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Does the Second Amendment Still Apply to Modern Firearms?

If you’re going to argue that the Second Amendment should only apply to weaponry that was available at the time the Constitution was written, you have to be logically consistent and apply the same argument to other Constitutional rights. If you do this, though, you end up with some major problems.

Using the logic of gun control advocates who say the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to modern weaponry, the First Amendment would not apply to modern forms of communication. In other words, in a world where the Constitution only applied to the technology of the time it was written, the government could legally arrest you for something you posted on the internet or said on television.

The problems don’t end there, though. Since vehicles weren’t invented when the Constitution was written, the Fourth Amendment – which protects against warrantless searches – would not apply to warrantless searches of your vehicle. And since electricity wasn’t invented when the Constitution was written, you can’t classify electrocution as a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Of course, none of this is at all the logical reality of the Constitution. The truth is that the founding fathers knew that times would change even if they could not foresee how and always intended the Constitution to apply to past, present, and future realities in America.

Weaponry of the Past

Gun control advocates who say that the founding fathers would not have written the Second Amendment the way they did if they could have foreseen the destructive capabilities of modern firearms do not fully understand the reality of the weapons that were available at the time.

In 1791 – the date the Second Amendment was written – there was much more available than just muskets. This is a point that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch brought up when presented with the “Second Amendment should only apply to muskets” argument on CNN’s recent town hall. In addition to muskets, weaponry at the time included primitive hand grenades, cannons capable of launching explosive rounds as well as grapeshot which could easily kill an entire crowd of people, mortars, and more.

Interestingly enough, many of these weapons are illegal today but were not illegal at the time the Second Amendment was written. Suffice it to say that the founding fathers were well aware of the destructive capabilities of weaponry and chose to include the Second Amendment in the Constitution regardless.

The True Purpose of the Second Amendment

Those who argue that modern weaponry should not be covered under the Second Amendment do not understand the Second Amendment’s true purpose. The founding fathers were not all that concerned about an individual’s ability to hunt for food, or even an individual’s ability to defend themselves from an intruder. What they were very concerned about, though, is the ability of the American people to rise up against a tyrannical government.

Having just defeated a tyrannical government in the Revolutionary War, the founding fathers were terrified that the country they were founding would eventually devolve into a tyrannical country like the one they had rebelled against. The Second Amendment was intended to be a safeguard against this.

With this being the case, it is essential that the militia – defined as the whole of the American population – be armed with weaponry that gives them a fighting chance against a tyrannical government. If anything, the founding fathers would likely be concerned that the weaponry available to the American people today is not powerful enough in comparison to the weaponry available to the American government rather than being concerned that modern firearms have become too powerful for citizens to own.


The argument that the Second Amendment should only apply to muskets is one that holds little water, however, it still persists among the highest ranks of the gun control crowd. Hopefully, the next time you hear this faulty reasoning you will be armed with the information necessary to dismiss it.

~ National Gun Network

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  1. Jerry W says

    A solid counter to the liberals case against the second amendment. There is, however, enough evidence to make a plausible case that the militia clause was, in large part, motivated by the slave states not wanting the possibility of a tyrannical national government obstructing their ability to own slaves, an economic driver to their continued well being.

  2. Dirty Davey DownEast says

    Having just fought the War for Independence General Washington, and other military leaders, would have been aware of the future weaponry then under development and would not intend for our sacred Constitution to exclude.

    To build on the authors conclusion; one of our wise Founding Fathers said, an armed citizenry is the best deterrent to a tyrannical government.


  3. M.B. Hardy says

    American long rifles were superior to the British Brown Bess musket, allowing militiamen to take out British officers in the field pretty much at will. For there to be an equivalent, we all should be able to own and operate full automatic, silenced, stealth drones with night vision.


    No, No, No – while your article is spot on as to the extension of the Bill of Rights to modern conveniences, you MISS the truth of the 2nd amendment later in your article.

    Note the wording – (“. . . the RIGHT of the people to . . . “) 2A does NOT grant the right by gov’t to ownership of arms by people. What is affirms is that the right already exists and the 2A merely says that government cannot interfere with that right. In that reading, it means that the right to bear arms IS NOT GRANTED by the government. It is an inalienable right to self protection that we already possess from a higher power. The 2A just tells gov’t to keep their hands off. Thus if gov’t cannot and does not grant the right, it also cannot take it away.

    Therefore, while repeal of the2A would be a disaster, it still does not mean we do not have a right to self-protection. Something granted by the Creator.

    Please stress this point in future writing.

  5. Jesse says

    Sadly logic and intelligence are not items LIBERALS possesses. They called for gun control after three attacks in which a gun was not used. The first was a Knife Attack in China where guns are not allowed. The second was a car and Knife Attack. The third occurred about a month ago and was a Knife Attack as well. As soon as LIBERALS in their INFINITE IGNORANCE heard that more than one was hurt or killed they demanded gun control laws. The worst part is even if they get all guns banned they will still not be happy because what we need is something they got rid of long ago. Namely crime control and Criminal Control.

  6. Sue says

    Dude, I AM a liberal. I own Glocks, Rugers, Sigs, a shotgun, and an AR. Why do you assume only conservatives use guns?

  7. Steven Hambacher says

    Your argument falls flat by ignoring actual law and SCOTUS rulings as well as leaving out common sense. In a home invasion, hand grenades and shoulder fired missiles are more effective than AR style riffles, however we have no 2nd amendment right to buy them. Most robberies and break-ins probably involve handguns as the intent is to have your hands available to carry out loot and not be noticed going in (hard to do with any long gun). AR semi-auto riffles were already illegal to own prior to 2004, but you didn’t mention that.
    As for the ignorant idea of arming teachers, think about telling a platoon of soldiers your going to replace their AR semi-auto rifles with 9 mm handguns just before deployment to some war zone due to budget cuts. They would tell you to go to hell. That would be similar to arming teachers. We always think of the situation as “something is better than nothing” but in truth it would make the job more difficult for police and potentially endanger more people.
    AR style rifles do one thing well, kill many people quickly. Any other use is best described as not optimal. As an example, why does the military train snipers to use bolt action rifles instead of semi auto rifles? Because they are more accurate and have greater range. I would assume hunting is similar and I have never seen a hunter spray bullets at a target.
    As for home invasion, a shotgun or handgun is going to be equal or better than what the other person has. The day I turned 18, the state I grew up in dropped the drinking and gun ownership age to 18 from 21. In my opinion, that was a mistake that was in fact later corrected.
    We are not entitled to ANY weapon we want to own. We have no actual need for a semi-auto weapon, we just want them. The least you can do is tell the truth about this. More powerful than ANY weapon is your well thought out VOTE keeping morons, criminals and their paid prostitutes out of office.

  8. lowell rudd says

    the Brown Bess and the Charleville muskets were the assault rifles of the day. the tactic was to mass ranks of musketeers to fire at once , be replaced by the second and third ranks while reloading, thereby creating the same results as the modern suppressive fire tactic. Incoming rate of fire was similar however the difference between the .70 or .86 caliber, soft lead slug that would rip an arm off and the .22 caliber, jacketed round of today means the sheer mass of fire in 1775 was mind numbing.

  9. Jack says

    Daⲭdy wins!? The twіns declared.

  10. JungleCogs says

    It applied to modern firearms then; it applies to modern firearms now… it applies to firearms period.

  11. Timothy k Toroian says

    I just refer them to Wednesday, September 9, 1789, when the Senate during debate on the Bill of Rights, and specifically the clause that became the 2nd, voted in the negative to insert the words “for the common defense” after the words “to bear arms. That means they voted not to put those words IN. That also means they were never there in the first place so there was never a necessity to remove them. That is an important point. If you want to see the antis have a fit, I live in PA. The constitution reads, quote, The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. I don’t know for certain when that originally adapted but it is still there. Notice that “defense of themselves” IS listed before the state.

  12. mike says

    I must not have the proper copy of the second amendment. I keep looking but i can’t find the word musket. I will keep looking it has to be in there somewhere. I was thinking it didn’t pretain to me becuase i don’t own a musket.

  13. Chiefton says

    The left fails to remember that citizens owned canons during the Revolutionary war and actually were told to bring them to battle. Later on, Gatling guns were created and owned by civilians under their Constitutional rights. It was only in the 20th century that the government began to infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights and take the right to ownership of those weapons away without getting prior approval from the Government. Amazingly, nobody ever used a canon to blow up a neighbors home nor a Gatling gun to do a drive by. These only took place once the Government began attacking the 2nd Amendment with its failed policies.

  14. Skip says

    The one thing that I know for a fact is that a single barrel firearm was developed for the New York state militia that fired ten shots and was a muzzle loader. The barrel was loaded with ten loads one in front of the other and the lock was slid forward to fire the first round and slid back one notch to fire the next round etc. etc. So anyone saying a muzzle loader was only capable of firing one shot is not well informed.

  15. Stephen Kirtland says

    I don’t mean to be picky, but electricity actually had been invented quite a long time before the Constitution was written. Leyden jars were a primitive form of storage battery that was developed in the seventeenth century. Few applications had been found for the “devil” yet, but I’m sure you’ve heard of Franklin’s little experiment.

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