1 month, 2 weeks ago
- Circa 1650 – The Kalthoff Repeating Flintlock: As Mike Blessing explains, the Kalthoff Repeating Flintlock came into production in the 1650s, seeing combat in the Siege of Copenhagen in 1659 and later during the Scanian War of 1675 to 1679 — 132 and 116 years, respectively, before the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. While manufacturing and repair costs kept the Kalthoff out of mass production, it represents the reality that “high capacity” firearms are not a contemporary concept, as some models of the Kalthoff boasted magazines of up to 30 rounds – the same number of rounds in a true standard-capacity AR-15 magazine of today.
- Circa 1750 – The Cookson Volitional Repeating Flintlock: A lever-action breech-loading repeater, is one of many similar designs to make an appearance on the world stage beginning in the 17th century. The revolutionary mechanism at the heart of the Cookson repeater dates from 1680 and was originally known in Europe as the Lorenzoni System, named for Italian gunsmith Michele Lorenzoni of Florence. Long arms utilizing this system were produced in other European nations and in the United States until about 1849. The Cookson rifle dates from 1750 and features a two-chamber horizontally mounted rotating drum. After firing the rifle, the cycling process could be repeated until the two magazines, with their seven-shot capacities, were empty. Although other breech loading rifles were introduced in later years, the Cookson-type long arms were unique in their ability to fire multiple shots without reloading.
- 1777 – The Belton Repeating Flintlock: Philadelphian Joseph Belton’s repeating flintlock design reportedly boasted a 16-to-20 shot capacity, using the superposed load mechanism. Sources indicate there was correspondence between the inventor and the Continental Congress in 1777, as the he had reportedly been commissioned by the Congress to build 100 of his repeaters for the U.S. military, with the order being dismissed solely for cost purposes. This discussion presents strong evidence that the founding fathers were perfectly able to conceive of “high capacity” repeating firearms.
- 1782-1804 – The Nock Volley Gun: The close quarters of Naval warfare demanded a powerful, yet compact firearm that could provide abundant firepower. The Nock Volley gun fired seven shots all at once from seven clustered bores. This powerful rifle was issued nine years before the dawn on the Second Amendment.
They left out the wonderful Girandoni air rifle.
This is a wonderful and interesting rundown of the semi-automatic firearms available prior to and immediately after the war of independence. Go read the NRA Blog article for more detail, as well as the context. But I’ve explained the second amendment properly interpreted before (at least in my own view).
The second amendment discusses the right to bear arms and be free of federal interference in the context of the states’ desire to keep that interference from happening. That is the historical milieu in which it was written. The founders only needed one excuse to prevent federal government interference with the states on firearms, and they chose the most likely and obvious choice, i.e., the militia. The second amendment is not a treatise on the foundation of liberty.
It’s an illogical jump to cast that as the only reason for the right to own and bear arms. If you had discussed regulation on the right to own and use a tool of their trade to protect their families, hunt, and ameliorate tyranny with a colonial man, he would have buried you under the remotest prison. God gave us our rights based on man being created in His image and the expected duty to work and subdue the earth to His glory. The militia was a convenient excuse for a certain clause in one part of the constitution. Limiting our rights to our understanding of that clause is a mistake.
And there’s more.
We don’t “hide behind” the second amendment. It doesn’t grant us the right to own weapons. God does that Himself. The constitution is a covenant between men for how they will live together. Like all covenants, there are promises and curses.
Look folks, if our wise founders had wanted the citizenry armed with inferior weapons to the king, they would never have said the things they did, fomented a revolution, or hid behind trees and killed, only to melt into the woods and mountains to kill another day, fighting a war of insurgency like none which had gone before it.
The founders ensured a covenant that codified man’s rights to firearms for the purpose not only self defense (which is assumed but left unaddressed by the second amendment), but for the second amendment remedy against tyranny. There is no other sensible way to see it.