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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


This hasn't been published by the Herald so I am putting it here. It is a response to some correspondence on gun control, in particular mentioning that in Switzerland, where the army consists of a militia of all able bodied men (& even Hitler never messed with them) they all have an inordinate amount of military hardware at home.
The question of whether having an armed citizenry is a worthwhile price to pay for liberty is an interesting one with no absolute answer.

Alan Clayton (letter Friday) uses the example of Scotland in 1707 as an example of a disarmed citizenry being unable to defend themselves. In fact Scotland then was not disarmed as the risings in favour of the Stuarts in 1689, 1715 & 1745 show. A very good argument can be made that the existence of a heavily armed citizenry, particularly in the Highlands ultimately played a major part in making the Union popular because heavily armed Highlanders were not popular in the Lowlands. There was a strong movement immediately after 1707 for repeal which collapsed in 1715 with the rising & the strongest period of support of union probably started with the defeat of the '45. The people of Scotland on the whole clearly found a society built on the rule of law, from Westminster, much preferable to the chaos in which clans upheld their liberty to choose a catholic Stuart king by the sword.

The US constitution defends the right to bear arms but only in connection with "a well regulated militia". The fact that US has a far higher murder rate than Switzerland, despite the Swiss having, if anything, heavier weaponry, may be because the Swiss hold their's only as part of such a militia while the US has forgotten their onstitutional qualification
The US constitutional amendment reads
Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

& I think my interpretation of the intent of the Founders is as defensible as any.

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