The second amendment to the United States Constitution states:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”1
This was passed by Congress on September 25th, 1789 and was ratified on December 15, 17911. At that time the most sophisticated weapons of war were musket and cannon.
You may have seen movies depicting wars in those times where all the troops are shoulder to shoulder in a line firing their muskets in unison toward the opposing troops who are themselves similarly shoulder to shoulder in a line, probably less than 100 metres away, shooting their muskets too. The closeness was because of the inaccuracy of the weapon. Muskets were single shot weapons and, after being fired, the infantryman reloaded the weapon by doing the following:
- opened his priming pan
- took a cartridge from his cartridge box
- bit off the tip of the end containing the powder charge
- primed his musket by squeezing some powder into the priming pan
- closed the priming pan
- emptied the rest of the powder down his musket barrel
- rammed the rest of the cartridge down on top of it, using his iron ramrod (the cartridge paper served as wadding to keep the powder and ball in place)
- he then cocked his musket and was ready to shoot
As a consequence, an infantryman, if very well trained, could fire up to 6 rounds a minute2.
These days armies are much more capable and their automatic or semi-automatic rifles have a much faster rate of fire. Even the venerable old AK-47 (from 1947) has a rate of fire of 600 rounds a minute when on fully automatic (but it only has a magazine of 30 rounds). Modern assault rifles have an effective range of over 300 metres3. However, that is just the tip of the military iceberg. In addition to heavily armed infantrymen, modern armed forces now have armoured personnel carriers, tanks, all sorts of artillery pieces, missiles, and aircraft or drones that can pound the bejesus out of anything that looks even slightly threatening. This is what makes the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) desperate lies to try to protect the second amendment so ludicrous. In addition to the silly ‘protecting your family’, they continue to spin the ‘protecting the country’ story as if that is vaguely realistic. Lastly, they come up with ‘preventing government overreach’. The irony in this last statement is that the US is currently in a Trump-led downward spiral, aided and abetted by his enablers in the Republican Party. Trump has sent federally employed mercenaries into a couple of state capitals in precisely the sort of overreach the NRA carps about regularly. So, what have the second amendment gun nuts done? Apart from flouncing around like Tinkerbell in a tutu waving her wand about; absolutely bugger all. They do not understand what is happening to the US because they are some of the thickest people in the country. They are so thick that I doubt they realise that by their inaction in preventing this ‘government overreach’, they are demonstrating the NRA lie.