Is it Time to Ban All Automatic Weapons?

Submitted by Guest Blogger, Lawrence Rafferty

In light of the tragic shooting today in Arizona, I have to wonder aloud if automatic weapons should be banned by this country.  I realize that the 2nd Amendment right to own a gun is strongly defended by the NRA and other right-wing groups, but I am sick and tired of reading about all of the shootings the past couple of years.  Whether it was the shootings earlier this year at various United States Marine sites around the country or the California shootout in July with the guy who was trying to attack the ACLU and the TIDES non-profit organization; the vitriol seems to be on the rise.  And with politicians fanning the flames, this vitriol is not bound to be diminished anytime soon.

The Second Amendment is a very concise Amendment.  “A 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.”  We have seen various attempts over the years by the Feds and many States and municipalities to restrict gun ownership.  The recent Supreme Court case of McDonald , et al vs.  City of Chicago, Illinois, et al affirmed the fundamental right of Americans to own a gun by a 5-4 decision.  The McDonald decision did not give us any guidance on what kind of restrictions to that fundamental right the Supreme Court would allow.  However, how can automatic weapons or high-powered rifles be exempt from an outright banning of their ownership or at least significant restrictions on their use? Can a good faith argument really be made that an automatic weapon is necessary for personal protection? 

The Supreme Court Justices do not live in a bubble and they must see what damage these weapons have already brought to families across the nation.  Don’t they?

369 thoughts on “Is it Time to Ban All Automatic Weapons?”

  1. Does anyone have a list sources for reliable statistics about the dimensions of the gun problem in the US? I have found it very difficult to find sources that were not identified with one or the other point of view over guns. I don’t know how to examine so contested an issue without knowing the facts underlying it.

  2. From my point of view ( a proud gun owner) I honestly don’t think gun laws need to be any stricter, especially for full auto weapons. First off, to even obtain a full auto gun legally, is quite tough, and the expenses on top of that, I can’t see someone bothering using that for a crime after all of that hassle. Truth is most crimes are committed with a small, concealable weapon such as a pistol. High powered rifles such as an Ar-15 are not only great for home defense, they are also great for sport shooting as are many other high powered rifles. I honestly believe that making gun laws stricter would not change a thing, i’m sure most of the guns used in crimes were illegally obtained to begin with, so what makes it any different how easy it legally is to get one. Also, if more people would be armed and knew how to properly use their fire arm and when to use it, couldn’t the world possibly be a safer place, knowing that if something happens, there is probably someone armed around you, how may very well save your life, and many others. I think the major problem is, criminals are one of the only people who are willing to use their guns on another human being, but for all the wrong reasons. We, the civilians, should all be familiar with a self defense weapon, and use it in instances above.

  3. The lack of knowledge of gun control advocates is astounding. “Full auto” weapons are already banned. Since being banned, there had not been a single instance of a crime with a registered full auto weapon (those weapons that were grandfathered in to the owners prior to the Gun Control act of 86.) But lets not let the facts get in the way. The purpose of the second amendment was to allow for the militia (there is only one) to resist the government. The militia consists of every able bodied man. Please read the Federalist papers and commentary. Accordingly, the members of the militia are entitled to posses the same weapons as the “government”, which would include fully automatic weapons. To think otherwise would be the equivalent of King George forcing the colonials to use swords against the red coats. Lastly, gun control advocates never want to admit, that the other laws they want to pass once the populace is disarmed, requires that the agents of their government posses guns. Lots of them. Fully automatic guns. So the idea that progressives are wanting to “save lives” is a total lie, they simply want more control. (Gun ownership is at an all time high, yet violent crime has fallen. Strange isn’t it?)

  4. I can say that I have come to look at the reality of the Second Amendment in the same manner that I view our health care delivery system:

    Is it – at its core – a fair-minded attempt to protect the welfare of the citizens? Absolutely.

    Has it evolved into a strange, Catch-22? A creature with faces that were not originally visible? Have parts of it become so distorted that at times it’s nearly unrecognizable? I would say so.

    At its best, does it provide a level of comfort that nothing else can? It certainly does.

    Does it spawn a fertile breeding ground for abuse; kill thousands unnecessarily; attract those of a sociopathic bent?

    Without question.

    In the end, I just wish those killed in Arizona had an inkling that web-groups such as this one, are living proof that thousands of us give a damn, and good folks on both sides are pained that it happened.

  5. Buddha,
    I would agree that I would find it hard to imagine that US troops would allow a junta to control the government, but money buys a lot of friends. I hope you are right and even more importantly, I hope this is all a fantasy. Good night and see you tomorrow.

  6. PatricP wrote:

    “…you either accidentally or on purpose omitted the major differences between the Vietnamese and American…”

    I did consider that and your rebuttal comments are very good. However, I know that the majority of gun owners/hunters/NRA members would simply not stand for a situation as occurred in Iran, although it would take a major event to initiate any action.

  7. You are 100% correct about Giap. Half my life ago I worked at the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos. It was an amazing time, because both the non-communist and the Pathet Lao pretty much respected the royalty, and the Kingdom’s holy places & times. I can accurately report that with a nasty war raging all around, the city of Vientiane was probably safer than most large cities in America today. It was a common but weird occurrence, in fact, to sit down for dinner in one of the numerous French restaurants, with North Vietnamese or Pathet Lao warriors, dressed in their Sunday best, just across the room. Laos was a fascinating microcosm of that very strange war. And as I became semi-conversant in the language, my embassy compatriots & I had dozens of fascinating conversations with folks who would be firing weapons at U.S. jets the next day.

    The short of it is, I once knew people who worked for General Giap. My team spent time with his Hmong counterpart, Vang Pao. I heard first-hand his vision, and that of Ho Chi Minh. The longer I was there, the more evident it became that the U.S. could not win. And in 1973, I am not aware of any embassy staff – from Ambassador Godley to the drivers – who expected a non-communist victory.

    So in your critique of my viewpoint that righteous civilians taking up arms against the U.S. government could not possibly have a livable outcome, you either accidentally or on purpose omitted the major differences between the Vietnamese and American citizens – THEY were united; THEY didn’t have the juvenile attention span that we do; their concept of “worth” is considerably different that ours; THEY respect their government to a degree we can only imagine.

    As this thread makes depressingly clear, we Americans can’t agree on whether the sun is shining or not.

    “Because it wasn’t just an army they were up against but an entire people — an entire people.”

    The last 5 words are all you need to know about why civilian s fighting the U.S. government is madness.

    Sorry Fed LEO, you’re generally right. But not on this subject. With the neighborhood power out, with no TV and friends eating stored food out of cans? With cash rewards for turning in the righteous? You’d be fighting a very lonely war, and it wouldn’t last very long at all.

  8. Raff,

    Guerrilla tactics are designed for exactly such a scenario, Raff. There is also the problem that not all military are going to attack American civilians, ordered to or not, simply because they won’t. A bunch of Generals issuing orders from the safety and sterility of the Pentagon simply aren’t going to be able order shooting women and children of servicemen by servicemen and not have that backfire on them at some point. And if they use mercenaries like Xe? That would be even worse for morale. We aren’t talking about invading a foreign country. We are talking about occupation of America by American troops. Dissension within the military ranks would grow rapidly as guerrilla attacks and civilian death tolls mounted. It could even force a junta. These tactics have been used repeatedly from the Romans to the Mohawks to the Iroquois to the South Africans to the French to the Vietnamese because they work. While I’ve never served in the military, I do understand how they operate tactically and strategically from playing war games since I got bored with chess at the age of seven and from reading a boatload of history. Feel free to disagree with me. You are an intelligent and well spoken man who I both like and respect. However, I think history backs my assertion about the tactic.

  9. Anyone know how easy it is to make a zip gun? I don’t.

    But I lived in a neighborhood where people who knew more than I did said the popping noise came from a zip gun.

    Perhaps, if we were to learn what it is about people that allows some people to fire a gun at another person, and fix that problem?

  10. Buddha,
    I understand the guerilla actions that you suggest. I just don’t see that type of response being successful, if the military is in support of the renegade government in this hypothetical.

  11. RE: Hobart Thorenson, January 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm:

    “The right to own a gun being primary and all would imply the legality of owning “bullets”. The proper term for “educated” 🙂 people is cartridges.”


    I am not very educated, alas, about real guns. I have never owned one.

    Perhaps that is why I think that controlling bullets might work, if it were possible in any way.

    Pardon my ignorance, but I was told, years ago, that a cartridge was made of a bullet, a case, explosive powder, and a primer (or detonator?).

    Without a bullet, what is left is a blank?

    I cannot imagine a practical way to control bullets. Anyone with an old house with lead pipes and a way to replace the pipes and melt the lead can make bullets?

    Plumber’s lead seems to be stocked in some hardware stores. Why bother with the pipes?

    Anyone have a flint-lock muzzle-loader? I do not know, I don’t have one. Do they use cartridges?

    How many symptoms of a problem does it take to figure out that the symptoms are not the problem?

  12. PatricP, wrote:

    “Anybody who seriously thinks citizens with weapons would alter the directive – or outcome – of a heinous martial law, is too weak of mind to be safe with a weapon in the first place.”


    What a silly, outrageous statement.

  13. PatriP,

    Have you ever read any recent military History?


    You were correct with your “guerilla action” comment.

    Interview with Vo Nguyen Giap, Viet Minh Commander


    “So the lesson is that however great the military and economic potential of your adversary, it will never be great enough to defeat a people united in the struggle for their fundamental rights. That’s what we’ve learned from all this.”

    “Giap: Well, everyone at Diên Bin Phû, from the French generals and representatives of the French government to the American generals and the commanding admiral of the Pacific Fleet, agreed that Diên Bin Phû was impregnable. Everyone agreed that it was impossible to take. The French and then the Americans underestimated our strength. They had better weapons and enormous military and economic potential. They never doubted that victory would be theirs. And yet, just when the French believed themselves to be on the verge of victory, everything collapsed around them. The same happened to the Americans in the Spring of ’65. Just when Washington was about to proclaim victory in the South, the Americans saw their expectations crumble. Why? Because it wasn’t just an army they were up against but an entire people — an entire people.” End Quote

  14. Patric,

    That depends upon how you define success. The face of victory changes endlessly. Sometimes success is simply harrying the enemy until external forces can intervene. Ask the French Resistance.

  15. None of us are visionary enough to see how it might ever play out.

    My assertion is that there would be nothing resembling success, by citizens who might try to take up arms against our military.

    So again, let’s all make up a better fantasy.

  16. Raff/Patric,

    You’re thinking in a linear fashion.

    The scenario unfolds as you suggest when you say “revolt”.

    Too much uncoordinated action to be effective.

    It does not when you say “guerrilla action”.

    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but a wise man sucker punches the devil.

  17. Rafflaw –

    Thanks for the comment. I appreciate the clarity of your observations in this and other threads.

    And just for the record, I get no joy whatsoever in expounding that we citizens of decent intent, had better come up with a brighter fantasy than to think our neighborhood good-guys-with-guns would be much of a match for pilotless drones & body-heat-finding missiles.

    Much as I thrilled to the righteous victory of Mel Gibson’s merry band in the movie, “The Patriot,” I believe it’s time the modern-day patriots face reality.

    And the reality is, we, all of us, have allowed our “fearless” leaders to create the most rapacious military machine in human history. And like any other machine, our “deciders” chomp at the bit to use their shiny, expensive toys. Thus far, it has always been directed – shamefully, at times – elsewhere.

    Anybody who seriously thinks citizens with weapons would alter the directive – or outcome – of a heinous martial law, is too weak of mind to be safe with a weapon in the first place.

  18. Sam D.,
    Miss a little, miss a lot. Days ago I explained to one of the earlier commenters that I knew the Glock was a semi-automatic weapon and I was more concerned with the firepower than the label. Automatic weapons are still available in this country and semi-automatic weaons can be very dangerous, especially when you allow clips of 30+bullets as used in the Arizona shooting. This type of magazine was previously outlawed under the Assault Weapons Ban that expired during the GW Bush administration. You are free to make your comments almost one week after it was written, but at least read all of the previous postings and comments. Thanks.
    Patric P.,
    You are right that if the there was a revolt and people were trying to overthrow the military backed government with their own weapons,it would be a very quick revolt.

  19. Howard Johnson:

    “Do not disarm the people unless you are willing to disarm the tyrannical government first.”

    You & your neighborhood plan on taking on a errant, up-to-no-good Marine division, do you?

    Best find another fantasy. The day of a few good patriots taking on tyranny went out a long, long time ago.

    The only battle of choice remaining to the citizenry, against perceived (or real) tyranny, is brainpower.

    You & me & our little pipsqueak guns ain’t gonna get it.

  20. I’m sure someone already pointed this out, but automatic weapons are already so tightly regulated as to effectively be illegal.

    Oh, I’m sorry, did you mean semi-automatic weapons, like the one used in last weekend’s shooting?

    Here’s an idea: do basic research before suggesting policy.

    This article is a giant stinking piece of lazy fail far, far, far beneath the usual quality of this blog and its author should be ashamed of himself for publishing it.

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