Proof That The 2nd Amendment Was Not Just About Muskets

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One of the more popular gun control arguments is that the founding fathers intended the Second Amendment to specifically be about muskets, and because of this, the Second Amendment doesn’t extend the right to bear arms to any firearm that might be semiautomatic or automatic.

Of course, even on face value, this is nonsense. If the Second Amendment had been limited to muskets and not to weapons as a general category, then the founding fathers would have written that we have the right to bear muskets. That they wrote that we have the right to bear arms should settle the argument.

But for those anti-gunners who don’t understand the written word, let’s clear up the situation: the Second Amendment wasn’t specific to muskets because muskets weren’t the only arms that the founding fathers were familiar with. In fact, the founding fathers knew about repeater firearms which are, basically, automatic weapons and did not exclude them. Logan Metesh writes,

Gun control advocates love to claim that the Founding Fathers couldn’t possibly have conceived of repeating rifles when they drafted the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights. The history of Joseph Belton, an inventor and gunsmith from Philadelphia, and his correspondence with the Continental Congress proves otherwise.

Belton claimed to have devised a new form of repeating flintlock musket that was capable of firing as many as sixteen consecutive shots in as little as twenty seconds. After the gun had fired its consecutive loads, it could then be reloaded individually like all other traditional weapons of that time.

Belton wrote to Congress about his new invention on April 11, 1777, letting them know he could be available to demonstrate it to them at any time.

Intrigued by Belton’s claim, Congress ordered 100 examples of his “new improved gun.” They authorized him to oversee the construction of new guns, or alteration of existing guns, so that they were capable of discharging eight rounds with one loading and that he “receive a reasonable compensation for his trouble, and be allowed all just and necessary expences [sic].”

To make a long story short, the government did not end up buying any of Belton’s rifles because of the high prices that he was asking. However, the correspondence between Bolton and the Continental Congress occurred in 1777, while, as Metesh notes, “[t]he Bill of Rights wasn’t ratified until 1791.” Metesh continues,

I’m no math whiz, but even I know that means our Founding Fathers not only knew about repeating rifles 14 years before the creation of the Second Amendment, but that they thought highly enough of the design to pursue further development and implementation of such technology.

So the next time someone claims the Second Amendment was never designed to protect the right to own a repeating rifle, or that it was only meant to apply to flintlock muskets, you can tell them the story of Joseph Belton and his repeating flintlock musket.

Belton’s story is clear. The history is clear. The hard part will be getting your anti-gunner friend to actually read history (they don’t, usually, unless they are trying to reinterpret it into their pet theory’s image) and connect the dots. And we all know that logic and thinking through the long-term consequences of a policy are not anti-gunners’ strong points, so, sadly, you’re still going to have an uphill climb with that discussion with them.

15 COMMENTS

  1. GOOD ARTICLE! . . . tells it like it is. The 2nd amendment was NOT about protection from SLAVERY uprising either, as some ill informed anti gunners might have you to believe. MANY of the Founding Fathers were against slavery but could not get around some of the laws written at the time. It was a miracle (a GREAT miracle!) that some of the slaves had become free during this time. PROTECT the 2nd Amendment! It was written as PROTECTION from a TYRANNICAL government, and this is VERY true today, ESPECIALLY with Treasonistic GLOBALISTS attempting to strip away our CONSTITUTIONAL rights to usher in a NEW WORLD ORDER through Socialism/Communism. Team Trump and his allies 2020 – KAGA (Keep America Great Again).

    • If you can get your hands on a copy of the January 2020 issue of “REASON” magazine then read the article “Socialism Killed My Father”by Jose Cordeiro about venezuela’s socialist government. Another recommendation is “Black Book, Red Terror” which spells out in no uncertain terms what a bunch of murderers the Socialists/Communists those creeps really are.

  2. I love all the great news about are gun rites actually all of are rites as true Americans. They write what ever they want with out reading the facts first before they open their mouths not knowing the real history truth,Thanks Brother for keeping us all informed its the Greatest I support you for all of you for everything you help us with thanks again your true American friend Chuck Y

  3. Here WE folks from their own mouths a sample of “BEARING ARMS”

    Civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens.
    Tench Coxe (May 22, 1755 – July 17, 1824) was an American political economist and a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress in 1788-1789, and a key anti-Federalist, writing under the pseudonym “A Pennsylvanian”.

    Quotes Edit
    The power of the sword, say the minority…, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.
    Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but where, I trust in God, it will always remain, in the hands of the people.
    Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
    Whereas civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.
    “Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution,” under the pseudonym “A Pennsylvanian” in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, p. 2 col. 1. As quoted in the Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789, A friend of James Madison, writing in support of the Madison’s first draft of the Bill of Rights.
    The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them.
    On October 21, 1787. [citation needed]

  4. FredK… The anti-gunners will always try to confuse the people by changing the words to make it look like it says something other than what it actually says. The 2ndA does not specify any particular gun. The commies, however, will never give up, up to, and including killing people, to get their agenta. And this is going on in Washington as we speak.

  5. It clearly states arms, no specific type, the 2nd amendment was written for people to live by then and the same goes for today, and so on and so on, even 100 years from now it will still have the same damn meaning, The Right To Bear Arms.

  6. Catapults, yes, depending on how far it slings and what it’s aimed at. Pumpkin chunkin’ is still legal. Cannons? Sure! They are considered ornamental yard art. Just don’t load them. I have one in front of my gun shop, and no one has said a word so far other than “so cool.”

  7. Great article! Would love to see one. In addition, George Washington himself ordered for the Springfield Armory to be established as a place where future weapons design could be developed (and as a warehouse for weaponry). And they did! So new gun designs were definitely on his mind.

  8. Note: Another fact proving the second amendment was not about muskets is one advantage Washington’s colonials had was rifles, having superior accuracy and range demonstrated during a number of battles.
    The British were said to complain about the snipers decapitating their forces, i.e. targeting their officers, using rifles.

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