Hi, my name is Carter Houndas and I have served in the US Military for almost ten years now. As a member of the armed forces I often have friends come up to me and ask me questions about small arms such as rifles, pistols and shotguns. While I do not claim to be an expert, I do have a working knowledge of small arms and their history due to my experience in the military, my educational background as a Social Studies teacher, and my minor in Forensic Science. So today I would like to dispel some common misconceptions about firearms that are often touted by the left and individuals who would like to see firearms restricted or made illegal. While I am sure that you have heard many of these arguments before, I would like to give you a historical and technical perspective for your response to said arguments.
1. The Founding Fathers never predicted our technological advances in firearms with large magazines and rapid firing ability.
This classic argument is just not rooted in history. While it is true that most firearms in the year 1776 were smoothbore muskets, meaning the muskets had no rifling in the barrel, examples of rapid firing rifles existed. James Puckle invented a flintlock machinegun in the year 1718. This rapid fire weapon system could fire 9 musket balls within fifteen seconds compared to the one or two per ball fired from a typical musket. Unfortunately for Puckle his design was seen as ineffective and impractical compared to contemporary cannons and so it never saw wide scale production.
Another example is the Kolthoff repeater invented in early 1600s which had a never before used dual magazine for musket balls and gunpowder. This dual magazine system filled the breach of the musket with the pull of a lever allowing for a very fast rate of fire, 2-3 seconds per shot. The issue with both of these firearms is that the means of production and the mechanism used to load and fire were often delicate and prone to being damaged, so while the founding fathers would have known all of these weapons existed, it would not have been practical for them to use due to their expense and need for spare parts.
2. We should ban assault rifles such as the Assault Rifle 15. They can fire 800 rounds a minute, we should also ban high capacity clips.
These arguments are always very frustrating for me. First there is no such thing as an “assault rifle”, in fact other than the fact that an AR-15 has a handgrip there is little difference between it and say the Ruger Ranch Rifle, which looks more like a traditional hunting rifle. Both can use 30 round magazines, both fire as fast as you are able to pull the trigger, and both fire the same type of ammunition. The “AR” in the AR-15 does not even stand for assault rifle or automatic rifle as the media often touts, it is short for “Armalight Rifle” which was the original manufacture of the weapon system starting with the AR-10 first released in 1958. While it is true that the M-16, not the AR-15, can fire 800 rounds per minute, this can only be done at the cyclic rate of fire. What does cyclic rate of fire mean? The cyclic rate of fire is mechanically how fast a rifle can fire, eject the casing, load another round, and be ready to fire again, in other words faster than any human could physically fire. This rate of fire does not account for the size of the magazine, or human interaction with the weapon system and so is not accurate in describing how fast a human can shoot the rifle, which in itself is a dumb statistic to quote because how fast you can fire a rifle does not take into account the user’s ability to aim or fire with any semblance of accuracy.
It is often frustrating when speaking to civilians, sorry guys, when you interchange magazine and clip, so here I am to set the record straight. First clip can stand for one of two things. Clip can be short for something called a “stripper clip” that is a small sheet of metal that holds rounds in place before being inserted into the rifle or pistol, these stripper clips are often used for sets of five to ten rounds of ammunition. Some examples of rifles that use stripper clips are the German Mausers, and the US Lee Enfield rifles, in fact you can even use stripper clips to load the magazine of an AR-15. The other type of clip is known as the box clip which stacks rounds on top of each other in a similar way to many magazines. The most famous example of a box clip would be the one used by the M1 Garand used during the Second World War. The Garand was famous for being the first widely used semi automatic rifle. Though effective, a flaw of the rifle was the fact that after all eight rounds in the box clip were fired a very distinctive “ping” noise would be made as the rifle ejected the clip, letting anyone nearby that the rifle was now empty. Magazine differ from clips in that all the rounds are held internally inside of a metal casing. Magazines can be detachable, such as with the AR-15, or they can be internal, as with many hunting rifles. There is no real limit to how large a magazine can be but for practical reasons most hold between five and thirty rounds. So there we go, don’t confuse clips and magazines anymore.
3. The Second Amendment really only applies to militia and not private citizens.
As with the other arguments this one is again false. While there are several cases where the US Courts uphold the definition that the people are in fact the militia, which I am still not clear how it could be applied to anything else, I will take this excerpt from U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2007) as it sums it up the most succinctly.
The Amendment does not protect “the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms,” but rather “the right of the people.” The operative clause, properly read, protects the ownership and use of weaponry beyond that needed to preserve the state militias.
This ruling clearly states that the people of the United States have a right to bear arms that shall not be infringed, this seemed pretty clear the first time the founding fathers wrote it.
4. You think you would be able to overthrow the government if it became tyrannical?
Come on they have tanks and fighter jets how would you ever be able to win?
This argument is pure liberal double talk, and I might add the same argument British loyalists used before the War of Independence. They claim that the people would never be able to defend themselves from the government, while at the same time constantly deride the US Military for their apparent ineffectiveness in conflicts such as Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. First I would like to say that it is not the military to blame for continued instability in the aforementioned countries but our political leaders. Rarely have our contemporary political leaders given a free hand to the military in order to effectively destroy the enemy no matter their location, claim required territory without restriction, and do what is required to truly win a conflict. The military has been fighting with one hand tied behind its back science the Second World War. Give a competent general 50,000 men and no restrictions and Afghanistan would be called New Texas by now.
Ok the other part of this argument is that the people of the US would not stand a chance against government technology. This is false. How are you going to have tanks patrol every street, how are drones going to be able to go door to door and identify potential threats? If you are going to fight a counterinsurgency, which is what would happen if the people of the United States exercised their right against tyranny, then you have to have soldiers and police officers willing to patrol towns and run checkpoints, you can’t just blow everyone up as you would have a public relations nightmare and lose all popular support both at home and abroad. This argument is just dumb to begin with, you know what don’t even try to argue with a person who says this, just smack them on the head and move on.