Should Assault Weapons Be Banned?
Updated: Sep 6, 2021
"No one needs an AK-47. I mean come on, the founding fathers didn't have assault weapons in mind when they gave us the right to bear arms." This is an argument presented by a large percentage of Americans. And when first hearing this, it does actually make a little sense. After all, it's rare that people carry assault weapons on hand, and if they did, many might question their motives. But those who make this argument are completely disregarding the true motivation behind the second amendment.
The United States emerged from the Revolutionary War a tired and beleaguered nation. More than eight years of conflict had finally resulted in independence, but why had this war happened? Put simply, (very simply) those living in what was then the Thirteen Colonies rose up against what they perceived as a tyrannical state and emerged victorious.
One of the very first things the British tried to do before the onset of the conflict was disarm the populous. Had it not been for their well-maintained militias and personal weapon ownership (and a lot of outside support) the revolution may never have been successful. The authors of our constitution were not naive, and they understood that no matter how well written the constitution was, there was always the possibility that the United States would become a tyrannical government.
To protect both themselves and future generations against governments who sought to infringe upon a citizen's God-given rights, the framers of our constitution passed an amendment stating that "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The purpose of the amendment was not simply to allow people to protect themselves from criminals or go hunting, though this is often an argument that is incorrectly made by conservatives. People have a right to those things, but the second amendment specifically states that the right to bear arms is necessary to the security of a free state. Without complete freedom to own firearms, a citizen is at risk of having every other right provided by the constitution infringed upon.
When the leaders of government make any decision, they have to take the reaction of the population into account. It goes without saying, that the more tyrannical a decision, the stronger the negative reaction the government can expect from the populous. When a populous is fully armed and prepared to resist if their rights are infringed upon too greatly, governments must think twice before making tyrannical decisions. Disarm that populous, however, and the reaction of the population becomes much more of a non-issue. If the government is the one with all the power, what is to stop it from simply imposing its will on the people.
The founding fathers believed in the idea that every citizen should have the right to protect themselves from government tyranny. It was not hunting rights, or self-defense, or even crime prevention that led to the creation of the second amendment, though they did understand the importance of such things.
Crimes are committed with weapons. They always will be. Anyone who supports gun control seeks to decrease gun violence, and anyone who defends gun ownership does not believe making guns illegal will keep criminals from owning them. The fact of the matter is, we are having the wrong debate.
It is not a question of whether or not guns should be banned to prevent criminals from using them. It is a question of whether or not you trust the government enough to surrender all power to them and put your life in their hands. Do you believe the government will always act in your best interest and maintain your individual rights even when it does not suit their needs? If you answered yes to that question, then you should support legislation to ban assault weapons if you feel that it will decrease crime.
If you answered no to the question stated above, then I implore you to remain diligent in the fight against such legislation. It is legislation restricting gun ownership that leads to legislation banning gun ownership.
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The United States Constitution: https://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm
Information regarding the Revolutionary War: https://www.britannica.com/event/American-Revolution
Duke Law and The Framers Intentions: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3830&context=lcp