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Why I Want High-Capacity, Military-Style Weapons


During testimony at a legislative hearing in Hartford, Connecticut, on January 28, 2013, Neil Heslin, father of a Sandy Hook victim, asked, “I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question: Why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips…. Not one person can answer that question.”

I would like to answer that question.

Because high-capacity, military-style firearms are designed for conflict, and when I need to protect myself and my freedom, I want the most reliable, durable, combat-proven, highest-capacity weapon available.

Because attempts to infringe my right to own and possess such arms makes me suspicious of the motive.

Because I distrust people in government, as they have consistently proven themselves untrustworthy, attracting people who prefer to rule rather than to govern, to be served rather than to serve.

Because any type of gun control among peaceful people is a violent act which must be resisted.

Because under the Fast & Furious program, this administration has facilitated the transfer of the same type of weapons illegally to Mexican drug dealers, and then used the violence attributed to these weapons as a pretext for more gun control.

Because it makes politicians and bureaucrats nervous and cautious, and I like nervous, cautious public servants.

Because I prefer to have those in government fear me rather than to fear them.

Because banning such weapons from civilian hands concentrates power rather than diffuses it, and concentrated power is dangerous.

Because I refuse to be a subject, and a disarmed or poorly armed populace is no longer sovereign.

Because a populace armed with the latest small arms is a credible threat to tyrannical government.

Because I may have to enforce my rights some day against an invader, criminals, or a tyrannical government.

Because only prisoners and slaves have their needs determined by government, and I’m neither.

Because I operate from rights, not privileges, and my rights are not subject to anyone’s vote.

Because criminals, disturbed people, and would-be tyrants fear us only as long as they need to, and they need to only as long as we are armed with powerful-enough weapons.

Because, since no one may tell me not to publish a book for fear someone may libel another, or not to purchase a car because of possible accidents, then no one can tell me I can’t own a certain type of weapon because it may be misused by someone else.

Because I want a better chance to defend myself, my loved ones, and anyone else I choose from those who would harm us.

Because I’m alarmed that civil agencies of the federal government are stockpiling an unprecedented amount of ammunition, weapons, mine-resistant armored vehicles, and bulletproof traffic-stop booths beyond any legitimate need.

Because, like insurance, it is better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

Because I alone will determine what weapons are essential for my own defense.

Because banning or registering them is beyond the lawful authority of government.

Because I feel safer possessing them.

Because only fools limit their firepower.

Because of the ever-present potential for lawlessness following riots, as happened in Los Angeles in 1993, and natural disasters, as in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina (2005) and along the New Jersey–New York coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (2012).

Because they are more dependable than calling 911.

Because government has often proved itself unreliable in an emergency, or dangerous, as at Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco in 1993.

Because unless I possess such arms, I am outgunned by Mexican drug smugglers and other gang members armed with the latest weaponry.

Because I don’t know what perils the future will bring.

Because they deter criminal behavior better than anti-gun slogans, laws, signs, or lesser arms.

Because if police need such weapons to defend us, so do we as the first ones at the scene of a crime.

Because I may have to confront more than one heavily armed antagonist over an extended period of time.

Because the servant is not greater than his master, and we didn’t hire the police or politicians to disarm or limit our armaments.

Because bad guys have them and will continue to get them regardless of what laws foolish or treasonous legislators pass.

Because I’m a member of the unorganized militia, and such weapons are appropriate to the militia.

Because they make up better than other weapons for my old age, infirmities, and other limitations.

Because I prefer to speak softly, but carry a big, bad gun with plenty of ammunition.

Because it makes me happy to collect, shoot, and hunt with such weapons, and I have a right to pursue my happiness to the extent of not infringing on the equal rights of others.

Because there are occasional mass shootings that require an in-kind response.

Because, like Theodore Roosevelt, I may not know how to shoot well, but I know how to shoot often.

Because I need to be as well armed as any potential attacker to have a chance at survival.

Because they give me confidence in dangerous situations.

Because such guns make a stronger statement than I can without them.

Because it’s primarily my responsibility to defend myself, my loved ones, and a free government.

Because tyrants, criminals, and ignorant people don’t want me to have them.

Because it’s foolish to get into a fight without more ammunition and a better weapon than your opponent.

Because being stripped of the ability to defend myself adequately doesn’t make me safe; it makes me vulnerable.

Because in some parts of the country, bears, mountain lions, wolves, feral hogs, and other wild animals, some of whom roam in packs, threaten people and domesticated animals, even in residential areas.

Because a few hits may not incapacitate attackers sufficiently to stop them.

Because 75 percent–80 percent of rounds fired by police in lethal-force encounters miss the intended target, and I can expect the same results under the stress of an attack.

Finally, because it’s my God-given right to do so, guaranteed by Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, in which no power is granted to Congress to regulate weapons; and further secured by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits Congress from infringing the right to keep and bear arms, with an equivalent provision in most state constitutions, purchased at a high cost and paid in full by the lives and limbs of countless Americans from 1775 to the present.

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  • This post was written by:

    Benedict LaRosa is a historian and writer with undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Duke University, respectively.