If the men who created this nation had access to modern firearms, which would they prefer? While no one can know for sure (until Doc Brown gets things squared away), we can get a sense of what they might have liked based upon the weapons they preferred in their own time, based on things they’ve said.
A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1785
Principal author of the Declaration of Independence and later our third President, Thomas Jefferson was a fan of the most technologically-advanced firearms of his time. He would have loved the lightweight materials that go into many modern firearms, from “mountain rifles” common amount hunters, to utility rifles that are often dubbed “truck guns.” While most people don’t know it, Jefferson sent Lewis & Clark west on their famous expedition armed with a repeating rifle with a 20-round detachable magazine manufactured in 1790 called the Girandoni that would be considered an “assault weapon” by some modern standards.
“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
— Samuel Adams, 1780
While perhaps not “modern” to us in 2015, the semi-automatic M1 Garand served the U.S. military in World War II and Korea, and this veteran is still considered the “rifleman’s rifle” by many civilian shooters. It is rare in that it sold to American citizens through the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and is the only firearm that will be delivered to your door by the U.S. Postal Service.
“Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.”
–John Adams, Boston Gazette, Sept. 5, 1763
Used in rebellions and revolutions around the world and increasingly admired in the United States as an accurate and rugged rifle for personal and community defense, the AKM is seeing a Renaissance among shooters “in the know.” While short-barreled versions like the Rifle Dynamics “Krink” above are relatively rare due to ATF restrictions on short-barreled rifles (SBRs), both more traditional “comblock” style guns and modernized AKMs are fast becoming staples, and are seeing widespread support in the firearms accessories market.
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.
–Thomas Jefferson’s Commonplace Book, quoting criminologist Cesare Beccaria’s 1764 On Crimes and Punishment
The Founders understood that an armed citizenry was a significant deterrent to crime, and would have loved a handgun that was compact, simple in design and function, durable, and reasonably priced to ensure domestic tranquility.
The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
–Tenche Cox, Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress
The Founders clearly intended the citizenry to be armed with weapons of contemporary military utility above all other weapons. Semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) AR-15s and their military cousins the M4 and M16 are the “modern muskets” that our Founding Fathers would want in the home of every responsible American citizen. They would likewise want these citizen-militia to be “well-regulated,” or in contemporary English, well-equipped and proficient with the use of these firearms.