Question of the Day: Should Americans Be Able to Own Machine Guns?

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Of course, Americans can own fully-automatic (multiple shots with a single trigger squeeze) rifles. It’s just incredibly difficult; buying a machine gun involves more red tape than you’ll find in Santa’s workshop. Oh, and you can only buy a fully automatic weapon manufactured on or before May 1986. (None of the really cool modern military stuff for you Boyo.) Limited supply and strong demand put the price of machine guns in the tens of thousands of dollars. Few people can be bothered to shell out the cash and jump through the hoops. And very few of those buy a machine gun for self-defense. Unless you’re using a full-auto gun for suppressive fire, you’re better off shooting a semi-automatic rifle. Still, what’s the big deal about machine guns? From society’s point of view, would machine guns be that much more dangerous than the weapons currently used for spray-and-pray drive-by shootings? Should machine guns be legal?

comments

  1. avatar A Critic says:

    Should machine guns be legal?

    Yes, and they should be cash and carry, no background check.

    And very few of those buy a machine gun for self-defense.

    It is not advisable to use fully automatic weapons for self defense except in the most dire of circumstances. IIRC every instance of a legitimate self defense use of a fully automatic weapon has resulted in charges (no convictions). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_168_28/ai_112685749/

  2. avatar Patrick says:

    Good question. In terms of the defense against a tyrannical government, I believe the idea was for the people to have equal weaponry. An armed militia of semi-automatics facing a military unit capable of automatic fire would be at a pretty significant firepower disadvantage (among other things).

    Should we also be able to get artillery and ordnance?

    It’s interesting to note how the regulation of automatic weapons has been fairly successful in preventing large numbers of these guns from “hitting the streets”. There are obviously black market guns, but for most criminals their price, difficulty to acquire, and potential consequences for possession make them not worth it.

    Yes, philosophically speaking we should be allowed to have them, but they make poor self-defense weapons (for the most part), prone to hitting more than just your target, and I would support very strong penalties for using them (or any “battlefield” weapons, e.g. the aforementioned artillery) in the commission of any crime.

    1. avatar Don Curton says:

      It’s interesting to note how the regulation of automatic weapons has been fairly successful in preventing large numbers of these guns from “hitting the streets”.

      I would think that the lack of concealability, cost, size, ammo, and other factors play into how many of these do and do not “hit the street”. Long guns in general have a very very low usage rate in the commission of criminal activity. Thus the black market for such is limited. If you’re implying that similar regulations on handguns would be effective, you’d most likely be wrong. If you’re not implying that, my apologies.

      1. avatar Patrick says:

        That’s true, but not all machine guns are long guns, and SMGs typically fire handgun ammunition (and even automatic AKs and the like still shoot the same ammunition as their civilian counterparts).

        Small machine pistols like an Uzi would be quite concealable and efficient for illegal activity and fire readily available and cheap ammunition.

        And I wasn’t implying that similar regulations for handguns would be appropriate or effective. I do find it interesting that automatic weapons are indeed used so rarely in crimes, and wonder what factors contribute to that.

        1. avatar Lance says:

          If I had to guess, I would say that the cost associated with FA weapons due to their rarity is one of the primary factors. The legal ones are a very large investment and put you in a lot of contact with the system. The illegal ones will also be more expensive than their semi-auto counter parts and they don’t provide enough of an improvement to justify the increased cost most of the time. Criminals probably look at it this way: blow all their money on a full auto, or buy a semi that will meet or exceed all of their requirements and pay for some of there other expenses as well.

  3. avatar Bob Owens says:

    I’m sorry, “A Critic,” but anyone who thinks machine guns should be cash and carry is an idiot. As some gentlemen born before my time remarked, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Nor does it preclude common sense.

    Allowing every criminal to pick up a machine gun–you said no background check–is a very bad idea, for very obvious reasons.

    That allowed, I have no issue with machine guns being sold to civilians who pass a NICS background check, and who make the effort to get training to use them responsibly.

    1. avatar A Critic says:

      I’m sorry, “A Critic,” but anyone who thinks machine guns should be cash and carry is an idiot.

      The lack of subservience to the state doesn’t make one an idiot.

      Allowing every criminal to pick up a machine gun–you said no background check–is a very bad idea, for very obvious reasons.

      The very obvious reasons being that Al Capone and Baby Faced Nelson will rise from the grave and it will become the Wild Wild 20s all over again? I don’t think so.

    2. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

      Since the government only prosecutes less than 1% of those rejected by the background check, when over 50% of those rejected are committing a prosecutable felony by the attempt to buy (felons, as per Federal Gun Control Act 1968), then the fact that 95.52% of felons don’t even attempt to buy from a licensed source to begin with, what again does the background check do to prevent felons from acquiring a firearm? USDOJ Background Check & Firearm Transfer report 2008, DOJ Felons Firearms Use survey 1997, published Nov 2001.

      Oh thats right, NOTHING!

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    Should Americans be allowed to own machine guns? Yes, and not just pre-’86 models.

    1. avatar Magoo says:

      No, you can’t have a machine gun. You’ll shoot your eye out. What’s all this about, anyway? Was Death Wish III on television again this week?

    2. avatar Mike says:

      But the pre-’86 models are often the most appealing! I had the opportunity while taking part in a WWII reenactment to fire a number of fully-automatic weapons, including a Thompson submachine-gun, which left me with a serious case of the wants. Unfortunately, the price of Thompsons — along with all other automatic weapons — has gone through the roof, thanks to the artificial scarcity created by the ban on the manufacture and reimportation of automatic weapons for the private market.

      This was brought to the fore in heart-breaking fashion a few years ago when the Russians disposed of a large number of mint-condition, never-issued early-model Thompsons that had been shipped overseas during WWII along with American tanks for use by the Soviet Army. The Thompsons were never issued (the Soviets preferring to equip their tank crews with their own guns), remaining in storage for more than 65 years.

      They were available for sale in the U.S. … as parts kits, the receivers having been torch cut and rendered unusable. What a waste.

  5. avatar Magoo says:

    RF says: “From society’s point of view, would machine guns be that much more dangerous than the weapons used for current spray-and-pray drive-by shootings?”

    That’s not an argument for machine guns. That’s a damn good argument against semi-automatic handguns with large magazines.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      No, it’s a damn good argument against gangs and for repeal of our stupid drug laws.

      1. avatar James says:

        Interesting exchange, right there.

        Magoo shows reason to pass more laws that don’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist.

        Ralph (and I, and probably others) see reason to repeal laws that don’t work and pass laws that do.

        I always wondered why it is that old laws never go away – especially ones that are outdated or ineffective. Other than the State’s interest in keeping potential money makers on the books (which leads to people being arrested, charged, and convicted for swearing on a Sunday while wearing a hat in the presence of a Lady), there’s no real reason to keep so, so many laws.

        If there’s a movement for anything, I think an important first step is getting a sunset provision on every damn law in the country – federal, state, and local – five years, two years, and one year, respectively.

        If nothing else, legislatures would be so tied up re-passing laws, they’d be hard pressed to find time to make new ones.

        1. avatar Magoo says:

          Since I am not a libertarian, Randian objectivist, trailer park nudist, anarcho-syndicalist, or other crackpot, I don’t have a problem with laws. Laws are not inherently evil. That’s rubbish. I think good laws are a good thing and bad laws are a bad thing. Laws that severely restrict the distribution of machine guns are a good thing.

        2. avatar A Critic says:

          Laws that severely restrict the distribution of machine guns are a good thing.

          The state that doesn’t let responsible peaceful citizens have them at home is the same state that distributes them around the world, frequently to terrorist organizations. That’s a good thing?

        3. avatar Magoo says:

          The obvious solution there is to stop supplying the weapons to terrorists. Distributing the same weapons domestically might provide a certain symmetry, if not justice, but it doesn’t fix anything — foreign or domestic.

          And I have no reason to assume the weapons would go exclusively to the proverbial “responsible, law-abiding citizens” the NRA is always touting. That’s a bit dichotomous for me. Let’s see the Venn diagram.

    2. avatar James Felix says:

      Magoo, a serious question if I may…

      Can you name one gun law that has ever accomplished what it was ostensibly designed to accomplish? Can you name one that has reduced the criminal misuse of firearms or the overall rate of crime in a statistically significant way? Can you name one high profile shooting that didn’t violate several pre-existing laws on gun possession?

      Just one, that’s all I’m asking for.

      And if you can’t name one then can you tell me this please: if 50,000 state, federal and local gun laws haven’t done the trick then why, exactly, do you think the 50,001st law is going to be the one to finally work?

      1. avatar Magoo says:

        “Magoo, a serious question if I may…

        Can you name one gun law that has ever accomplished what it was ostensibly designed to accomplish?”

        Sure, we can start with the one you guys are essentially whining about, the NFA of 1934. It took the Thompson off the streets. To understand the Thompson’s impact, read up on the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, Kansas City Massacre, St. Paul shootout, etc. John Thompson had already eliminated retail sales and turned over distribution of the TSMG to Federal Laboratories to distance his company from the carnage, even though it nearly put Auto Ordnance out of business and he was removed from the company. Understand that up to this time many LEOs did not carry firearms, incredible as that may seem today.

        1. avatar Patrick B. says:

          Bad gun! Bad gun! See what you made that mobster do????

        2. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

          All that carnage, committed by criminals then, as occurs today.

          By the way, how many registered full auto firearms have been involved in a violent crimes in the last almost 80 years? Oh yeah, twice, both owned and registered by a police officer.

          You do realize the government acknowledges that 80% of all violent crimes are committed by career criminals/gang members right? USDOJ National Gang Threat Assessment 2009.

          Wow, a company bullied and persecuted because someone used their product for a crime eh? Guess the owners of Ford, Chrysler, GM and such should all be persecuted and run out of business for the over 40k deaths on the freeways each year, oh so many due to drunk driving. Yeah thats right, persecute someone for someone else’s actions!

          The FBI UCR database shows that less than 1/2 of 2% of all violent crimes involve a rifle, much less full auto.

        3. avatar Anon says:

          It took the Thompson off the streets.

          In point of fact, it did no such thing. Thompsons, even new ones produced after the NFA, could still be owned by any American citizens… who could afford to pay the then-exhorbitant tax stamp attached to it. However, those fully-automatic guns in civilian hands before the NFA were still in civilian hands after the NFA.

        4. avatar Magoo says:

          Anon, by “off the streets,” I mean criminal use of these weapons dropped to nearly nil. But you already knew that. You are just arguing to argue.

        5. avatar Anon says:

          Words have meanings, Magoo, and if you can’t be bothered to use them properly, or to say what you actually mean, try not to act so surprised when people call you on it.

        6. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

          By the records, those who were using the Thompson, a select few, had all been killed or captured soon after the 1934 Gun Control Act so you have no proof other than opinion and conjecture that the law prevented anything.

          Words on a piece of paper have never been proven to prevent anything! But you already know that.

      2. avatar Ralph Chambers says:

        AMEN __ON THE NEW LAWS__WE HAVE ENOUGH ALREADY> MORE WILL NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!!!

  6. avatar Don Curton says:

    Following a very strict constitutional interpretation of the second amendment, you can arrive at the conclusion that the average citizen should have access to the same weaponry that the average soldier uses, i.e. rifle and pistol. This pretty much eliminates items such as crew-served weapons, explosives, area effect weapons, battleships, tanks, and B-1 bombers. (Apparently de-militarized B-17’s are okay, though).

    Most “machine guns” are crew-served and/or “area effect” weapons and thus wouldn’t meet that intent. However, selective fire rifles are individual weapons and not area effect weapons. I’d be okay with selective fire rifles (full automatic AR-15’s, for example) but be a little hesitant about full automatic M-60’s. I wouldn’t necessarily outlaw such, but might require more in the way of licensing and tracking (although not to the same degree as what’s in the law today).

    Personally, even if I could swing the cost of the piece itself, the cost of ammo and lack of acceptable location to shoot such a weapon would put it out of my must have list. I’d still like an early Browning BAR, or maybe a Tommie gun, but I’d accept it as a semi-auto rather than full auto.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      You beat me to it. I was going to write that if you wanted to be a strict constructioned of the 2nd Amendment you would conclude that the only guns that should be allowed are any NATO 5.56mm fully automatic assault rifle with minimun of a 20 round “assault clip” oops I mean magazine, any 308 Winchester (NATO 7.62) bolt action scoped rifle for work as a sniper rifile and any 9mm sidearm.

      The Second Amendment isn’t there so we can shoot zombie targets at the range and furry animals for food and fur. It is there so the Militia may be armed with military grade firearms. For our Canadian friends and anti-gun activitists on the Board the National Guard is not the militia. They are part of the total force of the US military that are organized by each state and are under the control of the Governor. The militia is the rest of us who may called on to defend the country. They why the draft is constitutional.

      1. avatar Don Curton says:

        Actually, I’d prefer my “military grade rifle” to fire 3-round bursts. And I’ll take my scoped bolt-action rifle as a Springfield 1903-a3 modified with a national match barrel. Thanks.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Then choose the M-4. I agree about the ’03 Springfield and I wish Springfield Arms would revive the rifle but since they won’t I would have to go with the Remington 700/308, Well maybe a Savage 308. I’ll figure that one out tomorrow when I go to the gun show.

    2. avatar TCBA_Joe says:

      The M249 is not a crew served weapon, so would that be alright?

      The MK48 is not a crew served weapon either, but it’s a full auto belt fed 7.62 NATO MG, as is the M60E3. So are those OK because they’re individual weapons?

      If those are ok, (because they’re individual weapons) why are the M240B and the M60 not ok, seeing as they’re functionally equivalent?

      Remember, the early continental army used personally owned warships and cannons. Our history, and the 2A as it was in use at the time it was written, reflect the framers intent that we as a people should be able to arm ourselves as we feel is necessary. If I want to own an M240B, and train my 3 (hypothetical) sons as a gun team, what is the issue with that in relation to a “well trained militia”? It seems like it would be a valuable assest and skill set should it (God forbid) ever be needed. Support by fire is a legitimate small unit tactic and need.

  7. avatar stateisevil says:

    Machine guns are not more deadly than regular guns. Especially in the untrained hands of some pshycho mass shooter. The most deadly gun for him would be a semi-auto shotgun with a drum magazine. Hollywood and hysteria is responsible for the idiotic laws on machine guns.

  8. avatar grs says:

    Of course. One of the many consequences of the NFA is this “shroud of evil” around the items (effectively) prohibited by this act. There is nothing magic about machine guns or short barreled rifles/shotguns. Suppressors, in particular have no business being lumped into the NFA. Provided a consistent definition of destructive device exists, those may or may not be the only category currently controlled by the NFA that legitimately may merit the hoops and red tape required – although I’d probably change the .51 caliber threshold to 20mm.

    Look at the whole “pdw” category of weaponry. Between the MG and SBR prohibitions, this is an entire class of firearm that people in the US cannot possess, and therefore few designers in the US are willing to further the state of that art.

    I’d carry my .45 as a BUG to a KAC PDW or P90 in a heartbeat.

    In general, anything that smacks of prior restraint is dirty pool and needs to go away. What is the NFA, sporting purposes clause and hughes amendment but prior restraint, or prior restraint dressed up like a “tax” measure.

  9. avatar Ike says:

    Despite a specific provision in the Gun Control Act of 1968 for periodic amnesties so people could freely register machine guns and destructive devices which they find in vet’s basements and attics, and other forgotten places, ATF has consistently opposed any amnesty. Clearly ATF isn’t interested in helping people comply with the law.

    There are thousands of unregistered war trophies, along with Marble Game Getters, Handyguns, etc. all over the country. Citizens would be happy to register them, if ATF would only give them a chance.

    There has only been one amnesty in the history of American machine guns – November, 1968. Most folks were suspicious of ATF’s motives and were afraid to register their illegal machine guns. Now, some 40 years later, and we know our fears were groundless, but ATF has refused to consider another amnesty. Hell, it might even get them some “good will”.

  10. avatar Ben Eli says:

    Following all the current rules and regulations — for sure. But the people that put that type of money down should receive one more perk — MODERN MACHINE GUNS! There is no way I would consider going through the bureaucratic red tape for an old M-16 or beat up UZI (fortunately IMI flooded the market right before the ban so they are widely available). I want to shoot a SCAR, TAR-21, HK 416, KRISS Vector, FN P90. And yes, these are available in semi auto, but if I spend time and money on background checks, it should be worth it.

    PS This is the first time I’ve brought up the TAR-21 in a post, even though it is one my favorite weapons ever made. TTAG should do a review and a general comparison to the M-16 and M4. It is a very interesting topic and I always get very diverse feedback about the TAR-21.

  11. avatar JustSomeGuy says:

    I’ll be the first to admit, I’m picking nits, but I don’t like the word allowed in this context. I know, I know…the intent is to reference current law and what is legal, thus the nitpicking. It just strikes me as paternalistic and weakens the cultural notions that we are responsible for ourselves and our government, not the other way around. End silly rant.

    One of the most disturbing things in the current debate around firearms in our culture is the “I trust me and mine, but I sure can’t trust you!” flavor of the discussion. And I’m not so naive as to be suggesting universal trust and acceptance. However, everyday our fellow citizens go about complex and dangerous tasks without killing themselves or others. Everyday my neighbors go about their business without once threatening my life with their actions. Again, I’ll grant it’s not universal, but it’s the majority. So why should I not trust them to be capable of reasonable behavior with a firearm?

    So, yes, I think it’s perfectly legitimate for Americans to own full auto or selective fire firearms. Even crew served weapons don’t distress me in the hands of private citizens (especially since there are police departments in possession of the venerable M2). And the lone crazy dude argument doesn’t sway me much, either. The best response to the violently unstable elements in our society is for our fellow citizens to be prepared to respond. The lone crazy dude walking into the crowded location with evil intent would find some difficulty if a significant percentage of that crowd were prepared to stop him. The excesses of any of our fellow citizens, in government or out, would be readily restrained if we were all prepared to respond.

    Returning to trust. Any of us that work in tall buildings, drive across bridges, fly in airplanes, etc. have placed not only our trust but our lives in the hands of those of our fellows who designed and built those things. So why wouldn’t we trust them with a less threatening tool?

    Thanks,
    JSG

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Good point. Question rephrased.

      1. avatar JustSomeGuy says:

        Thanks! That helps with (some of) my indigestion.

  12. avatar Patrick says:

    And if we had compulsory military service in our country, then everyone would have that mandatory training we like to hear about.

  13. avatar Dale says:

    For 35 years 9 months and 22 days, you paid me to carry or use one of the following, M-1 Carbine, M-14, M-16,M-79, M-1911, M-9 Baretta, M-203 (favorite), M-60, M-249, M-240B, M2HB Browing, hand grenades, C-4, LAW, AT-4, Claymore mines and what ever else we could find to have fun with. Been shot at, returned fire, no bodies but lots of blood, so no claim of a kill. Now you ask if I should be allowed? Abolish all anti-gun laws. Re-start the DRAFT, and start with the lying politicians.

  14. avatar Martin Albright says:

    Well, there are really two ways to look at this question. The way you’ve phrased it here (and the way most here have answered it) is the philosophical way: Is the unencumbered ownership of fully automatic weapons consistent with our notions of liberty, freedom, etc?

    However, there is also a practical and political question which is: “Is there, currenly, sufficient political will to overcome the current regime of de-facto illegalization of the ownership of fully automatic weapons?” and to that I would have to say “no, there is not.”

    And as to the question of what would be neccessary to create such a movement, I can’t even imagine what it would take but it would be quite difficult.

    Of course, one might argue that the same could have been said about “shall issue” concealed carry circa 1985. But there are a couple of huge differences: First, carrying a concealed pistol doesn’t require the same level of financial committment that owning a machine gun does (the gun itself is expensive, and ammo even more so. Then there’s the issue of finding a place to shoot.)

    Furthermore, there are a wide swath of people – not neccessarily even “gun people” – who still might like the idea of being able to pack a concealed gun if they deem it neccessary (convenience store clerks, couriers of valuables, people being threatened by ex-spouses, etc) and this gave the CCW movement a wide base. I just don’t see the pro-machine-gun movement having that kind of base and in fact, I would guess that a large portion of the pro-MG folks would be from the fringes of the shooting community and would probably be denounced by more “mainstream” gun owners.

    So whether it’s philosophically consistent or not to treat full-autos different from semi-autos, in terms of the practical/political climate, it’s just not likely to happen.

  15. avatar Mercutio says:

    Not if you wear a mohawk…unless you ARE a Mohawk.

  16. avatar JimSouthernIllinois says:

    Yes americans do have and should have the right to own them. (Unless you live in Illinois) It’s just that simple and no machine guns don’t need to fall under any so called new or improved gun laws or any tighter regulation. Just inforce the laws we already have on the books. Machine guns aren’t any more dangerous than the guy holding it. Dead is dead doesn’t matter if it came from a fully auto or semi auto. But the killings you read about and hear about on the news aren’t all caused by the law abiding citizen are they. Now I don’t lie in bed all night listening to every little creek and bump in the night, Jumping to grab my gun at the slightest little noise i hear. If I were to feel someone was actually intruding in my house and my family or I faced a real danger, I wouldnt be grabbing a weapon i need 3 people to carry and set up, I’m not grabbing my .45. I’m gonna grab my old 12ga. The amo is cheaper, I wont miss. and he won’t be around to sue me in a month. As far as criminals go having them anti gun laws don’t stop criminals. I mean realy does a robber stop to make sure his gun is leagal before holding up a liquer store?

  17. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    YES, I love machine guns and every law abiding citizen should be able to own one.

    1. avatar A Critic says:

      +10

    2. avatar Levi says:

      Amen. Its highly unconstitutional.

  18. avatar revjen45 says:

    Re: Draft. I would agree that a draft for the purpose of having a weapons-competent fyrd is a good idea. However, given the propensity of the Political Parasite Class to meddle in the affairs of other nations they can’t be trusted. OTOH, if the People-at-large were the military it might be more difficult to sell imperialistic aggression to them. As a defensive measure, a man with rifle defending his home turf can not be defeated. Killed yes but not conquered. The Swiss have embraced this principle, and have enjoyed peace, freedom, and prosperity for over 150 years.

  19. The only people truly frightened of automatic weapons in the hands of the citizenry are corrupt politicians. What does that tell you?

  20. avatar John Bates Thayer says:

    I take a pragmatic approach. The people should have the right to own any weapons which the government forces of whatever kind are permitted to use within the boundaries of the Union against domestic “enemies”, criminals or in case of insurrection. In case of foreign invasion (highly unlikely) the situation would be different of course.

  21. avatar ConfederalRepublicBy2030 says:

    A man who would not harm his neighbor with a toothpick, a fork, or a Colt 1911 semi-automatic handgun would not harm his neighbor with an M60, or a fully automatic M4 carbine, or any other “terrible implement of the soldier”, for that matter. The abhorrent notion that an inanimate object would somehow cause a man to metamorphose into a violator of life and liberty is so ferociously absurd that it confounds my mind to even attempt to understand it. Patent unreason of this sort has placed entire civilizations into bondage and slavery, and that even the majority of the people of the freest nation in the history of the world have toiled in its anguish for over a century disgusts me to my core.

  22. avatar HerbM says:

    Even the vaunted NICS/Brady background check is one of the gun control laws that CANNOT be shown to work — never has been, and it’s been tried by experts and ideologues.

    Even many supposed RKBA supporters think background checks “do something” but this is totally without evidence for law that not only cannot be shown to ‘work’ and that isn’t even enforced on criminals.

    Less than 100 criminals are prosecuted each year for Brady/NICS violations — and the vast majority of those are because the authorities needed to arrest or prosecute a criminal but can’t immediately make the real charge stick, or as a “predicate felony” for a conspiracy or RICO charge.
    http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/ATF/e0406/final.pdf

    None of the CDC, the National Academy of Sciences, nor the US Department of Justice, were able to find that ANY gun control law to reduce VIOLENT CRIME, SUICIDE or ACCIDENTS in any significant manner.

    And boy did they try — especially the anti-gun CDC and the budget ravenous DoJ.

    Oh, and YES, Americans should be able to purchase AT A MINIMUM any weapons of the type commonly issued to the individual soldier or police officer, which includes automatics and (at least) light machine guns. That is what the “militia” phrase really means in the 2nd Amendment.

  23. avatar gbeecher says:

    Criminals don’t obey or respect gun laws. (Duh!, or any law for that matter!, hence ‘criminal’.)
    The constitution allows us the right to ‘keep and bear arms’. Period – end of sentence.
    Machine guns? – yes!; fully automatic? – yes!; semi-auto? – yes! howitzer? – hell, why not!? atom bomb? – WELL……..

  24. avatar CppThis says:

    I’m a fan of civilian automatic weapon ownership, but it should come with some strings–namely CCW-style proof that the user knows how to operate it without accidentally taking out the perp and all 20 other people on the street. Right now the cost and rarity makes this irrelevant since they’re de facto restricted to the gun-toting elite, but fully legalizing civilian sale would lead to a lot of schlubs buying one because they want Moar Bangbang and causing problems.

    Likewise I’ve got no problem letting civs have AT weapons, fighter jets, tanks, etc. provided they can show they’ve got the skills and responsibility to use them. Think about it, cops/soldiers/etc. are themselves just citizens with specialized training…should it really matter if one’s boss is a public-sector bureaucrat or a private-sector office drone?

  25. avatar david busener says:

    I think slavery should be reinacted. This blog is mob rule by those who know nearly nothing about the principles freedom.

    Good thing we are ruled by principle and the rule of law, which mandates that all able bodied citizens remain well trained and privately own whatever modern day weapons a typical foot-soldier would carry. The mandate originates from the Second Amendment. Thank God for the Founding Fathers who understood the complexity of human nature and included the Second – the teeth of all the rest. None of this debate has anything do do with self defense or hunting. It has everything to do with the defense of our freedom from those who would twist and contort the interpretation of our Constitution to their own purposes, preying on the ignorance of U.S. masses.

    This rising generation will have nothing of it. They are sharp and know the stakes. The liberal ‘Clintons and Obamas’ are very soon going the way of all the world.

  26. avatar Brad says:

    I agree completely that every citizen in the US (minus felons of course) should be allowed to own automatic weapons. Practically, though, I have a slightly different take. Every person that wants to own an “assault” rifle or other “military” weapon should be able to do and encouraged to do so. As to actual machine guns aka crew served (M60, M240B, Mk. 48, etc.), I don’t really see the practical purpose in having them in the home. Before anyone jumps on my case, though, I think that they should be stored in local armories for local militias (NOT National Guard) and there should be at least monthly training. Same with explosive weapons. I’m not saying that crew serves should be banned or illegal for private ownership (if you really want one, go for it) but I don’t think it’s practical. The monthly training would more than make up for not having it in the home and it would be easier to come by ammunition because it could be bought in bulk and paid for by local tax revenue. If you left it up to individuals and families, hardly anyone would have enough ammunition to use in the event that the militia was needed. Again, don’t ban it, but be practical. I also think that our standing, active military needs to be significantly smaller.

  27. avatar Life and Liberty says:

    No, we should not be allowed.. But we should certainly have the right to own any weapon we see fit. The 2nd amendment was put there to allow the people to defend themselves from a tyrannical government run a muck (not unlike what we have today). Anyone who cannot see that this was its purpose must smell feces from the position of their head with regards to their posterior.

    More laws do not make anything better; proper enforcement of legitimate laws does. This means no more slaps on the wrists for breaking valid laws. People will never be perfect and there will always be some nut job whose mom didn’t love them, who will try to inflict harm upon the innocent. Violating the rights given to everyone else in the hopes of stopping a hypothetical loon, is not only idiotic but also unconstitutional.

    To those who feed from the government trough and hide behind it’s incompetent bloated body, I say take some personal responsibility and live with the risks of living free or go to a country where the people have everything decided for them by their dictator. Maybe you should try North Korea, that sounds like what Kim Jun promises.

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