Do you know the original meaning of the term “bear arms”? Today, many people believe that it is simply carrying a gun. However, the term meant something else to the Founding Fathers. It was applied strictly to the carrying of guns for military use. Eventually, the courts were challenged to expand the meaning of “bear arms” to include non-military use of weapons. A good example of this is Aymette v. State, a Tennessee Supreme Court case (1840), which rejected the broader definition. The ruling includes the following:
To make this view of the case still more clear, we may remark, that the phrase, “bear arms,” is used in the Kentucky constitution as well as in our own, and implies, as has already been suggested, their military use. The 28th section of our bill of rights provides, “that no citizen of this State shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay in equivalent, to be ascertained by law.” Here we know that the phrase has a military sense, and no other; and we must infer that it is used in the same sense in the 26th section, which secures to the citizen the right to bear arms. A man in the pursuit of deer, elk and buffaloes, might carry his rifle every day, for forty years, and, yet, it would never be said of him, that he had borne arms, much less could it be said, that a private citizen bears arms, because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane. So that, with deference, we think the argument of the court in the case referred to, even upon the question it has debated, is defective and inconclusive.
Those who carry assault rifles into a Chipotle are not exercising their right to bear arms. Unless they have a military reason to do so, they have no right to carry their weapons around in public — and especially on private property. What is the military threat at Starbuck’s? Where is the invading force?