The Modern Musket: Why AR15s (& Other Guns) Are Constitutionally Protected

The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This was written at a time when the muzzle loaded musket was the cutting edge of firearms technology, which prompts some gun control advocates to claim that American citizens should be allowed to own only musket type weapons. The other argument is that the militia has now become the National Guard, thus the average citizen has no need to own firearms at all. To understand why those arguments are invalid, we must analyze the wording of the Second Amendment, the functionality of the National Guard as opposed to a militia, and, finally, the modernization of the musket.

People as the Militia
By using English comprehension, we can determine why the Founding Fathers chose to add in a comment about the militia instead of just writing the second half about the people bearing arms. If we go by modern sentence structure, the Second Amendment seems to be worded in a choppy manner. It is not. The Second Amendment is two thoughts separated by a comma. Today, it would be a semi-colon or broken into two sentences. During the 1700’s, “well regulated” did not mean controlled as it would today. It would be used instead of “trained and equipped.” Let’s try rewording the Second Amendment in a format that is more conducive to today. “A trained and equipped militia is necessary to the security of a free state; the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Or perhaps, even “As a trained and equipped militia is necessary to the Security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” If worded in this manner, we can see that it was intended for people to be the militia in order to defend states from other governments.

So, if the people are the militia who will protect their state from other hostile governments, including the federal government, then what is the National Guard? In order for each state to insure that they will have a standing militia, it was deemed easiest to form a National Guard, which is a military unit under the control of the individual state. There is only one problem with that: the Federal Government can (and often does) take control of any and every state’s National Guard to supplement its own military. Note the name – it is not “Arizona State Guard” or “Rhode Island State Guard,” but rather “National Guard.” The militia is designed so that there is NO Federal control over them, thus having sole allegiance to the People of the State, which is in standing with the Second Amendment. This is why there are two militias today. The official militia known as the National Guard, and then, according to a Constitutional Framer, George Mason, the Independent Militia, which “…consists now of the whole people, except for a few public officers.” This keeps the federal government from being able to control the militia and use it to attack the very people it is designed to protect.

Modern Muskets
Knowing that the wording of the Second Amendment applies to all citizens and that the National Guard is not the militia as defined by the Bill of Rights, we can now look at how the AR15, AK-47, and every other firearm is not a weapon fit only to be used by the federal militaries and National Guards, but is in fact fit for “all those who would take up arms.”

In 1777, muskets were cutting edge and were had by all those who would fight. Those soon became muzzle loaded rifles, turned into rifles that fired metallic cartridges, and then repeaters that advanced up to the AR15. When we fought the British, which led to the expressed need for a militia, we were equipped with weapons comparable to their own. With that in mind, why would the militia, that has an expressed need, not have a need to be equipped with comparable weapons to that of its foreseeable enemies? If we fought with muskets against muskets and today’s enemies would fight with AR15s, how are AR15s not today’s musket, just as the computer is today’s quill and parchment?

Federalist PapersThe wording of the Second Amendment leaves the right of the People to be armed. The National Guard is not the People. The People are to be equipped with weapons comparable to the enemy in order to defeat them. Remind me how, then, that there is no expressed right by our Founding Fathers for the People of this nation to be armed with weapons more advanced than the musket. The Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution were not feeble minded doofs who could not imagine the advancement of firearms technology, nor were they men who wanted the Federal or State Governments to be able to take advantage of the people and deny them their natural rights. They were men who understood the fact that Americans had a natural right to live their lives and to defend themselves from a government who would seek to undermine their rights of liberty. The ONLY reason the Federal Government exists is because the Founding Fathers who subscribed to federalism wrote compelling letters, known as the Federalist Papers, in which they explain in great detail how the Constitution covers everything. This was not enough for the Anti-Federalists and thus the Bill of Rights was made. The Bill of rights is not designed to outline the power of the People, but to put expressed limits to the power held by the government, which is specifically declared in the 10th Amendment, which states “The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

If gun control advocates cannot see that they have no legal backing and that their efforts undermine the very foundation of this nation, it is our duty to remind them. If we do not, then all of our rights will be infringed upon and we will no longer be Americans, but subjects of the American government. We are blessed to be American, but that blessing can be destroyed if we let it. Vote for candidates who support the true meaning of the Constitution and support the thought that we are born with inalienable rights that the government has no natural authority to take away.

Seth Belt

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt

10 thoughts on “The Modern Musket: Why AR15s (& Other Guns) Are Constitutionally Protected

  1. Regarding Seth Belt’s “The Modern Musket . . .,” This explanation of the original meaning of the constitution by its authors is EXACTLY what this argument for gun rights needs. This young man is a historian in the best sense. How else would your readers get to know about English Comprehension, and its importance in our understanding of our nation’s founding documents?

    Too often the battle of ideas is hotheaded and narrow minded. Thank you, Mr. Belt, for the education.

    By the way, I am not particularly conservative, nor am I a registered republican, or a person of faith. But I am ALWAYS looking for the truth.

  2. This issue of the 2nd Amendment “..right to bear arms..” is being dead horse whipped, but that is for others to determine. This issue always gets front burner attention when a Democratic president is in office, but does any actual 2nd Amendment infringement take place? No.
    What I find a problem is what your writer, and every other writer that waxes eloquent on this subject, says with regards to the federal government. Every time this issue is discussed, the federal government is either held forth as a bona fide threat to our Constitutional liberties or it is hinted that the federal government is the bogey man. I am 62 years old, have been a soldier from age 18, with 22 years active service, a firearms owner and a citizen of a the most powerful and free nation on the planet – and in all this time, NOT ONCE has the federal government ever infringed on 2nd Amendment rights nor has it acted in a manner that would rise to the passage in the Declaration of Independence,”.. that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,…”. So while the writer beats a dead horse and shouts, “The feds are coming, the feds are coming.”. Please find another bogey man. Please!

    1. Thank you for reading and thank you very much for your service.

      With that said, at no point did I claim that the “feds” were coming to get us. This article was written to better explain the verbage of the 2nd A and why it was written, which was to provide the citizens with a way to fight back should the governemtn seek to do harm to us, help the governmetn defend from invading forces, and to deter both.

      As far as infringments go, there have been plenty. The AWB of 1994 would be a great example of many. This is not just a federal governement issue. Many states, counties, and cities have signifacantly infringed upon this right with weapon and ammo bans, excessive carry restrictions, etc….

      Again, thank you for your service.

    2. Michael O’Hern said “NOT ONCE has the federal government ever infringed on 2nd Amendment rights”.

      Uhm…The Assault Weapons Ban was clearly the most recent, vile legislation to come to mind.
      There are also tons of examples of states forbidding blacks (practically all minorities, with some exceptions) from gun-ownership throughout the 1800’s up to the 1960’s. The federal government backed these illegal laws.
      The Supreme Court case involving D.C. residents (Heller case I think?) is another recent ruling in which the government (Court) basically ruled against itself and said, ‘yes, government infringed upon their 2nd amendment rights’.
      TONS of examples exist.
      I’ll even argue a “Concealed Handgun License” is a violation of the Constitution b/c we must pay unnecessary money and waste our time in order to exercise our 2nd amendment rights. I don’t see any mention of a permit or license in the wording of the Second Amendment, nor any other amendments (speech, religion, due process, etc.)
      If we need a permit to exercise one right, then at some point we’ll need a permit/license (i.e. permission) to exercise all; and that is absolutely unConstitutional.

      With all due respect, I’m not sure what bubble you’ve lived in the last several years, because there are plenty of violations from the federal, state and even local levels over decades and decades. Google can help you research them.

    3. Well SFC O’hern, I thank you for your service, but you are totally misguided! I am a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant, with 42 years and 5 months service. Before that I was a member of the California Cadet Corps for four years. This was a Military Science Course under the jurisdiction of the California National Guard. The Second Amendment was framed by intelligent men who had no idea how greedy and out politicians would become. But they did recognize two truths.
      1. Only a Godly and moral people could keep our Republic from Failing. when the Federal government outlaws public displays of faith, they are destroying our country.The “so called” “separation of Church and State was not a official government position but a statement of belief in the original Freedom of Religion was not to to be infringed nor an “Official Government Church” be established as this would infringe on religious freedom, as the Church of England did. The RIGHT to keep(own and store privately owned firearms in our homes) and bear(carry openly or concealed) arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!! Every law regulation, ordinance infringing on this right is unconstitutional! I would consider relinquishing my guns If the Government would GUARANTEE That I could walk down any street in this country without any weapons, wearing a suit made of hundred dollar bills and not wind up beaten and naked. If a private business or government building or base prohibits weapons, they should by law be required to provide armed protection in the “GUN FREE ZONE”. If anyone is injured, disabled or killed in this KILLING ZONE the person(s) responsible fro establishing it, should be charged as an accomplice to attempted murder, or murder if someone dies, and aggravated assault and battery,if anyone is
      injured! The hypocritical part of this whole war is that the ones who want to take our guns want special exemption and privilege to carry concealed ans have armed bodyguards. Oh! and the rabid anti-gunner Bloomberg wants to buy a WWII German Panzer TANK!!!! It should be ILLEGAL for anyone trying to outlaw guns to own, and/or carry a gun or hire armed security. If you still don’t see the unconstitutional conduct of our politicians, well “there are none so blind as those who will not see”!!!

  3. Fantastic article! I’ve been meaning to write an article on this very subject myself.

    If you would allow me to, I’d like to post this article on my website ( ). I would of course cite you as the sole author and add a link to this page. Just let me know!
    P.S. I’m extremely busy, so it may be a while before I add it to my site, that is if I’m permitted to.

    1. Erick, thank you for your support and I am glad you enjoyed this article. You are more that welcome to link to this article on your website, however, it cannot be actually posted on your site. Thank you again for the support!

  4. Seth,

    As the owner and founder of “Modern Musket” thank you for helping popularize the Modern Musket philosophy. Good write-up.


  5. I agree whole-heartedly with your arguments, Mr Belt. However, how does one respond to the inane but somewhat apt retort:

    “If the 2nd Amendment means that citizens should be allowed to own weapons on parity with those of the military, then shouldn’t private citizens [who can afford them] be allowed to purchase fully functional modern artillery pieces, grenade launchers (and HE rounds), and MANPADS?” (Some people who use this ridiculous argument go as far as to mention nuclear weapons.) I think is is silly because the average American has neither the facilities, nor the income, nor even the desire to own and maintain heavy ordnance like that. However, a few semi-auto rifles won’t be sufficient against a determined, well-organized, and well-equipped military force.

    Also, based on the argument that the Founding Fathers intended for civilian militias to be equipped similarly to standing armies, then the restrictions on fully automatic firearms (which, in some states, are taxed and regulated into virtual illegality) are also unconstitutional.

    Other arguments in favor of greater regulation tend to be equally silly- mass shootings are *rare*, probably less common than animal attacks. Also, the majority of gun crimes are perpetrated by criminals with handguns, not rifles. Those thugs don’t obey the current laws, so why would anyone be foolish enough to think they would follow new ones? The newer laws starkly lack any provisions for dealing with these criminals until *after* they have committed an offense; there is no protective measure.

    I would tip my hat to an anti-gunner smart enough to say “Regulate handguns [especially cheap pistols] more heavily, but leave rifles alone.” Not an ideal solution, but a compromise of whose merits even the most hoplophobic could be convinced–handguns are employed far more often than rifles for criminal purposes.

    Speaking of gun crime: Is it any worse or more horrific than any other sort of violent crime? Also, has anyone ever thought about exactly where are these criminals getting their ammunition?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *