Monday, January 26, 2015

Why Americans Have Weapons Instead of Guns

I just read a review of a new variant of the AR-15 rifle, which was designed to be legal in all fifty states. It sounds like an interesting response to a bewildering thicket of state level regulations, all of which I believe are prohibited by the Constitution. Big deal: my opinion won't change things.

One of the commentors objected to another's use of the term 'weapon' rather than calling it a gun.

My response:
"should NEVER ever be referred to as weapons(.) they are guns or firearms(,) weapons are what police and military use....we cause problems on ourselves by referring to our gun as weapons"

You have a legitimate point, but I do disagree with it.

My guns are weapons. Every last one of them, from a Belgian Browning 20 gauge A-5, through a Remington pump .22 Model 12A to Mini14s and S&W J-frames, and 1911s.

The Constitution protects arms. Not goose guns, not air rifles, not deer guns, not target pistols, except at they contribute to use and familiarity with military grade weapons or can substitute for them. The Constitution protects militia grade arms precisely for the purpose of killing people. That is demonstrated without any doubt by the 2nd Amendment's explicit tying of the right to keep and bear arms to a well trained militia. The writings of the Founders, published concurrently with the ratification debates and available today, make explicit the role of arms which are protected: they are explicitly for killing tyrants, foreign or domestic.

Anti-gunners freak at the idea, especially at the 'domestic' aspects as they inaccurately associate 'tyrants' with 'politicians', but weapons ownership, use, and the bearing of them should not be controversial in an age where domestic terrorists and ordinary criminals alike can strike anywhere, any time, and the police are incapable of being everywhere, all the time, to protect us.

That it is controversial is in part our fault: For decades we let the anti-gunners frame the debate. It is time to frame that debate ourselves, and force them to respond to us instead of us to them. We can do so only by using terms like 'weapons' and 'shooting people who need shooting right now', and defending those concepts as good and proper. If more people than the LEO at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris had been armed, more might well have survived: Killing murderous assailants is exactly what weapons are for, and that is a good thing. If the observer who videod the killing of the Paris LEO on the sidewalk had had a Mini-14 or AKM at hand instead of a video camera, the LEO might well have been killed anyway, but the murderers might have been stopped right there. They are exactly the kind of domestic tyrants the unorganized militia has a chance of stopping. By shooting them with weapons.

The 2nd Amendment protects 'arms', not just guns, but arms, for the purpose of arming the militia, including the 'unorganized militia', which means us: civilians such as those brave passengers aboard United Flight 93, who gave their lives defending us against the Islamists on 9-11. That means that not only are guns protected, but so are all other militia usable weapons: knives, including bowies, bayonets, and switchblades, cudgels, including billy clubs, and metal or plastic knuckles. Laws prohibiting them are explicitly prohibited by the Constitution. That such laws exist and are widespread today is only evidence of our refusal to submit to the Constitution. Rather than submit, even by amending it, we have preferred to pretend that it does not mean what it clearly says. That is our shame.

The Constitution protects weapons which carry a single round, like the Liberator .45 of the Second World War, and it protects AKMs, AR-15s, and M-16s and their 20 & 30 round magazines. It protects sniper rifles and target rifles which may be used by the unorganized militia as sniper rifles. It protects submachine guns and full auto rifles ie actual assault rifles. The Constitution protects all of them for the explicit purpose of shooting those who would do us and our country harm.

Given that a number of the Founders owned ships with cannons, and given that the Constitution explicitly provides for issuing letters of marque and reprisal to privately owned ships, I expect that a plausible argument could be made that the Constitution also protects crew served weapons such as belt fed machine guns and at least light artillery.

We are on firm ground when we say that the Constitution protects military grade arms, and great big scary ones at that. If we refuse to make that point, the other side is on the way to victory.

Instead of allowing the anti-weapons crowd to cow us into refusing to defend weapons ownership, I prefer to make them confront our issue head on: The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to protect our ability to arm ourselves against tyrants, foreign and domestic. Those tyrants may be common criminals or politically/religiously inspired criminals such as disciples of al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL, AQAP, and others. In any case, when they strike, the police are almost sure not to be there. The victims are always there, and only armed victims, willing to shoot them with weapons they bear, are capable of shooting people who desperately need to be shot.
The original article, "50 STATE LEGAL AR-15 – ARES DEFENSE SCR" by Sam Trisler in'Guns America', is here.

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