The peaceable part of mankind will be
continually overrun by the vile and
abandoned while they neglect the
means of self-defence.

                           Thomas Paine
Necessity of the 2nd Amendment

   The Second Amendment  is a recognition of mans basic right to defend ones
own life.  However, maintaining ones own liberty seemed to be of equal
significance to those who determined the wording.  Richard Henry Lee (1732-94)
was one of the leaders of the American Revolution and a delegate to the
Continental Congress from 1774-1779.  He felt that the only way a people could
maintain their liberty in the long run was to be armed well enough to over power
the forces of any tyrant or government that sought to subdue them.
    George Mason (1725-92) was an American statesman and a delegate to the
Virginia constitutional convention.  He drafted Virginia’s Declaration of Rights and
a great deal of its constitution.  In 1789 he helped draft the U. S. Constitution and
later the Bill of Rights was patterned after the Virginia Declaration of Rights that
he had drafted.  Mason was a firm believer that “Power corrupts” and his distrust
of those who held an office of power led him to specify that “the people” shall
always have the means to retain or regain the liberties natural to all men by birth.
    Tench Coxe (1755-1824) most assuredly did not look at firearms as to
whether they had any “sporting” or “competition” purposes.  His reference to
“every other terrible implement of the soldier” leads us to an understanding of his
conviction that average law abiding citizens should have access to any weapon
available to our armed forces.  (While I don’t think he envisioned the weaponry
that would be produced in the distant future I do believe the average law abiding
citizen would be no more a threat with a rocket launcher than he would be with a
deer rifle and probably would have no use for one anyway.)
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