It’s an old, tired refrain. Almost anyone who has been involved in the gun debate for more than five minutes has heard it.
I’m referring to those who claim that we should be willing to give up our so-called “weapons of war” because they’re both simultaneously too dangerous for the American streets yet insufficient to defeat an American military that is used to advance tyranny.
A prime example of this argument comes from the Salt Lake Tribune:
I’m not against gun ownership per se, but I am against owning certain kinds of guns — namely the types that produce the body counts we’ve seen most lately in Ohio and Texas.
This doesn’t sit well with people who believe that owning high-volume, rapid-fire guns is the best defense against government tyranny.
This was a good argument when the public versus the government was somewhat of a fair fight, back when the best that both sides could muster in an armed conflict were swords or muskets.
That parity is long gone.
Our history would be different today had even one of the king’s men lugged an M240 7.62×51 mm machine gun.
Not a fair comparison, you say? Neither is the notion that violent resistance to government oppression today will keep you “free.”
Time and time again, those who would have us forfeit our right to keep and bear arms to any degree will make the claim that we don’t need AR-15s or other modern sporting rifles (a designation I personally hate, I might add) because it would still be insufficient to take on a tyrannical army.
Well, frankly, I reject that argument outright, and for a number of reasons.
First, of course, is that history shows us how it’s total crap.
Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq all showed that lightly armed, high-motived individuals could cause all kinds of problems for the United States military. We’re still dealing with the mess in the Middle East after almost 20 years of fighting, though admittedly to a lesser degree than during the height of the wars.
While I share nothing at all in common ideologically with any of those groups, they do illustrate that a handful of guys with rifles can do a whole lot of damage if they know what they’re doing. Since most combat arms veterans tend to also be pro-gun, and most of those young enough to take up arms right now are veterans of Iraq and/or Afghanistan, don’t think they wouldn’t have learned those lessons.
Further, while he wants to talk about parity of arms, he’s ignoring one very simple historical fact. When the Second Amendment was penned, it didn’t just encompass muzzle-loading rifles and swords. It also included cannons, I don’t just mean larger-caliber, hand-held firearms. I mean honest to God artillery.
That’s right, cannons were also in private hands on a regular basis. These were clearly what one would term as a “weapon of war,” yet there’s no exemption of those in the Second Amendment. It’s clear that our Founding Fathers wanted us to have the means to keep all the weapons needed to not just defend this land, but also to protect it from the government if need be.
Just because gun control has neutered our ability to do so is no justification for allowing still more gun control.
It’s also not accurate to think that those who take up arms against a tyrannical government would remain limited to what they have in their possession. The AR-15 would be a useful tool in the initial stages of an armed revolt against an overreaching government, but it wouldn’t stay the only tool. Many in the military would switch sides out of a sense of duty to their oath. There would be captured equipment as well.
No, a handful of guys with AR-15s aren’t going to hold off the entire U.S. Army, but they don’t have to. They just have to do enough until they get some help.
Those trying to undermine the Second Amendment will continue to try and make the case that we don’t need such weapons because there would be no hope of winning. However, at the end of the day, it shows nothing more than their own ignorance.
If anything, their claims that we don’t have parity with the military is a better argument against current gun laws than a justification for more of them.