I’d like to discuss this subject rationally with my readers, and that means we must dismiss emotion from the subject. The passions inflamed by discussions of gun bans, as well as the debate over their legitimacy and purpose are sure to take any debate to the brink, so rather than fill volumes with useless rhetoric, I’d like to cover a bit of ground most of the media, even conservative outlets, won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. People on the pro-Second Amendment side of this argument are quick to point out the very real statistics that demonstrate fewer people in the United States are murdered in a given year with all rifles, including the subset consisting of so-called assault weapons, than are killed in the city of Chicago with handguns in that same year. This statistic should be stunning to those who had swallowed the media hype about so-called “assault weapons,” but the simple fact of the matter is that such weapons account for a statistically insignificant number of murders in the US, according to the FBI’s own crime figures. Knowing this, it is reasonable to ask why it would be that the gun-grabbers would focus on this contrived class of weapons for their immediate gun-ban agenda. There are just a few reasons, and they’re all important to understanding their agenda, but one is absolutely critical.
The first thing to understand is that by simple appearance, and since cosmetics largely define the classification, so-called “assault weapons” look mean. Despite the fact that Grandpappy’s old-school Browning BAR in .30-06(7.62×63,) another semi-automatic rifle that is much more lethal, given the higher energy of its round versus an AR-15 in .223 or an AK-47 in 7.62×39, the Browning merely looks relatively innocuous compared to the menacing AR-15. The truth is that a single round from any of the three could be lethal, but if I had to bet on which would cause more damage, I would put my money on the .30-06. The .30-06 was the standard round the Army employed in its Springfield M1 Garand rifle, from the period covering the Second World War until its ultimate replacement with the M14 (.308) and the M16(the fully automatic cousin of the AR-15.) The projectile of a .30-06 is an awesome round, and as George S. Patton observed, the Garand rifle was at the time what he considered to be “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” Let us therefore conclude that there are indeed rifles with far more lethal capability that would not be considered “assault weapons” for the purposes of this ban. It is therefore an obvious conclusion that this classification of weapons, defined almost entirely by cosmetic characteristics, was created entirely because they look more threatening than Grandpappy’s BAR and therefore make for better propaganda.
This is the classification of weapons that constitutes the most rapid growth in gun ownership in the country, excepting one: Handguns. There are many more handguns in circulation than there are so-called “assault weapons,” meaning that as a purely political exercise, it will be easier to drum up some majority willing to ban “assault weapons.” This political calculation is why the focus is on so-called “assault weapons:” If the gun-grabbing camel is to get its nose under the tent-flap that is the Second Amendment, it must start with something that is owned by a relatively smaller albeit rapidly growing segment of the populace. If too many obtain weapons in this class, it will be more difficult to ban them, and so the gun-grabbers must act now to the extent they are able.
So-called “assault weapons” generally share another characteristic that gives them broad appeal both among civilian sportsmen and police or paramilitary organizations: Compared with many of the rifles that look more innocuous, they can be mastered and handled by a much larger segment of the population, because felt recoil is reduced to levels that do not jar one’s bones, and they are typically light enough that the do not cause extensive fatigue for the shooter. Because of their relatively simplified design, they are easily maintained by even an inexperienced novice. Most of them share various types of ammunition that are lightweight and inexpensive, giving them broad appeal. Since the expiration of the 1994 “Assault Weapons” ban in 2004, millions or even tens of millions of this type of firearm have been produced or imported into the United States, although most of the imports have been “sporterized” (removing many of the cosmetic features defining them as “assault weapons”) in order to comply with US Customs restrictions and regulations imposed by the BATFE. What this means to statist gun-grabbers is that so-called “assault weapons” are the most effective weapons with which to stave off any tyrannical moves by the government.
Their low recoil, easy portability, durability, weather and dirt resistance are all features common to their military cousins. The ease of maintenance, the high capacity magazines, and the relatively inexpensive ammunition mean that these weapons would be of indispensable use to those who comprise “the militia” as defined by our founders, who were not discussing and did not intend “The National Guard” by their description. The founders of our country and the framers of our constitution envisioned a militia made up of every able-bodied male, able to bear arms in defense not only of the country in time of invasion or insurrection, but in defense of liberty if the source of insurrection were to become the legalized sort characterizing every despotic form of government the world has ever known. Knowing this, it’s important to realize that so-called “assault weapons” are the focus of fear among the anointed who may have other plans for our republic. It is for this reason that they seek to ban them, because this is the sole weapon classification in broad distribution among the American people that makes a meaningful resistance to arbitrary governmental actions possible.
It is for this reason that the gun-grabbing left wishes to deprive you of so-called “assault weapons,” knowing that they resemble in many respects their military cousins, minus the ability to operate in fully-automatic mode. In truth, a well-skilled group of veterans, or average citizens could hold off a similarly sized military force for some time unless heavier weapons were brought to bear against them. From the moment the ATF carried out its botched raid on the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel, TX, it was clear to all who watched that a superior force of government agents could be held at bay indefinitely until there was an application of larger, military class weaponry. So-called “assault weapons” have no application in defense against tanks. It was in response to this raid that the assault weapons ban of 1994 was crafted. It’s also worth noting that as much as the broad-based backlash against Hillary-care, the AWB of 1994, passed by Congress in September, was instrumental in fueling the “Republican revolution” in November that year.
What the events in Waco made plain to the elites is that armed resistance is possible, and while it would be relatively easy to contain small enclaves of resisters in compounds simply by the application of superior firepower and military equipment, putting down a wider resistance might prove difficult. On a broader scale, with a resistance across the entire population, perhaps even on the offensive rather than hunkered in bunkers awaiting the end of the world, such a resistance might well overturn a runaway government despite its advantage in heavy weapons and military equipment. This was a shock to the powers-that-were, and it posed to them a new danger that spoke to a future moment when they might face justice for treason rather than a few dozens or hundreds of isolated radicals being dealt with in swift and severe fashion.
This may sound fantastic at first blush, but I beg you consider it if only to recognize the reasons why despite all of the illogical arguments made against “assault weapons,” the political class in our nation’s capital have a very strong reason to see the citizenry of the nation deprived of “assault weapons.” In their jaded but pragmatic view, citizens may use their shotguns, their handguns, and even Grandpappy’s old-style Browning rifle, to kill a deer, or even one another, but politicians are largely protected from these, and more importantly, they represent no meaningful offensive capacity in a theoretical war against the aggressions of government. Not since the advent of modern military weapons have the American people had at their disposal so effective a means by which to resist arbitrary government, and you had better believe that the government knows it. Whatever doubts they may have had evaporated during a morning raid in 1993 at the door of a religious enclave that had been obsessed with the end of the world. From that moment forward, it was realized and understood by the political ruling class that they must relieve the American people of that capacity. In 1994, they made the first attempt to do so.
In the eights years since the expiration of that law in 2004, many on the radical left have thought of little else but reinstating it, and you can bet that if they get it back in place, there will be no expiration this time, and no means save one by which to undo it. There’s a widespread understanding in Washington DC that on our current fiscal and monetary path, massive civil unrest is virtually inevitable, but if it should eventuate while the American people retain the capacity for mass armed resistance, the eventual clean-up may not look quite like the anointed class had hoped. It is for this reason that we must not permit them to ban our guns, and our “assault weapons” most of all, because the fact of their existence may constitute the only implement of detente in a cold war now waged by the forces of statism against the greater body of the American people.
Now you must understand why despite the illogical basis for the arguments, and in spite of crime statistics that demonstrate the irrational course of going after them, the statist gun-grabbers must act to deprive you first of so-called “assault weapons.” Once deprived of these, you will maintain no other for long. This concept was well understood by our founders, though in interceding generations, it has been neglected and white-washed by the statist intelligentsia. In that vein, I offer you a few pointed reminders you should take care never to forget:
“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason, during Virginia’s ratification convention, 1788.
“The power of the Sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends, and countrymen, it is not so for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword, is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tench Coxe, Penn Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
“…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…” – Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist Papers 29
“There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instill prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common sense are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits, and interests?” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers 29
“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms…To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…” -
Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53, 1788.
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution(1787)
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, …” – Alexander Hamilton Federalist Papers 28.