The Right to Bear Arms

The Right to Bear Arms by Jeff Thomas – International Man

In recent decades, the US government has been doing its best to find a way to limit the ability of its people to bear arms. And, in turn, the people respond vehemently that their Constitution guarantees them the right to bear arms.

Regardless of which side of the argument any particular American is on, I’ve almost never met one who knows what caused this right to be written in the Constitution.

Countless Americans believe that they have the right to bear arms, so that they can protect themselves and their homes from burglars or other miscreants. Others, particularly those who live in rural areas, believe in the right to go hunting if they wish.

Whilst both of these concerns are reasonable, they’re not by any means the reason why the founding fathers were so adamant that the right to bear arms is critical.

The Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, was passed by the US Congress in 1791, some eighteen months after the ratification of the Constitution in 1790. The reason why it was considered essential by the framers leads directly back to the Gunpowder Incident in 1776.

In 1774, in Boston, a meeting of the First Continental Congress took place to discuss the introduction of the Intolerable Acts by Britain, including the seizure by the British of gunpowder that was stored in Charlestown. In addition, Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the Colonies, prohibited the importation of further supplies of gunpowder.

In Boston, this generated discussion, but no action. But in Williamsburg, then the capitol of Virginia, the reaction was quite different. There, the colonists, in early 1776, began to form armed militias. Governor Dunmore (the ruling British representative in the colony) decided to repeat the Boston seizure in Virginia. Just down the street from the Governor’s mansion, in the House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry had just delivered an impassioned speech in which he proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

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