Resolved: Should the United States Ban Assault Weapons?
For the following post, I provide the following definition for an assault weapon: The assault weapon is a civilian version of the United States military standard weapon. Standards for other countries imported into the United States were also banned as assault weapons, such as the Russian military AK-47. The most recently banned assault weapon was the AR-15. (Supplied by Civil Liberty) Militia is not defined directly within the Constitution, but is generally accepted as to mean one’s standing army. I will begin with whether or not initiatives represent a threat to the second Amendment of the Constitution, continue on with necessary limits in ownership, and end with if assault weapons should be banned or not.
“As well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (National Archives) Using the definition of Militia, this can be translated into more common language as to say, “Just like a well regulated standing army, which is necessary to have for the security of a free country, the right of the American people to possess firearms will not be encroached upon.” Nowhere does it mention the type of weapon that all have a right to, nor does it mention the age that they should receive the right, or even exactly what type of people would receive the right. At the time, their [Founding Fathers] point of view would have been that only white, likely Protestant, males should have this right. Considering what we today know of their mindsets, they could have been talking about the right to own the arms of bears, as jokingly pointed out by the popular show Family Guy.
Taken in the most basic sense with modern principles in mind, then this law says anyone who is of legal age within the US has the right to possess a weapon. Taking into consideration that any assault weapon is considered a type of firearm, then according to the second amendment, all assault weapons are firearms and are allowed to be bought and kept by Americans. In this context, then yes—initiatives to ban assault weapons are a threat to the Second Amendment.
The second contention will deal with the question of whether ownership of assault weapons should be limited or not. To begin, gun ownership is already limited. Common laws upon owning firearms are a required license and gun registration, as well as a fourteen-day waiting period. (Second Ammendment Foundation) This is not going to help. First of all, if a person is planning ahead to commit a crime with an assault weapon, a fourteen-day period is not going to bother them. Second, the only thing that limiting ownership is going to do is to keep innocent people from protecting themselves. Someone who truly desires to own one isn’t going to be stopped by a few laws. The mafia or gangs aren’t going to be held back by a law, it will only be a bit harder for them to import the weapons into the US. By limiting ownership, the only people that are going to adhere by these laws, are the ones that are going to be killed by the guns themselves.
Finally, I end with an answer to the question, “Should assault weapons be banned?” with a question; what in the world is an assault weapon? There can’t be a direct ban on weapons without a clear and precise definition on what one is, even if it’s simply a list of assault weapons. One easy bypass around this would be to modify a gun to the point that it is no longer the gun mentioned on the list. Ownership laws are pointless, and the reason for that can be extended to this question. If they’re banned right out, it won’t matter. It will simply mean that those who listen to the law won’t have them, while the ones who will do the killing will. This question becomes moot, because unless the law somehow becomes omnipotent and omniscient, then ownership laws will be entirely pointless