Currently the 2nd Amendment is interpreted by the Supreme Court as guaranteeing a right to self-defense. This is precisely why concealed-carry is protected by the 2nd Amendment, but RPGs are not. There is no need for concealed-carry if you’re arming the populace to stop a tyranny, and there IS a need for RPGs. The protection is exactly backwards.
From the recent overturning of Illinois’ concealed-carry ban:
“We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home,” wrote Posner. “The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside.”
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court made Chicago’s 28-year-old handgun ban unenforceable, ruling that Americans have the right to have guns in their homes for protection.
While there are some people who argue that military-grade weapons should be available to private citizens, and I respect them for their consistency, there aren’t enough of them to bother having that argument at this time.
So let’s grant for a moment that the 2nd amendment is about personal self-defense. This seems like a good right to have. What sort of self-defense requires a fully-automatic rifle with a 30+ round clip? A pistol is more portable for when you’re out in public, and a shotgun or pistol or rifle is more than adequate for any imaginable home-defense scenario. Turns out I had a very limited imagination, because I thought in terms of individual criminals, and not in terms of all of society turning against me.
I was enlighten when a friend shared this video. At the 4:13 mark we are told what defensive use assault rifles have – the 1992 Rodney King Riots in LA. Supposedly a man held back a mob of looters with an assault rifle. These weapons are indeed handy if society has collapsed and a mob has turned on you. The obvious question to ask is – does the protection afforded by these weapons in such scenarios outweigh the harm of having these weapons widely available? Since such scenarios are already incredibly rare I doubt they’re worth the cost in criminal carnage. A few dozen shops being looted every decade is a reasonable price to pay for reducing the incidents of mass-murders.
But there’s a second question that comes up. A much less charitable one – what sort of person imagines they’d get use from this sort of weapon? Who views themselves as surrounded by violent criminals that are held at bay only by his own firepower? Not just opportunistic criminals – those are easily discouraged by a regular rifle or shotgun. This sort of weapon is for holding off a large mob that is determined to kill you. Is this not the hallmark of the racist? One who fears that as soon as the Law is no longer there to protect him all the minorities around him will rise up and consume him? An AK isn’t of much use against a tyrannical government, but it sure can mow down the dark-skinned savages that are rushing your suburban survivalist compound…
EDIT – seems this is not news. Apparently the 2nd amendment was intended to keep the black people in control since the day it was penned. I like our new interpretation better. And in that spirit, I hold it shouldn’t protect assault weapons.