Guns: Totally understandable that you're not a gun guy, since we all have different interests and activities, and I'm glad you mentioned that up front.
[But I don't believe the founding fathers meant the same thing we use it for today. Back then, there were primarily muskets... and if people want to own muskets today, I'm cool with that. But assault weapons in my opinion don't count.]
When the Founding Fathers came up with the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment, they had just thrown off the yoke of a the tyrannical British Government -- a government that had, actually, tried several times to disarm the colonists through legal means-- and yes, the musket was the military arm of the day. First off, I think the Founding Fathers, who dabbled in invention and technology themselves -- were not stupid and realized that there would be technology in the firearms department. Indeed, a Scotsman named Ferguson had already come up with a 7-shot musket, if you can believe it, that was not yet accepted by the military because of it's reliability issues. But honestly, I think the certain guessed-at expectations of the Fathers is irrelevant, because saying that, since there were only muskets during that time, the 2nd Amendment only guarantees right to bear arms to the degree of carrying a musket is the same as saying that, because the printing press was all that was available when the 1st Amendment was written, then obviouisly the use of computers and typewritiers, not to mention microphones, loudspeakers, etc, are not protected by the 1st Amendment. Can you imagine the use of the 1st Amendment, our right to free speech, if all we could use was an antique printing press? Well, first of all, writing this msg would take a heck of a lot longer since I'd have to get the press ready and then hand-deliver it. See what I mean? The idea is crazy, and the same principle applies to the 2nd Amendment.
[But assault weapons in my opinion don't count.]
Now on the assault weapon issue, I have to ask, what do you mean by the term "assault weapon"? Because if we're talking about a fully-automatic firearm, such as the Tommy Gun from the 1920s and the original AK-47 rifle that is used throughout the Middle East, then don't sweat, they've been illegal since 1934 and it really doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon. To obtain one of those you have to have special persmission from the government, like the security-contractors who operate as private military over in Iraq. The Assault Weapons Ban, passed in 1994, banned semi-automatic weapons and handguns, and had no bearing on real assault rifles. The following excerpt is from Wikipedia.
"All firearms addressed in the ban were semi-automatic firearms, that is, firearms that fire one shot each time the trigger is pulled. Neither the AWB nor its expiration affects the legal status of fully automatic firearms, which can fire more than one round with a single trigger-pull; these have long been regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and only fully automatic firearms manufactured and registered to civilians prior to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 may be transferred to civilians."
The Assault Weapons Ban did not work to ban full-auto machineguns, but instead was attacking the aesthetic look of certain weapons. For instance, A rifle with a detachable magazine was legal unless it had these certain characteristics:
1. A folding or telescoping stock
2. A pistol grip
3. A flash suppressor (that's not a silencer, it's a device made to protect against flash blindness when firing in low-light conditions) or a threaded barrel made to accommodate a flash suppressor
4. A grenade launcher lug
All pistols were banned if they had the following:
Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip (like the C-96 Mauser pistol made before WWI)
Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or silencer
Barrel shroud that can be used as a hand-hold
Unloaded weight of 50 oz or more
A semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm
THe list continues concerning semi-auto shotguns, but I think you see what I mean. A common example of how the ban didn't make since was the Ruger mini-14 ranch rifle. If you had wood stocks on it, it was legal, but if you put a rifle stock with a pistol grip on it, it was suddenly an "Assault weapon" and a felony to possess. It's the same rifle, and has the same shooting ability as before, but since it looked more "military-like", it was illegal.
The spokesperson said that the AWB's effect on crime was "hard to determine".
You said it isnt possible to shoot a deer with an AK and have any meat left over. Totally incorrent statement. The AK-47 Kalishnakov Rifle (it's full name) fires the 7.62x39 cartridge. This cartridge's ballistic value is slightly below that of a 30-30, which is a very basic round used for hunting. It's power doesn't even begin to approach the speed and reach of some of the more popular hunting rifle calibers used to kill deer every hunting season. Believe me, it's very possible to hunt deer with an AK-47 or, it's cousin, the SKS. Looking at it calculatingly, it's much easier to drop a man than a deer. For more info on the AK and the cartridge, check out the wikipedia article -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-47
[But there is something wrong with Americans. We kill each other like no other industrialized nation. Canada has far more guns per person and they don't kill each other... so the problem is something deeper.]
First off, I'm curious as to what your sources are on saying that Americans "kill like no other". According to this website (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cr...ers-per-capita
) we are #24 on the list of amount of murders per capita. And as for Canada having more guns than we do, I hightly doubt it. According to a poll in the 90s, roughtly 50% of Americans admitted to having a gun in their home. Now, that was Pre-9/11, which was when gun sales really went through the roof, and also it doesn't count the many gun owners who probably wouldn't admit to owning a gun. Unless you're counting those lil "bang bang cap guns" at Wal-Mart, I don't see how Canada has more guns than we do, lol.
Now, with that being said, let me congratulate you if I actually managed to read this far, as I have the feeling this post is getting long. But what I'm really trying to say comes down to this. Throughout what you said on firearms, you kept mentioning hunting and sports purposes in regard to handguns. Which that's a good point, since hunting is a big part of culture, survival, and the balance of nature. But I'm not going to BS you here, one of the biggest reasons for owning a firearm is the same reason many people take karate classes -- self-defense of themselves and their loved ones. When two women, who called the police before the fact, had their apartment in D.C. broken into and had the assailants repeatedly rape and torture them, they tried to sue the police department. There the court ruled that the job of the police was not to protect citizens from harm, but to maintain public order. When Kitty Genovese was raped and murdered in New York, none of the people who saw what was going on reached out a hand to help her. Who is out there to protect the single mom working late at night so she can keep food in her kid's mouths and a roof over their head? Who's there to protect a man and his family if they take a wrong turn and get lost on a road trip? The average sized woman has no chance in the world against a powerful and determined assailant if it's just going to be strength-on-strength. Man, I do weight training, I jog, and I study unarmed combat, yet I wouldn't want to face a guy one-on-one in a situation like that, and I even work in security. The gun people I know and talk to, they aren't crazy lunatics who hate the government and they aren't white supremacist freaks hopping to "kill them a negro". They're honest, hard-working family men and women who love their community, respect their government, and try their best to make the world a better, safer place. That's why I dislike it when people who have no knowledge at all about firearms in general (not talking about you here, per se, so please don't be offended) attempt to talk on how "unsafe" and "dangerous" firearms are. That's like taking the a football coach and putting him in charge of the school band. That's why I'm always open with people who dislike and/or feel uncomfortable with guns, and I let them know -- you included -- that they have an open invitation to go target-shooting with me anytime they want. Haha, it's not inherently dangerous, I just go to Bass Pro Shops, sign in, and fire my gun, which is a 28 in. barrelled Winchester Pump Shotgun at some targets. Hey, it may not change their opinion about guns, but I'd be willing to listen to what they think on them more if they've actually had firsthand experience.