Leon Panetta, via The Washington Post:
For the life of me, I don’t know why the hell people have to have assault weapons.
Dear Mr. Secretary,
Firstly I’d like to address the idea that I have an assault weapon at all. As the Secretary of Defense, you ought to know that an assault weapon, by definition, must be capable of select fire; that is it must have the ability to choose between automatic fire and semi-automatic fire modes. My AR15 contains no such feature. That the gun control lobby has decided to call these rifles assault rifles, despite the very same rifles used by police being labeled as patrol rifles (not assault rifles), has no bearing as to whether they are, in fact, assault rifles. That’s politics, not objective reality. Comparing my rifle to a military rifle is subversion by design. They aren’t the same, and implying that they are because they look similar is the height of intellectual dishonesty. They may look the same, but they are not functionally the same.
Secondly, I don’t have to explain to anyone why I “have to have” a particular thing. That a particular thing exists is good enough reason for someone to have it in a free society. As Anthony Tucille of Reason explains,
At this point, many self-defense activists respond that the need for guns has to do with the ability to defend against tyrannical government. Then gun controllers chirp, “but you can’t defeat tanks and nuclear weapons with rifles!” thereby demonstrating that they don’t keep up with the war in Afghanistan and skipped their history lessons about some difficulties the U.S. military ran into in a place called Vietnam.
But really, that’s all irrelevant. Because in free societies, you don’t have to justify owning things. You get to own them because you want them and have the means to acquire them. And you get to acquire more than just the basic necessities, if you so choose.
As I look around my office, I see a lot of stuff I don’t need. There are two dogs aggressively shedding on the upholstery, a hat collection (panamas and vintage fedoras), CDs and DVDs, a shit-load of books …If I owned only what I need, I’d be living in a spartan efficiency apartment, wearing a Mao suit and eating gruel. I have no interest in living that way.
But if you insist on me justifying my purchasing something that, according to your judgment, I don’t “need”, I’ll address your bewilderment.
Even if we are to subscribe to your argument that an AR15 is, indeed, an assault rifle designed for the military, the Supreme Court of the United States, in United States v Miller guarantees me the RIGHT, in accordance with the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, to own any weapon that is in common use that could be used in the common defense of the nation. In his unanimous opinion, Justice McReynolds writes,
The significance attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. ‘A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.’ And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time. (Emphasis mine)
Not only am I permitted to own such arms as can be used for the common defense in the unlikely event the militia were ever called to do such, I am obligated to own such arms as are in common use at the time. If my AR15 is to be equated with the military-issued M16 or M4, as is the case in common gun control political discourse, it should be pointed out that, then, my AR15 is the very definition of arms “of the kind in common use at the time” when one considers that every Marine and soldier in the military both trains and is in one form or another issued or assigned one of those two weapons. If my AR15 is NOT to be equated with an M16 or M4 as used by the military, then one could point to various other uses for the AR15 platform in common use. Either way, it cannot be argued with any intellectual integrity that the AR15 family of weapons is not in common use, and therefore that there might be some argument as to it being a gun that I should not be allowed to own. Millions of them have been sold in the United States in the civilian arms market; a fact that even gun control advocates don’t dispute. In fact, some have argued that not only is the AR15 platform in common use, but that it’s the most popular “assault rifle” in America.
Government resistance or common defense considerations aside, I have a large home with a large piece of property. Being that I wouldn’t attempt to shoot any intruders outside my home, for both legal and moral reasons, short of a mob trying to inflict property damage as was seen during various Occupy protests around the country, I will stay on point with considerations for the defense of my home in the unlikely, but not impossible, event that I had to engage in gunfire with an intruder within my housing structure. I have open avenues inside my home that are well over 25 yards in length. The precision of a rifle, rather than that of a shotgun or handgun, is HIGHLY desired. A shotgun has far too large a pattern, and a handgun is only pinpoint accurate at that range in the hands of highly skilled shooters under ideal conditions. Being that I have children in my home, I cannot afford to be inaccurate in the event I ever needed to pull the trigger. I need to know that the bullet is going to go where I want it to go within an acceptable margin of error; at this range, ONLY a rifle can enable me to do that. Real-world tests also suggest that the .223 caliber bullet, or 5.56 NATO as used in the military, is an ideal round for use in the home because it does not have the same over penetration issues that either shotgun or popular handgun projectiles have. In short, there isn’t as great a chance of the bullet penetrating through walls and harming someone who might be on the other side of those walls, like my children, while still providing enough power to decisively put an intruder out of the fight in the event of being struck. An AR15, my choice for home defense duties, offers various configurations which allow me to methodically go through my home and accurately identify and engage a target via the use of flashlights and optics which enable me to positively identify my target quickly, fire as few shots as necessary, and with the greatest accuracy possible; its ergonomic design and collapsable stock allows me to do so both easily and effectively without needing to shoulder a full size rifle, an advantage in the narrow confines of hallways, stairwells, and doorways in my home, and the 30 round magazine allows to have as much much ammo as may be needed so that I am never at a ammunition disadvantage in the event of a firefight. For someone with my considerations in home defense, an AR15 is not only an appropriate weapon of choice, it’s the ideal weapon of choice.
If I were to ever need to engage in a firefight in my home, it is my responsibility to the safety of my family and neighbors that I have every advantage possible which would enable me to be as accurate as possible, and minimize the chances that I might accidentally injure one of them. That you don’t know “why the hell people have to have assault weapons” shows that you have never objectively considered such matters, and have no regard for those who actually take the time to analyze their respective situations in order to arrive at the best solution for their needs. It’s offensive to me that limits to your imagination and ability to prepare when considering a plan for having to defend your home and family with force should have a bearing on my ability to do so. To your conundrum, I say “that’s your fucking problem.”
mad libertarian guy
2013-01-17 :: madlibertarianguy