The Oberlin Review

Founding Fathers Would Approve of AR-15 Sales

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To the Editors:

This letter is a response to the op-ed by Booker C. Peek regarding AR-15s and Constitutional law (“Constitution Does Not Automatically Permit AR-15s,” The Oberlin Review, Feb. 23, 2018). Toward the beginning of their case, Peek briefly reflects on the tragic mass shooting in Florida. As someone who was born and raised in Florida, I certainly share my condolences with the families of the victims, and I understand why many people are pushing for gun legislation and Constitutional amendments on assault weapons. As a person who shares Peek’s sympathy for the victims of mass shootings, I think it is important to also use those feelings to properly assess solutions while preserving Constitutional law. Keeping this in mind, I disagree with Peek’s argument favoring a Constitutional ban on AR-15s.

The Supreme Court interprets original Constitutional amendments in the historical context of the Founders. Therefore, it is essential to examine the makeup of the AR-15 to understand why the Founders would have approved of such firearms while drafting the Second Amendment. Firstly, AR-15s are semi-automatic weapons, a type of firearm that can fire one bullet per trigger and uses cartridges to prepare for continued fire. Not only does this make the AR-15 no different than many other legal rifles such as the M1 Garand, but also indicates that there is nothing unique about the AR-15 that would prevent the Supreme Court from believing that similar guns wouldn’t have been around in America during the Revolutionary period. As a matter of fact, there were guns even more dangerous around in the times of the Founding Fathers such as the Belton Flintlock, which could fire nearly twenty bullets in five seconds — which is about as many bullets as a very skilled AR-15 wielder. Peek’s case rests on the assumption that guns like the AR-15 didn’t exist in the time of the Constitution, but historical data clearly shows that this isn’t true.

In his article, Peek also mentions the need for mental health programs and background checks. While there is a case to be made for those programs, the better solution would be to increase armed policing in public schools to protect students and teachers who aren’t able to legally obtain or conceal weapons to protect themselves. Since mass shooters generally lack firearm training, armed police officers could easily respond due to greater numbers and superior training.

Peek’s op-ed ends with a message of hope. I would like to end this response on a hopeful note as well. The fact that the United States has significantly lower homicide rates than other countries with stricter gun laws should be enough for anyone to remember that safety is in the hands of those who are the most responsible. In the end, it is not up to the law but up to our moral identity as human beings who care for each other to foster a peaceful future.

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3 Responses to “Founding Fathers Would Approve of AR-15 Sales”

  1. Tommy on March 3rd, 2018 9:21 AM

    The constitution does take into account in future changes as our founding fathers knew would happen. The constitution lays out that all legal citizen have the right to bear arms it does not specific flintlocks or hunting rifles this is a ploy of the left. The constitution does say not only do we have the rights to bear arms but we have the right to join groups “militias” to protect our country our community and ourselves against all that would endanger them. The left says this means national guard or military but armies existed them so if that was the restriction then it would clearly be written. Last but not least it says these rights shall not be infringed upon. Clearly the left does not want to acknowledge that they know very little about an AR ( which does NOT stand for assault rifle but it means Armilite Riflle) or the constitution. Think who is it that stops conservatives from free speech? The left, Who is it that wants gun confiscation? The left, Who is it that wants to do away with most aspects of America that made it the one place in the world where people have wanted to come LEGALLY. The left won’t admit it but until they have their European socialist system they will continue to do anything legal or illegal to stop anyone who tries to protect American values.

  2. Andy Zvara ‘63 on March 3rd, 2018 5:42 PM

    Jacob Britton States:
    “The fact that the United States has significantly lower homicide rates than other countries with stricter gun laws should be enough for anyone to remember that safety is in the hands of those who are the most responsible.”

    I suggest that Mr. Britton check the factual content of this statement against the data available in Mr. German Lopez’s maps and charts.

    America’s unique gun violence problem, explained in 17 maps and charts
    In the developed world, these levels of gun violence are a uniquely American problem. Here’s why.
    By German Updated Feb 15, 2018, 9:10am EST

  3. Cody on March 5th, 2018 7:23 AM

    The belief that the 2nd amendment was meant to create virtually unrestrictive access to weapons is ludicrous. James Madison, the person who literally wrote the 2nd amendment, and Thomas Jefferson, 2nd president of the United States, actually voted to ban all guns on the campus of the University of Virginia in 1824.

    The second amendment is focused on ensuring that well-regulated militia are not barred access to weapons. While I grew up as a hunter and someone who has no issue with guns used for sport, the 2nd amendment absolutely should not be used to describe a gun fetish focused on high capacity, semi-automatic weapons whose sole purpose is a weapon of war.

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