Tag Archive | newtown

Second Amendment under assault

The question of the second amendment rights seems to always point to a couple of areas; that of hunting and protecting oneself from would be assailants. There is also an undertone along the idea that weapons of today could not be foreseen and that our forefathers would have done things differently had they known.

With respect to the technological advances in weaponry, it is often mentioned that the only weapons at the time were muskets which were very limited in their ability to do harm. This is not a true statement. There were a number of other weapons available during that era.[1] The blunderbuss, a shotgun of sorts, capable of placing a swath of projectiles into a target area up to 50 yards away. Mortars and cannons were used to deliver  bombs that were powder filled projectiles that exploded on delivery. The cannon was also used with a number of other types of “shot”. Case, container, grape and pineapple shot, which were essentially a way of placing many lead or iron balls into one projectile resulting in a spread much like the blunderbuss but with a range up to 600 yards. Split shot was simply a cannonball split in halve so that it took two paths upon firing. Chain and rod shot was the use of split shot (or two separate cannonballs) joined together by either a chain or a rod, resulting in a device that rotated around its center of mass used to target the mast and rigging of ships or the legs of horses and/or men. Hot shot was iron shot that was heated red hot in a fire and used to deliver fire-causing attacks. In addition to the blunderbuss, mortar and cannon, there were also pistols, and though they were limited in range and accuracy, they were something that could be concealed. And finally, in addition to other weapons being available, though limited in availability, the advent of grooved barrels improved both accuracy and range of the musket and could be considered the technological advancement in weaponry of the time.

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