Real Militias Such As The Police Department

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 6 months ago

Poor Bob Bettilyon tries but doesn’t get it quite right.

Since the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, and many believe in the original-intent interpretation of the Constitution, perhaps only guns with the technology that existed in 1791 should be allowed, i.e., muskets.

I would be OK with a “concealed musket law” or a “stand your ground musket law.”

Carrying gun powder and 30 lead balls for a musket seems more reasonable than 30-round magazines. Drive-by musket shootouts, or lunatics going to a school armed with a musket and 30 lead balls, don’t seem quite as scary.

The National Rifle Association could say “only a good guy with a musket can stop a bad guy with a musket.”

So, I propose banning all guns not originally available in 1791, except for real militias such as a police department.

The first paragraph quoted sets the stage for the misadventure since it contains false assumptions.  The argument ends in disaster, when he says that police departments are the real militia.

Using the colonialists as a reference point, they couldn’t have been referring to police departments as the militia, because the constabulary existed in colonial times.

… the constabulary in North Carolina resembled the office of petty constable in the mother country, though in the colony it lacked the “almost infinite variations of methods [found] in [the] shires and hundreds and parishes” of England that emanated from centuries of “custom and practice.” Fundamentally distinguishing the English petty constable from his colonial counterpart was the former’s role as a spokesman for his village. In the hierarchical schema of English polity and society, the petty constable served as an intermediary between local inhabitants and politico-judicial authority. In North Carolina, however, local justices of the peace and sheriffs stayed more closely attuned to the people, obviating a mediatory role for the colonial constable.

And do you notice one of the differences pointed out between British and American constables?  We don’t need or want an intermediary.  In fact, we don’t want a “hierarchical schema” at all.

Don’t tread on me.

  • Druid

    “perhaps only guns with the technology that existed in 1791 should be allowed”

    So shortsighted were the Founders which is why the right to bear arms was an afterthought and the patent office is in the main body of the Constitution. Clearly the could not imagine what the future could bring.

  • Publius

    Ok, and then for definitions for all the key words and concepts in the Constitution, we’ll go back to how they were defined at the time the wording was proposed.

    Marriage? Abortion? Gays? Everything.

  • Bill

    And only medical implements from then too! Good ol’ Sawbones is back in style! And I can’t wait to see the surge in Opium demand. Afghanistan has a silver lining after all.

  • http://www.gunrights4usall.blogspot.com GunRights4US

    The 2A isn’t really about guns, it’s about the way to stop tyranny. The technology of weapons has been changing for thousands of years, but tyranny is the same now as it has been down through the ages.

  • Jim Harris

    @ GunRights4US: U R right-on! In classical times it was about who had swords; later it was about who had bows or crossbows (and swords). In the future it may be about who can have laser rifles. For the last 200+ years, and in the present, it’s about who can have what types of firearms (and ammo).

    I have a concern that, with our (necessary) focus on “gun-rights” as protection against crime and government tyranny, we may miss other important aspects of the whole right of self-defense. It is interesting that the 2A specifies the right to bear “arms.” It doesn’t specify the type of arms — though firearms are obviously included in the context both then and now.

    In short: Does not the 2A also protect the right to have functional knives (especially since it is also “useful for other things” just like cars, cleavers, and axes). What about pepper spray, tazers, and a host of other useful implements? Many places restrict these things more than firearms.

    These restrictions are based on the notion that, if someone is beating on you, proper self-defense is to curl up in the pre-natal position and suck your thumb.

  • Jim Harris

    Addendum: Ths issue is about the balance of power between the state (and criminals) vs responsible citizens and the groups that may form therefrom (militias).

  • Geoff

    KOZINSKI, Circuit Judge, dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc:

    Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that “speech, or … the press” also means the Internet, see Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 117 S.Ct. 2329, 138 L.Ed.2d 874 (1997), and that “persons, houses, papers, and effects” also means public telephone booths, see Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 88 S.Ct. 507, 19 L.Ed.2d 576 (1967). When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases — or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. See, e.g., Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 79 F.3d 790 (9th Cir.1996) (en banc), rev’d sub nom. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 117 S.Ct. 2258, 138 L.Ed.2d 772 (1997). But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we’re none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

    The full text is available here:
    http://openjurist.org/328/f3d/567/silveira-v-lockyer

    He also points out that:
    The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

    An excellent read…


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This article is filed under the category(s) Militia and was published February 20th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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