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For those who aren't repelled by scholarly work, here is an excellent paper by Dr. Joyce Lee Malcolm on 17th century English constitutional history. There is an excellent basis to understand the historic relationship between gun ownership and responsibility for participation in the militia that would have informed our Founder's opinions.
The Role of the Militia in the Development of the Englishman's Right to be Armed -- Clarifying the Legacy
ADDED IN EDIT: Be advised, this is basically an ANTI- gun control piece. Dr. Malcolm is a conservative scholar.
But she knows her 17th century history. She argues that, interestingly enough, the Second Amendment is also a citizen control against the militia as well.
Good history though.edit on 16Sat, 12 Apr 2014 16:51:33 -050014p042014466 by Gryphon66 because: (no reason given)
A convention was elected to settle the throne and restore the ancient
constitution. Its members were determined to protect their liberties
from future royal encroachment. High on their agenda of outrages
suffered, they placed the disarmament of law-abiding citizens.
"An Act of Parliament", Sir John Maynard fumed, "was made to disarm all
Englishmen, whom the Lieutenant should suspect, by day or night, by
force or otherwise." Sir Richard Temple agreed the militia act had
given the Crown "power to disarm all England. Hugh Boscawen complained
that the militia, "under pretence of persons disturbing the Government,
disarmed and imprisoned men without any cause" adding, "I myself was so
To enable them to vindicate their rights, if these were violated,
Blackstone explains that the subjects of England were entitled, in the
first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in
the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and
parliament for redress of grievances, and lastly to the right of having
and using arms for self-preservation and defense.[
Where does this leave the American Second Amendment, with its reference
to a well-regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state,
and its insistence that the right of the people to keep and bear arms
shall not be infringed? I would argue that the Second Amendment mirrors
English belief in the individual's right to be armed, the importance of
that right to the preservation of liberty, and the preference for a
militia over a standing army.
The main clause of the Second Amendment preserves one of those rights of
Englishmen we Americans had fought for, and preserves it as Blackstone
understood it -- a right to be armed for individual self defense and to
preserve essential liberties. Americans had never copied English
restrictions on the right so it was not surprising that in contrast to
the English right's religious and class restrictions and caveat that the
right was "as allowed by law" the American amendment forbid
any"infringement" upon the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms.
The Militia Act passed by
a royalist parliament in 1662 perpetuated the trend started under the
republic but granted the militia even broader powers to disarm
Englishmen. Any two deputies could search for and seize of the arms of
anyone they regarded as "dangerous to the Peace of the Kingdom."
The militia's power to disarm suspicious persons was part of a broader
campaign to restrict weapons. The import of firearms was banned, a
license was required to transport guns, and royal proclamations forbid
anyone who had fought for parliament from carrying weapons. Gunsmiths
were ordered to submit weekly lists of those who bought the weapons they
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Evening Post of Thursday, June 18,
1789, in language reminiscent of the English legacy, explained to
readers the purpose of the article which became the Second Amendment:
As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before
them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces
which must be occasionally raised to defend our country,
might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens,
the people are confirmed ... in their right to keep and bear
their private arms.[
How many executive orders has he signed regarding the matter?
Obama has signed less EO's than Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr. Reagan, and Carter
Just facts for you. Google it.
reply to post by Gryphon66
For us THEY ARE NOT and we can handle what may come ,if the people believe as we do. You have NO idea so stop with the slanderous observations of MY expertise.
I also wonder, additionally, for those of you who consider yourselves avid supporters of the 2nd, were you concerned about these matters under the GW Bush administration? For all intents and purposes, the same laws were in place ... being enforced in the same ways.
Why do you think the Obama administration scares you more?
I was a freshman in high school when President Reagan got shot. A short time later, for the first time in my life, I started hearing about "gun control." As I was living in a fairly rural part of western Georgia at the time, one can imagine that everyone I knew owned guns, loved guns, used guns. My family owned a double-barrel 12 gauge, a 30-30, a .32 pistol. I remember a few people grumbling but I don't remember anyone freaking out about "they're coming for our guns."
Of course, I guess the NRA and the gun lobby were only a few years into their marketing efforts at that point, 1981 ...
I do remember that to get a hunting license for the first time, we had to take and complete a hunter's safety course. Most of us hunted on our family's own land and we didn't even really need a license ... I guess it was just a status thing.
I don't remember feeling like my rights were being violated though, having to pass a test to use my family's guns on my family's land to hunt my family's own game ... and they voted Republican, LOL.edit on 21Sat, 12 Apr 2014 21:51:07 -050014p092014466 by Gryphon66 because: just cause.
reply to post by mwood
So, you believe that the 2nd provides a carte blanche license to any and all Americans to own and carry any firearm anywhere they want, any time they want?
And no registration, licensing, permits, or restrictions on prior criminal record, or mental capacity, or ... any measure have any effect?
"Shall not infringe" means government has nothing to say about firearms?