The first line to Sam Cookes’ song “Wonderful World” goes like this: “Don’t Know Much about history.” And that’s the way liberals want to keep most of the nation. History’s a great teacher, but too many of us found it boring. But it comes in handy when we’re trying to protect our freedoms.
Knowing some history about what our founders thought about what it means to “bear arms” can go a long way to shut the mouth of someone who does not know much about history.
In 1999, Texas U.S. District Judge, Sam Cummings ruled in a domestic abuse case that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual the right to keep and bear arms.
There was naturally blowback from this decision. His detractors claimed he neglected to follow usual judicial practice. You see, his sin was not citing legal precedent to support his decision.
That one sentence clearly defines a major problem in this country, run by pinhead lawyers — so full of arrogance that they think themselves and their court decisions superior to the Constitution and the founders. By citing only court precedent instead of original intent one bad decision leads to another and so on.
Some legal pinheads might cite the Supreme Court case U.S. v Miller (1939) wherein the court ruled the Second Amendment’s “obvious purpose . . . was to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of the state militia.” In the early 1980s, the Illinois Supreme Court as well as the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there was no right for individuals to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment.
I’m no constitutional scholar or great jurist with an army of researchers, but I can read.
So did the framers intend the Second Amendment to encompass an individual’s right to carry guns for self-protection? It turns out they, the founders, had plenty to say on the subject.
The first state Declaration of Rights to use the term “bear arms” was Pennsylvania in 1776: “that the people have a right to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state.” Pretty clear. No ambiguity there.
Noah Webster of dictionary fame was certainly in a position to know what the Second Amendment phrase “bear arms” meant. A prominent Federalist, he wrote the first major pamphlet in support of the Constitution when it was proposed in 1787, in which he stated:
“[B]efore a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed.”
Again, pretty straightforward, but one might expect that of a wordsmith.
In fact, in Webster’s famous dictionary, first published in 1828, “bear” is defined as “To wear; to bear as a mark of authority or distinction; as to bear a sword, a badge, a name; to bear arms in a coat.”
Continuing to the word “arms,” we find this definition: “weapons of offense, or armor for defense and protection of the body.” So according to Webster, “bear arms” is to carry or wear weapons openly or concealed. Further, Webster defines “pistol” as a “small firearm, or smallest firearm used… small pistols are carried in the pocket.”
I bet most Americans don’t know this much about gun history in America.