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What did the founding fathers of America mean by ' the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'?

After reading Micheal Nystrom's blog post about the Battles of Concord and Lexington and numerous posts about the hot topic concerning the attack on the 2nd amendment I thought that a post on this topic would be appropriate.

In 1775 Lord Dartmouth ordered General Gage to take action against the colonials. As a result Gage sent 800 British soldiers to confiscate the 24-pound shot cannon at Concord, one of the most formidable attacking weapons of the era. The equivalent today could be considered to be a tactical ballistic missile.

'Pitcairn knew the cannon had been buried on the property. Jones was ordered at gunpoint to show where the guns were buried. These turned out to be three massive pieces, firing 24-pound shot, that were much too heavy to use defensively, but very effective against fortifications, with sufficient range to bombard the city of Boston from other parts of nearby mainland.' Fischer, David Hackett (1994). Paul Revere's Ride.

So you can say that the Revolution started because the British were going to confiscate a weapon large enough to possibly blockade the port of Boston.

So does that answer the question of what the heros of the American Revolution were speaking of when they said 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'?

What do the rest of ya'll think?

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Read the Constitution...

Nowhere in the US Constitution does it authorize the federal government to organize, support and sustain a standing army.

Financier Jim Fiske had his own private army, including cannon..

You can see this dramatized in the classic, "The Toast of New York" (1937). Also, Martha Washington (George married well) largely financed the Continental Army.

My view is this: Prior to the

My view is this:

Prior to the 14th amendment, the federal amendment couldn't restrict individuals from possessing arms. States could do anything they wanted as long as it was in line with their own laws. However, the federal government had the right to regulate guns in regards to the militia.

The founders were definitely wary of federal encroachment. They were also worried about states not having militias that could be reliablely called upon. So they killed two birds with one stone. Preventing federal encroachment on guns rights would give individuals/states the right to bear arms, but the federal government could also regulate the militia.

This can be seen as silly. Clearly, this was part of the intention, as the federal government passed numerous laws about the quality of rifles, of powder, of militias, etc. very early in the Constitution. However, wouldn't people who feared the government taking away their guns also have feared the government simply regulating the guns to ineffectiveness? This implies that the federal government could only set higher standards, not lower.

After the 14th amendment, I think a new right has been enshrined in the Constitution. Certain arms; arms that one needs for self defense, cannot be deprived of you by anyone. Even your state.

Furthermore, there can definitely be gun licensing and registration laws at any level. Just like you have to register to vote, you have to register your gun. I also think that they can restrict certain people from owning guns in certain ways:

1) If the right to own a gun is revoked by due process.
2) If there is a clear intention to not use it in an intended way.

Some people might get alarmed by that second point, but the list of intended ways are broad. Honestly, using it to defend yourself against a tyrannical government is one of them. So is self defense, hunting, recreational uses, etc. But if there is ever a reason to believe that you intend to use the gun in an aggressive manner, restrictions.

And of course, this implies punishing you for something you haven't done yet. Everyone understand stopping someone in the midst of a shooting, or even stopping someone who has committed a crime before...but how about infringing on his right to own a gun because you suspect he is going to do something?

That line has to be drawn. For example, even pre-9/11, we had the rule "don't say 'I have a bomb'" in the airport". Even when joking, it crosses the line into making you a suspect.

In regards to guns, I do not know where that line is. I definitely think it should be before the gun is being aimed at an innocent. But I certainly don't think we should be going after every gun-owner who is on antidepressants.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

What does the second amendment "mean"?

Ask the government, they'll explain it all to you.

Yes. We must have someone tell us

what "is" is. A smart lawyer, perhaps.

My point in posting this was

My point in posting this was to point out that the catalyst that started the American Revolution was that a large military force came to the small town of Concord to confiscate a 24-pound shot cannon buried in the ground behind a local tavern, they did not come to confiscate guns. So from the view point of authors of the US Constitution their line in the sand was crossed many decades ago.

I think it had something to do with this.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Just how would men who pledge their lives, to do their "duty" to throw off a tyrannical despotic government accomplish that without arms?

It is abundantly clear that the men who founded the nation intended us to never be disarmed.

Like so many...

I got tired of people saying that "muskets" were the intent of the 2nd Amendment or some other silly thing...


I now quote them our State Constitution and let them chew on that for a while. I'm having much better success.


2. Volunteer companies.
Volunteer Companies of Infantry, Cavalry or Artillery may be formed in such manner and with such restrictions as may be provided by law.

Calvary? Artillery? Muskets my foot!

Hiow do you personally get around

those that say "Aha! Volunteer as in our military of today!"

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

I ask them...

Why don't you support your State's Constitution?

And of course... THEY DO!!! as they will yell back at me.

So, I tell them this is under the section called: Militia. Why don't they join the Militia? Or at the very least, leave that as an alternative to joining the service for me?

And then I tell them that, oh by the way, I did serve in the Army as Fire Direction Control for the Artillery... :-)

Well I guess that would hush some people up.


Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

can a "volunteer" of todays military

actually LEAVE though?

http://shelfsufficient.com - My site on getting my little family prepped for whatever might come our way.

http://growing-elite-marijuana.com - My site on growing marijuana

Depends on what you mean by "leave".

But that's not why I asked the question, really. I wanted to highlight the softball approach and the possible pitfalls with it.

Now TRUE volunteerism is a great idea, one needs to be specific, that's all. People today see things as voluntary when they really aren't to a large degree.

Edit: Look at the Founding Fathers statements on why we have rights to arms that I, weebles and a few others posted. Those are more direct and powerful.

I've shut almost every anti-gun person up in the last 10 years with stuff like that.. most completely shut down after hearing it.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

Quotes from the Founders ...


"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
-- George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full posession of them."
-- Zachariah Johnson, Elliot's Debates, vol. 3 ("The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution.")

"The people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms"
-- Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, Pg. 2, Col. 2,
Article on the Bill of Rights

"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."
-- Samuel Adams, Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, "Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State"


You are so right.

I'd say

that the modern equivalent is not so much a tactical nuke as it is, say, a 125mm artillery piece.

Still makes gun-grabbers wet their pants. I'd like to see the states forming their own volunteer defense forces again. We need a true militia.

Federalist_Papers #46...

explicitly states that the citizens should be armed against an ambitious federal army and suggest that the ratio of armed citizens to any federal standing army should be between 100:1 and 25:1.

This has nothing at all to do with defending your home against petty criminals or hunting. It is about the citizens being equipped sufficiently to be able to overwhelm any federal army using military/war type operations...

~wobbles but doesn't fall down~



Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

The Government

shall not have a Monopoly of power over We the People!

When Fascism goes to sleep, it checks under the bed for Ron Paul!

It was basically saying. (taking from all of the documents)

That people needed guns to A: Throw off government that became tyrannical and B: For the protection of the state from outside threats AND personal protection..

It really isn't that hard to figure out.

If you read some of what the Founding Father said in relation to guns, you'd see that they were big advocates for guns in peoples personal lives.

A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.
--- Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.
--- Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;
---Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. Memorial Edition 16:45, Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
---Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776.

Quotes from the Founders During the Ratification Period of the Constitution

[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
---James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46.

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 of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

I could go on and on.. History..it's a beautiful thing.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

I think what the founders

I think what the founders also meant, based on their wording of the 2nd amendment, is that government's role is not to give us our rights but instead to protect our rights.

The 2nd amendment does not give us the right to keep and bear arms.

What the 2nd amendment does do is prohibits the government from taking away that right. "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It's a prohibition upon the government to not infringe on that right of The People.


My modern paraphrase of the

My modern paraphrase of the second amendment is this:

"Since the state needs guns, so do the people."

The words have to be taken together

"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."

What does the word, regulated mean?

regulated in this context means...

supplied or equipped. The idea behind a militia is men of military age were obligated to serve to defend the state in cases of emergency. They were to keep military weapons and know how to use them when called. This is the only meaning I can see that makes sense in this sentence. Keeping and bearing arms on an individual basis does not lend to discipline, nor does it lend itself to control through government regulation, but it does save the state the expense of supplying the weapon while providing a member of the militia an opportunity to become proficient in its use. It also keeps the state free because the power of the gun remains with the people and not in the hands of the government or a professional military.
I live in Kansas. Up until I became too old, according to the Kansas Constitution, I was a member of the Kansas state militia - which included all able-bodied males within a defined age range. I don't believe I was required to keep or practice with a military grade weapon, however.
The Kansas state Supreme Court at some point ruled the right to keep and bear arms listed in the Kansas Constitution was a "collective" right, which means it was no right at all. So, Kansans voted to change the Kansas Constitution a few years ago to make it unambiguously an individual right.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson

Back when the Constitution

Back when the Constitution was written the phrase "to regulate" meant "to make regular." That has been mentioned several times by Judge Andrew Napolitano in speeches over the years.

So, "regulated" probably would mean actively keeping something regular. A "well regulated militia" would probably then mean basically a militia that is not temporary but it actively made regular.

In modern times, though, the word "regulate" has been changed by how it is used by the government.

When metamucil says they will keep you regular they do not mean they will limit how well your body works. However, when the government says "regulate" what they mean is limiting and holding you back. That is not what the word meant back in the late 1700s, so it's important to know the context and meaning of the word back then to understand exactly what they meant.


Actually, the word regulate

Actually, the word regulate in the 18th century carried the meaning "to make regular", meaning that it would be a regular thing for states and communities to have militias.

Thus the interstate commerce clause "to regulate inter-state commerce" meant to make commerce between the states regular, i.e. North Carolina could not pass a law making goods from Virginia illegal.

It is not hard to see why people have fought to change the meaning of that word.

Exactly ...

It's mind-boggling and stupefying how - once you realize this fact?

Then you can see the whole towering monstrosity of the leviathan DC state is based on an obvious perversion of a word the average 7th grader that can

A) Read, and

B) Understand some well documented and easily understood history

can plainly see the actual meaning of.

Meanwhile they 'debate' this issue in mainstream media and intellectual circles.

As if there's any room for debate on it at all.

Because by 'debating' it at all, they're giving legitimacy to the idea that there's some wiggle room in what 'regulate' means.

There is none.

There is no doubt about what 'regulate' means in the Constitution. NONE

Just as there is no doubt about what "shall not infringe" means.

Hmmm... ermmm.... welll.....

Hmmm... ermmm.... welll..... i dunno.... the right to bear arms shall not be infringed... errmsss... there is a litttle uhhh wiggle room there

think about the children!!!!!!



Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.