Posted Online: Feb. 07, 2013, 2:35 pm

Letter: Take a look at the evolution of Second Amendment

Comment on this story

A history of the right to bear arms:

James Madison, a Southern gentleman from Virginia, submits the first draft of our Second Amendment, which read as follows:

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well armed and regulated militia being the best security of a free country but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."

Draft 2 was reworded on July 28, 1789.

Draft 3 was submitted Aug 24, 1789.

On August 25, 1789, the Senate added a comma.

On Sept. 4, 1789, the Senate votes to change the language by removing the definition of a militia and striking the conscientious objector clause.

On Sept. 9, 1789, the Senate proposed to insert the words "for the common defense" next to the words "bear arms." This proposal was defeated.
On Sept. 21, 1789, the House accepted the changes made by the Senate. Then on Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was adopted as 3/4 of the States had accepted the new language.

In the discussions on this amendment, Patrick Henry warned Madison that the South desperately needed the right to keep and bear arms as the North was trying to free the slaves and they were offering them freedom and teaching them how to use weapons.

The Southern Armed Militias were essential to subdue the black population and maintain their way of the life in the Southern States so the word "country" was dropped and the word "state" was inserted in the final document.

LaVerne Linnenkamp,
Silvis