Did Our Forefathers Know High Firepower weapons would be eminent?


fearless leader
April 15, 2008, 11:20 PM
I had a book once, I believe it was the encyclopedia of firearms. I don't currently know where it is, but I am hoping one of you may be familiar with the weapon I am about to describe.

During the American Revolution, the USS Constitution, and other ships I can't remember, had, according to this book, a high firepower musket. It was mounted on deck on a yoke, it had multiple barrels, and was about 6 feet long, weighed about 100 pounds, and the Navy had at least 6 of them.

The barrels were loaded with black powder and arranged as a roman candle. It took all day to load, and would shoot about 300 rounds in 2 minutes. The last of it's kind is in a museum in Belgium.

If that is true, the Founding Fathers had to have realized that high firepower weapons would, in fact, be eminent, which would blow a large hole in the current thinking in Washington, DC.

Can anyone help me identify this gun from the desciption?

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fearless leader
April 15, 2008, 11:45 PM
Perhaps I'm wrong about which war, as my Brother in law informs me the constitution didn't exist in the revelutionary war.

I still would like to know about the time period the gun existed, if I can find out what it was called.

April 16, 2008, 12:01 AM
The exquisitness of the second amendment is that in the event that lightsabers or any other evolution in weaponry is created, they will all fall under the general definition of 'arms'. In fact, the second amendment is more a description of a principle, a pre-existent right, than a delineation of what is allowed or tolerated; the principle being that a free man has the right to arm himself/herself. It appears that the absense of specific devices is intentional to allow the constitution to evolve with technology.

The question is if the constitution does not enumerate it, does the freedom exist?

April 16, 2008, 12:03 AM
there were multiple examples of rapid firing weapons dating back to the crew served arrow launchers in the 1600s and earlier... the DC argument against what the founders would have known is 100% blown away when you realize that during the time of the writing of the constitution there was private and corporate ownership of cannon, mortars and even large ships of war...

April 16, 2008, 12:04 AM
um are you incapacitated somehow? no offense intended however it sounds like you were reading a FICTIONAL BOOK intended for table top WARGAMES set in imaginary fantasy lands.

The weapon you describe does not exist. However the puckle gun sounds extremely close and i beleive existed in the time period. However the puckle gun is an oversized revolver on a tripod.. and was only experimented with for a short time by the british army.

however in the renaissance, many gentlemen experimented with putting large numbers of canon barrels onto a single gun carraige. For awhile you could find 20-50 small bore cannon barrels, some of which were just musket barresl, on a single carraige. They took a while to load..

The founding fathers thoughts of "eminent in 120 years from now" on weapons is a useless point to ponder. To them the only things that mattered was that every citizen be garaunteed the right to own a weapon, to carry it, and to be able to use it for private and national defense. YES, we do tend to forget that part of everyone to be expected to pitch in when the lead starts flying.

Besides as far as capacity was concerned, they were interested in combustible cartridges, new forms of ignition, and in making the gun accurate enough to kill a deer at 0- yards and be powerful enough to kill the deer at that range.

April 16, 2008, 12:33 AM
Oleg has pictures of revolvers with 20-round cylinders. And pepperbox pistols with similar capacity.

April 16, 2008, 12:37 AM
Lewis and Clark carried a Griandoni 22-shot repeating air rifle powerful enough to bring down big game.

More info here. (http://www.beemans.net/lewis-assault-rifle.htm)

On top of that, there were any number of primitive, but completely functional, repeating small arms that were manufactured during the era of The Founders.

But, overall, arguing technological change as a way to invalidate the 2nd Amendment is a tenuous position. Unless, of course, one is also willing to make the argument that the 1st Amendment doesn't apply to radio, internet bulletin boards, and cable television.

April 16, 2008, 12:41 AM
Ok, vagaries of the story aside (the USS Constitution and other heavy frigates came after the Revolution), let's analyze it.

Let's broaden the time period to cover the last 100 years of the age of fighting sail - from the early Anglo-French wars - let's say the start of the Seven Years' War in 1756, until the advent of steam-powered armored ships in 1860 (HMS Warrior - got to tour her once - what a ship!). I've studied the naval history of this period pretty thoroughly and have never heard of such a device mounted on a US or British warship. But, there are some things in your story that hint at some facts I recall, so let's piece them together.

1) Ok, you said six weapons. That was the number of heavy frigates ordered in the class and procurement of the USS Constitution. So let's guess that's where you recalled that from.

2) Roman Candle - ok, this makes me thing you are talking about a Congreve Rocket.

3) Mounted on a yoke. - Congreve rockets were mounted on an A-frame device, you could call it a yoke.

These were basic "bottle rocket" kinda devices. The british encountered them when fighting Tipu Sultan in Mysore (again, a great place to tour!). They tried to copy the technology and came up with deployable devices around 1800 or so. They mostly used them on shore, but did experiment a number of times on ship-mounted designs. After a while, they generally gave up I recall as the fire risk and hazard to the ship outweighed the benefits. But they were employed in ground artillery. As a footnote, I think that the line "The rockets red glare" in the Star Spangled Banner was a direct reference to British congreve rockets being fired.

So, that's my best educated guess about what your recollections are about and, to get to one of your points, I don't think the founding fathers anticipated rocket artillery or specifically planned on making it part of the Second Amendment.

April 16, 2008, 12:52 AM
fearless wrote,
If that is true, the Founding Fathers had to have realized that high firepower weapons would, in fact, be eminent, which would blow a large hole in the current thinking in Washington, DC.

There is no viable anti-gun argument on this issue. The firepower of any private citizen today is relatively paltry. It's pathetic if you really think about it. We have to scratch and claw to protect our rights to own relatively modest arms. Over the centuries, mass media has molded public perception of firearms into a weak baby-like mindset. If the founding fathers could fast forward to today, they’d wonder where the real arms for the citizens are.

April 16, 2008, 12:55 AM
Volley guns where bought from France for naval vessels, didn't catch on as grape shot was just as effective and gave the cannon a dual role. Volley guns where usually on longer vessels with big decks. The barrels did not take all day to load, in fact they where fired usually in layers. Most where only 3-5 layers with about 25 barrels per layer. They did look like stacked Roman candles and where a varient of a popular pirate boarding weapon that was a pistol with 5-7 barrels fanned out.

April 16, 2008, 12:58 AM
2) Roman Candle - ok, this makes me thing you are talking about a Congreve Rocket.

see to me a roman candle is a small cardboard tube that you hold in your hand and whne you light off the fuse it spits out 6 flaming balls about 50-75 feet and about 2 seconds apart... to me hes talking about some primitive form of the metal storm

April 16, 2008, 01:12 AM
If I recall correctly in the war of 1812 private citizens had ships of war and were used to capture British ships under something called a letter of marque. Private citizen were allowed the possesion and use of cannon as well. IIRC the first shots of the Texas revolution were over a cannon that Santa Anna demanded the American settlers give up.

In the 1700's the bayonet was the 'super weapon.' Both the miltia and the Continental Army were in short supply. I seem to recall reading that in the war of 1812 bayonets were in common use among American forces. Even at the Battle of New Orleans where Jackson literally had men picked up off the street to man the barricades.

War is horrible, it matters not if the weapons are a volley of Brown Bess Muskets and 40 pound cannon with grape shot or the crew served machine guns of today. The Founders had seen the horrors of war, in many cases first hand. To say they couldn't imagine the modern weaponry is either stupidity or arrogance. Which I'll leave to those wiser than I.


April 16, 2008, 01:18 AM

April 16, 2008, 01:42 AM
I'm not a weapons history expert, but I've always thought that when the constitution was written, civilians mostly had single shot firearms while the government had single shots, cannons, and sail propelled warships.
Now, civilians might at most have a machine gun (or even a cannon, I think) while the government has machine guns, grenades, laser guided missles, tanks, helicopter gunships, fighter jets, bombers, nuclear missles, aircraft carriers, intercontinental ballistic missles, and enough nuclear bombs to destroy civilization.
I think the founding fathers would be upset at the disparity between the government's armory and the people's. I'm not saying we should all have a bazooka, as great as they are for groundhogs, but people shouldn't have to contend with so many regulations when exercising their second amendment-protected rights.

April 16, 2008, 01:50 AM
The weapon you describe does not exist.

Don't be so quick to judge, boyo. My brain tells me there was a multi-barrel, multi-round "CHAMBERS SWIVEL GUN" mounted on USS Constitution during the 1812 business but I can't always rely on my brain. IIRC, the beastie had many balls and charges layered one on top of the other in each barrel. There was a special fuse running down the rounds that would set each off in turn, from the outermost to the innermost. In a way it was like the modern ultra high speed gun that also "stacks" bullets on top of each other.

Here's some more info pulled off Google. Looks like my brain wasn't far off.

Aboard ship, Marines were also responsible for a number of what today would be called "special weapons," including blunderbusses, rifles, and the Chambers Gun of 1814, a large multi-shot flintlock mounted on the capstan, manned by Marines, and firing center-bored lead sabots like a roman-candle. Recent experiments aboard U.S.S. Constitution with a Chambers Gun mock-up indicate that the gun was capable clearing enemy decks in a series of fullauto minigun-like sweeping blasts-if you didn't mind chopping through your own rigging in the process! More likely it was intended as a weapon last-resort for use against an enemy boarding party already swarming over the gunnels and advancing across the deck. In this scenario the Chambers Gun must have been a terrifying and awesome weapon.17 A few Marine sharpshooters armed with muskets and/or rifles might be stationed in the "tops," platforms where sailors gathered before spreading out on the yards to handle sail (period naval documents do not use the term "fighting tops"). One common strategy was for the handful of Marines in each top to load rifles-a time consuming process-- which were then passed forward to the best marksman among them as needed. Marines aloft were to target enemy officers and the adolescent boys-the "powder monkeys"-- used to carry powder to the great guns. However, casualty figures indicate that U.S. Marines often ignored the carnage below to engage the enemy tops in bitter protracted firefights.18


Beyond this, the answer to the question is YES there were extremely powerful weapons during the time of the Founders. Military technology had been advancing steadily in the prior 500 years and was on the cusp of the industrial age. The ships of war could engage at several miles distance. They had huge mortars, cannon, excellent artillery and even military rockets during the early years of the Republic. Small arms, too, had seen rapid advancement. Long rifles could kill at many hundreds of yards. Hand held grenadoes could be tossed into enemy ranks, sending shrapnel flying out in all directions. The only thing they didn't have, when you boil it down, were primer caps and smokeless powder.

April 16, 2008, 04:56 AM
Given Jefferson's and Franklin's scientific/technical savvy, and general propensity for staying on the cutting edge of everything, I suspect that they knew all about the latest developments in weaponry.

And given their political views, I imagine he would have enthusiastically welcomed widespread private ownership of the same.

Jefferson wrote on astronomy, paleontology, and plenty of other natural sciences. Franklin went out of his way to watch the first manned balloon flight, and was likewise a polymath. I'm sure some of the other founders had similar awareness of the world, and given that I would be downright surprised if at least those two didn't know about and take an interest in things like the Puckle Gun, volley guns, compressed-air multi shot guns, and those tandem-charge affairs that look like steampunk metalstorm designs.

April 16, 2008, 05:28 AM
It is true there was a multi-barrel Chambers gun.

Nothing official to back it up, but there are allegedly "documents that exist which seem to indicate that such multibarrel weapons were on several ships in addition to the USS "Constitution" and probably at Oswego, the Battle of Lake Champlain, and possibly at the Battle of New Orleans." Posted on Sailing Navies Forum 1650-1850. There are pretty serious history buffs on that forum. I tend to believe them.

The Marines got to use it. :D

April 16, 2008, 05:51 AM
It is true there was a multi-barrel Chambers gun.

Nothing official to back it up,

Oh god, that's so funny. It's self-destructing within the first full sentence. If it's "true", then let's see something that actually backs it up. Oh god, this thread is so funny. Can you actually point to something REAL? It's not like history is a new thing, or that "new" weapons were something hidden - they are usually triumphed as a progress, not hidden away and suppressed.

Look, let's be sane here. Any weapon deployed on a ship of state would have been procured, tested, reported upon, and appear in ship's records and it's performance documented. In fact, we can't find any of these "mystery" weapons in voluminous records we have of munitions on our public warships. Didn't exist, and wacky theories don't make it real against the tested record.

April 16, 2008, 06:08 AM
you seem tense kamerer, something amiss?

April 16, 2008, 06:11 AM
Easy there big fella. ;)

First paragraph- indeed a short one consisting of one sentence, but a paragraph none the less.

"It is true there was a multi-barrel Chambers gun." True statement. There was a multi-barrel Chambers gun.

Second paragraph- on to a new statement which is why it's in a separate paragraph.

I can't validate the information, but several serious history buffs indicate that there was a Chambers gun on various ships during various battles as cited in said paragraph. I did enough research by checking the mentioned forum to find that information. I tend to lend a bit of credibility to posters there. If that's insufficient data for you, prove it wrong by finding some refutable information.

April 16, 2008, 06:11 AM
I don't think anyone could have forsaw us progressing as far as we did so fast.

Think about just the last 100 years or so. We went from horse draw carages to jumbo jets.

When it comes to firearms, once again it is only the last 100 years or so that things have changed drasticly. before that smooth bore mussle loading wepons were around for centurys, only real change was in how they were "touched off"

April 16, 2008, 06:17 AM
Nope, not tense. Just thoughtful and intellectually honest. I've spent years as a historian and laugh about what passes as fact here without scrutiny. I just try to keep the discussion honest to reality so folks don't read the nonsense and think it's real. I've noticed many people think that things they read on the internet are real, but don't bother checking. It's a real problem, you know?

Seriously, read the immediate responses above. The general theme is "someone said, it so you disprove it, I can't be bothered." I can only laugh at what member 209said, it's the antithesis of honest discourse and critical thinking. Anyway, I have obligations for tomorrow and sign off only because of that, but let's call out and not tolerate illogical and annoying statements like that. Let's aspire to have a discussion of the level worthy of the "High Road" that challenges our intellect and reasoning, not just our knee-jerk responses.

April 16, 2008, 06:26 AM
"Stacked loads" were one of the first attempts to make a true rapid-fire gun, but I don't recall seeing anything about them being used in the Revolution. More to the point of the matter, the military of that time used and had access to EXACTLY THE SAME weapons that civilians did, muskets and cannon (yes, there were a number of privately-owned cannon used during the Revolution).

April 16, 2008, 06:49 AM
I'm a teacher of American history and American Government. I've been at it for over 18 years. You guys are coming at this from a direction that is easily marginalized. I'm late for work so I'll get back to you when I get home. The filters at school block this site.

April 16, 2008, 07:01 AM
Quick note on the way out the door: The first firearms began appearing around 1280 AD. So they'd been an evolving technology for almost 500 years at the time of the American Revolution. Of course the Founding Fathers anticipated newer and better arms. That's WHY they specifically used the term ARMS instead of muzzle loading flintlock rifles. That's why my H&K pistol, my AR15 rifle and my HAND PHASER are and will be covered when technology reaches that point!

April 16, 2008, 07:17 AM
In their times the rifles they had WERE high powered rifles.

April 16, 2008, 07:35 AM
Everything is perspective. In that era, "highfirepower" may have meant a different thing.

What is significant is that they saw the people has having the right to have any firearm that the military would have.

What I think the founding fathers DID NOT forsee is the extent to which US Citizens would lose their courage and desire to defend themselves and others.

-- John

April 16, 2008, 07:38 AM
The second amendment, like the rest of the bill of rights, was a limitation on government infringement.

There was no need to ponder the advanvements of weapons, they were simply the god given rights of free men to own (keep and bear).

April 16, 2008, 09:37 AM
There were organ pipe guns with lots of barrels laid in a row. The technology existed; I cannot say if the US Navy used it in the war of 1812, but it was known.

April 16, 2008, 10:59 AM

It was a repeating rifle firing a projectile at least as effective as a modern .45 ACP - capable of taking down big game.

"Magazine" Capacity: 20 rounds
Air Chamber: 30 effective firings
Caliber: .51
Velocity: 900+ fps !
Effective Range: 150 yards

And, it was in use with the Austrian Army as early as 1780, predating the US Constitution.

We can be fairly certain the Founding Fathers were familiar with the concept of high capacity "assault" weapons.

April 16, 2008, 11:01 AM
I'm pretty sure there is stuff where the founding fathers talked about each man having the right to own his own cannon if they so desired. The point was that there should be no limit, becasue corrupt individuals don't follow the rules, and any free man should have the right to be at the same advantage as someone desiring to take his life.
I don't know.... I'm probably just clinging to my guns and religion our of bitterness....... please somebody get that quote.

April 16, 2008, 11:49 AM

Trench Coxe, writing as "the Pennsylvanian" in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 1788:

"The power of the sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from 16 to 60. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? It is feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."

(italics added)

Considering what is going on in Pennsylvania (Philly vs. Harrisburg) right now, it appears that the more things change, the more they stay the same...

April 16, 2008, 12:29 PM
The Constitution itself delegates to Congrefs the power to "issue letters of marque or reprisal... "

That is the power to give a guy with a battleship a license to commit legal piracy. And you think you can't own big guns? :uhoh: :evil:

April 16, 2008, 12:47 PM
Oh god, that's so funny. It's self-destructing within the first full sentence. If it's "true", then let's see something that actually backs it up. Oh god, this thread is so funny. Can you actually point to something REAL? It's not like history is a new thing, or that "new" weapons were something hidden - they are usually triumphed as a progress, not hidden away and suppressed.

Are you claiming there was no Chambers Swivel Gun, or have you just had too much fiber? I remember now where I read about it, in a book on exotic weaponry alongside various early whale guns, rockets and the like. A real book with real discussion of real weapons. I'll dig up the citation in a bit.

April 17, 2008, 03:26 AM
OK, here we go. The article is "The Chambers Swivel Gun" by Konrad R. Schreier, Jr. and can be found in the 1999 edition of Gun Digest.

That same edition has the story "The Last Man Standing," which is about a BP hunting trip the author took with Elmer Keith and Turner Kirkland and is a very nice read.

April 17, 2008, 11:55 AM
Leonardo DaVinci, who lived hundred of years before the founding fathers "invented" machine guns. He sketched out several WORKABLE repeat fire designs.

If he could imagine them, then I would find it VERY difficult to believe that hundreds of years later the founding fathers couldn't have. Further to that, it is a pretty basic idea to think... "The musket is good, I just wished it was 1.) more accurate and 2.) loaded faster."

Let's be honest, Sam Colt was not an "engineer" or a "scientist" by todays standards (even by the standards of the time)and the machine capabilities of the time can be duplicated and surpassed in most hobby garages today. I seriously doubt that a man who had little particular expertise in any field just came up with this idea that the founding fathers NEVER could have envisioned....

April 17, 2008, 12:48 PM
Also, consider the fact that many of the founders were first hand witnesses and participants in a particularly bloody war. Though total dead and wounded seem small compared with the CW, they were very high in proportion to the tiny population in the colonies. They knew that weapons were dangerous, and they knew what a rifle could do in the hands of someone who knew how to use it. To hear some of the antis, you'd think they were going to a fancy dress party prior to 1900. War was still war, and a fifty caliber roundball was still a whole lot of hurt. Nevertheless they wanted to preserve the right of all citizens to keep and bear these potent weapons.

April 17, 2008, 12:53 PM
I find it funny that many of the same folks who state that the 2nd Amendment should only apply to muskets/muzzleloaders are the same ones that will tell you the Constitution is an "ever-changing document" in the same breath. As mentioned earlier, computers/television/movies/Hustler Magazine did not exist at the time, but they are all protected by the 1st Amendment.

What good would the 1st Amendment be if the government could distribute propaganda by internet, TV, and radio, while the citizens were limited to newspapers??? By the same token, what good would it do if the citizens were limited to muzzleloaders, while the government has M16's/M4's/SAW's???? This particular argument by the Anti's is even more flawed than their "collective rights" argument!

April 17, 2008, 02:40 PM
The "Puckle Gun" was basically a detachable-magazine machinegun ... invented in 1717.

As noted above, Leonardo da Vinci sketched out multi-shot cannons, helicopters, tanks, flamethrowers, and other arms hundreds of years before the Founding Fathers undoubtedly read about them. While the actual implementation may have come later, they understood that such arms were feasable and likely would appear eventually.

The notion that the Founding Fathers somehow did not predict modern (personal) firepower is absurd. The power of a muzzleloader is not trivial, and that of an M16 is not so much greater as to be absolutely incomprehensible.

In writing the 2ndA, the Founding Fathers were not obsessed with products (like we are), they wanted to ensure that the people at large had at least the same arms as their enemies - whatever those tools are, and whoever those enemies are.

Faced with a GE Minigun, the Founding Fathers would have said "how do I get one?", not "gee that's scary it needs to be banned."

April 17, 2008, 02:55 PM
laugh about what passes as fact here without scrutiny
This is casual conversation, not peer-reviewed academia.

Fine. you want fact?

Puckle Gun, 1718:
http://www.ccrkba.org/pub/rkba/news/PuckleGun.jpg (http://www.ccrkba.org/pub/rkba/news/PuckleGun.htm)
Not just conceived, but patented, built and fired.
Comparable in size, capacity, rate, function and firepower to an M16 (the latter obviously being superior, but only thanks to 200 years of techincal innovation, and even then not that much better; we're talking evolutionary improvements, not auto-targeting ray guns).

I don't think the founding fathers anticipated rocket artillery or specifically planned on making it part of the Second Amendment.Rocket artillery was essentially the first weapon invented after gunpowder was concocted. The idea was plainly obvious for millenia, just subject to engineering limits until relatively recently.

Again, the "did the Founding Fathers know..." question is misguided. Their point wasn't analysis of products (muskets & cannons were awfully dangerous back then too), it was ensuring one could be equipped at least equal to, if not vastly superior to, one's enemies.

April 17, 2008, 04:47 PM
The founding fathers did some envisioning but it wasn't firearms technology. They envisioned a day when the government they had carefully crafted went bad and became despotic. The founding fathers wanted the citizens of the US to have a an ability to reclaim their country. The solution was to arm the citizens with the same kinds of equipment the military had and to rigorously train in the use of those weapons. Hence, the second amendment to the constitution.

Second point: The issue is not firepower. The issue is lethality. At the time the second amendment was crafted the most popular military weapon was a muzzleloader with an accurate range of something like 50 yards. In the back woods of Pennsylvania gunsmiths created a light firearm later call the Kentucky Rifle that was lethal out to 300 yards or more. It allowed a skilled user to snipe a specific individual or rank within enemy formations which was considered unsporting and ungentlemanly. At the time the Kentucky rifle was the most dangerous arm available. I don't think there is any historical record of the founding fathers fretting over excessive lethality at the time. I see no reason for us to do likewise.

April 18, 2008, 03:36 AM
Cosmoline- OK, here we go. The article is "The Chambers Swivel Gun" by Konrad R. Schreier, Jr. and can be found in the 1999 edition of Gun Digest.

Thanks for the back-up! :) I got too busy to research it.

The definition of “It's the antithesis of honest discourse and critical thinking”-

1. Failing to respond to a person who is wrong and asking them to double-check their information instead of taking the bait and doing the research to show why you are right.

2. Citing a source where people "spent years as a historian" and spend hours poring over dusty records in order to find historic facts and mentioning that the expert thought it possible something was used.

Hmmm- I have to rethink my definitions.

Just so people understand where I get some of my information; I use http://www.sailingnavies.com/ as a resource for information on sailing ships. I had reason to research the USS Constellation for information pertaining to a family member’s assignment on board and found the forum to have a wealth of good solid information. Lots of information on guns and other things that go boom also. “Sailing Navies features information about various aspects of naval operations during the period 1650-1850 and is intended as a resource for anyone interested in the Age of Fighting Sail and naval history.”

If anyone is interested in horse-mounted units and the history of them, I offer this link: http://www.militaryhorse.org/forum/ It’s another excellent source for historical information pertaining to cavalry (horse) history. I had reason to use them when I spent some time in the [alleged] “oldest cav unit” in the US. I found good information on weapons used by US horse units. Again, there are renowned experts there that will do the dusty archive searches for you.

April 18, 2008, 03:44 AM
Looks like our peanut gallery ran away when I brought the big scary books out.

April 18, 2008, 03:52 AM
It was probably just as much my fault as anyone's elses. I seem to have a tendency to state something is true when I "know" it to be true. I prefer to have my truths be disproven rather than go out of my way to prove they are right. Maybe I'm just lazy or else I have some antisocial behavior tendencies. :p

April 18, 2008, 10:42 AM
Doesn't matter whether the founding fathers foresaw high powered rifles. What they intended was for civilians to be AT LEAST as well armed as government officials. The 2nd isn't about hunting or HD, it's about keeping in place our ability to prevent an elected official from becomming dictator/king like. What the army has, so should we.

April 18, 2008, 11:18 AM
Excellent thread!

fearless leader
April 18, 2008, 11:40 AM
Thanks, Cosmoline, you found it. The Chambers Swivel Gun was the one of which I was referring.

Sorry I was so far off on the time period. I have heard the antis say, time and time again, that "when the founding fathers wrote the second amendment, they could not foresee the rapid fire weapons of today."

April 18, 2008, 11:51 AM
The British troops engaged at the battles of Lexington and Concord were sent with orders to seize cannons. Cannons with offensive capability, which the British deemed unnecessary for a militia whose primary purpose was defense. I think that is worth something.

Furthermore, why would the second amendment be any different from the rest which grow with time to include the latest technology?

fearless leader
April 18, 2008, 12:01 PM
MBT2001 wrote: Leonardo DaVinci, who lived hundred of years before the founding fathers "invented" machine guns. He sketched out several WORKABLE repeat fire designs.

Thanks MBT2001, you taught me something. I was unaware of this.

I would like to show some of these to the anti gunners on THE VIEW. This, I think, is where I first heard the argument that rapid fire weapons were not on the founding fathers' radar.

Thanks also to Officer's Wife for the history lesson. Of this, I was also unaware. I figured I would learn something when I started this thread, but we have some very learned people here. This has be enlightening and entertaining. Thank you all for your posts.

April 18, 2008, 12:07 PM
What, no one mentioned that the Puckle gun came in two variations?
The basic one firing round bullets against "Christian" enemies, and another firing square bullets for Muslim Turks. Apparently square bullets did more damage? Although I would think sustained fire with black powder would be easier with undersized round balls than square bullets.
The rate of fire is said to be 63 shots in 7 minutes using 11-round preloaded cylinders. Pretty amazing for a 1718 era crew-served 1.25 caliber flintlock gun.

And what about cannon fired grapeshot? It was in use long before the American Revolution. It is essentially volley fire used for what we'd do today with a machine gun.

Leonardo Da Vinci's designs were not just on paper. The Ribauldequin (organ or volley gun) first recorded use was by the army of Edward III in 1339 against France during the Hundred Years War. Twelve barrels firing salvos of twelve balls. There were other variations which stagger-fired via a powder train. That's pretty devastating firepower....and over 400 years prior to the 2nd Amendment.

As for rocket batteries? After the USA was formed, Congreve rockets were used here by the British in the War of 1812. But the British got the idea during the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-1784) from being pounded by iron-tubed Mysorean rocket artillery.
I'm sure TJ and the gang knew about this stuff when they were framing the 2nd. These were some of the most educated men of their time period.

April 18, 2008, 12:14 PM
I don't think the founding fathers anticipated rocket artillery or specifically planned on making it part of the Second Amendment.

"... and the rockets red glare
the bombs bursting in air...."

I would have to disagree with that. The 2nd Amendment covered the "cutting edge" weapons of the day. Certainly the IDEA of more effective weapons were as apparent to the founding fathers as LASER GUNS are to us. I wonder if they could have imagined DEATH RAYS, AND LASERS, but guns... No problem. The idea of a machine gun was invented along time ago, a lot closer to their day than to ours.


April 18, 2008, 03:09 PM
no one mentioned that the Puckle gun came in two variations?
I thought about mentioning it (actually 3 variations), but wanted to stay focused on point (MGs were implemented before the Founding Fathers).

April 18, 2008, 03:14 PM
The point of the 2ndA was not "what shall we allow people to own?" but "let's make sure people can have whatever they need to stop their enemies!"

Could you imagine George Washington, faced with a modern British soldier with an L85A2 full-auto 5.56-cal, saying "gee, it's good that my militiamen don't have anything that powerful"? Don't scoff: our enemies HAVE AK-47s NOW (and would-be tyrants' minions have their MP5s); wouldn't Washington have very much approved of every home having an M16 as a counter thereto?

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