This is What the Founders had in Mind . . .

When they approved the Second Amendment to the Constitution:

 Flintlock rifle, made in Vaud circa 1785 by Jacob Guignard. On display at Morges military museum, accession number 1003696.

Photo: Rama (CC SA-BY 2.0)

This is a typical firearm from the 1780s. A single-shot, barrel-loaded, flintlock rifle. What they could not have possibly envisioned is this:

AR15 Tactical Carbine

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

An AR-15 with a full clip. This semi-automatic version of an M16—legal since the sunsetting of the Clinton-era assault weapons ban—was the weapon of choice last Friday morning in Aurora, CO.

Yes, Americans have the right to keep and bear arms, and as the Supreme Court ruled in D.C. v. Heller, this right is an individual one. But that right is not absolute. If it were, I could legally own this:

WWII Soldier with bazooka

Photo: Library of Congress

Or if I wanted something bigger, how about this?

TOW Anti-tank weapon

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

We already draw a line. Is it time to reconsider where we draw it?


3 thoughts on “This is What the Founders had in Mind . . .

  1. My original reply got lost in the etherwebs so I hope this doesn’t show up as a repeat.

    If we’re going to talk original intent, let’s talk about “why the 2nd amendment at all”? The founders intended to allow the citizenry a way out if the US government ended up as tyrannical as they perceived England to be. Back then, muskets in the continental army were the same thing that Joe Farmer had.

    Fast forward 240 years… What good does it do to have armed defense against tyranny if the tyrant can mow you down with an assault weapon while you are between shots on your semi-automatic hunting rifile?

    I’m not advocating for armed revolt and rebellion, but if we Re going to talk orginal intent, we need to remember the complete perspective.


  2. Hey, Robert. First of all, thanks for following the blog. Your first reply didn’t get lost. I was just offline for awhile and hadn’t approved it yet. Since you mostly repeated the content of your comment here, I’m deleting the first one and keeping this one. Hope that’s ok with you.

    You make a good point. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Moe says guns are for self-defense, hunting delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face. Nowadays, a semi-auto or even a full automatic weapon won’t due much good against a nuclear-armed military. So, to be honest, I’m not sure “why the second amendment at all?” But I still think we can set common sense limits within the bounds of constitutionality such as enforcing existing laws and passing a new version of the lapsed federal assault weapons ban.


    • I agree, common sense limits do make sense for a civilized society. But looking around the world right now, the “common sense” of the world seems to advocate for allowing the general citizenry to have equivalent weapons to the government in light of oppressive and chaotic governments in Africa and the Middle-East.

      As an Anabaptist, though, I believe there is a different way of handling such situations than retaliating in violence but that is because of my relationship with the source of shalom. I cannot expect people without that relationship to see necessarily the same alternative. So, when it comes to constitutional common sense, there may be a need for such weapons as Holmes used this past Friday. It’s not an easy conversation to discuss in this fallen world.


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