>The folks who wrote the phrase "well-regulated militia" meant that the
>militia would operate smoothly.
Sorry, that doesn't parse. "Running smoothly" is a qualitative judgement, not
an organizational aspect, and the Bill of Rights was written to be very
practical. The idea that "regulated" meant something different in the 18th
century is one of the sillier things I've heard in a while...that word goes all
the way back to the latin "regulum," and meant then what it means now.
At the time the Bill of Rights was written, there was no telling when we might
be attacked, and we didn't really have the resources for a big standing army.
So you called on the citizenry...and of course the ironic thing is that calling
on them in this fashion usually meant knowing who had guns and who didn't.
Which of course is one form of registration.
Also, you have to put this in context. At the time this was written, the arms
under discussion were single-shot black-powder muskets. T'weren't much else
I think you should be entitled to have all the single-shot black-powder muskets
your heart desires. If they could have foreseen Uzis and AK-47s and MAC-10s, I
think they would've worded that a bit differently.
(As to the "bear arms" provision, which means to carry them...we've accepted
that people can't just walk around armed, and to follow this line for a moment
further...do you think that someone should be allowed to own a gun if he's a
convicted felon? If he's mentally unstable or mentally handicapped? If he has
Parkinson's and can't fire straight? Because if the answer to any of those is
"no," then guess what? You just voted for gun control.)
(all message content (c) 2003 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)