Interesting dissenting comment by Stevens.
The majority “would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian use of weapons.”
Ok. One question: WTF?
210 years ago, the founders were businessmen and farmers (mostly) who were tired of being oppressed by a tyrannous government. At that time, the most popular method of feeding a family was through the use of a plow and a gun.
When the Founding Fathers initially stood up against the King of England, they were empowered to do such with the use of firearms and weapons. If the oppressing government of the time had a restriction on firearms (as England has, now), we may STILL be a colony. As a collection of colonies there was no centralized militia that belonged to the colonies. Any military present was owned and operated by the King and his representatives. Washington and the boys had to form companies of men from volunteers. These groups of volunteers became the militia for that colony and later that state, but very few of these militia men were full time soldiers.
Approximately one quarter of these militia men were the famed Minutement. Members of teams of men from the colonial militia vowed to be ready for battle within one minute of notice. These men were the ones that responded to Paul Revere’s warning that “the British are coming” as the British marched towards the arsenals in Lexington and Concord. Their goal was the collection of the colonists weapons.
The founders remembered this fact as they wrote and ratified the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Rather than keeping weapons under the control of a government where corruption was going to be rife (eventually and now), the people should be allowed to keep and maintain ownership of a means to defend themselves, not only against the unlawful, but also against the potential tyranny of the fledgling republic being born.
Most Colonial militia were provided neither arms nor uniforms. They were required to equip themselves. Most wore their regular farming or work clothes. Their weaponry consisted of hunting rifles. As the Continental Army regulars received European style military training, the Militia received very little. While their rifles were accurate at long range (as hunting rifles would be), they were not equipped for bayonets. Rather than fight in the traditional dense lines and columns, the militia men were used as irregulars. Irregulars are primarily skirmishers and sharpshooters. It is from these men that snipers became a valued military tool.
THIS is the growth of our nation with the private ownership of firearms. In the ten score years since, our nation has grown and changed from a nation of the people to a nation of corporations, lobbyists and special interest groups, liberal/conservative clashes and big business/big government. History shows that the big government of that day did not have the best interest of the majority of it’s people at heart (does this sound familiar to today?).
A desire to be free, access to weapons and a willingness to kill other humans to gain that freedom are the only reasons we are here, today. Take any one of those away, and we would not have had a chance. Without personal ownership and access to weapons and ammunition our current populace will be easy targets (VATech?) unable to defend themselves against those willing to break the law.