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The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting, and personal protection is only part of the reason that the Founders wanted the American citizenry to have access to military-pattern weapons such as select-fire rifles and submachine guns, grenade launchers, belt-fed machine guns, and RPG-type anti-armor weapons.
Without further adieu, let’s go to the Founders themselves, starting with Tench Coxe:
“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
— Tench Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788
“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 by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
— Tench Coxe (1755-1824), writing as “A Pennsylvanian,” in “Remarks On The First Part Of The Amendments To The Federal Constitution,” in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, p. 2 col. 1
Then there’s James Madison, who wrote in Federalist Paper #46 that the reason the fledging United States would be OK with a standing army of 25,000-30,000 men is that three million American citizens would have similar weapons and training:
Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.
Thus, the main reason the Founders wanted American citizens to have military-pattern weapons was so that those Americans would have military parity with if not supremacy over the federal government.
Remember that the people who don’t want you having a .22 LR pistol in your home have little to no problem with the cops showing up at your front door to take away that pistol in an armored vehicle of the kind used by the Army in Iraq or Afghanistan, wielding the same sorts of “assault-weapon” military-pattern rifles (often select-fire, same as the military uses) that they don’t want you having.
Listening / Reading / Watching
- Ridus – “The right to arms”: an exhibition of photographs by Oleg Volk [H/T Maria Butina] (Original article in Russian)
- Voices of Liberty – Ron Paul is Right: Nullification Movement is Happening
- Brad R. Torgerson – Tribalism is as tribalism does
- Reason – Hit & Run: More Anti-Libertarian Nonsense from the Left-Wing Center for American Progress
- ComicMix – What Do You Do To Rabid Puppies? (Answer Below.) (Page archived here)
- Conservative Tribune – BREAKING: Police Admit That Armored Vehicles Are for Fighting “Constitutionalists” With Guns [H/T Michael G. Spivey]
- Defying Gravity