Gun Laws The Founding Fathers Loved

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Or so the author wants you to believe.

#1: Registration

Today American gun rights advocates typically oppose any form of registration – even though such schemes are common in every other industrial democracy – and typically argue that registration violates the Second Amendment. This claim is also hard to square with the history of the nation’s founding. All of the colonies – apart from Quaker-dominated Pennsylvania, the one colony in which religious pacifists blocked the creation of a militia – enrolled local citizens, white men between the ages of 16-60 in state-regulated militias. The colonies and then the newly independent states kept track of these privately owned weapons required for militia service. Men could be fined if they reported to a muster without a well-maintained weapon in working condition.

#2: Public carry

The modern gun rights movement has aggressively pursued the goal of expanding the right to carry firearms in public.

The American colonies inherited a variety of restrictions that evolved under English Common Law. In 18th-century England, armed travel was limited to a few well-defined occasions such as assisting justices of the peace and constables. Members of the upper classes also had a limited exception to travel with arms. Concealable weapons such as handguns were subject to even more stringent restrictions. The city of London banned public carry of these weapons entirely.

The American Revolution did not sweep away English common law. In fact, most colonies adopted common law as it had been interpreted in the colonies prior to independence, including the ban on traveling armed in populated areas. Thus, there was no general right of armed travel when the Second Amendment was adopted, and certainly no right to travel with concealed weapons. Such a right first emerged in the United States in the slave South decades after the Second Amendment was adopted. The market revolution of the early 19th century made cheap and reliable hand guns readily available. Southern murder rates soared as a result.

And so on his missive goes.  But equating the requirement to be an active member of the militia and registering your firearms with the central authority are most certainly not the same thing, he’s only pretending they are.  In fact, they have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.  He also includes the evidence he wants and excludes other evidence, like Adam Winkler who claims that the West had virtually ubiquitous gun control laws prohibiting men from carrying within the city limits, when in reality he can cite only a couple of examples of such control, one of which led to a shoot-out.  As for owning and carrying weapons, we all know how the colonists saw that.

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

Seeing life in the Colonies any other way is simply make-believe.  Similarly, one particular Reddit/r/Firearms entry several days ago argued that the second amendment was basically all about the requirement to have formal, government-approved militias in order to put down potential challenges to the power of the government.  His self serving and pedantic title is “What was going on in America that caused the founding fathers to create the second amendment?”

The answer to this can be given in short order: the revolution.  The second amendment was written by men who risked their livelihoods, their wealth, their fortunes, their lives, and the lives of their families to overthrow the government under which they lived.  They used cannon when they had them, and would have been quite happy to have used semi- or fully-automatic weapons.  To argue differently is idiotic, with the founders who wrote the very amendment under debate having seen the bloodshed, lose of life, loss of limb, and pain they had witnessed during the war of independence.

These are all attacks on our rights, taking for form of scholarship.  But scholarship it isn’t, and the weakest thing about all of it is that they are only hastening the very apocalypse they fear.  For our rights don’t come from the constitution, but from the Almighty.  Their attack on the constitution is an attach on the agreement which binds us, not the source of our rights.  By attacking the agreement, they are saying they no longer intend to honor the agreement.  The constitution is a covenant, with blessings and curses as corollaries.  Obedience and honoring of said covenant brings peace, violation of it brings violence, destruction and death.

Men don’t get to decide to dishonor our rights with impunity.  God has a say in this matter, and when He speaks, it is done.


Comments

  1. On October 15, 2017 at 11:15 pm, MTHead said:

    I think the framers state of mind in writing the second. (weather its and individual right, or a grant of power to the government). Can be clarified by the third amendment. (not allowing troops to be housed with John Q. Public.)
    In which they were obviously protecting themselves, (a us), from an overbearing, controlling government.
    The easy argument is that the supreme court of the USA. Ruled long ago that the constitution does not repeat itself. ie. a power granted to one group need not be denied in another section to another group.
    When one reads the government powers “regulating” the militia. The word “regulated” in the 2nd. Then it has to mean something different. Its clarified by the ending sentence, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Armed citizens are the “regulating” factor on a government off the chain.

  2. On October 16, 2017 at 7:59 am, Fred said:

    “In fact, most colonies adopted common law as it had been interpreted in the colonies prior to independence, including the ban on traveling armed in populated areas.”

    This is a flat out lie as is the rest of #2. You have Lincoln to thank for the destruction of the constitution as supreme law. After the war of northern aggression the courts started making up laws to go along with a rogue executive and the congress, not to be out maneuvered on tactics lost strategically by embracing their new masters. After this, the making of law by the courts (common law) started in earnest although others may well know of examples prior to 1860 and define it somewhat differently.

  3. On October 16, 2017 at 10:55 am, Archer said:

    RE: Registration – There is a subtle difference between militia commanders keeping track of men who show for muster improperly equipped, and the government keeping track of every person who owns firearms, how many, and what type(s).

    Among other things, in the former case, a man with legitimate authority is keeping tabs on folks who are misbehaving (i.e. failing to properly equip themselves), while in the latter, a group with questionable authority is keeping tabs on folks who are not misbehaving (and per Haynes v. United States, cannot keep such tabs on folks who misbehave).

    But I don’t expect the author of that article to grok that “subtle” difference.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Second Amendment and was published October 15th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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