Go to Facebook pages such as “Occupy Democrats,” turn on CNN during a segment of gun control talk, or even talk to someone you know who considers themselves a progressive liberal, and chances are you will hear the argument that the 2nd Amendment is not a good justification for the right to bear arms because when the Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment they only had single shot muskets and could not envision the automatic killing machines of today. Is this a legitimate argument? Is it true? We shall see.
Some Gun History
The Puckle gun was the first known revolving cannon. It fired a 32mm round, had an 11-round revolving cylinder, and was invented in 1718. The Girandoni Air Rifle, invented in 1779, had a 20-round magazine that could be fired in about 30 seconds, and it was used by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Belton flintlock could shoot twenty rounds within 5 seconds.
Clearly these guns don’t hold a candle to the firepower that is available today, but also, the Founding Fathers obviously had the awareness and foresight to know that gun technology would continue to advance well past their lives as the gun technology present in their own time was improving rapidly. The notion that the Founding Fathers based the 2nd Amendment on the right to own muskets and that they weren’t banking on guns becoming more advanced is beyond stupid. The Founding Fathers debated over the precise wording of the Bill of Rights for months and so there is a deliberate reason why they chose the phrase “the right to bear arms.”
Our inalienable rights do not change simply because technology advances. If that were true then the 1st Amendment would not apply to the internet, and the US government would have free rein over censorship, and thought and information control.
Hyperbole, Dishonesty, and Word Games
The AR-15 is not an assault rifle or automatic weapon. It is the civilian, semi-automatic version of the M16 or M4 carbine used by the military. The military version is an automatic assault rifle, the AR-15 is not. The truth is that assault rifles are already heavily regulated and extremely difficult to obtain, it’s just that the political left enjoys playing word games in order to confuse and scare the ignorant and gullible.
According to the FBI, less than 3% of all gun crimes are committed with rifles, and an estimated 1% use AR-15s or similar rifles. According to the Department of Justice under Bill Clinton, the “assault weapons” ban of 1994-2004 made "no discernable difference" in gun crimes throughout the US. Also, according to President Obama’s CDC gun study, gun crime is down 50% over the last 20 years. There also have not been 18 mass school shootings this year. Again, that is dishonest word play used to scare you.
Do I Hate Children and Love Mass Murder Because I Defend Gun Rights?
Of course not. The recent mass school shooting in Parkland Florida that killed 17 kids was horrific, terribly tragic, and extremely sad. And yes, absolutely yes, something should be done to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again. In order to successfully do that, though, we have to use logic and reason to take an honest and objective look at evidence, statistics, history, and policy, and from there we can establish a solution to take action on.
Participating in emotional echo chambers where policy proposals and solutions are guided purely by emotion, political bias, and intellectual dishonesty is a recipe for disaster and failure.
If we take an honest look at this tragedy, the vast majority of the blame should fall on the government, which massively dropped the ball. The FBI was told more than a month in advance that this shooter was a loose cannon. In the previous months and years local police had been called 39 times for violent, abusive, and sociopathic behavior of the shooter. And on the day of the shooting, FOUR Broward County police officers hid outside and refused to enter the building while kids were being murdered. This is an all-around failure of government to protect us, which is a good argument to abolish government police, but it is not a good argument to restrict the gun freedoms of law abiding citizens who had nothing to do with causing this tragedy.