Dec 172012

stinger-missileI don’t want to get too involved in the gun-control debate, because I don’t actually know which side I support. Obviously fully-automatic weapons should be banned, as should high-capacity magazines, as the only thing they’re good for is indiscriminate mass carnage. Aside from that, I don’t have a strong degree of confidence in either side’s claims.

I am intensely annoyed by one thing though – the occasional refrain by the pro-gun side that the 2nd Amendment is there to protect the American populace from a government-imposed tyranny. This is complete crap, everyone knows it, and yet it’s still brought up sometimes.

Maybe in the day of muskets and cavalry charges this was true (maybe). But it’s obviously absurd to claim that now. Small-caliber handguns cannot compete with a modern military force in any way. A military force can field tanks, long-range artillery, attack helicopters, and unmanned drones. And (aside from the drones) that’s all ancient technology. To actually resist a military incursion the 2nd Amendment would have to allow private citizens to own heavy ordnance and high-explosives at the minimum. Every successful modern resistance has been supplied and/or supported by a foreign nation.

No one believes that the 2nd Amendment SHOULD allow those things. So it’s not about stopping a domestic tyranny. Stop pretending it is.

  3 Responses to “Can We Stop Pretending It’s About Tyranny?”

  1. While mostly your posts are rather insightful, this one is complete rubbish I am afraid. If there ever will be a insurrection on that scale, it would not be a conventional war where tanks, or artillery would be at all useful. It would rather be a guerrilla war, where rebels with small arms would snipe at targets and then retreat. This strategy works very well against even modern armies with the most advanced technology,see for example how hard a time the American army in Afghanistan. And you may say that is a bad example because the American army is far from home and fighting on unfamiliar ground, but see for example the IRA in 1919-21. That is not the best example because it happened a while ago, but the IRA did wage a successful guerrilla war against the UK, a entirely modern nation fighting on its “home ground”. (Successful in that it achieved independence of Ireland from the UK.)

    As you can probably see now, it is not unreasonable to say that the difficulty of rising up like this is proportional to the difficulty of getting guns, even small arms, and so if we want there to be a possibility of such an event happening against a tyrannical government, we would want to make guns easily available. (Note that I do not necessarily agree with the insurrectionists in my examples, but I can imagine a possible situation and a possible rebel cause that I would agree with, in the case of a truly tyrannical government with no real possibility to resolve the situation in a nonviolent way)

    • I know next to nothing about the 1919-21 IRA so I can’t comment on that, but I will point out that Britain (and all the major powers of Europe) had just had their armies and will to fight ground to pieces by WWI.

      I think Afghanistan is a great example for my argument. The picture at the top of this post is an Afghani fighter sporting an American-provided Stinger Missile, which was a major factor in their successful resistance against the Soviets. What causes the majority of American casualties in Afghanistan right now? IEDs. Mortars. Recoilless Rifles. Should any of these be allowed by the 2nd Amendment? If the 2nd Amendment was about arming the populace to stage a guerrilla war against a tyrannical government these should be legal.

      I’m not saying an insurrection is impossible, merely that the weapons that would be needed for such are not (and should not be) protected by the 2nd Amendment, and therefore the 2nd Amendment isn’t about arming the populace for an insurrection. Not anymore.

  2. Fred,

    The ability of the US Military to wage drone warfare makes guerilla-type warfare nigh impossible in the United States.

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