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December 22, 2012
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No Ban on Assault Weapons! by poasterchild No Ban on Assault Weapons! by poasterchild
Please disseminate widely, thank you! This does not give permission to alter or claim credit for this re-mixed work, for which I retain all copyrights. The original illustration is in the public domain.

If you disagree with the views expressed here, please be sure to read my Policy Statement BEFORE you post: [link]

I realize my position on this issue is going to offend many. Before you start ranting however, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read some history about why the Framers wrote the Second Amendment the way they did and why they were so concerned that average people have unfettered access to military-style weapons. Stephen Halbrook has an excellent history of the pre-Revolutionary events that led to the framing of the Second Amendment here: [link]

If any class of personal firearms is deserving of and is in fact Constitutionally protected, it is semi-automatic rifles including civilian versions of the military M-14, M-16, and M-4 rifles; in other words, the A-15. Indeed, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Miller (1939) that a sawed-off shotgun was not to be protected under the Second Amendment because "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."

Thus, by extension, military-style semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 are protected precisely because they do have such a reasonable relationship to the preservation of a well-regulated militia.

The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting. It is not even wholly about personal self-defense. It is about every able-bodied citizen being (1) well-trained in the use of firearms and (2) in personal possession of same (this is the meaning of "well-regulated") should they be called upon to provide for the common defense in times of insurrection, invasion, or other national emergencies. And most of all, the Second Amendment was included because the Founders explicitly desired to assure that the people could resist assaults upon their liberty from a government that had turned against its own citizens. This was their experience with the British -- an escalating pattern of warrantless searches and seizures of persons and things at and away from their homes culminating in the British attempt to seize the personal weapons stored in the homes of some 30 colonists in Lexington, Massachusetts. We all remember how that particular infringement worked out for our British friends.

Many people are fond of quoting V's famous line, "People should not fear their governments; governments should fear their people." The Second Amendment is the guarantor of that ideal.

I do not feel that we have descended into tyranny quite yet. Yet, if you think about what has happened in this country in recent years -- NDAA, rendition, organized and officially sanctioned torture, H.R. 347, CISPA, illegal surveillance, warrantless intercepts of telephone and email, the militarization of local police forces, and, claims by the President of his right to assassinate American citizens (and his actually doing so), to unilaterally strip them of their citizenship and deport or rendition them, one cannot help but wonder about the wisdom of denying people access to the very weapons that one day may have to be called upon to defend their liberty. Although it is fashionable for progressives to poo-poo this line of thought as paranoid, both our own history and the history of Western democracy from the time of Magna Carta teach the lesson that liberty is best safeguarded by an armed populace that can serve as a counterweight to the State's claim to a monopoly on the sanctioned use of violence to achieve political ends.

Having said all of this, I want everyone to understand that I was horrified by the events in Newtown, Connecticut. However, none of the specific proposals put forth by Senator Feinstein, the White House, and the anti-gun lobby -- a ban on "assault weapons," restrictions on magazine capacity, and closing the so-called "gun show loophole" -- would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown. And further, understand that even if those proposals become law they will do nothing to remove the literally millions of these weapons and the high capacity magazines that have already been lawfully manufactured. Those would be grandfathered in and would remain legal. Only manufacture or importation after the effective date of the proposed legislation would be prohibited.

The NRA is right: properly trained armed security might have prevented what new gun laws cannot. That's why armed security is already present at one-third of America's schools. Mr. LaPierre was not talking about deploying untrained amateurs. The NRA, with 11,000 professional police firearms trainers, does most of the firearms training for police today. Mr. LaPierre proposed deploying them to train people with appropriate backgrounds for these volunteer assignments.

One other thing would have prevented Adam Lanza's rampage -- a gun safe. That his mother chose to keep firearms and ammunition unsecured in a home where a developmentally disabled and possibly mentally ill young adult also lived strikes me as the soul of irresponsibility. If she was concerned enough to tell a babysitter "don't turn your back on him," and was apparently considering committing him to a psychiatric facility, shouldn't common sense have dictated that she keep her weapons under lock and key?

"The right of self-defense is the first law of nature . . . . Wherever . . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

-- St. George Tucker, American Patriot
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soulessone12 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014
you know what i find real funny here? (sorry had to point this out) is that the gun the statues holding is a single-shot musket whose capabilities where no where near to those of an assault weapon (which are generally semi-automatic or automatic)
x-SkaiGuardian-x Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sure you know as well as I do there's no such thing as "assault weapons." Nothing more than a label put on semi-auto weapons that LOOK like their military counterparts, dragging similar firearms along with them. Assault rifles are already banned from production for civilian ownership since '86 or '87, so anti-gun advocates wanted to make sure anyone who didn't know firearm laws or how they functioned would be convinced you could just walk into a 7-11, put down cash, and walk out with a machine gun. Hence, "assault weapons."

And it's only a step. First it was an attempt to take handguns. Then it was an attempt to stop sales of "military-style" weapons. This time around it's going to be an attempt to force people to voluntarily turn said weapons. It will not even get that far, but if it does, the next stop will be handguns again, then "grandpappy's huntin' rifle" and shotguns. All in the name of "saving us from ourselves". Meanwhile, criminals are NOT going to give up their arms. I don't know about any of you, but I want to be equally or better armed than someone breaking into my home.

If that doesn't get through to you, think about this. An AR-15 fires a 5.56x45/.223 Rem round from a closed bolt, once per trigger pull. A Ruger Mini-14 fires a 5.56x45/.223 Rem round from a closed bolt, once per trigger pull. One comes standard with a pistol grip, collapsing stock, and flash suppressor. The other comes in a standard, old school "ranch rifle" stock. Both are within the same price range. Both are nearly impossible to hide while walking around. Both are functionally the same. But to tell me I don't NEED the AR because it LOOKS like an M4 or M16 and therefore CAN'T have it is just ridiculous.

ALL rifles (assault style, hunting, or otherwise) last year were used to kill about 300 people. Out of about 50,000 gun deaths.
XFirefox45X Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014
Even if we banned them people would still have the
them. However there should be a stricter buying rules
ryu238 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014
...well this is surprising coming from you...but whatever.
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Although I detest where they have wandered off to, the NRA is right on this issue.  There is a strong Constitutional case that argues that if anything, so-called assault weapons deserve special protection under the Second Amendment.  My own political understanding is that the Framers intended the first ten amendments (The Bill of Rights) as a package deal.  It was the price that was demanded by the Jeffersonians (the anti-Federalists) for support of the more centralizing vision of the Constitution put forth by Hamilton and the other Federalists.  You cannot pick and choose among civil liberties -- you either support all of them all of the time or you support none of them.  It comes down to this: citizens own personal firearms; subjects don't.

I'd be curious to know your thoughts about the following:

The Inconvenient Second Amendment

In 1989, nearly 20 years before the Supreme Court handed down its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller [1] affirming that the Constitution does indeed embrace an individual right to keep and bear arms, the distinguished liberal Constitutional scholar Sanford Levinson published a prescient article in the Yale Law Journal titled “The Embarrassing Second Amendment.” [2]

In speculating as to why the Second Amendment has historically received such scant attention from Constitutional scholars (compared, for example, to the First, Fourth, or Fifth Amendments), Professor Levinson, whose article was actually a plea for reasoned discussion among legal scholars on the meaning and implications of the so-called “forgotten Amendment” rather than an endorsement of the “individual right” interpretation, said this:

“I cannot help but suspect that the best explanation for the absence of the Second Amendment from the legal consciousness of the elite bar, including that component found in the legal academy, is derived from . . . the perhaps subconscious fear that altogether plausible, perhaps even ‘winning,’ interpretations of the Second Amendment would present real hurdles to those of us supporting prohibitory regulation.”

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut, and Webster, New York, there has been a renewed push from Senator Diane Feinstein for a federal ban on the future manufacture and importation of firearms such as the AR-15 and the high-capacity 20- and 30-round magazines with which they are typically supplied.  Indeed, President Obama specifically included such a plan in the package of “gun safety” proposals he announced to the Nation on December 14, 2012. [3]

Typical of the rationale offered for such action by Congress, the President said, “If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited . . . Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that – then surely we have an obligation to try.” [4]  The clear implication of this argument is that the need to supposedly protect the public trumps the Second Amendment and that semi-automatic firearms, such as the AR-15, are no more deserving of special protection than are any others.  Leaving aside for the moment the incorrect presumption that restricting a certain class of firearms will do anything to protect anyone, this brief analysis will focus on why semi-automatic firearms such as the AR-15 deserve – and already possess – protected status under the Constitution.  

The Special Constitutionally Protected Status of Semi-Automatic Firearms

It is my contention that the President’s argument, while perhaps emotionally appealing, is fraught with legal problems, and that semi-automatic firearms such as the AR-15 do enjoy special protection under our Constitution.  Again, Professor Levinson’s observation that there exist “plausible, perhaps even ‘winning,’ interpretations of the Second Amendment [that] would present real hurdles to those of us supporting prohibitory regulation” was prescient, perhaps in a way that he did not foresee.

In the only Supreme Court decision to touch upon the status of “military-style” firearms in civilian hands, United States v. Miller [5], the Court ruled unanimously that appellant Miller’s possession and interstate transportation of a sawed-off shotgun was not Constitutionally protected under the Second Amendment.  In the words of Justice McReynolds, writing a unanimous opinion that reversed and remanded the District Court’s decision that Miller’s sawed-off shotgun was Constitutionally protected:

“In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.”

Thus, by extension, despite the fact that none of the semi-automatic firearms which Senator Feinstein and the White House would like to regulate and/or tax out of existence are capable of full-automatic fire (which is what separates them from the military weapons they superficially resemble), the AR-15 and its cousins are Constitutionally protected precisely because they do have such a reasonable relationship to a well-regulated (meaning, in the language of the 18th century, “well-trained” and “well-armed”) [6] militia.

Who Then, Is Legally Guaranteed the Right to Possess Semi-Automatic Firearms?

Following the line of reasoning upon which the Court based its decision in Miller, which suggests that ownership of firearms such as the AR-15 is required of but not restricted to members of the militia, one must turn to the questions of (1.) precisely what is the militia referred to and (2.) who comprises it.  Here, too, those who would move to legislatively prohibit the future manufacture of semi-automatic firearms such as the AR-15 and the high-capacity magazines associated with them have, from a Constitutional perspective, a very tough row to hoe.

Section 311 of title 32 of the United States Code [7] provides that “the militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.”  Section 313 [8] defines the militia as having two classes: (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and, (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.  In sum then, the unorganized militia is all male citizens of the United States, aged 17 to 45, and male resident aliens aged 17 to 45 who have made a declaration to become citizens and are not members of the National Guard.  Given Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s recent directive that women are no longer to be barred from direct combat roles in the Armed Forces, not to mention the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, it would seem that the exclusion of women aged 17 to 45 from the definition of who comprises the unorganized militia is open to challenge, the language of 32 USC § 313 notwithstanding.


This analysis has demonstrated that: (1.) unlike other firearms – such as the long-barreled side-by-side shotguns used by duck hunters, or, the poorly-made, inaccurate, small-caliber handguns that are disproportionately used in crimes of violence – semi-automatic firearms with magazines having a capacity of greater than 10 rounds and chambered in .223, .308, .30-06 (as well as a few other calibers) possess Constitutionally-protected status precisely because of their “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia;” and, (2.) that while, due to the present exclusion of women who are not members of the Armed Forces or National Guard, the jurisprudence pertaining to whom comprises the unorganized militia may be incomplete, it is a matter of black-letter law that all male citizens and male resident aliens who have made a declaration to become citizens of the United States and are not members of the National Guard, are in fact members of said militia, and as such are not only permitted, but indeed are required to possess and to become proficient in the use of such firearms.

While these facts may be inconvenient for those who would deprive American citizens of their natural and Constitutionally protected right to possess military-capable semi-automatic firearms, [9] they are indeed, the facts.  Rather than attempting to accomplish their objective of disarming American civilians by waving the bloody shirt, let Senator Feinstein and President Obama, if they possess the moral courage to do so, address these matters head-on via a direct attempt to repeal the Second Amendment.


1. District of Columbia v. Heller. 554 US 570 (2008).
2. 99 Yale L.J. 637 (1989-1990). Embarrassing Second Amendment, The; Levinson, Sanford.
5. U.S. v. Miller, 307 US 174 (1939).
6. Uviller, H.R. and Merkel, W.G. The Militia and the Right to Arms, or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent, p. 361.  Duke University Press: Durham, NC. 2003. See also: The Federalist, No. 29.
7. 32 USC 311.
8. 32 USC 313.
9. Senator Unveils Bill to Limit Semiautomatic Arms.  The New York Times, January 24, 2013.… “The goal of the bill, [Senator Feinstein] said, is “to dry up the supply of these weapons over time.”

ryu238 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014
I don't mind people owning firearms...banning them is just a bad idea, still I wouldn't mind universal background checks...
ReasonableBeliever Featured By Owner May 3, 2014
MetalOxide-Creations Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
Real men use muskets. 
skyounkinzero Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Hobbyist
Couldn't agree more LadyRhianWriter.

The only thing more guns increase- is more gun violence. NOT safety and security.
poasterchild Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Actually, the evidence suggests you're wrong. Perhaps you didn't read the Policy Statement in my Journal. This is not an invitation to further debate. Read the policy statement an consider yourself warned.
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