-16 or F-22 or F-35 fighter, a B-2 bomber, or even a nice Naval destroyer.  I know the government regulates some of the more nasty weapons such as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

[2] Posted by BillB on 1-6-2013 at 12:21 PM · [top]

Well some of the things may be banned as destructive devices like grenades but you may be able get them with appropriate permits.  I know that you can buy tanks and so forth as military vehicle collectors do.  Of course that is a very expensive hobby.

As far as flint-locks are concerned Maj.  Ferguson developed a breech loading flintlock.  It had a screw breech.  You lowered the breech, dropped in a ball, then powder, closed the breech and fired.  No clumsy loading rod.

Another interesting design was a repeating flintlock.  Powder and shot were stored in the butt of the arm.  The muzzle was pointed down and a lever worked to load the ball and then powder.  The pan was primed and when the lever was returned the arm was cocked and the pan closed.  It held 10 shots and could be fired about as fast as a modern repeating rifle.

In the early 1800’s there were all sorts of experiments with breech loading and repeating flintlocks.  See W.H.B. Smith, Small Arms of the World.

[3] Posted by Br. Michael on 1-6-2013 at 01:58 PM · [top]

I think it’s likely that when the founders established the freedom of speech that they only meant things that were said out loud (in formal, prepared remarks before an audience) or pressed onto paper. I know for a fact that nowhere in the constitution does it mention the internet or inkjet printers (which don’t press anything). These things should obviously be subject to censorship at will by the government.

[4] Posted by paradoxymoron on 1-6-2013 at 05:17 PM · [top]

So if I declare that a hand-held Sarin-gas capsule launcher is a “gun,” I have a right to own a basement full of them, I suppose?  Are there any limits to what 2A applies to?

[5] Posted by Michael D on 1-6-2013 at 05:41 PM · [top]

This may be slightly off topic, but I was struggling today with my conscience about whether I will “register” my weapons should Sen. Feinstein and Co. get her way.

On the one hand, I see the scriptural admonition to obey lawful authorities, as long as they are not asking us violate God’s law. On the other hand, Sen. Fienstein is violating her oath to uphold the Constitution by taking away the people’s rights.

A similar question might have arisen when the Nazis told the Jews to wear the Star of David. “Don’t worry, we just want to be able to identify you as Jewish. Just wear this little cloth star…”

We know the purpose of registering weapons, and it’s not to stop crime. It’s to create the database for future confiscation.

So, what are the arguments either way? If this needs a new threat can you start one?

[6] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 1-6-2013 at 06:28 PM · [top]

#5 Western social contract thinking allows the people to cede some measure of freedom to the state for the common good.  There are practical reasons: the Navy will better protect you from foreign threats than I, no matter how well armed, sitting here in South Dakota.

Weapons of mass destruction would be another example - we look to the state to use these for our defense.

But we have NOT relinquished our right to self defense, and a firearm is still the best and primary tool for that.

A free state, as 2A says, is reliant upon the people having their own arms.  A state in which people cannot keep weapons is not free.

[7] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 1-6-2013 at 07:57 PM · [top]

Hey Capn Jack, I imagine the “lawful authority” folks will announce that—though *elected* in accordance with the laws of the land—the Nazi party was not a “lawful authority” because, you know . . . Wicked.

[8] Posted by Sarah on 1-6-2013 at 08:00 PM · [top]

5, If you can manufacture Sarin, VX or any other chemical agent, then we can debate whether it is covered by the 2nd Amendment.  The issue at hand is whether semi-automatics with detachable box magazines, not the military grade full automatic assault rifles, are covered by the second amendment.  When you can manufacture your straw man we can discuss it.

[9] Posted by Br. Michael on 1-6-2013 at 10:00 PM · [top]

#5:
Certainly not! I have 3 bengal tigers and a 5 acre marijuana farm, all of which I describe as arms under the second amendment, thus ensuring my right to possess them.

[10] Posted by paradoxymoron on 1-6-2013 at 11:30 PM · [top]

There are an estimated 270,000,000 guns in the US.  There are an estimated 90,000,000 gun owners.  If only 10% of them are willing to fight to keep this right, you have a somewhat disorganized but mad-as-hell army of 9,000,000 people.

How many people fought against US troops in Afganistan?  Iran?  Irag?

Anyone want to guess how many good, law-abiding citizens are currently active duty military in the US?

Perhaps the Founders were onto something….hmmm….

[11] Posted by B. Hunter on 1-7-2013 at 04:33 PM · [top]

With regard to the Nazi’s - apparently 98% of the Austrians voted for them!  And man were they surprised when the Nazi’s came in and started taking their freedoms away, a little at a time…

[12] Posted by B. Hunter on 1-8-2013 at 07:29 AM · [top]

B. Hunter, when the shooting starts in the upcoming American civil war, there will be two huge decisions that Americans will have to make. American soldiers and law enforement personnel will have to decide whether they are willing to shoot and kill their fellow citizens who seek to defend their constitutional rights, and American citizens will have to decide whether they are willing to shoot and kill all-volunteer American soldiers and professional American law enforcement personnel to defend their constitutional freedoms. Whichever decision each iindividual makes, the blood-letting will be horrendous.

[13] Posted by Chazaq on 1-12-2013 at 12:38 AM · [top]

Thank you for an informative and thoughtful series. Could I ask you please to clarify something?

It defies belief that they were incapable of imagining a future in which firearm technology ceased to evolve. But hard as it is for them to believe, it was in fact something people living in the 18th-century were unaware of, especially intellectual giants like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Adams.

Try as I might,I cannot parse your meaning from those sentences.

[14] Posted by Ameryx on 1-13-2013 at 11:17 PM · [top]

I am a second amendment fan.  I read soomething interesting.  Americans have bought enought guns in the last year to arm the Chinese AND the Army of India!  It appears that a remarkable number of Americans really don’t like gun bans and gun control laws!

[15] Posted by Dave B on 1-15-2013 at 03:50 AM · [top]

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