A History Lesson
“Why does anyone need to own a military gun?”
You hear it from the anti-gun crowd, who fear the gun with a phobia. And, strangely, you hear it from hunters, who look on the new technology with disdain, unaware that they are reinforcing the anti-gun crowd’s message.
With the recent events in the news, I hear it on TV and in the media all the time, so I thought I might take a minute to convey this history lesson.
First, every gun started out as a military gun. That was the nature of the invention. Firearms development is expensive, and the expense can only be justified and recouped by a lucrative government contract. Thus has it ever been, until recent expansions of the market represented by hunting guns made it sustainable of itself.
Second, especially to the hunters, I say, your argument has been made from the beginning, and dismissed. The first hunters to field muskets were probably vocally abused by archers. Then, musket hunters looked down on muzzle loading rifle users, who in turn reviled breach loading rifle users, who then shunned bolt action rifle users. And, remember, the elegant bolt action of the revered Remington* Model 700 is, in fact, the Mauser 98 action, fielded by Hitler’s best.
New guns are introduced all the time, because they are more accurate, lighter, and better. The new “modern sporting rifle” is no exception. Yes, it is based on the AR-15 platform. Get used to it, and get over it.
Ironically, there are those who argue that civilians have no need to own a military rifle. These same people argue that the militia clause in the Second Amendment – “A well regulated militia” – means that only the organized militia has the right to own guns, not individuals.
However, in that vein, the Supreme Court, in the case of DC v. Heller, held that the Second Amendment was an individual right. The militia clause (which they called the prefatory clause) explains this, when one understands that the militia, today as in 1791, consists of all able bodied citizens of military age.
Here’s where the irony comes in: these people who claim the militia clause precludes individual ownership of any gun, turn around and ignore the militia clause when considering military guns. In fact, in the same Heller case, the Supreme Court held
“It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service – M16 rifles and the like – may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home.”
Thus, not only is it every citizen’s right to own guns, it is our right to own military guns, since the highest calling of that right would be in defense of the security of our free state.
* Edited. The original posting said “Winchester Model 700” which doesn’t exist. (Without this note the comment wouldn’t make any sense . . .)