Full Auto Frenzy
In the last blog I was asked to make a statement on machine guns, or “full-auto” capable firearms, being made illegal according to FOPA.
I agree that the ban on new machine guns
amounts to a full-on ban for the most part because it has put the weapons way beyond the
reach of ordinary people.
The purpose of this blog is to challenge each persons dogma on the subject, to encourage the reader to really think about what they believe.
This week I will talk about the regulation, both for and against, machine guns but first let’s discuss the basis of everything here, which is the 2d Amendment.
“A Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the Right of the people to keep and
bear arms shall not be infringed.”
For the sake of brevity I will stand on the fact that the 2d Amendment does two things. First it reinforces the purpose of the militia, then secondly, establishes the limitation that government cannot stop a citizen (without due cause) from owning and using a firearm. If anyone wants to argue either of these premises then please state so in the comments below.
I will start with the “for” side of the house because, well….the “against” will probably cause an emotional reaction for many readers where they will stop reading and jump to attack mode and stay there for the rest of any discussion on the topic. I will also reder to any fully automatic firearm as a machine gun, simply for brevity’s sake.
This is a two pronged attack. First it is with very real intent to keep our nation free. The civilian population must be able to overthrow the government as a last ditch effort to stay free against tyranny. This is the idea of the militia being made up of the people from the population in general so the population would have the ability to create a fighting force. The second is the
simple phrase “shall not be infringed” from the 2d Amendment. As defined the word infringement has two definitions:
1. The action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc; violation
2. The action of limiting or undermining something
Any infringement on ownership and use of firearms should be resisted and banning machine
guns is an infringement, as used in the second definition of the word. These two arguments state very clearly that machine guns should not be banned.
In any case, despite all the Hollywood movies of gangsters, rarely were machine guns or submachine guns ever used in the commission of crimes.
There is the cold hard truth for people who think that civilians should not own machine guns. It’s clear, based on these irrefutable facts. This is a solid argument. But is it definitive, and is it what the Founding Fathers intended?
As we saw in the previous blog, FOPA banned future machine guns from being sold into civilian hands. This, coupled with the NFA of 1934 which stipulated only certain people can own machine guns if they have a Class III FFL. These guns are largely in the hands of collectors and people that don’t want to sell them and thus the price goes up and up into the stratosphere so that even after all the prohibitive logistical hurdles and taxes the BATF makes you go through, the cost of the guns keeps going higher and higher. It’s an effective ban, in other words. So, currently, this is viewed by many as an infringment.
Now for the “against” portion. Brace yourself, open your minds please, and allow some logic to
settle and thoughtful consideration flow through the brain before you react.
The truth is that in all the cold hard facts in the argument for machine guns being owned by
civilians is also the argument against civilians owning machine guns. We should, as a
population, be able to be outfitted similarly to the military. The military has machine guns so we should, too, right? Not so fast. Machine guns are crew-served weapons and are not individual weapons. The one exception is, currently, the M249 SAW. That is an individual weapon that is fully automatic.
The M4A1, the current service rifle, is capable of full auto fire. However the military doesn’t train for it as soldiers are trained to use the rifle exclusively in semi-auto fire. There are 3 exceptions that come to mind that full auto on the rifle will be used: 1) when a recon team behind enemy lines is compromised, 2) human wave attacks, and 3) when the crew served weapons are down for whatever reason.
A civilian militia isn’t operating behind enemy lines. The tyrannical government forces are
operating behind enemy lines. The militia can afford to take a few pot shots and simply run
away. That eliminates number one and number two, militias don’t do human wave attacks as
there is no reason. At least in America we.dont do them as a matter of practice.
Insurgent armies overcome large armies not by taking real estate but by simply surviving. They can withdraw and keep withdrawing and as each day goes by the war will
go against the big army. Let me elaborate on number three.
Armies don’t use machine guns to mow down lots of people. They are used to achieve fire
superiority on the battlefield so that they can pin the enemy down and maneuver around them.
This is used when armies go against other large forces. It’s maneuver warfare. Guess what
force doesn’t conduct maneuver warfare? Insurgent/partisan, militia forces. Thus there is no need for them to operate machine guns as they shoot and scoot and sneak away. Owning and operating a machine gun is also cost prohibitive. The amount of ammo they consume will exhaust a civilian force’s training capability in record time. Thus it will inherently hamper the ability to train and be effective. Also, with most machine guns, the use of them creates complexities in tactics that seriously hinder the ability of militias to train with them effectively. “Shoot-n-scoot,” support by fire tactics require a lot of teamwork and training that is not easily attainable by a group of civilians of various physical capabilities.
The “well regulated” part of the militia clause comes into play here. It’s better for the militia to be limited to semi-auto weapons only as it will only increase their ability to place well-aimed fire onto the enemy.
The military treats machine guns as crew-served support weapons. So if we go by that logic
then an individual’s right to own a machine gun can be restricted. We can’t argue effectively for the banning of any firearms without dealing with the “infringement” term, either. Look back at the definition. Definition number one means “the act of breaking a law, or agreement.” The agreement that the civilians should be able to raise a viable military force is not broken because the nature of warfare for them against a tyrannical government is different.
Semantics, right? Largely, but it is logical. To further bolster this, look at United States v. Cruikshank. In this case the Supreme Court held that the State can inhibit or limit civilians from creating their own militia. While other parts of the case have been overturned, and righteously so, this part has not. Why? Because the civilians led by Mr Cruikshank were the KKK and were using their militia to intimidate black people. So the State governments can, in fact, limit militias.
This pushes firearms back into the realm of it being an individual right.
Additionally, there is a fact that if the civilians of America have to fight a tyrannical government, the longer it goes the more it will favor the civilians and as the fignt goes on, the civilians will collect more and more machine guns from fighting the government. Also, during the conflict, the image of partisans fighting the big bad government facing machine guns and tanks with semi-auto rifles will invariably work to turn public support toward the civilians and away from the government.
I would hold that the various states do have a right to place certain limits on firearms as long as the right to own and use firearms itself is not infringed. Given the prohibitive nature of machine guns in cost and the safety issues they bring up, machine guns being restricted from individuals owning them is reasonable, I say.
The Founding Fathers stated in many essays and speeches that rights do have limitations and
that while the federal government is limited by the US Constitution, the states have more
leeway. Read “The Federal Papers number 45,” for more on the subject. The point is no right is limitless. We can’t lie about someone and be protected by free speech and even though Jesus
told us to make disciples of all men we cannot force people to convert to Christianity. The
Founders knew full well that a civilized republic can survive only through healthy compromising.
There you have it. Both for and against. I think that there is middle ground in this argument. Maybe a community could purchase and keep machine guns, or some states or communities could limit them to state militias or the National Guard.
What do you think? Post your comments below, would love to hear what you have to add to the discussion!