The Last Word
updated 4/23/2013 1:17:01 AM ET 2013-04-23T05:17:01

A new ad in favor of gun control is using a surprising historical perspective to reframe the issue of massacre control.

Advocates of gun control, critics of gun limits, historians, legal experts and plenty of other people as well have, for more than 200 years, tried to determine exactly what intent the Founding Fathers had in writing the Second Amendment. That hotly contested sentence went into effect with the rest of the Bill of Rights in December of 1791, more than two years after the U.S. Constitution went into effect in March of 1789.

A new public service announcement from the group States United to Prevent Gun Violence uses that history to argue that it would be very difficult for the Founding Fathers to comprehend the type of firepower that their amendment covers in modern times.

In his latest Rewrite segment, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell showed his audience that ad. “We do know what the limits were on firearms, the technical limits, the magazine capacity if you will, in 1791 when the Second Amendment became the law of the land,” O’Donnell said. The Founding Fathers “knew that criminals or crazy people would only be able to fire one bullet without much accuracy in those days before beginning the cumbersome chore of reloading.”


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