Originally Posted by Evil Q
And yet the law-abiding citizenry was trusted to keep and bear arms that were equivalent to the best that the military had at the time. Not so, now.
Not entirely true. First we must face the fact that other than quality of material there wasn't any real distinct difference in the weapons, after that it was merely a matter of what style of weapon. Today we've finely tuned firearms, such as the rifle. There are automatic rifles and bolt-action, these have increased the range of a shot 4x over that 200 years ago, as well as the number of shots per minute even more so than distance.
Second you have to recognize that 200 years ago the average citizen was fully capable of utilizing a firearm properly and people were taught to use them with reasonable efficiency. They were required commonly for defense of animal attack as well as hunting. During the time there was also a very definite fear of home invasion after foreign invasion.
We have since formed a well regulated national army as well as National Guard to defend our homeland and established ourselves as a top-notch military force. The defense used by the NRA of the second ammendment is obsolete and doesn't really have much of a standing in the present day. We also have other means to defend ourselves without presenting more danger to the situation; security systems, self-defense courses, etc.
A quick review over gun crime and crime prevention will show that the possession of a firearm does nothing to actually prevent a crime and often presents only more of a threat. Sure there are instances where a person is shot and a situation is ended, however in these incidents it's an element of surprise and the gun could easily be replaced with a knife or bat.
Now, I'm not against the right of citizens to own guns, but I do think it's pointless for anyone other than active military to possess an automatic weapon. The more we work to prevent them from flowing around the market, the more we'll remove them from the illegal trade. When guns are confiscated they need to be destroyed.