Those black powder rifles also did double duty as hunting rifles and for self defense against marauding interlopers that frequently roamed the rural countryside of the American frontier.
Having grown up in the high country of Colorado, I had an excellent understanding of men and women who hunted wild game to feed their families. I'd say most homes had at least one firearm.
I am a strong believer in the Second Amendment. However, I do not believe it is absolute any more than are the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment, which deal with freedom of expression. There has to be limitations for the right to own and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
Without such limitations, civilized society is guaranteed to devolve into nightmarish chaos.
I do not believe that any person has the right to bear arms if their background shows a criminal history or has a mental illness. It doesn't bother me if such background checks take as long as six months to a year to complete. Those who own weapons should be subject to severe penalties in the event any of their weapons fall into violent hands owing to negligence.
I don't believe citizens have a right to own or use automatic firearms (they used to be called machine-guns). I don't believe citizens should have armor-piercing ammunition.
In short I don't believe any citizen should be allowed to possess weapons that outgun police officers.
I don't believe individuals should be allowed to possess rocket launchers, tanks, artillery pieces or nuclear weapons. Nor should members of the public have access to aircraft equipped with air-to-ground weapons.
Somewhere is a line of demarcation between the Second Amendment being absolute or having limits. I think my line is more logical and better suited for today's society.
- Copyright 2013 by P. A. Triot. Copy and distribute at will, with proper attribution. P. A. Triot is a pen name of a retired journalist.