On 10/7/2013 3:01 PM, LizR wrote:
One thing wrong with the US constitution is that the "right to bear arms" meant muskets and flintlock pistols at the time, but has been extended to, for example, semi-automatic weapons. The people who wrote it were only aware of single-shot weapons, even the colt revolver hadn't been invented! If they're so keen to extend the original meaning to what are in effect weapons of mass destruction, why not, say, let citizens build nuclear bombs if they want to?

The second amendment was adopted by people who had just fought as rebels against the army of an oppressive government. So their intent was plainly to ensure that any new central government could be overthrown as well should it become oppressive. So the arms an individual should have a right to bear would be the same as those issued to individual soldiers in the military, i.e. assault rifles (which are issued to everyone in Switzerland). Because of the media coverage of rare multiple shootings and because assault rifles look scarier, most people don't realize that 97% of gun deaths in the U.S. involve handguns. The Supreme Court could easily uphold a ban on handguns and still support the intent of the 2nd amendment and not interfere with hunting; but no state has tried such a ban.

I think that the examples of Poland, South Africa, the USSR, India, and Egypt indicate that overthrow of oppressive governments can be done by unarmed citizens, and if so that's the better way. But it's clearly not the example the authors of the U.S. constitution had before them.


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