Tuesday, June 21, 2016

America's Second Amendment to the Constitution - Part II

On 15 December 1791, the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America were passed by Congress.  The first ten amendments are known in the United States as "The Bill of Rights."  The exact language of the second amendment is:  "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."  This Amendment II has not had the wording, or intent, changed since it was voted into national law, by the U S Congress, since 15 December 1791.  That was 224 years and 6 months ago.   At that point in time, the population of the United States was about 4 million.  There were 13 states, the population density was 4.5 people per square mile, and 90 % of the heads of households considered their occupation to be a farmer.  Today, the current population of the USA is about 320 million in 50 states, with a population density of 91 people per square mile.  We have grown, as a nation, quite a bit...
   Back in 1791, the most up-to-date weapon, that a person could easily carry, was the Kentucky rifle - also known as the long rifle, and as the Pennsylvania rifle, since it was developed and subsequently produced in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania.  This rifle was used by Americans in the French and Indian War, the American Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812.  This was a black powder flintlock single shot rifle.  It generally weighed 7 to 10 pounds, and the length was between 54 and 74 inches; the barrel itself could be 32 to over 48 inches in length.  The caliber of the rifle also varied, from .25 to .62; the average caliber was between .42 and .48.   An expert marksman or hunter could shoot 2 rounds per minute; some folks could fire three times in a minute, but their aim was quite poor due to their quickness of firing.  Depending upon the quality and amount of powder used, the muzzle velocity of the long rifle could be between 1,200 and 1,600 feet per second.  The rifle was effective at about 100 yards.  A professional could be accurate at 200 yards.
   Today, we have the Glock pistol and the AK-47 as weapons of choice in recent shootings. The Glock has mutliple variants available.  This pistol was originally developed in Austria, and can be fired as a single shot, a semi-automatic or full automatic.  The Glock uses 9 mm Parabellum ammunition.  It can be carried without the magazine, or with the magazine in place.  The detachable box magazine can hold from 10 to 33 rounds.  The weight of the largest Glock is 31.74 ounces - less than 2 pounds - without a loaded magazine.  The muzzle velocity is 1,230 feet per second; and, with an unlimited amount of ammunition, the firing rate can be 1,200 shots per minute on full automatic.  The effective firing range of the Glock pistol is 165 feet, or 55 yards.
   Then there's the AK-47, everyone's favorite assault rifle.  The stock version of the Avtomat Kalashnikova was patented in 1947 (hence the AK-47). It is known for it's wood-stock finish on the butt, grip and barrel, which makes it easy to recognize.  The AK-47 is designed off of a long-stroke piston model, which has a larger piston to help add force to the extraction, chambering, and locking of the next round.  This weapon is known for being able to fire in harsh environments, even if they are not well-kept  or cared for.  The AK-47 weighs in at 6.8 pounds without a magazine attached.  The cartridge for an AK-47 is 7.62 mm by 39 mm; and the rifle has a detachable box magazine that carries 30 rounds.  The muzzle velocity of an AK-47 is 2,330 feet per second; with an unlimited ammunition feed, it can fire 775 rounds per minute.  The maximum effective distance to aim and fire is at 984 feet, or 300 meters.

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