This is a repost of a reply I made, that I think would help to understand why the 2nd Amendment was created and why it's phrased as it is. From our viewpoint, it seems disjunct, but, if you rewind back to life in colonial times, it makes sense.

The sum of the 2nd was the founding fathers were assuring themselves that they could have an Army that drew on civilians in time of need, who owned their own firearms.  

Onward ---

To those who use the 2nd amendment as a right to carry arms, I suggest reading up on US history, in the colonial days. Begin with why the 2nd starts with "A well regulated militia", and then move to the next phrase" Being necessary to the --- ". This was written because the US had no real decent size Army, with which to defend the country with, and had to enlist farmers, etc., many who did not own weapons, to defend the country. At the time there were "militia" from towns and states, composed of patriots and a few rich men who were paying the "soldiers" and paying for the supplies to maintain the "militia"",  that came together to be the bulk of the US "Army" at the time of the forming of the country..

I lived in Williamsburg, Va for a while, and had many friends who were Colonial era "Actors" and some who were Colonial era firearms experts, from cannons on down, and real world historians. That is they knew history as a practical matter, and knew the backstories that created our version of history. And I got an eye opener, beginning with the fact the Colonial Williamsburg population was 50% slave.........

I sat with friends as they rolled their own black powder cartridges and talked to me about the practicality of a flintlock musket for hunting and for warfare, and i got a few real demonstrations, like going hunting for a turkey with a musket. A flintlock does not fire when you pull the trigger - there is a delay while the flint creates the spark, which ignites the powder in the pan, which then ignites to powder in the cartridge. And black powder is slow to ignite, compared to modern powder. So the hungry colonist would pull the trigger and have to keep aiming at the turkey while the gun was in the process of firing, and maybe 2 second delay, at most. And don't forget, you have to "lead" a bit, to compensate for the time the ball leaves the barrel until it (hopefully, for dinner's sake, hits the bird) If it had of been me in those days, I would have starved.

Then we get to a the critical point  -you can't simply put another bullet in the gun and fire it. No. You have to stand the thing on it's stock, look down the barrel to make sure it's empty, then use a ram rod to clear it, then you are ready to reload: put your powder cartridge in the barrel, push it in place with the ram rod, then put in the ball, then the cotton wadding to keep the ball from rolling out of the barrel. (I think I have this order right). The holding the gun parallel to the ground, begin by checking your flint to make sure it will still spark and adjust it, if needed, then clean the pan, if you haven't already, then open your powder horn, and dump some black powder into the pan. Now you are ready to shoot.

OK, got it in your head what you just did, and how long it took to do it? Now imagine you, who was a humble farmer just three weeks ago, now handed this long and heavy musket which you got maybe a week's training on, on the fields of Yorktown, facing a bunch of British mercenary troops  - professional well trained soldiers - who are shooting at you, and repeat the process...

This was Colonial era warfare. This is why the fledgling country needed more "soldiers" - it took a lot of time to reload, so the commanders needed more people to simply keep up a decent barrage of bullets. As my friend put it, "in reality, the units had one third shooting, on third reloading and one third pissing in their pants, too scared to do anything."

Now absorb this, take some time to really feel what it must have been like back in the day, and go back and read the 2nd amendment and suddenly it makes sense in the context of the time.

One last thing for historians, if it weren't for the French at Yorktown, we would be British citizens now.

Originally posted to azureblue on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:14 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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