How do guns protect against tyranny?

Many writers to The Bulletin have argued that semi-automatic rifles protect against government tyranny, but no one has explained how. What do these letter writers plan to do if their taxes get too high or 16-ounce sodas are outlawed in Oregon? Coordinate clandestine training camps at KOAs? Storm Washington in Winnebagos? While it has proven possible to round up a few rowdies and attack the capitol in a country like the Congo, it is unlikely this would succeed against an American government in command of the largest military apparatus in human history. Ironically, the same gun owners who imagine themselves in an armed confrontation with the government tend to be those who support a bloated military. That seems somewhat suicidal.

Another point often made is that banning semi-automatic weapons will not alleviate the problem of mass shootings. However, Australia’s government enacted bipartisan gun control measures after a mass shooting in 1996. Prior to that, Australia had about one mass shooting per year. Since then, there have been none. The only way that gun control won’t reduce the slaughter of civilians is if it is too weak.

Apart from their two oft-repeated arguments, pro-semi-automatic advocates are left with little but the truth, which is that weapons of human warfare pleasure them. Their hobby, however, does not justify the slaughter of school children, so they systematically resort to farcical or false rationales, then forward them as facts. Who will be the next children made to pay for their delusion?

Matt Orr


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