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By Roger Haynes

Of the many arguments put forth by the anti-gun crusaders, such as the original intent of the Second Amendment or the definition of an “assault rifle”, one attack seems to have been left insufficiently addressed. That is the supposition that the Founders could not have conceived of the technological improvements in the lethality of modern weapons. The argument is mostly presented along the lines of, “But at the time, the soldiers’ weapons of war were muskets, and they could never have conceived of machine guns and other modern improvements in war implements”. While I doubt scientists and inventors (Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson) weren’t capable of envisioning new technologies and advancements, I suggest we look at what they did know . . .

First, the drafters of the Constitution were children of empire. They were citizens of a country whose dominance reached across the globe. It was said, of course, that “The sun never sets on the British empire”. That empire relied on the ability of Britain to project force, and that projection relied heavily on the capability of their navy . So for the framers of the Constitution, one of the most powerful military tools was the naval battle ship.

Now take a quick gander at Article I, section 8 of the Constitution where the powers of Congress are delineated and we see:

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water….

Ok, so what’s a Letter of Marque or Reprisal? As Wikipedia informs us:

In the days of fighting sail, a letter of marque and reprisal was a government license authorizing a person (known as a privateer) to attack and capture enemy vessels and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale.

So, in the very body of the Constitution itself we see that the Founders recognized the private ownership of weapons of empire. We’re talking about friggin’ battleships here people, not just muskets and cannons.

So when anyone suggests that “military-grade” weapons weren’t what our founders were referring to in the Second Ammendment, maybe point them to the Barbary War where congress did indeed hire privateers to use their personal Ships of the Line to assist in the naval war against piracy. This, I think, clearly shows that the concept of limiting what a private citizen can own was not at all limited to hunting or self defense.

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82 Responses to On The Kind of Weapons the Founders Envisioned [Contest Entry]

  1. Something I have regularly stated when confronted with this ‘argument’ is that private citizens owned freaking cannons, which were the definition of cutting edge weapons of mass destruction, at the time of the constitution.

    • I too have made this point repeatedly , our founders devised a system where ownership of all weapons in the US arsenal are ours , they belong to the citizens of America . I own , along with you and the rest of the citizens of America , own ICBM’s and battleships , air craft carriers , fighter jets and all the rest of our fancy toys are ours , in principle at least and the founders structured our laws and rule of law to take into account that the citizens of our great nation would have every resource available to them to ward off all tyranny , whether it be in house or from abroad . I don’t really need a tank or aircraft carrier to protect me and my family from the local junky or town criminal or the idiotic jerk who thinks he can take my wallet , but if I did , well , there would be an avenue I could travel to obtain one . I am currently sufficiently happy with the fire power I have , which is quite substantial and far greater than 90 % of the rest of earths population . I am currently better armed than the survivors on Walking Dead , which is so unrealistically absurd .

      • Don’t the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) still own all the nukes? I know the Atomic Energy Commision owned all the radioactive stuff post war.

        The Air Force and Navy many have the bombs, jets and missiles, but I believe the NRC owns the payload if it is plutonium or uranium. Also, they own the nuclear material in the shipboard reactors.

        Like Chekov in “Star Trek IV”, “Ver do you keep ze nuclear vehpuns?”

      • “We” do not own what the government claims. There is no collective ownership, no representation, and no agent/principal relationship. There is no individual share in an ICBM or battleship.

        We do have the natural right to property and to self-defense. No one has the authority to override this, and tell us what we are “allowed” to acquire via personal production or voluntary exchange.

        This means you have the right to own machine guns, artillery, and attack helicopters if you want, and if you can afford them. This also means you have the right to grow marijuana, distill alcohol, manufacture ammunition, and snort cocaine provided you do not (sober or otherwise) infringe on the rights of others.

        • I think I see into you comment Jacob , but would illiterate that as a constitutional citizen of a free Republic , we own the government in a way that no other major nation on earth does . We control the congress and the purse strings and have systems incorporated into our rule of law that gives us recall power of all elected officials , from the counties and Parishes sheriffs and local dog catcher to the folks at the federal top . When you say the government controls this or that through this regulatory committee or that agency , you miss the above concept entirely . Our ownership of this government still holds sway . When you start considering the concept under this light you can also note that our national debt created by ‘ the government ‘ (us) is where the waters become mucky . Our wealth as a nation , including all ‘ our ‘ assets are in question when we begin to barrow from other nations to finance our projects and expenditures here at home . Not that it hasn’t always been done in some form or another or for any number of reasons , but the ratio of debt to GNP has normally been much lower than it is at this juncture in our history and the lenders are in most , if not all cases , in a greater financial stress than the barrower . The economic condition of the world banking system is in deep waters and the normal avenues for retreat , i.e. wars and default , are not so much in play . The obvious solution to the banking system will be reboot , which will inevitably be a cashless , digital world monetary system in which America will have to play the major role .
          I will then call into question the very idea of ownership of anything .
          I believe we will see the end of cash exchange in this generation .

  2. An interesting point I had not been aware of until now. These men that were leaders and the drafters of the constitution were giants, no doubt about it.

    • well, if not giants, at the very least very smart guys who were tired of getting pissed on by the British crown, who never bothered to even call it rain.

      Who could write very well. So well in fact, that some people have genuine difficulty reading what was written and then processing that info into coherent, logical thought processes. Or maybe some people can’t read. who knows?

      but they vote!!!

      god help us all.

    • “These men that were leaders and the drafters of the constitution were giants, no doubt about it.”

      They were giants only because they stood on the shoulders of other great men, like those of the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’.

      And *that* is why America is exceptional, contrary to what the American-hating Progressives think.

      (Or, lack of thought, in their demented collectivist mindset…)

  3. Currently reading Eric Flints 1632 series. Got to thinking of “volley guns”, a precursor to machine guns. A version used in 1339.

      • Anyone who’s seen grape shot used in battle wouldn’t consider SBR (scary black rifles) to be all that scary.

        • …………….and with a brick furnace and some iron and a rich supply of air , you could theoretically make one of those bad boys for your very own .
          I have been a re-loader for about 28 years now and it really does go beyond hobby or saving cash , deep down , it’s about freedom to do it . I love the learning curves , but freedom to learn is always my first love .
          God bless America , and please consider voting for Ted Cruz , I do not see Trump as a defender of the Constitution , actually , I fear he will be a molester of it .

        • The modern day equivalent is canister, which is basically shotgun shells for tanks, filled with ball bearings instead of buckshot.

          If the zombie apocalypse comes, I want a tank with a lot of fuel and a lot of canister.

    • And around 600 in the war of 1812. One of which, the privateer America, was such a pain in the arse of the royal navy that they specially built a frigate to hunt her down. They operated in the english channel and irish sea with devastating effect. For most of the 1812 war effort, privateers were only only real success. By the way, the America had a 20 cannon compliment and was the equal of any British Man-of-War (18th century Battleship).

      • A British, Nepolionic era ship of the line was 76 guns or more. They had far bigger stronger ships then the little 20 gun America.

        • Ya, their brass monkeys had fewer balls.

          Man, Schumer’s a little evil bitch (sorry, was just reminded of something there). NY has crapped a lot of turd reps, Schumer, Rengel, Clinton. Full boat, with s wavering King, and a seeming endless back bench.

          Ban the (D).

    • Well, I got it right the first time…. Don’t know what happened with my spell check. Good catch.

      Roger

  4. Well here is the problem with the argument, as far as the anti’s go. You are actually looking at the constitution, and using logic. The constitution is a hindrance to them, as well as logic.

  5. The very fact that the framers used the phrase “to keep and bear arms” tells me that they indeed considered the future and what it might bring. They could have said “that each man shall not be barred the right to carry a musket” and left it at that. By using the general term arms, they covered everything known up to that point and everything that would be developed beyond their years.

    I also think that they specifically saw what would happen with a strong central government with no restraint. Power feeds on more power. We, the citizen’s of this country were endowed with the inherent right and duty to resist that power if need arises. And in order to resist, we were endowed with the right to own and carry the weapons necessary to stand up to tyranny. There are too many documents and opinions that support this including letters, speeches, newspapers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution to make an argument otherwise.

    Ray

    • Ray nailed it. “Arms” is a category.

      People looking out for themselves one-off, or in a group as militia, when the government hasn’t protected them, need “arms”, with parity to the threat. Full stop.

      Relate this to the right to be secure in one’s papers and effects. By naming “papers” the authors might have missed an intended generalization to something like “the information you use to manage your life.” But, no worry. The Supremes have addressed this, projecting the intention, expansively into modern technology (eventually.) No, you can’t suck everything off someone’s cell phone (looking for a reason to charge something else, or maybe just building that database.) Even the immigration / border exception has been rolled back. If you want to troll every telecommunication that flies by, you need to balance your need against the privacy, search and seizure rights.(*)

      I look forward to the berobed Ivy League grads applying this same projection of principle into new tech to the 2nd Amendment which BTW states the principle.

      (*) I disagree with where the supremes, and the legislature put that balance point with the data trolling. The point is, they had to come up with a reason to trade off the privacy right, not “there ain’t no such animal.”

      • Arms by category,

        And government by “ingredients”.

        ALL governments (no matter where you find them) are comprised of just your a-hole neighbors that needed a job. We’re all just humans here, stuck on this f_cking rock that GOD has granted us. There is no higher calling nor acievable individual value, no higher denomination than 1.
        Stand, feet shoulder width, in your biggest footwear, and draw a chalkline around the souls of your shoes. The circled areas alone contain the hallowed ground upon which you are king, until, by you, I am made to move my feet.

  6. First, I remind people that our Founders were students of history. Very vigorous students. They knew the history of warfare and weaponry as well. How the Romans, with powerful engines of war were able to subdue portions of three continents. They knew how the then-new longbow changed history during the 100-years-war at the Battle of Agincourt, sweeping centuries of armored knights, lances, and their horses off the table and into the history bin literally overnight. The introduction of the crossbow to Europe, a weapon deemed so terrible at the time that i will surely end warfare. Surely. The introduction of gunpowder to Europe and the invention of the firearm, doing the same thing centuries later that the longbow had done centuries before -completely changed the nature of warfare. It’s obvious that those who believe “the Founders couldn’t envision” are projecting a level of historical ignorance upon them that would rival the nose-picking ignorance of a typical LOLer today. They may not have been able to predict the precise advances in weapons technology that did indeed transpire, but knew mind-blowing advances would indeed occur. There’s a reason the word “arms” is used in the 2A rather than specifically naming the extant armaments present at the time. Having a “2A” in France of 1415 that all have the right to keep and bear lances and swords would have been of little consolation as the English archers cut you to pieces from a safe distance.

    The 2nd bit: would they, in spite of the above, be horrified at the machines humans bring to bear against each other today? Maybe. Perhaps, even. However, they way their logic went (because it’s consistent with their logic at the time), these terrible things do indeed exist and cannot be wished away. Therefore they can be used against the American people. Therefore, it follows Americans should keep and bear such things so they at least can have a firefight rather than be the guests of honor at an execution. My $0.02

    • Rest assured if founding fathers had today’s armaments there would be no retreat from Long Island, NY, Boston Harbor would be littered with British Hulls, Trenton and all battles a massacre. The British would not survive six months and Washington would need no more than 1000 men.

      • With this, I’m reminded of a book I read 20 years ago: The Guns of the South
        Mainly the parts concerning advancements in arms used to alter history.

        • I enjoyed that book back in the day.

          Without spoiling too much for anyone interested in reading, it follows the effect of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia getting hold of AK’s.

    • (The Founding Fathers) ” would they, in spite of the above, be horrified at the machines humans bring to bear against each other today? Maybe. Perhaps, even.”

      They would be stunned senseless by today’s technology.

      And probably in awe and horrified at today’s world.

      I’d like to think Ben Franklin would really get a kick out of it. An iPhone running video facechat so he could talk to Jefferson while he was in France. Spaceflight. Modern medical imaging, etc.

      Then explain to Mr. Franklin that if you slam two pieces of a special metal weighing just a few pounds together fast enough you could destroy a city faster than a blink of an eye. That would probably horrify him.

      I’m a bit bummed I won’t be around in 500 years so my mind could be blown by future technology.

      But something tells me man will still not know what women really want…

      • As a publisher and newspaper man Franklin would be astounded by the internet. As a world class letch he would be overjoyed at some of the things he would find on it.

      • “But something tells me man will still not know what women really want…”

        It’s hard for men to know what women want when women don’t know it themselves. (…and they won’t stop until they get it. :-))

  7. Occurs to me to add that, almost with living memory of the Founders, the British Crown had banned the possession of weapons by Roman Catholics, especially in Ireland, on pain of death. So the 2nd Amendment really is in defense of the 1st. By any means available.

  8. The Toilet was patented on January 1st, 1775. So I assume that means there was no ceiling to the imagination of the Constitution framers. The 2nd was and still is a conceptual leg of the great stool we call the USA. And with the duality of the word stool, no doubt the authors who insisted on the particular wording of the 2nd Amendment knew full well that the not only did it cover anything and everything outside weapons of mass destruction, but also that it would be a hot button on a political and social football (or whatever object they kicked around back then) so they tried to make it as clear as possible without swearing.

    Did I win?

  9. However, the constitution specifically forbids the states from having “Ships of War in time of Peace” without the “Consent of Congress.” (Article I, section 10, clause 3). So it’s pretty clear that the founders didn’t want the individual states, with their militias, to have offensive weapons platforms.

    Centuries later, there would be “landships” (later called by their early codename, “tanks”) and “airships,” which would be succeeded by heavier-than-air bombers. The principal remains the same. Congress could prevent, by withholding consent, state-government/state-militia/private ownership of war machines, even as it could authorize same, and even as it could not prevent private and militia ownership of “arms” used to execute laws, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.

    • You forget one thing. The states are not the people. The states were forbidden from owning a state militia navy. But private ownership of such ships were not forbidden in the constitution and these are what compromised much of the privateering naval forces during the Revolutionary War, Barbary wars, and War of 1812.

    • Said section only covers interaction between Congress and the states, not private citizens. It’s stating that no one state can act as a private entity in preparing for or declaring war.

      “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

      • In addition to Amendment II … Consider:

        Amendment IX … The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

        and

        Amendment X… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        It appears that the folks who drafted and ratified the first ten amendments to OUR Constitution were thinking ahead, and intended that the real power was to be retained by We The People as there are very few if any restrictions placed by OUR Constitution upon We The People.

        My personal observations have taught me that virtually all restrictions placed upon We The People have been placed upon We The People by well intentioned elected and/or appointed representatives of We The People “for our own good”, and We The People have allowed these chains (restrictions) to be applied to our wrists and ankles with little or no resistance.

        Of course, I could be wrong??? [W3]

        • “Of course, I could be wrong??? [W3]”

          Nope.

          The constitution restricts the central government. With few exceptions, the states were left to design their own norms and society. It was only after the 14th forced states to be bound like the federal government that the entire political setup created by the founders was upended, and states became mere political sub-divisions of the federal government.

          Indeed, “We the People” voluntarily (via majority of the voters) surrendered all power to the central government. “Majorities of the voters” is the basic problem with democracies (which is why the founders rejected democracy as the engine of political change). As it happened, the actual majority of eligible voters do not vote, effectively allowing strong political players a smaller resistance to creeping tyranny. If a politician only needs to keep a small group of loyal voters, then a simulated democracy develops where a small majority (only of those voting) allows a majority of politicians to rule unfettered. Knowing there is only a small group of voters to please, the politicians can rule without regard to the will of the majority of the vote-eligible populace (a majority who simply declines to interfere with the doings of the elected representatives. The politicians no longer need to concern themselves with tempering the whip-lash emotions of “the people”, and can accommodate whichever hot issue of the day results in the greatest likelihood of re-election. “We the people” is reduced to a portion of maybe 25% of eligible voters.

    • And just did by recalling apache Helicopters from the guard to active duty units and giving guard units utility helos

      • And the demise of “peace” is ALWAYS harbingered by sufficient time/opportunity/resources to shit-out a “battleship” should one ever be needed.

        Clausewitz, wrote [roughly paraphrased] “If a cautious Commander has a weak command, and a weak enemy, and neither has much to lose, and he tries dilligently amd successfully to sue for peace, we cannot find fault with him. But we must always caution him to keep his eye on the enemy, as peace is temporal and fleeting so that he should not have to protect himself with a dress-sword if his enemy should take up a sharp one.”
        Boiled down to the most basic concept, YOU are the commander.

  10. The more the anti-gun people talk the more their total ignorance of not only firearms but of history and our own government they show.

    Every argument they have is full of holes and has no basis in reality. They feel so therefore it is right. So instead of doing any actual research on any of this they feel that way so therefore it is that way.

    The world is and has always been filled with violent people who would take what they want from those who are weaker. The only way to stop them whether it be our own government, another government or the local hoodlum is with force and that means a firearm.

  11. While private ships-of-the-line and frigates were too expensive to exist, Haynes point is well made.
    The Founders clearly envisioned and approved of crew-served, state of the art weaponry in the hands of citizens.
    This is as it should be today.

  12. TACOM is involved in a program called the WOOT program in Tyrone township MI. They have crashed 2 government satellites and are working on a third without the government’s knowledge, and have committed rape of 22 different woman inside tyrone woods trailer park since 2012. Contractors built an under ground shelter connecting trailers. They used triptamine drip, and electrode implants to make people unaware of these scopes crashing, and there after used the same method to commit rape and get away with it. The satellites being crashed have data on them that indicates source codes being sold or stolen by people who committed torture in order to make veterans affairs junkies commit suicide, and also shows the woot programs employees commiting the types of crimes listed above. They used a VACCIS scanner to make the trailer park light up so they could see which other satellites were watching until the shutter became stuck open and was dropped down a well leaking 7 RMS of cobalt 68 radiation. There has been $190,000,000 spent on covering this problem up. And evidence of this is on Google earth at Tyrone woods trailer park in Tyrone Twp MI. And just north of Hogan rd from this location is a crash sight and equipment.

  13. As far as I’m concerned, the only limit on what a citizen should be allowed to possess is WMDs and I only draw that line because of how horrific they are. If I want to buy a howitzer and park it in my back yard, so be it as long as I’m not using it in the commission of a crime. Same goes for automatic weapons.
    We need to quit being drawn into the “why do you need that” debate. No need is required to exercise a right.

  14. Any of the founding fathers who studied Leonardo Da Vinci (certainly Franklin) would have been aware of his many weapon designs, including a 33 barreled “Assault Weapon”.

  15. “So when anyone suggests that “military-grade” weapons weren’t what our founders were referring to in the Second Ammendment, maybe point them to the Barbary War where congress did indeed hire privateers to use their personal Ships of the Line to assist in the naval war against piracy. This, I think, clearly shows that the concept of limiting what a private citizen can own was not at all limited to hunting or self defense.”

    All well and good, and even nice.

    And totally irrelevant.

    The Left has telegraphed their plans for the 2A. They contend it was intended for militias, never private citizens.

    They plan on treating the Heller et all decisions the *exact* same way the Dred Scott decision was handled.

    Read this written a few days ago:

    “Second Amendment. Until 2008, not once did the Supreme Court find a law to violate the Second Amendment. Then, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court, by a 5-4 margin, declared unconstitutional a 35-year-old District of Columbia ordinance that prohibited private ownership or possession of handguns. Scalia wrote the opinion for the Court. A Supreme Court bench with five Democratic appointees will not extend this protection for gun rights and likely would overrule it, returning to the view that the Second Amendment protects only a right to have guns for the purpose of militia service.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/what-if-the-supreme-court-were-liberal/477018/

    Everything written by the Founding Fathers is totally irrelevant. Federalist Papers? Toss ’em.

    It doesn’t matter one whit. Give them a majority on SCOTUS and they will toss the 2A.

    At that point, the only remedy left will be to wait for a conservative President and then encourage the Progressive justices to retire, re-balancing the court.

    It ain’t nice, but it’s stark reality…

    • This is why I ask God to help in reaching the hearts and minds of Americans to support Ted Cruz for president .
      Yes , I pray nightly to the God of Abraham , and Jacob and in Jesus’ name , believe He hears me .

  16. It is a crime against nature to call gun banners “Crusaders”. The Crusaders were doing something positive and proactive. What the gun banners are doing is neither.

    Charlie

  17. Privateers did not go to sea in ships of the line or even frigates. They purchased smaller more agile vessels. Privateers were the submariners of their day. They were not interested in engaging in battle with regular naval forces. They were in it for the money. The regular Navy was the primary force used in directly confronting the Barbary navy and port facilities. It doesn’t help our cause to get the history wrong.

    A better argument is that from the founding Republic until the Civil War private citizens had access to the same weapons that military did. Between the Civil War and the introduction of the M-1 Garand the private citizen had better weapons than the basic US infantry force. Civilians were using Henry rifles when the US Army was still using Springfield Model 1861 musket as the standard issue. The Army got The single shot Trapdoor Springfield, which were essentially Model 1861 muskets converted to breech loading, the same year the Winchester Model 1873 went on sale to the general public. By the time the Model 1903 Springfield Mauser 98 copy became standard issue civilians were buying semiautomatic rifles not in general use in the US Army until 1941. Only the 1934 National Firearms act prevented widespread sales of fully automatic weapons to the public. However, that is largely irrelevant since fully automatic fire has no application in civilian use. Today, private citizens use more powerful rifles than US the military on a daily basis.

    • Yeah, I have to concede that using ship-of-the-line was not properly vetted. I should have listened to that nagging doubt and checked the definition. I don’t, however, think that the rifle argument is superior (once the privateer argument is corrected for the ship designation, of course) because it still leaves us in the personal arms category and does not expose the fact that the Founders didn’t prohibit or limit that largest of crew-served implements of war. I bet old T.J would Loved to have been able to hire a few SOLs.

      • TJ only came to that conclusion after the end our disastrous foray into the Napoleonic Wars. He killed John Adam’s proposal for a large Navy including Ships of the Line. The Jeffersonian argument against the Federalist Navy was that it would be irrelevant against the far larger Royal Navy and that we could defend against the foreign incursions with a small gunboat navy manned by militiamen. He was wrong on both counts. While it was true that the Royal Navy would have simply overwhelmed the Federalist Navy if that was the only force that Britain had to deal with but in the real world Britain was far more concerned with fighting off Napoleon and could not have send a force to the New World to take care of the US Navy as proposed by Adams. Had Jefferson built the Navy as proposed by Adams it is highly unlikely that the British would have risked antagonizing the United States by impressing Americans into the Royal Navy. By the time the French were no longer a threat to invade the homeland the British no longer needed to impress US citizens. The failures of the militia manned gunboat navy are well documents and the British choked off US foreign trade and ravaged the coastline at will.

        I think the infantry rifle argument address the main point of the anti-gun logic. Their contention the founding fathers wouldn’t want private citizens to have weapons equal to military is contradicted by the fact that private citizens generally better rifles than the Army though out most of our history. It is arguable that private citizens still have better weapons than the army in terms of raw power and accuracy.

        • All you say about the weakness of the Colonists’ ships, either for hire or as part of a Navy is correct, but are not germane to the point. The point I was making was that, whether or not they were better than British Navy ships, the Founders didn’t limit their private ownership. The rifle argument is what I bring up when countering the HIGH-CAPACITY-HIGH-POWER-MILITARY-GRADE-KILLING-MACHINES trope. The responses are both similar, but the privateer argument lays to rest the argument that there was a limit to what citizens could own.

        • I wasn’t really responding to your original post only your final statement suggesting that Jefferson would have loved to have a few Ships of the Line

          However, I have to point out the issuance of Letters of Marque and Reprisal has nothing to do with Second Amendment. It was standard practice of the time. Even the British issues them. The purpose was to provide forces to conduct what is called Guerre du Course or War of the chase but really means War on Commerce. It was outlawed by treaty on early 1900s and the submarine replaced privateers as the primary instrument for attacking commerce at sea. The more I think about it, Letters of Marque does not make a case for private ownership of weapons without government approval. It is a government sanction for the use force. Think of it as an early example government outsourcing. Private citizens who go to sea to attack commerce even during wartime are called pirates.

          If I were a history teacher or law professor grading your paper I would give you an F because you totally misunderstood the concept and legal basis for the concept of Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

    • I’m still not convinced full auto fire, with tracers, is not THE ticket for a charging bear….

      Also for surface to low flying air defense, full auto can be really helpful. Even more so, equally (or more so) banned for civilians and informal militias, Stingers and such.

      With respect to 20th century nastiness like nukes, icbms and bio agents, the sheer scope and reach of destruction may indeed have cause the founders some concern. But to deny Americans even the basic means of self protection that proved necessary for the Afghans to remain free in the face of the Soviet onslaught, flies straight in the face of the founders’ intent, and serves no other purpose than to make unrestrained tyranny more convenient to administer.

      • We gave the future taliban stinger missles not to protect freedom, but to place a chess game with the Soviets. That kind of interventionism, btw, would certainly outrage the founders.

        • It certainly would. But that is no excuse for banning Americans from owning them. They proved ridiculously useful against a Soviet army bent on imposing tyranny, on a country largely reliant on citizen militias to defend it’s freedom. And could undoubtedly serve a similarly useful role over here, once the propaganda machine does a similar job on gun owners as they once did on the Branch Davidians.

  18. Google “EVIL COMMUNIST POS DEMOCRATS”

    If nothing pops up, you know rhe fix is in. See you at the two-minutes hate.

  19. A twenty four pounder typically mounded on board a large privateer during the American Revolution would frequently be loaded with either a twenty four pound iron ball or a bag of shot of about the same weight. To put this in terms of a single round of xm193 NATO you are talking about firing off the equivalent of over 3,000 rounds in one pull of the trigger or lanyard in this case. Or you could think of that as 100 thirty round magazines fired off at once.

  20. ” It was said, of course, that “The sun never sets on the British empire”.”

    That’s because God couldn’t trust ’em in the dark.

  21. So, does this mean I can go out and build a battleship now? I’m extremely nostalgic for them, despite their overall lack of place in modern warfare, being big, lumbering, expensive targets.

  22. Repeating firearms were 100 years old when our Country was founded. Yes, a private citizen could own a warship & or cannon. Sounds like fun to me.

  23. I prefer a simpler counter argument. The founders used the word “arms” in the second amendment and they meant it. If they had intended to limit private citizens to weapons inferior to what a modern military carried, they would have stated it. The second amendment does not limit us to matchlocks or bows or pitchforks. It guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, period. The founders knew full well what they were granting. The colonists had recently used privately held arms to gain independence from England.

    Furthermore, it’s naive or intellectually dishonest to believe that the founders wrote only for their time with no thought for the future. They intended for the Constitution to be durable and to serve as the basis for government in any foreseeable future. That is clear from their writings. If they thought that future weapons would be a threat to their vision of government, they would not have granted as much freedom as they did in the second amendment.

    Ultimately, this goes back to the fundamental misunderstanding on the left of the founders’ vision for government. Most of them know no more than “all men are created equal” and think that the purpose of government is to make everyone equal. The founders’ vision of a government that guarantees individual liberties and rests on the peoples’ judicious use of those liberties is an anathema to the modern left. This is why they continue to assault those liberties wherever they can.

  24. The right to arms was not granted by amendment 2. Was the FedGov granted the authority to regulate, control or abolish the private ownership of weapons prior to the adoption of the Bill Of Rights? No, the 2nd underscored that the Central government had no authority to do such things.

    Hey, Roger. Good writing.

  25. This gets into interesting territory with the “individual” v “corporate” right issue. I wish I could remember the source, but I read a fascinating survey of the use of the terms “keep arms” and “bear arms”: for about three centuries leading up to the revolution, which concluded that the right is both individual and corporate, but — critically — that it is definitely set apart from and even over against government.

    Thus for an individual, the right to keep and bear arms means the common weapons of the ordinary soldier. Given that, individual ownership of crew-served weapons isn’t covered. What makes it interesting, though, is that the moment you begin to talk corporate ownership, that changes, because the arms appropriate to companies include crew-served and more. And the use of “company” covers both the military usage (e.g. where a mercenary captain had a “company”) and business partnerships. A locally organized militia was a “company” of that sort, having ownership of individual weapons for any who might lack them and of crew-served weapons as well. Thus a private business owner with sufficient property could also have crew-served weapons, because such an enterprise crossed the line between purely economic and mercenary (i.e. private military group).

    Of course the antis would scream and froth at the mouth over that, since the idea of a private military company these days just isn’t politically correct — yet they not only do in fact exist, but are employed around the globe by our own government. It also blurs the line between “peaceful” and “violent” pursuits, but any student of history and human nature knows that said line is artificial to begin with — a situation evidenced at present by the fact that many corporations have their own armed security forces.

    The more things change, it seems, the more things really do stay the same.

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