The Founders Never Intended For High Speed Communication

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It’s been over two centuries since this country was founded. Even in an era of printing presses, muskets, and the absence of electronic technology, safe guards were required to protect citizens from a tyrannical government. Muskets could still injure or kill people, whether they’re used by authoritarians such as the British occupiers or private criminals. Because of the need to self-defense, the founding generation felt that the right to bear arms was essential to security.

The Second Amendment isn’t a right to call the police or summon the sheriff, it’s a right to bear arms for the purpose of defense.

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At the same time, the Second Amendment was drafted at a time where weaponry was significantly simpler. Muskets aren’t bullets, old weapons don’t have the high capacity many present guns have. The latter was clearly not taken into account by the founders, because who could anticipated such progression in technology? Nobody anticipated more efficient and higher capacity weapons.

Would the founders have approved of such weapons in the possession of everyday Americans?

The better question might be why we’re allowing everyday citizens to continue having access to the Internet. We’re living in a time that allows for the facilitation of fast communication. Our words no longer require a simple printing press. Anyone can log onto the Internet, open up any given social media platform, and literally reach millions of human beings in an instant.

It makes for efficient outreach. Terrorists use the Internet to spread propaganda to all who will listen. Would ISIS be as efficient in radicalizing people in America and abroad if it relied on printed pamphlets using a press and distributed physically? It would be costly and inefficient.

Similarly, revolutions and uprisings have been sparked using the Internet. Facebook has become a strong personal platform for communication and networking. Twitter has become an active format for quick relay of information and news. Instagram allows for the same high speed efficiency in communication with a specific focus on pictures.

Is this what the founders had in mind?

The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech, but it was written at a time when speech was simple. Similarly, it’s freedom of the press was created at a time when journalism was a simple newspaper.

Speech has evolved into a more efficient, high capacity communication. The Internet and other forms of digital communication reach people at far higher rates than any automatic weapon. While in a lot of ways, this can be used for good, the Internet has been misused resulting in bad things occurring.

For this purpose, why aren’t there background checks for Internet usage?

There theoretically isn’t a constitutional right to the Internet, because the Internet didn’t exist at the country’s founding. This point mirrors the argument that high capacity guns aren’t protected under the Constitution, because the types of guns that exist today were not present at the country’s founding.

This is the logic of gun control advocates applied to another scenario.

Gun control logic would lead us to a very simple conclusion that high speed communication, such as the Internet or the usage of cellular phones, are not protected under the Constitution. Because they did not exist at the country’s founding, it’s impossible to expect that the Founders intended for it to be protected under the First Amendment.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.