Lawmakers

Representative Cleveland M. Bailey, West Virginia

Despite the many changes that have taken place since the adoption of this amendment, I still feel that our founding fathers acted wisely. Just prior to the adoption of this amendment to the Constitution, Federal troops had been used to quell the so-called "Whiskey Rebellion" in the State of Pennsylvania. Many people resented this encroachment. This, I think, was the basic reason for the setting up of state militias. The use of Federal troops in the recent Little Rock, Arkansas, incident comes close indeed to a violation of this amendment. In view of the increase of crimes involving the individual, I still think the right to carry arms should not be infringed.

Senator E. L. Bartlett, Alaska

The founding fathers of our country, with typical wisdom and foresight, linked "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" to the cause of "the security of a free State." The Second Amendment prohibits Congress from infringing the right to bear arms for a lawful purpose. The Amendment is designed to promote the defense of our Republic. We Alaskans, having suffered invasion of our soil in World War Two, know the value of "a well regulated militia." We are proud of the fact that in many Alaska villages, virtually every able-bodied male adult participates in the National Guard, thereby contributing to the safety and security of every American citizen.

Senator Howard W. Cannon, Nevada

The richt of Americans to bear arms was, I believe, intended to protect our homes and our country just as it did at the time of America's birth as a nation. While circumstances are different today, those of us who believe in and treasure the Constitution and our nation's history can easily find applications for the Second Amendment in our Twentieth Century. We keep arms to protect our homes, to protect our loved ones and our heritage. We even could one day be confronted with an invader, and Americans would have to fight in their own streets in a situation similar to that which Britain prepared for in the dark days of World War II. This is my brief analysis of the situation but, I might add, I am a gun collector of sorts.

Senator Estes Kefauver, Tennessee

There was ample historical precedent for the provision expressed in the 2nd Amendment. Tacitus expressed it this way many centuries ago: "Is there any escape from a large standing army but in a well disciplined militia?"

The Constitutions of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Vermont contained provisions guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms even before the U.S. Constitution was written. The importance of this provision is just as great today as it was in colonial times. The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. The right of citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been protected in our Constitution. It should be pointed out, however, that the second amendment does not refer to the secret carrying of arms to be used for criminal purposes. The carrying of concealed weapons may, and should be, prohibited by law under the police power.

The word "militia" has been defined to include all able-bodied male citizens of the United States and all other able-bodied males who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States between the ages of 18 and 45. The ages, of course, are subject to variation. It would appear from the foregoing that the term "militia" includes all those persons who could reasonably be expected to be called upon to defend their country, not necessarily limited to organized forces.

The expression "shall not be infringed" means that the Congress cannot pass any law that would deny the people the right to keep and bear arms. It must be remembered that the Congress does have the power to regulate interstate commerce and can legislate for the public good and thus some legislation has been enacted regulating firearms, but in no instance can the Congress take away the right given to the people to keep and bear arms. Congress derives the power to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the nation from Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. Thus, the Second Amendment has no relation to the purposes of national defense and internal security.

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Old Hunter illustrates all weapons by actual unretouched photographs so you can see how they REALLY look.

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