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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

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Naturally, those who offer the second amendment in defense of private ownership of military-grade assault weapons overlook the equally important matter of historical context—namely, the Continental Army of Revolutionary fame was demobilized after 1784, and no peacetime standing force existed at the time of the passage and ratification of this amendment. Militias represented the only remaining coherent fighting force in the infant United States, thus necessitating the legal protection of their weaponry. The first incarnation of the United States Army, the Legion of the United States, was not organized until 1792. The amendment was adopted in December 1791.

I find "well-regulated" to be compelling language in this case. Under no circumstances can gun ownership in the United States today be understood as well-regulated. In fact, thanks to the NRA, which has become nothing so much as a renegade lobby determined to put assault rifles in the hands of even the most incompetent private citizens, even reasonable efforts at gun control are scuttled before they even see legislative daylight. And the deaths continue to mount. It is virtually impossible to imagine, when taking both the language and the historical circumstances of the second amendment into account, that the founders intended every Tom, Dick, and Harry to be sporting a pistol under the belt in the name of personal self-defense.

Then again, we aren't much for actual history here in these United States. We prefer our myths and delusions instead.

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