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Isaac-Saxxon 11-08-2007 07:14 AM

Gun rights where do you stand ?
The philosophy behind the Second Amendment began several hundred years before its creation, originating in England. The concept of citizens or "subjects" bearing arms dates back to at least the 12th century when King Henry II obligated all freemen to possess certain arms for defense. In the following century, King Henry III required every subject between the ages of fifteen and fifty to own a weapon other than a knife. This was of such importance that Crown officials gave periodic inspections to guarantee a properly armed townspeople. This was because England did not have a police force until 1829, and in the absence of a regular army it was the responsibility and duty of the subjects to keep watch and ward at night to confront and capture "suspicious persons". This remained relatively unchanged until 1671, when Parliament created a statute that drastically raised the property qualifications needed to possess firearms. In essence, this statute disarmed all but the very wealthy. In 1686, King James II banned without exception the Protestants' ability to possess firearms, even while Protestants constituted over 95% of the English subjects. Not until 1689, with the rise of William of Orange, did the Protestants possess firearms once again with the newly enacted law that reads, "That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their defence suitable to their Conditions, and as allowed by Law". The tradition of securing a military force through a duty of universal military obligation for all able-bodied males follows from the Elizabethan era militia in England.[1][2]

The English Declaration of Rights (1689) affirmed freedom for Protestants to "have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law." When Colonists protested British efforts to disarm their militias in the early phases of the Revolution, colonists cited the Declaration of Rights, Blackstone's summary of the Declaration of Rights, their own militia laws, and Common Law rights to self-defense. While British policy in the early phases of the Revolution clearly aimed to prevent coordinated action by the militia, there is no evidence that the British sought to restrict the traditional common law right of self-defense. Indeed, in his arguments on behalf of British troops in the Boston Massacre, John Adams invoked the common law of self-defense.[3]

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