Assault weapons legislation not only disarms honest hunters and sportsmen while not further troubling the thug and his already illegal and far more deadly sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun, but it also cuts out the heart of the Second Amendment to our Constitution.
The Second Amendment was enacted not to protect hunters and sportsmen, but to ensure that the government never had a monopoly of force it could use to oppress the citizenry. Events not too long ago in Panama, China and the Soviet Union should remind us once again that when a government has a monopoly on the means of effective defense — like semi-automatic firearms — there is no check upon its appetites.
Even in this country, government officials can go too far. Consider a small sampling of abuses that have occurred in this decade alone:
In 1992, government agents murdered a mother and son in the mountains of Idaho. The father, Randy Weaver, and a friend had used a deer rifle even more powerful than a standard military rifle to shoot back at the agents. (Before he was killed, the son had also used a semi-automatic military type rifle to return the agents’ fire.) Weaver and his friend killed one agent, although a jury later acquitted both of these men, deeming they had used justifiable force in self-defense. (46)
New York City and Chicago have begun confiscating firearms of law-abiding citizens, report newspapers in each city. In New York City, officials are using registration lists to identify gun owners, while in Chicago, police are making random searches in apartment complexes. (47)
Noted constitutional scholar Stephen Halbrook has documented that “[t]he British attempt to seize or destroy the arms and ammunition at Lexington triggered the revolutionary shot heard around the world.” (48) Some of those arms were among the finest available at the time and helped win America her independence from tyranny. The British could not understand why the colonists wanted to keep their military-style flintlock muskets since the British Army was there to “protect” them. Today, the same question is asked about the paramilitary assault rifles owned by hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The issue has remained fundamentally the same over the years. The Founding Fathers in their wisdom tried to guarantee that no future tyrant, be he domestic or foreign, could impose his will upon a helpless population.
Those who argue that the authors of the Second Amendment did not intend to protect the right of ordinary American citizens to own military-style weapons must contend with the fact that the same Congress which passed the Second Amendment also passed the Militia Act of 1792. This law required every free male between the ages of 18 and 44 to own the same type of rifle that was used by soldiers in the Revolutionary War and to own ammunition as well.”
Ron Paul. “Assault Weapons and Assaults on the Constitution”. April 21, 2003 – “More importantly, however, the debate about certain types of weapons ignores the fundamental purpose of the Second amendment. The Second amendment is not about hunting deer or keeping a pistol in your nightstand. It is not about protecting oneself against common criminals. It is about preventing tyranny. The Founders knew that unarmed citizens would never be able to overthrow a tyrannical government as they did. They envisioned government as a servant, not a master, of the American people. The muskets they used against the British Army were the assault rifles of the time. It is practical, rather than alarmist, to understand that unarmed citizens cannot be secure in their freedoms. It’s convenient for gun banners to dismiss this argument by saying “That could never happen here, this is America”- but history shows that only vigilant people can keep government under control. By banning certain weapons today, we may plant the seeds for tyranny to flourish ten, thirty, or fifty years from now.
Tortured interpretations of the Second amendment cannot change the fact that both the letter of the amendment itself and the legislative history conclusively show that the Founders intended ordinary citizens to be armed.”