After the recent terror attacks in San Bernardino, California and Orlando, Florida, the focus on semi-automatic rifles (which were used in both attacks) is back to being a front-and-center political issue. [Scroll Down For Video]
One of the most common arguments for banning or restricting the ownership of semi-automatic rifles is that the founding fathers could have never envisioned a time when semi-automatic rifles would be invented. However, how true is that?
Well, based on the facts, not very. Based on firearm technology innovations of their lifetimes and the firearms that exist, it seems likely that the signers of the Constitution very well envisioned weapons of the future.
This is the Girandoni air rifle. It was invented in 1779 (12 years before the Bill of Rights was finally added to the Constitution). It features a 20 round tubular magazine, which can be quickly reloaded and is capable of firing 30 rounds before its air reservoir needs to be refilled. It is a repeating rifle and its magazine is gravity fed. The next round simply fell into the chamber as long as the rifle was held at the right angle.
The firearm fired a .46 caliber ball projectile which was effective out to 125 yards. The firearm was rifled which meant that it was extremely accurate for its time.
Given the fact that many of the founding fathers were military men who sought help from other militaries of the world, they would have surely known about the Girandoni’s existence and been aware of the fact that firearms were only going to get better over time.
The rifle was most famously carried by Lewis and Clark on their well documented expedition. Supposedly, the expedition was able to keep most Native Americans at bay simply by demonstrating the rifle for tribes they encountered. The tribes were so amazed at the firepower possessed by Lewis and Clark that they dared not challenge the explorers.