Piers Morgan asks: Why do American citizens feel they need the right to own assault rifles? We explain.
Piers Morgan, the disgraced former editor of the Daily Mirror, is not having a good time in America.
After saying some sublimely inopportune things about America’s right to bear arms, the conservatives have ganged up and petitioned the White House to have him deported – effortlessly racking up the 25,000 signatures which demands a presidential response.
But Piers Morgan at least has the excuse of being a fresh-off-the-boat Brit to explain his brazen ignorance of why the 2nd Amendment exists, or what it actually means. There are plenty of born-and-bred Americans similarly demanding to know why The Right to Bear Arms is still relevant in the 21st century – and I wrote this post to explain it.
Now first off, I’m not a gun owner. I don’t even particularly like guns – and don’t think, as a parent, it would be responsible of me to ever own one (and before you ask, I’m prepared for home invasion and/or Zombie Apocalypse with crossbows and swords instead.)
But as a dutiful American citizen, and somebody who has studied not just the history but the concept of the American Republic, I get it. I don’t necessarily agree with it, and I’m not saying it’s not open to negotiation, but the 2nd Amendment makes sense to me.
It is, in many ways, the foundation of the American nation.
Piers Morgan’s argument, and one parroted by many ignorant people, is that the 2nd Amendment, and “The Right to Bear Arms”, was conceived in the days of black powder, single-shot muskets that took a minute to reload. They argue that the Founding Fathers would, today, be horrified at the thought of a citizen militia armed with rapid-fire weapons capable of emptying entire magazines in just seconds.
But the fact is, that’s not true.
Whatever today’s monstrous advancements in hand-held weaponry have envisioned – that’s exactly what the Founding Fathers would want us to have hanging over our mantle piece.
Because The Right to Bear Arms was a concept born during the days when the weapons private citizens owned – shotguns, and muskets, and single-shot pistols – were the same as the soldiers and officers of the army carried. That meant, hypothetically, that a dozen homeowners or farmers could rally their weapons, form into a militia and stand against a military regiment on equal terms.
And, in fact, that’s exactly what happened during the Revolutionary War. Militias made up of homeowners and farmers took to arms and defeated the greatest military force in history using nothing but the weapons hanging above their fireplace.
And that’s why the Royalist governments of the 13 colonies had tried to stop them by banning private ownership of guns – disarming the militias before they could be formed. And that same thinking was why the Founding Fathers made sure that the right to own weapons powerful enough to combat military units was cemented in their constitution; so that if another oppressive regime tried to take over in the future, the citizens of the United States could overthrow them just as they had done the British.
In fact, that’s one of the eeriest things about the Constitution of the United States. Despite forming the first, the greatest and what has become the most long-lived democracy of the modern age, the Founding Fathers created it with its inevitable end already in mind.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
So what the likes of Piers Morgan fail to understand about the 2nd Amendment is that is not there merely to protect hunters, or just to give people the right to own a single gun to defend their home against burglars. They fail to understand that advancements in firearm technology have not made the 2nd Amendment obsolete; in fact quite the opposite.
The 2nd Amendment exists so that regular American citizens – farmers, laborers, factory workers and merchants – have free and easy access to weapons of sufficient power to overthrow the government. So that when an oppressive regime comes knocking at their door, regular Americans can match them shot-for-shot with weapons just as powerful, just as deadly and just as effective as those of law enforcement, or the military.
For Europeans, like Piers Morgan or myself, it’s a concept that is chillingly unfamiliar.
For modern Americans, it’s an idea that sits uncomfortably with the plush, comfortable complacency we have come to enjoy; and our common assumption that the government is a benevolent bureaucracy; protecting its citizens best interests.
But this concept – that American citizens should be allowed to buy and own guns just as big, loud and dangerous as the ones the army has – is one of the cornerstones of American society.
You might not agree with it – but that’s the way it is; and if you pretend otherwise, you’re as willfully ignorant as Piers Morgan is.
I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it’s a situation that we, as American citizens, shouldn’t question. But the 2nd Amendment exists for a reason, and that reason is not as neat, clean or easy to understand as liberal-minded people would have you believe.