It all started with Columbine, then the Virginia Tech shooting happened, followed by the Aurora shooting and even more recently the shooting in Orlando, Florida. With all the hype surrounding the 2nd amendment after the shooting, I’d like to discuss a few myths about the 2nd amendment and my problem with one argument that the pro-gun side utilizes. The first myth is that the founding fathers wrote the 2nd amendment only with muskets in mind, and the second, while it isn't a myth, is the pro-gun argument of the Puckle gun.
The first myth I would like to tackle is the founding fathers only had muskets in mind when they wrote the Constitution. When I turn on the news, I will hear a left wing politician or reporter say that when the founding fathers said you can own a gun they did not mean you could have a modern military grade firearm. The problem with that argument is that, at the time when the Constitution was written, the musket was a modern military firearm. In fact, most people in the United States owned a rifle, which was far more accurate than a musket. In a lot of cases, militiamen would take their rifles into battle over the less accurate musket. The best example of this is the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, where an outnumbered rag tag group of farmers beat battle hardened British veterans of the Napoleonic wars, mainly because they were using their own rifles to pick the British off from a distance.
The next thing I want to talk about is the Puckle gun argument. For those of you who are unaware, the Puckle gun was invented in 1718 by James Puckle. It was the first “machine gun,” it had a rotating cylinder that allowed for a rate of fire of 9 rounds per minute versus the standard 3 rounds that a trained soldier could shoot. Overall, it was an utter failure, and it was never used in combat because of its terrible reliability. A better argument for people owning more extreme military hardware is that the private ownership of both field artillery and fully armed warships was allowed. Yes, people during that time were allowed to own fully functional field artillery and warships. During the War of 1812, the US government would give letters of Marque to privateers, who privately owned a fully functional warship. The practice of privateering was very widespread and it allowed for the private ownership of the most powerful piece of military hardware at the time.
While the founding fathers may not have known what firearms would have evolved into what they are today, they believed in the right to civilian ownership of military grade armaments. Like I stated before, the argument of the founding fathers writing the 2nd amendment with only muskets in mind is very faulty for the musket was a military grade firearm. And on the other side, the use of the Puckle gun argument is faulty as well because there are much better ways to spin that type of argument such as the artillery and warship argument.