Reply Wed 21 Jun, 2006 03:00 pm
Fed, you make some good points regarding free speech. I guess that it is somewhat in the eye of the beholder in judging what speech is entirely free.

Keep in mind that the founding fathers purposely left no legislative history regarding the deliberations leading to the constitution. Thus, individual statements carry no weight.

You first state that all able-bodied males were members of the militia. You then say most of them were. It is sort of like saying a woman is a little bit pregnant. Thus, this argument holds no water.

If the constitution does not restrict the govt. from passing laws restricting the right to bear arms, then it can control this right. This is what the courts say. You can spout all the propaganda you want, but the courts have the final word.
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Reply Wed 21 Jun, 2006 03:15 pm
Actually, Fedral, you being from New Jersey seems not to have given you as much knowledge as you claim it did. The first regularly organized regiment of militia in New Jersey was formed in 1756, long before the Revolution, and it marched off to join Abercromby's expedition against Montcalm's fort at Carillon (later renamed Ticonderoga by the American colonists and the English). It was a disasterous expedition, but the militia behaved fairly well--which is not the most common report of the militia in our history. American volunteers were far more reliable on the battlefield than were the militia.

Read about Daniel Shays sometime. He lead an uprising in western Massachusetts against the foreclosure on property for unpaid property taxes, which threatened to take land from veterans of the Revolution who could not pay their taxes because they had not been paid. The uprising was put down by militiamen who were marched in from the eastern part of Massachusetts.

Before the Revolution, participation in the militia in many counties was restricted to property owners, just as the vote was. In European history, the militia was restricted to men of a certain property, and was frequently used to put down popular uprisings. As late as 1819, English militiamen were used to scatter the men, women and children who had gathered at St. Peter's Fields near Manchester, to hear a labor organizer speak. It became known as the Peterloo massacre.

The specific expression, "the right to bear arms" refers to language in militia acts in English history which forbid any man to keep and bear arms if he were not a member of the recognized militia, which he could not be if he were not a property owner.
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Reply Wed 21 Jun, 2006 03:20 pm
Here Mr. I Know So Much About New Jersey History, read about The Jersey Blues.
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