This observation comes up in the context of the first amendment as well. Relatively few people believe that its protections apply only to the forms of communication available in the eighteenth century.
I agree with the second and third posts. It’s hard to talk about the second amendment from such an absurd starting point. Do the 1st and 4th amendments only apply to 18th Century technologies and practices?
But even from the OP’s stated standpoint, it seems to me that the words “keep and bear” are pretty clear. “Keep” means own/possess and “bear” means carry about on your person. It is clearly an infringement to not actually allow people to carry arms, no matter how you define said arms.
But, yes, I’d like to hear from people who believe the 2nd only applies to what was available in the late 1700s.
The point being made is that laws based on aspects of the world that have changed substantially since the 1790s should be subject to reevaluation in the 21st century (not that they shouldn’t have been reevaluated sooner, but we don’t have time machines). Asking if it should be changed/interpreted to apply only to 1790s technology is the exact opposite of the intention.
Technical question: are loaded single-shot muzzleloaders as safe as loaded modern weapons? I assume not, but my experience with firearms is wanting.
Given what I assume is a much greater risk of accidental discharge, I would feel much safer around open-carry modern weapons than 1700s antiques. Granted, most muzzleloader enthusiasts do not load until ready to shoot, but I’ve heard stories from preservationists about finding loaded guns that have hung on display for years, so I can’t give much confidence to the assertion that most muzzleloaders are going to be clear when carried.
Ages ago I was pretty good friends with the mayor of this city. He pushed for and got passed an assault weapons ban that described them as basically “military or military styled long arms, fitted to take a bayonet, designed to be used by shock troops”. The next time I saw him I thanked him for outlawing my 1734 musket which actually does meet those specifications. :smack:
I believe in reasonable (and some unreasonable) controls on firearms but the “back then” argument has been a loser for so long it needs to go away somewhere.
I understand what you mean about accidental discharges, but they are really not common with muzzleloaders. I have hunted with a flintlock rifle many times, and also own a cap-and-ball muzzleloader. I carry both loaded, as do all of the hunters I know. You simply don’t have time to load the gun when you see a deer walk in front of you. I strongly suspect the same was true when they were used for warfare.
The hammer has a half-cocked position. When at the half-cocked rest position, the gun won’t fire. You have to cock the hammer to make it ready to fire. And then, if a flintlock, it often doesn’t fire anyway if conditions are wet, or the flint is old, or if the hunting gods are full of whimsy.
As for finding loaded muzzleloaders, yeah, that’s not uncommon. I inherited one from my uncle a few years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s loaded, based on how far the ramrod goes into the barrel. I tried putting ignition powder in the flash pan to fire it, but it wouldn’t fire. I need to get an extractor to try and remove the ball.
When the Bill of Rights was drafted, they had: a multi-shot gun, though not rapid fire.
A “high capacity” semi-automatic rifle. Don’t let the “air rifle” name mislead, Lewis & Clark used it on deer. Another one.
A rapid fire machine gun that many of the Founding Fathers were aware of, having seen it in a demonstration during the war.
They were certainly aware of repeating firearms.
A 18th century muzzleloader, or a modern reproduction by Uberti etc.? The old ones may have not been drop safe, but other than that they function similarly. Other than that, modern guns really don’t go off unless you pull the trigger.
I was going to stay out of this part of the equation but ------
I must admit to having packed a flintlock pistol, loaded, as a concealed weapon a couple times but I am far and away the exception. I shoot black powder on at least a weekly basis and have for far more years than the average Doper has been alive. There are just times when I like the idea of a .69 smoothbore (basically a legal version of a sawed-off shotgun) on my person more than/combined with the usual .38 I carry as a rule.
Get stupid and accidental discharges can happen as they can with just about any firearm ever made. But the real danger from “packing” a flinter is the flint. Since the flint basically cuts the steel of the frizzen to create the sparks to get things going, that same flint has no issues cutting me. You also have to be very aware that any spark from a cigar or cigarette (less common these days than 40 years ago) can set off that pan charge. You have to train and take precautions that you don’t with the usual 9mm auto but it can be done and safely.
If you’re really bothered by the use of the word Militia in the 2nd Amendment, maybe you could be bothered to read the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. The decision covers the use of the word Militia and you’re allowed to still be bothered by it but the Supremes are Supreme.
Just as with “well regulated”, you need to look at writings of the time, especially by those involved with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, to see the pertinent meaning of the word “militia”. It’s not what we think of now. Meanings of words change and evolve over time.
I DO wish, however, that the US 2nd Amendment has been written as succinct and simple as Pennsylvania’s Constitution on the issue:
No supportive clauses, no examples, just a plain, clear statement.