Q:You can't really compare guns to nuclear warheads. They have totally different circumstances. We have the right to bare arms so we can defend ourselves. Lets say that the government took away our rights to have guns. They could pretty much take away anything else from us and we wouldn't be able to rebel. Also, if we couldn't own guns in the Revolutionary War, America probably wouldn't be here today. I'm not trying to start a fight. I do love your work. I guess I'm just stating an opinion.
Right, this is precisely the reasoning behind the 2nd amendment, that an armed citizenry can protect against the tyranny of the government.
The problem is, that has just become completely ludicrous, because the government has unmanned drones and long-range nuclear missiles and RPGs and tanks and automatic weapons, and even if you have a semi-automatic assault rifle with a large magazine, you will not be able to stop the United States army from doing whatever the hell it wants to do to you. (But of course that isn’t HOW we check government tyranny in the 21st century, thankfully. We check it by voting.)
If you’re going to argue that a well-armed citizenry is necessary to protect against government tyranny, you have to argue that gun laws need to be drastically changed so that regular citizens have weapon capabilities similar to the U.S. Army. So armed drones need to be available, for instance.
Also, since the constitution establishes this as a right and not as a privilege, the government needs to ensure that we have access to arms appropriate to defend ourselves against the potential tyranny of our government. That means that if I cannot afford a drone armed with thousand-pound bombs (and I can’t), the United States government should buy one for me.
So we can interpret the constitution that way. Or we can accept that it’s a living document, and that Hamilton and Jefferson did not foresee a time when governments (not just ours, but many of them) would have access to firepower that can eliminate the human species.
So assuming that we don’t believe the government should provide bombs to citizens, the question becomes, “What kind of guns should people have, and what kind of people should have them?” And that’s how you decide, for instance, that felons should not be allowed to own automatic weapons.
I would argue that private citizens also shouldn’t own assault rifles, and that large magazine clips should be illegal. Maybe you feel differently. That’s a conversation we can have, because it’s a conversation about policy and about what kind of policies make sense in the world as it exists, instead of trying to have a conversation about ideals and absolutes that really don’t hold up well to scrutiny.
So to be very clear: We already have gun control in the United States. And no one is proposing taking away people’s ability to buy guns. Restricting or eliminating private citizens’ ability to purchase assault rifles will not result in an unarmed citizenry, just as current restrictions on automatic weapons have not resulted in an unarmed citizenry.
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