• Here's the true story behind the 'Right to keep and to bear arms'

    From Johnny@21:1/5 to All on Sat Jun 25 14:18:49 2022
    By Kerry J. Byrne
    Published June 25, 2022

    Amid today's heated debates about gun laws and the Second Amendment,
    what many people may not realize is that the phrase "the right to keep
    and to bear arms" is older than the Bill of Rights. It was penned years
    before the United States won its independence from England.

    In 1779, Founding Father and then-future president John Adams wrote
    this phrase at his law office in Quincy, Mass., as he drafted the
    Massachusetts Constitution — the oldest in the world. He did so a
    decade before the phrase appeared in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


    The phrase "the right to keep and to bear arms" is codified in Article
    XVII of the Massachusetts Constitution, which Adams wrote in his office
    as a "subcommittee of one," as he called himself.

    Massachusetts voters in 1780 approved the document. It went into effect
    later that year while the American Revolution still raged elsewhere in
    the colonies.


    The Massachusetts Constitution specifically notes the right of citizens
    to keep and to bear arms "for the common defense."

    The U.S. Constitution does not specify for the common defense. It also
    adds that the phrase "the right to keep and bear arms" is one that
    "shall not be infringed."

    Adams was certainly familiar with the colonial sentiment. The attorney
    famously defended the eight British soldiers charged in the massacre.

    The states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont all have
    declarations of rights that precede the U.S. Constitution and mention a
    "right to bear arms."

    But none contain the turn of phrase by Adams about the rights both "to
    keep" and "to bear" arms. One means to possess; the other means to

    The Boston Massacre, in which soldiers shot and killed unarmed
    civilians in 1770, reinforced in the minds of colonists their desire to
    be armed against government, scholars have argued.


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