The second amendment of the U.S. constitution and gun control in general is a very uncontroversial issue among those who would read this blog (libertarians, anarchists, conservatives, etc.), but in the general public it seems to be a more debated one.
In this post I will do my best to rid those reading of 5 common falsehoods or misconceptions that may be rattling around in their brains about guns or the second amendment.
Myth 1: “It was written when the only firearms available were muskets; the founders would likely not have allowed citizens the right to own ‘assault weapons’.”
Steven Crowder has a great video debunking this myth.
First off, there were much more capable weapons around than muskets when the constitution was being written. As Crowder points out, guns like the Puckle gun (which anyone who has played Assassin’s Creed: Rogue knows was a force to be reckoned with) and the Belton flintlock had been around since at least the time of the Revolution.
It wasn’t that these guns existed but the founders were not made aware of them (Joseph Belton was engaged in negotiation with the Continental Congress in 1777, 14 years before the constitution was written, on whether or not they outfit the army with his firearm), nor that they were aware of them but wished to prohibit the citizenry from having them (clearly, given that the second amendment includes nothing to exclude these these types of weapons), because, as seen in this letter of marque from then-president James Madison, they were fine with private persons owning weapons that were more powerful than muskets, including cannons.
Myth 2: “There is no reason for a private citizen to own an ‘assault rifle’. They’re not necessary for hunting.”
People who push a myth like this clearly don’t understand why the second amendment was written in the first place.
Why would the founding fathers care so much about the people’s ability to hunt or partake in shooting sports that they would include in the document upon which their nation’s laws would be based the right of the people to keep and bear arms, just below the basic human right of freedom of speech? The reason is that that wasn’t the purpose of the second amendment, and, considering the war they had just fought to fend off an intrusive government, it’s not hard to see what that purpose was.
The founders knew all too well what living under a tyrannical government was like, and they weren’t about to let their citizens to be subject to such a state ever again, even if it meant giving up their monopoly on violence by acknowledging the people’s right to self defense, and thus their right to the means to defense.
When this is pointed out to leftists, they generally shrug it off or denounce it as a radical view, or if they take the time to argue, they point out the fact that our government has not been a tyrannical one for over 200 years and it is unlikely that they will be in the future (but later have a panic attack about how they think Donald Trump will become a dictator). To that I say, perhaps the reason we’ve not had tyranny is the fact that we are an armed populace.
Besides, a right does not require a plausible, imminent threat in order to be had. We do not protest the first amendment simply because our government has not previously attempted to quell freedom of speech. That would be ridiculous. The same goes for the second.
Myth 3: “Even so, ‘assault rifles’ should not be allowed. Just look at how easily people commit mass shootings with them.”
Most murders committed with firearms were committed using handguns. Just because the shootings you see on T.V. are committed using rifles doesn’t change the statistics.
As for whether “assault rifles” are more deadly than, say, hunting rifles, they aren’t. “Assault rifle” is a very arbitrary term, usually used to describe a semi-automatic rifle with various modifications, such as a pistol grip, barrel shroud, etc. These attachments are mainly aesthetic, making the guns functionally identical to most hunting rifles, as they are also semi-automatic (semi-automatic means one shot per pull of the trigger. Fully-automatic weapons, guns that fire multiple rounds automatically by holding the trigger, is what comes to mind for many people, but they are already essentially banned). The only difference between what are commonly referred to as “assault weapons” and semi-automatic hunting rifles is that the former might have a higher capacity, though the latter fire larger caliber rounds.
Myth 4: “What’s wrong with making it harder to get guns?”
Making it harder for people to exercise their right to self preservation only makes it harder for law-abiding citizens to do so and in a timely fashion. Criminals, when faced with a law prohibiting them from acquiring guns to commit their crimes, will simply turn to the black market or steal, and thus have an easier and quicker time getting their hands on a tool for crime than a citizen would have exercising their rights.
Myth 5: “Our police and military do the job of protecting us from criminals and foreign invaders, therefore we don’t need guns to protect ourselves.”
Oh, you mean the same police that you leftists constantly call racist and evil for gunning down black people indiscriminately? Anyway, whether they do such things or not is irrelevant. Seeing as the reason for the second amendment, as I pointed out earlier, is for defense against a tyrannical government, why would we cede that right to the agents of the very government the founders meant to keep from becoming tyrannical?
As for foreign invaders, the second amendment is a great thing for us. Whether or not the famous quote from a Japanese general in World War II was misattributed, the idea makes sense: “You cannot invade the United States mainland. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass”. We still have the military and police, for better or worse, but the citizenry, when allowed the right to self preservation, acts as a last line of defense in case of a foreign invasion.
This has been a debunking of 5 myths about the second amendment and gun control. Disagree? Leave your opinion in the comments.