Now this will undoubtedly, as it has before, require some clarification. By the "excessive" implementation of the United States Constitution's 2nd Amendment I mean to say the availability, purchase, and subsequent ownership and use of firearms that can be classified as assault weapons by a very specific set of criteria. It may be more helpful to list though, what I feel to be firearms suitable and reasonable for civilian ownership as there are so many weapons today with different capabilities that far exceed the requirements of home security and hunting.
Firearms suitable for civilian ownership:
- Bolt-action rifles firing rounds no larger than the .308 rifle round.
- Pump, Lever, or Break-Action shotguns
- Semi-Automatic Rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds.
These are tools used in sport shooting and hunting and are only suitable for such uses. In the case of a home-invasion, a competent individual can easily defend themselves and their family using a pump-action shotgun as has been documented in countless cases worldwide.
Anything beyond the capabilities of these types of firearms goes over the 'sporting' line and approaches or passes the level of an assault weapon. To put it in perspective let's consider the use of the 30.06 Springfield rifle by the United States' military. During WWI it was favoured for reliability, ease of operation and maintenance and for it's accuracy over long range. It was later replaced in WWII as US forces required a semi-automatic weapon to handle the increased demands for firepower on a more modern battlefield. Even so, the Springfield became the weapon of choice for snipers and other marksmen as a specialist's weapon for it's accuracy, reliability and because the reload was much quieter than that of the much more common, semi-automatic M1 Garand rifle. This is where we can establish what should be considered as an "assault weapon" and why it should be thusly labelled. The semi-automatic rifle was invented to generate a larger rate of fire intended for use on the battlefield. Hunters through history have gravitated towards bolt-action rifles for their accuracy and range as they do not require more than one or two rounds to take down game animals. There is no place for a high-capacity, semi-automatic rifle in the hunting world. Pistols were ALSO invented as a means of defense and modified throughout history not to make them more useful as hunting tools, but as a means of killing other human beings. From black power pistols through to cap and ball, single and dual action revolvers and now semi-automatic and automatic pistols the aim has always been to increase the weapon's killing capacity against human targets.
Now I know what a lot of your typical 'Muricans and facetious history students are thinking right now... "But Josh, the 2nd Amendment was put in place to allow the American citizen to protect himself against the unjust rule of tyrants. Without it they are left defenseless!" This was true in 1776 but in the modern era it is a little less common for foreign governments to forcefully station their troops in American homes (see "The Quartering Act" as it applies to the 13 Colonies). Yes, when the threat of a British counterattack was a potential threat there may have been justification for the implementation of such an amendment however if you look at the war of 1812 it really didn't do much to stop forces moving down from Canada and torching the White House... Yeah, CANADIANS, many of them plain militia, pushed back the American forces and managed to set the White House ablaze. I'm sorry to burst your bubble but the 2nd Amendment didn't prevent that. It also didn't prevent a British counterattack either. Responsible for the lack of British military reprisals after the end of the revolutionary war would be the little thing known as "logistics", not the 2nd Amendment. Remember, once they were forced out, and Canada not being a stronghold of the British Empire quite yet, launching a full-scale invasion was far beyond the capabilities of the British as it would require them crossing an entire ocean using sail-powered ships. The Allies in WWII had a hard enough time crossing the English channel with modern technology to assault a geographic area nowhere near as vast as the United States of America. To put it in perspective, the British attempting an invasion of America would be tantamount to Napoleon's attempt to invade Russia only with the massive trans-Atlantic journey tossed in for kicks. History students should be laughing right about now.
So, you can hunt, you can defend your home, and you can shoot competitively with clay targets and the classic break-action shotgun, what else do you need? Oh! You want to go sport shooting with pistols? Well, I suppose that's alright, but you'd need to be on a shooting range to do that wouldn't you? Yeah, you would. SO why not have licensed firearms ranges carry weapons that can be rented, or purchased with the condition that they be kept AT the range for use by the owner AT that range? That would allow people to go sport-shooting with pistols for fun but not for every Tom, Dick and Harry to concealed-carry their little metal buddy everywhere. Doesn't that seem reasonable? You can do what you like, but it has to be done safely just like automobile racing (and I KNOW Americans love their cars) so why not treat guns the same way?
Now THIS is where I link the year's tragedies into the debate. The weapons used in these attacks were primarily semi-automatic pistols and converted assault rifles (converted to semi-automatic for 'civilian' use). Yes, shotguns were present at both the Aurora theater shooting and the recent Sandy Hook school killings however only the Aurora incident involved the actual USE of a pump-action shotgun whereas the pump-action shotgun at the Sandy Hook incident was found in the perpetrator's vehicle and was not used in the attack. Even in the theater killings the shotgun was only the weapon used after the attacker's assault rifle reportedly jammed and he had run out of ammunition for his pistols. See folks, even the world's madmen only use a pump-action for these horrendous acts as a last resort and would by no means attempt to conduct such atrocities with the weapon alone. The Columbine highschool shooters? Pistols and converted sub-machine guns. The Virginia Tech shooter? Glock 19 and Walther P22 semi-automatic pistols. How about the Westroads Mall Shooting in Omaha, Nebraska back in 2007? That was the work of a man wielding the AKM, a semi-automatic variant of the AK-47 firing the 7.62 x 39mm rifle round. For a little bit of perspective, here's a comparative graphic:
|7.69x29mm is in the center. The .308 Winchester is to the left of center.|
Now yes, the .308 round is larger, however it is most-often used as a marksman's round in sniper rifles rather than the 7.62's use in assault rifles worldwide.
Just put the mindset of people opposing this type of gun control in perspective, THIS poster comes in SUPPORT of the open use and ownership of handguns:
Yup, it wasn't because Cho had open access to the firearms that made it so easy for him to murder people... It was because they didn't have guns. Let's think though folks, if Cho couldn't have just strolled into the local sporting goods store, yeah, SPORTING GOODS store and picked up a couple of handguns... What wold he have shot people with? Yeah, just some food for thought.
I'm not against gun ownership, please don't mistake what I'm trying to get across in this post. What I am against is the apparent arms race between American citizens simply to protect themselves from what the other side buys next. If everyone just stepped back and took a look at it, they'd realize that what I've listed is more than reasonable as a change to the 2nd Amendment. No, it wouldn't be easy to round up the handguns already present in the American climate, but how much in life that is worth doing is REALLY easy to do? If things were all easy there'd be no challenge, no glory in the accomplishment of easy tasks. How often does someone congratulate you or admire you for doing something easy and simple? They don't but climb mount Everest or win a slew of Olympic gold medals and see how quickly you get noticed.
Folks, it's about time that the United States realized what the real problem is. Share this article on your Facebook, Twitter, whatever just get it out there. Maybe SOMEONE will pick up on a half decent idea backed up by simple, not-so-common sense.
Enjoy your swim!
Joshua J. Taylor