There you go again

Ronald Reagan might say to Tim Mannello, “There you go again”. Tim once again plays fast and loose with facts to suit himself.

The Founding Fathers left many things vague in the Constitution and the Bill-of-Rights. They are a framework to govern, not a code of laws. What is unreasonable search and seizure (4th Amendment)? What is just compensation for a taking of property?

What is the free practice of religion (1st Amendment)? Congress did consider state constitutions when framing the 2nd Amendment. As to the Pennsylvania amendment, the armed citizens were the militia. The militia would defend the State as well as themselves.

Read “For the Common Defense” to gain an understanding of the composition and “regulation” of militias. Who are the militia? “Colonial laws regularly declared that all able-bodied men between certain ages automatically belonged to the militia”. The normal age limits were from 16 to 60. “Militiamen had to provide and maintain their own weapons. Initially a militiaman was armed much like a European soldier”.

A militiaman attended periodic compulsory training days (musters) and could be fined for non-attendance. Colonies even directed militia officials to “ensure that each man had the requisite weapons. Every colony’s laws detailed how destitute citizens could be armed at public expense…. Even men exempted from attending musters should be completely armed and equipped”.

Why would a state in the 1700s want to protect citizens’ right to arms? Obviously, self-defense: Danger was near on the frontier and the government soldiers were far. Hunting was a necessity. The Anti-Federalist Foundering Fathers wanted protection from the newly created strong central government.

They saw a central government with an army as a threat to state sovereignty and individual liberty. Therefore; the Second Amendment was proposed. A militia, armed citizens subject to the call of the state, was a safeguard against the central government. Think the central government is no danger? Ask the owners of Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor.

“An armed and trained citizenry, being necessary to the internal security of the States and to curb the central government, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” meets the concerns of the states. Why not say it this way? It was taken for granted on long history that the militia was the safeguard of the state and citizens. There is no need to infer any meaning to the amendment: It is clear on its face.

As to long arms, some rebel militia and volunteers with their accurate long-range rifles were better armed than the Regulars with smooth-bore muskets. From then until 1895, citizens had access to more fire-power than did the government. They had percussion caps while the army still used flint; cartridge repeaters against percussion muzzle-loaders; Mauser turn-bolts and lever action against single-shot Springfields. The Second Amendment envisions a citizenry armed, in small arms, at least as well as the Army. As to the Robert Jackson quote, Plessy vs Ferguson was overturned in Brown, Taney’s Dred Scott decision in four years of blood. Infallible indeed! Court decisions are not even necessarily final!

William C. Dincher

Williamsport

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom

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