The United States of 1791 was far different from today’s America. Few people had jobs as we know them today. People worked for themselves with some exceptions. Think Slaves and Merchant Seamen. Mercantile clerks and blacksmith apprentices were likely to be sons. Women rarely worked outside of their homes. Banks were small and one room schools were iffy.
There were no gas stations, movie theatres, telephone operators, call centers, railroads, insurance agencies, small-town libraries, police and fire departments, casinos, truck drivers, electricians, plumbers, steel mills, auto manufacturers or cabbies. Consequently, there were few opportunities for folks to earn wages.
The thirteen states were each trying to govern independently. Folks didn’t yet know what to make of the federal government. They didn’t know if they could trust it to not become a monarchy. Most people were farmers and rural. Their tools were axes, spades, plows and long guns. The rifle hadn’t been invented.
So, in 1791, as the Bill of Rights, as the first ten amendments to the U.S constitution were known, stated that, ‘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.’ The army and navy then were virtually non-existent. Today, the U.S.is arguably the most secure country in history with a well-regulated Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Command, Air Force and Coast Guard. Our reach is worldwide.
People today no longer need guns as tools with rare exceptions for self-protection. Guns are too common and cause many tragic deaths here when we compare our statistics to other developed nations. Also, guns are far more lethal today than were the old-fashioned muzzle loaders. A lone gunman can kill crowds of people with rapid fire weapons developed for warfare. Many things have changed but the words of the Second Amendment still cause fierce debate in this country, with attitudes shaped by the NRA and the congressmen under its spell.
So much has changed. It is time for us to begin to make effective regulations about weapons – one does not need a sub-machine gun to hunt deer. One needs a license to drive a semi or even a motorcycle. That which is dangerous to our national health should be licensed and regulated.
People with prison records should get permits before they’re allowed to buy a gun. Same goes for minors and mentally disturbed people. Weapons of war should be regulated to permit them only for recreational purposes. Let’s become a safer and more secure country.
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