Mr. Wood, the Founders are completely silent about AK47s


“Facts are stubborn things;” lawyer John Adams remarked in his defense of the British soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre, “and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

The fact is the Founding Fathers did not and could not imagine the private ownership of Kalashnikovs, not only because they had not been invented but because nothing even remotely analogous had been. The AK 47 was invented during World War II by Mikhail Kalashnikov in response to complaints about standard issue Russian rifles. It was expressly intended solely as a weapon of war; its inventor never intended it to be used for hunting or sport. In fact, according to official Russian media “It is believed that AK-47s have caused more deaths than artillery fire, airstrikes and rocket attacks combined. An estimated quarter of a million people are gunned down by bullets from Kalashnikovs every year.” 250000 per year. Compare that with, according to the VA, 4,435 total Americans killed in battle during the entire Revolutionary War, which lasted six years.

As a matter of historical fact the Second Amendment was never interpreted by the Supreme Court to be a guarantee of a right to private gun ownership. The American lawmakers who drafted the Bill of Rights were less interested (or, likely, not interested at all) in private gun ownership. Their fear was of a national government powerful enough to disarm the States, as the Parliament had tried to do (i.e., Lexington and Concord), hence the reference to a “well regulated [State] militia.”

Nevertheless, in 2008 Justice Antonin Scalia magically found an individual right to gun ownership that had been hiding in the Constitution for 217 years, and so at this point, barring the Court overturning the decision or a change to the Constitution, that is established law.

However, the same decision that established that right also contains language limiting that right, as follows:

“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., Statev. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.'”

So, the stubborn fact is that even though the Court affirmed the right to individual gun ownership, at the same time it emphatically affirmed it is indeed the government’s “business” (responsibility is probably a better word) to regulate gun ownership for public safety. I hope this foray into reality hasn’t been too painful, James. You should go back to your crate at the Smithsonian.

Here is a link to the text of the Supreme Court decision.