Paul Lonac: “In your post About That Well-Regulated Militia last year, you wrote ‘…as one tries to divine the intent of the Framers...’ Regarding that intent, see this piece of scholarship. The short version: ‘James Madison wrote the Second Amendment to assure his constituents in Virginia, and the South as a whole, that the federal government could not disarm the state militia, which were the prime instruments for slave control in the South.’  He did this because slave-state votes were needed to get to the nine votes needed to ratify the Constitution. Borrowing from your post: ‘Did you know this?  I didn’t!’

Russell Bell: “The untapped promise of the 2nd amendment is the defense of the country not by means of a standing army but citizen-soldiers. Every gun-owner is a member of his/her state’s ‘well-regulated militia’.  The Militia Acts of 1792 (passed by our first Congress! signed by our first president!) provided:

That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) . . . shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of power and ball . . . and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.

“Note also the lie this puts to the argument against the Affordable Care Act that the government had never before required citizens to buy something.”

☞ Clearly, it had: muskets.

Neither Bernie nor Hillary — or pretty much any other prominent Democrat alive today — has ever called for a federal law banning or confiscating guns.  (Assault weapons, tanks, anti-aircraft missiles — yes. Some have called for that. Maybe even armor-piercing bullets, as so few elk — or home invaders — wear armor.)

But Democrats — and 85% of NRA members, by the way, though not the NRA itself anymore — do favor universal background checks.

Indeed, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman met with actual upstate New York musket owners (they enjoy historical reenactment), earning trust with the NRA . . . and leading to agreements by which New York State gun shows voluntarily adopted a system under which anyone attempting to leave with more guns than she arrived with must show paperwork confirming a proper background check was completed for the new ones.

The world did not end for New York State gun owners; but it did get at least a tiny bit safer for them — and for the rest of us.

Most Americans would favor additional common sense safety measures as well. And as I read the Second Amendment, the Founders would have been fine with that.

 

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