Thursday, November 1, 2018 – It’s easy to blame the gun, specifically, the AR. It’s not about the name ‘assault rifle,’ ‘Armalite rifle,’ automatic rifle, semi-auto rifle, or 30-round magazines. It’s about power – not the guns, the politics.
Americans are amazingly tolerable about their party affiliations. Democrats and Republicans take turns leading, one or the other, the day-to-day future of the way we live for or against a social or economic issue. Currently, Republicans hold sway over the national legislature and every two years each party has an opportunity to convince voters that they know best how Americans should behave.
A so-called mass shooting involving a “military styled” rifle is a magnet for blame and “nobody needs an automatic rifle that holds 50 bullets to kill a deer.” The confusion over descriptive accuracy – automatic or semi-automatic – is redundant. One well-placed single bullet by an experienced shooter will put meat on the table.
Historically, civilian America acquiesces to military arms as superior to sporting arms for obvious reasons and, post war, they want to replicate at least to some degree the small arms on which each generation of soldiers are trained.
Today’s military are given the best arms the country’s gun makers can provide, and the Second Amendment specifically states that guns “in common use” at the time – in contemporary and not just historical time-frames – should be available to civilians. As such, the AR accurately fits that constitutional profile. The debate difference is based on the “use” part of the phrase.
Since the dawn of the American Republic the founders provided the means to revolt against a tyrannical government. The clear interpretation of that statement allows civilians to keep and bear such common use arms that come as close to military guns as such “common sense” requires and that allowance replicates parity with the military as much as anything.
Dictators use militaries to force their power on their subjects, Syria being currently a prime example. But American democracy allows for peaceful political and even social dissent to a point, and that point is infringed whenever some group of dissenters intend to breach it. In the extreme that suggests the use of force to defeat constitutional law. In most corners of the body politic that’s called tyranny.
Should such a condition in modern times rise to critical levels and the American military is ordered to put down the insurgency with arms such an order could result in one of two conditions: a military dictatorship (amendments to the Insurrection Act in 2007) or the refusal of the military ordered to open fire on their American neighbors (the Posse Comitatus Act) . Defense against a tyrannical government, while not envisioned even in today’s political mainstream, requires the common use of contemporary arms and, until we graduate to imaginative Star Wars weaponry, those defensive arms include the AR-15 and its lineage imperatives.
We all like to feel that the American military would never turn on American civilians and that’s closer to right rather than wrong. But history chronicled our Civil War. Should such a division ever again separate us the American civilian army – militia, so-called – hopes that their defensive weapons are as close to parity with that of the military as possible. Tomorrow we may be talking laser guns but, for now at least, we’re talking ARs and their progeny.