Since the leadup to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a lot of us started pointing out how the Ukrainian government started arming civilians. They knew that Russian power would be difficult to blunt, but with an armed populace, they could do it, so they handed everyone guns.
It kind of echoed the kind of thing Second Amendment advocates had been saying for years.
However, it seems that some supposed experts still disagree that an armed populace can deter invasion.
American gun rights supporters have been crowing recently that the civilian resistance in Ukraine against Russia’s invading force illustrates the importance of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
They say the guaranteed right to bear arms – coupled with the fact that the U.S. is the only nation with more guns than people (nearly 400 million firearms in civilian hands) — makes us safer from an attack and more capable of fighting outside oppression.
But are they correct? Would the proliferation of guns in American households – where four in 10 adults have access to a firearm — really deter a potential invasion?
Experts say the answer likely is no, for a variety of reasons. And although a heavily armed citizenry could play a role in resisting an occupation, staving off an invasion from a foreign power was not necessarily what the framers of the Second Amendment had in mind.
Part of the problem is that at least one “expert” saying that an armed populace wouldn’t deter invasion is a constitutional law professor. That’s a job title that conveys absolutely no expertise in military affairs. While he’s an expert, it ain’t in that.
However, that same professor offered this:
Citizens with guns would not be a match for modern military weaponry in an armed conflict.
“This notion that all these private actors are going to somehow deter an aggressor – that reveals a sort of Lone Ranger idea that all these individuals are going to prevail,” Entin said.
In truth, if every armed American tried to act independently to stave off invasion, he’s right. The problem is that absolutely no one thinks that it will.
But a pile of individual Americans who band together can accomplish a great deal, and there are a lot of people with guns who are more than ready to stand with their neighbors.
But taking over territory does not mean an aggressor has won. The challenge for an invader is dictating peace, Flint said.
That is where armed civilians could matter.
They would resist an occupying force, pecking at them every day, said John Benner, a gun rights supporter and president of the Tactical Defense Institute, which has taught hundreds of people over nearly three decades how to safely handle firearms.
Thousands of Americans already know how to handle guns – including assault weapons. Benner bets they would be willing to fight against an occupying force.
“That’s a whole different ballgame,” Benner said. “If it’d save my country, I’d give my life.”
And again, this is part of the calculus any invader would have to deal with.
Now, in fairness, one of the experts they spoke with mentioned that American geography benefits us a great deal, making invasion much more difficult to achieve. That’s not wrong. As it currently stands, it would be very difficult to cross the ocean and land an invasion force on our shores in sufficiently strong enough numbers to resist the military resources we have stateside.
Those geographical advantages are there.
However, only a fool counts on geography to keep them safe. They’re also protected by a nation of gun owners who will refuse to yield.
And for those who claim that we couldn’t resist with just the rifles and handguns in our arsenal, they forget that those who man the planes and tanks have to leave their combat vehicles sooner or later. They forget what can be done with minimal resources. They forget that we built the Liberator pistol, a single-shot handgun, to permit resistance fighters to pop a Nazi and take their weapon, and we’ve got better guns than the Liberators.
People with little more than small arms and determination ran us out of Vietnam and Afghanistan. We could do the same if faced with the same situation.
And don’t think other countries are unaware. Why else is China pushing so hard to try and cram gun control down our throats? It’s not concern over the American people’s well-being, either.
No, it’s because they want to clear the field in case they ever decide to invade.