Would the Framers Have Approved of ARs and AKs for Citizens?

This is a discussion on Would the Framers Have Approved of ARs and AKs for Citizens? within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I see a premise a lot in anti-gun writings, that the Framers of the Constitution could not have foreseen and would not have approved of ...

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Thread: Would the Framers Have Approved of ARs and AKs for Citizens?

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    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
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    Would the Framers Have Approved of ARs and AKs for Citizens?

    I see a premise a lot in anti-gun writings, that the Framers of the Constitution could not have foreseen and would not have approved of modern military-style rifles and therefore they should not be protected by 2A. I've been thinking about it a lot and here are my counterpoints to this idea. I doubt any of my ideas are new. But they are what occurred to me thinking about it and were else would someone publish such ideas than here?
    1. While 2A is an individual right, it was clearly inspired by the idea of a militia, that being citizen-soldiers. It seems to me that citizen soldiers should have military weapons. You would not have argued in the Revolutionary War that the militia should only have bows and arrows when the regular army had muskets and rifles. The US v. Miller decision (SCOTUS, 1939) ruled that 2A protects private ownership of "ordinary military equipment" that could "contribute to the common defense." In today's world, for a long-arm, that is a high-capacity, full-auto weapon.
    2. The purpose of the RTKABA is clearly for individuals and groups of law abiding citizens to be able to fend off hostile enemies when the government is not around to protect them, which back in the day, as now, is most of the time. There is no way the Framers would have wanted law abiding citizens to be out-gunned by likely opponents. I think the Framers would have been appalled by terrorists, gang-bangers and some of the nut-jobs we have doing mass shootings today. They would have wanted citizens, not just the government, to be able to meet the threat.
    3. Most, if not all, of the Framers owned guns. Most had military experience. I guarantee that if some "Ghost of Christmas Future" could have shown them an AR or an AK, they would have been fascinated by the concept, in a good way. They would have wanted to shoot it, own it and equip both the military and the militia with it.
    4. While the Framers could not have envisioned specifically what an AR or AK might look like, they would have known well what the design objectives of any military firearm would be, design objectives that were the same then as today: The chief of these being firepower, meaning destructive capacity, a combination of the power and range of the rounds fired and how many of those rounds could be fired how accurately in what given period of time. So if you asked any of the Framers what they imagined a military rifle might look like in 250 years, their description would have almost certainly included more powerful rounds, faster rates of fire, longer range and greater accuracy. I think it is obvious that they knew the direction that the military rifle was headed, even if they could not have drawn a picture of it.
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    The founding fathers certainly understood military technology would evolve. I think you misunderstand the purpose of RTKBA in point #2. Self defense was a given in the time period. RTKBA was and is about citizens having the ability to counter and overthrow a tyrannical government should our system ever get to that point.
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    It's a fact that many in the Revolution were actually armed better than the British troops.

    The Brits used muskets that were at best 50-75 yard range. They were smooth bore and not very accurate at all.

    The Colonists used muskets that were common and hunting rifles. The hunting rifles were accurate out to 400-500 yards and because of that capability, they actually engaged the Brits from a far enough distance that the British muskets were ineffective.

    There has been much written about this. The Brit officers considered the Colonists using rifles to be cowards as they refused to stand shoulder to shoulder and fire in volleys much as the Brits were famous for doing. They were smart enough NOT to engage the British in a style of warfare that the Brits excelled in.

    So, considering that the Patriots were better armed than the invading troops, the argument that they quite often use is null and void.

    When this argument is used against those that insist that the Founding Fathers could not have known about the weapons of today,and they do a bit of research on the history of the Revolutionary War, once they see for themselves, it usually settles that argument and shuts them up.



    All laws that infringe upon the right to bear arms are unconstitutional. While many argue that the Federal Government has the right to regulate the ownership of firearms, NO where is is written that they can legally do so.
    Technically, every citizen should be able to own better weapons than the military issues, or at least equal too.
    Last edited by HotGuns; December 6th, 2015 at 09:35 PM.
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    Private citizens owned the assault weapons of the day when the Bill of Rights was ratified. They owned cannons. People owned privateer ships (war ships) at the time. Shall not be infringed seems very clear to me.
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    It's a ridiculous anti-gun argument relying on anti-gun logic and a willful ignorance of our history. Private citizens owned artillery before, during and after the Revolutionary war. Heck, private citizens owned warships with artillery. Of course, we took a bunch off the Brits also, but even then, they were vastly utilized by the local militias.
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    To further point 1, the American counterparts to the muskets used by the British army during the founding years, were the AR's and AK's of the day back then. Militias fought with the army regulars, many using their own personal muskets. The founders saw the need for the citizenry to have an equivalent in terms of an infantry weapon. I don't doubt they'd have no problem with today's semi auto ARs and AKs.
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    No, the founders didn't think the second amendment was a check on their own government. It was to defend the newly established nation (which they indeed would have to do in a few short years) against foreign interlopers.
    I agree, lots of the state of the art was in private hands back then (the regular army had to equip a lot of men so they weren't going to spend a lot of money).

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingron View Post
    No, the founders didn't think the second amendment was a check on their own government. It was to defend the newly established nation (which they indeed would have to do in a few short years) against foreign interlopers.
    I agree, lots of the state of the art was in private hands back then (the regular army had to equip a lot of men so they weren't going to spend a lot of money).
    Hmmm, you've read other books than I have, it seems.
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    The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Sounds pretty straightforward to me. The Revolutionaries of colonial times wouldn't have wanted to use matchlocks.
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    If they were familiarized with the elected idiots that profess to run the country they would probably wonder why we have dead stopped at obtaining semi auto small arms.
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    This is a little bit tangential, but one of the best ways to bury the "it says MILITIA" argument is to point out the many state constitutions ratified around the same time. Several of them say things about RKBA for defense of self and state.
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    Also, to answer the OP: Yes. :)
    The 9mm only kills your body... but the 45? That kills your soul.

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    A moot argument. ARs were beyond their comprehension.
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    I don't think they'd want us handicapped any more today than they wanted us to be back in the 1700's.
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    Yes!

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