Gun Control: A federal judge rules that the AR-15 and similar weapons commonly used in self-defense "fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual arms," and we have no right to keep or bear them.
According to the local Riverfront Times, the owners of County Guns and Tattoo Studio arrived with friends to protect their businesses. One owner carried a rifle and pistol and wore a vest, while the other had his own rifle.
Their defensive use of firearms as rioters burned and looted other stores in the strip mall couldn't have occurred in Maryland. There, AR-15-style weapons are banned, more because of the rifles' "scary" appearance than their lethality. Maryland's Firearm Safety Act of 2013 makes their possession and open carry illegal.
As the Ferguson riots raged, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake, appointed by President Clinton, issued a ruling that upheld the Maryland law, saying, "the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes . .. and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual."
Now the Second Amendment, written in the era of muskets, does not mention what arms we have the right to keep and bear. But we have an idea, based on how they were used: to protect their owners' homes, businesses, farms and families, and to fight the tyranny of the British crown. It's been said that the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights to protect the other nine.
Gun control advocates say, with some snarkiness, that the Second Amendment doesn't allow one to own nuclear weapons or tanks, so it's merely a question of where we draw the line. They would draw the line at the AR-15 and its counterparts — which, despite the judge's claim, are commonly used for legal, defensive purposes.
The AR-15 is among the guns that must be registered. They've made up 50%-60% of U.S. rifle sales in recent years, federal figures show. The New York Times recently called the AR-15 "The Most Wanted Gun In America." Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been pushing a bill to reintroduce the ineffective assault weapons 1994 ban that expired in 2004 with no impact on the crime rate.
Feinstein's legislation would outlaw more than 150 types of weapons, from rifles to pistols to shotguns. They include the Streetsweeper and Striker-12, which, again, have frightening appearances yet chamber the same 12-gauge shells that are used to hunt birds.
While used in several high-profile mass shootings, the AR-15 is favored among homeowners, hunters and sport shooters. It's popular for both sport and self-defense among women, who find it easy to carry and handle.
Crime rates and homicides have dropped as concealed-carry laws spread nationwide. As more citizens are armed, predators find it harder to find unarmed victims except in gun-free zones such as the school in Newtown, Conn., or the theater in Aurora, Colo.
All guns are dangerous, particularly when used by rioters and other criminals. But in the hands of law-abiding citizens, they are exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.
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