Virginia Constitution of 1776 – SEC. 13.
That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
North Carolina Constitution of 1776 – 17.
That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defense of the State; and as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 – Art. XVII.
The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority and be governed by it.
There is ample evidence that Thomas Jefferson drafted both the Virginia and the North Carolina (if passively the latter). Modern state constitutions and what they say can be found here. Also, here, but this link’s creators has a certain ability to miss the intended target, if you will pardon my pun.
What can we gain here? First, the earliest States, writing their constitutions in a time of war (an act of rebellion against a king based on a lot of propaganda) thought their citizens well enough armed to insure against foreign invasion by an enemy. The defense of the State (whatever State one would call home) was first and foremost important. Why? Because every (white) landowner was a citizen of the State and as such, had responsibilities to the State, such as being in the service of the State up to and including the final full measure of a person’s loyalty.
Yet, we find traitorous speech, talk of treason, today bantered about as if there was no State, no call to defend that State against foreign invasions.
How odd that people remain ignorant of the original intentions of the right to bear arms and yet seem ready to start a real civil war to defend their fantasy.
- A Brief Look at the Origins and History of the Second Amendment (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- The Seventh Circuit Keeps “Bear” in 2nd Amendment (volokh.com)