In 1776, America's Founders came together in Philadelphia to draw up a "Declaration of Independence," ending political ties to Great Britain.
In 1776, America's Founders came together in Philadelphia to draw up a "Declaration of Independence," ending political ties to Great Britain.Written by Thomas Jefferson, it is the fundamental statement of people's rights and what government is and from what source it derives its powers: WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.Five conventions recommended adding a right to arms; by comparison, only three conventions mentioned free speech.
The Founders also declared that governments are created by people to secure their rights.
Whatever powers government has are not "just" unless they come from us, the people.
To protect the basic rights of Americans--rights which each person possesses and that are guaranteed, but not granted, by any government--the framers added the first ten amendments to the Constitution as a package.
Those amendments have come to be known as the Bill of Rights.
The Founders who wrote the Bill of Rights drew many of their ideas from the traditions of English "common law," which is the body of legal tradition and court decisions that acted as an unwritten constitution and as a balance to the power of English kings.
The Founders believed in the basic rights of men as described in written legal documents and in unwritten legal traditions.In each case, rights belonging to "the people" are without question the rights of individuals.Dozens of essays have been written by the nation`s foremost authorities on the Constitution, supporting the traditional understanding of the right to arms as an individual right, protected by the Second Amendment. ." Making the same point, Tench Coxe wrote that the militia "are in fact the effective part of the people at large." George Mason asked, "[W]ho are the militia?One of these was the right of the common people to bear arms, which was specifically recognized in the English Declaration of Rights of 1689.However, the Founders also recognized that without a blueprint for what powers government could exercise, the rights of the people would always be subject to being violated.They and their contemporaries were firearm owners, hunters and in some cases gun collectors (George Washington and Thomas Jefferson exchanged letters about their collections).They had just finished winning their freedoms with gun in hand, and would, in their next session, pass legislation requiring most male citizens to buy and own at least one firearm and 30 rounds of ammunition.The Founders were declaring that we are all equal, and that we are defined by rights that we are born with, not given to us by government.Among those rights is the right to pursue happiness--to live our lives as we think best, as long as we respect the right of all other individuals to do the same.The Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, was created to specifically describe the powers of government and the rights of individuals government was not allowed to infringe.Some people claim that there is no individual right to own firearms.