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
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