Thursday, February 28, 2013

A thought on the 2nd Amendment and gun regulation

I found a pretty good description of the meaning of these words. I was also thinking about the way the militias fought in 1789. Basically two lines of men stood at distance and shot at each other.

A well regulated militia would not show up, some with pistols, some with fouling pieces, and some with muskets. If they were to show up with guns that they owned and kept at home, I would expect that there would be requirements. The obvious ones would be:

  • accurate enough to regularly hit a man's trunk at a distance of 50 to 100 yards,
  • with a large enough projectile moving at sufficient speed to put a man out of action if hit in the torso, and
  • capable of being loaded, aimed and fired at least two or three times per minute.
Thus I think the words of the amendment might actually imply the right to regulate the kinds of arms that would be held by the members of the militia, and thus by the public who might serve in the militia.

Weapon technology has changed in a couple of hundred years. For instance now military units are required to have weapons with interchangeable parts, using common ammunition (meeting international standards). Indeed, given the danger of running out of ammunition and the difficulty of supplying the front lines, troops may be encouraged to limit their amount of firing.

There would seem to be quite acceptable modern interpretations of the second amendment that would simply update the implications from those applicable to smooth bore muskets to those applicable to modern rifles.

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