It was gratifying that the weekend post about the “weapons of war” anti-gun rhetoric attracted a great deal of thoughtful commentary here. I was thinking about the post again today when, as is increasingly the case, a sportswriter gratuitously injected politics into sports commentary. Baseball season is fast-approaching, and while one of the many reasons I follow the game so passionately is its ethics content, I look forward to the game to get away from politics, and incorrigible social justice warrior agitators like NBC’s Craig Calcaterra, lapsed lawyer, can’t resist misusing their sports platforms as a political soap box.
Today he gleefully informed readers that Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones had “denounced assault weapons,” telling Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I believe in our Constitutional right to bear arms and protect ourselves,” Jones said. “But I do not believe there is any need for civilians to own assault rifles. I just don’t.
“I would like to see something (new legislation) happen. I liken it to drugs – you’re not going to get rid of all the guns. But AR-15s and AK-47s and all this kind of stuff – they belong in the hands of soldiers. Those belong in the hands of people who know how to operate them, and whose lives depend on them operating them. Not with civilians. I have no problem with hunting rifles and shotguns and pistols and what-not. But I’m totally against civilians having those kinds of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.”
Calcaterra makes sure that we knew that the ex-Braves player is an avid hunter and owns a rife, because he apparently wants us to think that owning a gun makes an athlete an expert on the Bill of Rights. (It doesn’t, and I’m pretty sure Calcaterra knows that.)
“While debate, often acrimonious, will no doubt continue about these matters indefinitely, it’s striking to see someone like Chipper Jones come out so strongly on the matter in the particular way that he has. It has to make people at the NRA and those who support it wonder if, when you’ve lost Chipper Jones, you’ve gone too far.”
Thus we have a lawyer appealing to the authority of a man who played baseball all through highs school, and signed a contract to be a pro baseball player at te age of 18. Call me skeptical, but I question whether he has devoted much research to the history and philosophy underlying the Second Amendment, or has read any of the judicial opinion and scholarship analyzing it. I especially question Jones’ flippant “denouncement” given the tell-tale signs that he doesn’t understand the right to bear arms at all, beginning with the misnomer “assault rifles” and the assumption that the most popular civilian rifle in the U.S. is a “weapon of war.” He also makes the offensive assumption that he is qualified to decide what kind of fire arms other citizens “need,” a commonly expressed attitude sharply discredited in this essay by playwright and screenwriter David Mamet.
I find myself increasingly impatient with uninformed opinions on important matters relating to our personal liberty, expressed by celebrities with no more understanding or special expertise than the typical semi-informed citizen, and often less. I am even less tolerant when I am told by journalists that attention must be paid.
Here is the Comment of the Day by Glenn Logan, who is informed on this issue, on the post On The Anti-Gun “Weapons Of War” Talking Point:
It struck me that if we were to ban “weapons of war”, it would encompass all the following:
1 Pump and semi-automatic shotguns – Both these shotgun types, indistinguishable from their civilian variants, are currently used in military and police arsenals.
2 Semi-automatic handguns – The military has been using these since their inception, and still does to this day. They have been used in every US war since 1911 to the present day. The iconic Colt M1911 and Beretta M9 are widely sold to civilians and are functionally identical to their mil-spec designs. For the most part, all semi-auto handguns are equally efficient (or inefficient), and because of how simple and fast combat reloads are, magazine capacity is only marginally relevant.
3 Bolt-Action rifles – These have been weapons of war since the 1830s and are still used by every military in existence today.
4 Semiautomatic rifles – The M38 SDMR (designated marksman rifle) is current military issue.
5 Automatic (select fire) rifles – Well, this one requires no exposition.
In some form or another, all the above weapon types are current USG issue, and therefore “weapons of war” by any meaningful definition of the term.
The way I read it, the only common firearms that are no longer weapons of war are revolvers and lever-action rifles, and perversely, fully automatic pistols (machine pistols). I think machine pistols are in use in foreign military service, though.
So to bring this thing full circle, what argument is there for banning only semi-automatic rifles of the same form factor the military uses, and not the rest of the arsenal? If it is a “weapon of war,” then under the theory of those you have quoted, they shouldn’t be in civilian hands.
So under the liberal argument, we’re to be relegated to revolvers and lever-actions. While I love both those types of guns, and they are certainly suitable to most home defense and hunting needs, they would be inadequate to the purpose the Second Amendment as it was laid down, and as you have so eloquently explained.
23 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “On The Anti-Gun “Weapons Of War” Talking Point””
Skip Caray: “Andy Griffith at Eleven.”
I’ll take Bob Horner over Chipper Jones any day.
Actually, Skip’s tag line was “Andy Griffith is next.” Sorry.TBS. Couldn’t beat it with a stick. The Braves were America’s team. Ted Turner made sure of that.
With all due respect OB, my late Dear Milwaukee-dwelling maternal Grandmother would heartily disagree.
She was a die-hard fan of the former Boston Braves and cursed, in no uncertain terms, their leaving The City That Made Beer Famous.
Factor in that was BEFORE Turner married Hanoi Jane and the horrendously insulting raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacist “Tomahawk Chop.”
Thank goodness Hotlanta got Woke, am I right?
I knew any number of people in Boston who’d never gotten over the Braves leaving Beantown.
But you gotta love the clan Caray. My favorite Harry story is he was run out of St. Louis by Augie Busch because he got caught doing the horizontal mamba with one of Augie’s daughters. So he went to Chicago and insured the Cubs and Sox would be losers and jokes as long as he was associated with them. “A one, a two, at three… Lemme hear ya!” This Bud’s for you, Harry. And this one, and this one, and…
And yes, Eddie Matthews and Hank Aaron really belong to Melwaukee, not that broadcasting studio in Georgia.
”Eddie Matthews and Hank Aaron really belong to Melwaukee”
As fate would have it, as she was lambasting the recently departed team, my Gramma singled those two out by saying she hoped they would do well.
Quoth she: “The rest of ’em can all go to Hell!”
If you look up “ballplayer” in the dictionary, the Matthews and Aaron baseball card pictures in their mid-‘fifties Braves flannels are the pictures. Those were great, great unis.
Of course they all went to Hell, er, Hotlanta.
Ironic historical note:
In U.S. v Miller (1939) (a truly horrible case, in many ways), the Government argued that the Second Amendment protected only the ownership of military-type weapons. The defendant was not present to give information, or represented at the trial, and the court, in its decision, made the erroneous assumption that short-barreled shotguns were not used by the military (they were used in WW1 trench warfare), and could be taxed under the NFA (National Firearms Act). Fully automatic arms were left under the NFA as well, although they, too, had already been in use by the military.
Strikes me the purpose of the Second Amendment is for the populace to have weapons of war to band together into militias in case invaders, despots and/or usurpers decided to make war on the rights of the governed. Silly me.
Heh. Yeah, silly you. How could anyone imagine the text of the Second Amendment might actually mean what it says?
It was about hunting and recreation! Two items the Founders thought very very important about America, enough to enshrine next to other Amendments that empowered citizens to speak against government overreach and protect citizens against the government abusing due process during prosecutions. Hunting and recreation are THAT important.
They can take my snowboard when they pry it from my cold, dead feet!
Why aren’t we also talking about the Selective Service System when people start saying that ordinary joe’s aren’t considered a part of the militia? Uh…I registered with the Selective Service System to be potentially conscripted to military service. If that doesn’t meet the necessary requirements for “militia”, I’d like to know what would.
Probably because women don’t sign up for that
I think anybody who claims to “support the 2nd Amendment… but” ought to explain in clear terms exactly what core right they believe it protects. That is to say, what is it that the government may not do, no matter how much they think it would be a good idea? After all, a right that may be restricted in whatsoever manner the government of the day feels good and proper isn’t really a right at all.
I think they deserve the same response as someone who says, “I support the 13th Amendment, but . . .”
Great comment Glen!
Thank you, kind sir.
Thanks for the COTD, Jack
Great comment of the day.
I’m glad you started with shotguns. Shotguns are never mentioned in debates, but are the deadliest guns for close range a civilian can buy. Gun banners stay away because they are iconic sporting guns.
Many survive a hit from a handgun. Some survive a hit from a rifle. Few survive being hit by a shotgun, and those are only when it is a very peripheral shot. I sure would like to hear how any of these school shootings would have been different with a pump shotgun and a bandolier loaded with shells. I’m betting the answer would be the outcome would be worse. You can crowd rush an AR-15 shooter, but not a shotgun shooter. People grouping up means each shotgun blast kills more people per shot.
I’ll also point out that people will consider the 30-06 another iconic “deer rifle” but that ignores the genesis of the 30-06 cartridge. It owes its existence to the US Army designing the ideal man killing rifle cartridge and adopting it as the standard round until the M-16 came along. The goal was to make a round that kills a man reliably and no more. Both the wide availability of the 30-06 and the similar size of deer led to its use as the most common deer hunting rifle cartridge.
The reason the 30-06 was replaced by the .223 used by the M-16 is that the 30-06 is too heavy and too powerful to reliably use in a full auto or 3 round burst rifle. You can’t aim reliably with a 30-06 automatic rifle because of the recoil. You can’t haul the number of rounds fired in a typical fire-fight so they guy with the .223 wins because his ammo lasts longer. Neither is applicable to the AR-15. All this talk about the “too powerful for civilian ownership” ignores the fact that there are more deadly automatic rifles out there. Some don’t even look scary. Unless we ban those too, the ban is worthless.
I think the fact that these shooters are all using AR-15s is based more on the fact that the shooters are all chasing the media fame than it means the AR-15 is especially dangerous. The way each shooting is endlessly talked about and the vilification of the specific rifle means that two go hand in hand.
Stumbled across this link yesterday. Thoughts?
Yep, it’s an argument that takes a single use of the militia by some of the states and expands that into the only argument the Founders had for the militia.
I’m not sure the name of the logical fallacy, but it is a logical fallacy. The Founders knew all the purposes of the militia, and at the time, suppressing a slave revolt would have been one single tiny fraction of what a militia would be expected to do in violent emergencies.
Maybe it’s an elaborate version of Cherry Picking or Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy?