Must we really respond to the “musket” argument again?
Apparently so. It’s all the rage among Democrats right now.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (Democrat) and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (Democrat) both think it’s quite brilliant to claim that, if we care what the framers of the Constitution meant, then the Second Amendment applies only to “muskets”!
In The New York Times, a couple of professors (Democrats, but you knew that) asked: “Is a modern AR-15-style rifle relevantly similar to a Colonial musket? In what ways?” They liked their argument so much, the op-ed was titled, “A Supreme Court Head-Scratcher: Is a Colonial Musket ‘Analogous’ to an AR-15?“[Frantically waving my hand]: Yes, professors, it’s exactly analogous.
The Second Amendment does not refer to “muskets”; it refers to “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” “Bear” means to carry, so any handheld firearm carried by the military can be carried by the people. Just as the musket was once carried by our military, the AR-15 is a handheld arm (technically, the less powerful version of the automatic M-16) carried by our military today. As soon as the U.S. military goes back to muskets, then muskets it is!
But I’m not here to refute idiotic arguments. These guys may as well claim that the First Amendment protects only speech delivered in pamphlets and sermons, but nothing communicated on television, the internet, or with poster boards and Magic Markers.
The Second Amendment is nearly the only prescriptive policy in a document that liberals have been trying to pump their nutty ideas into for 50 years. Unfortunately for them, there’s nothing in the Constitution about a right to dance naked in strip clubs, contraception, marriage or sticking a fork in a baby’s head.
But on the right to bear arms, our Delphic framers were nearly Tolstoyian with their explosion of words: “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.” (An earlier draft of the amendment specifically defined “militia” as “composed of the body of the people,” but was rejected as redundant.)
In the boldest affirmation of their worldview, the framers announced our natural, God-given right to self-defense — against the government, against criminals, and against assailants the government can’t or won’t stop. Free people prepared to defend themselves are the nucleus of the republic. It’s the most beautiful thing in the whole Constitution. Here, at last, the Founding Fathers told us something specific they want us to do: Teach the boys to shoot.
The “right to bear muskets” crowd — protected by taxpayer-supported armed guards, or cordoned off from the public by phalanxes of security officers in the lobby of, for example, NBC’s television studios in Rockefeller Center, before they return to their homes in crime-free, lily-white neighborhoods — tell us to focus on the freakishly rare mass shooting.
The highest estimates of mass shootings — including by gang warfare, drive-bys, drug wars and domestic murder-suicides — put the number of deaths at under 400 per year, or approximately the same number of Americans who drown in swimming pools every year. Four hundred, out of more than 20,000 murders annually.
Which is why, despite the media’s best effort to terrify suburban moms about weirdos shooting at crowds, nearly half of Americans prefer self-reliance to the government taking away our guns and promising to protect us.
In 2020, the Year of Our Floyd, gun sales went through the roof. The previous high for gun sales was in 2016, with about 16 million guns sold. But in 2020, as BLM tore through our cities, Americans bought 22.8 million guns. The following year saw the second-highest record for gun sales, at 19.9 million purchases.
By now, 44% of Americans report living in a gun-owning household. Thirty-two percent say they personally own a gun.
As much as I’d like to institutionalize the crazies — for their sake, as well as ours — the risks from bad faith actors at present are too high. With anti-gun zealots on the rampage and the U.S. attorney general siccing the FBI on parents who complain at local school board meetings, the most likely result would be marijuana-crazed schizophrenics continuing about their days unmolested, while gun owners get locked up.
In any event, it appears that the lunatics aren’t heavily armed, anyway. Here’s a demographic breakdown of gun ownership in 2022, according to Gallup:
Conservatives 45% (Oddly, Gallup calls them “self-identified conservatives,” as if Gallup would never use this cruel epithet without consent of the accused.)
Eastern residents 21%
Gallup left out one category. The subgroup most likely to own a whole buttload of guns, but not admit it: gang members and other recidivist felons protected by George Gascon and other Soros D.A.s.
Being a rational people, Americans are more worried about those guys than the random rifle-bearing psycho in a woman’s dress.