I very much appreciate the response by Mr. Henri de Marne of Shelburne to my recent op-ed in the gun debate.
I will concede to Mr. de Marne that assault weapons are not entirely necessary to protection of oneself and one’s home. But, they could be necessary to defending against a tyrannical government. In terms of defending the nation from a tyrannical government, Mr. de Marne says:
“Duncan’s contention that these killing machines are necessary for us to defend our nation from government tyranny is so out of date; our National Guard and Armed Forces are there to do just that. And if the “reasoning” is that we need military-style guns to defend ourselves in case of the government, which controls the military, becomes tyrannical, what chance does a citizenry armed with such weapons have against tanks and other lethal weapons…..On the other hand, if a president attempts to become a dictator, the hope is that the military would disobey the “Commander in Chief” and intervene.”
Three in 10 Americans own a gun (according to Pew); 36 percent of Americans – about 108 million people – say they could see themselves owning one in the future (also according to Pew). According to Governing magazine, there were 1.3 million active military service members in the United States armed forces. While I recognize that the military has high-grade technology to defeat a civilian militia, I would not just be willing to hope that the military disobeys that commander-in-chief, and then concede to the tyrannical government if that’s not the case.
Here is a chart of gun deaths by type of gun in the US according to the FBI:
Note the ratio of handgun deaths to deaths by “other guns” which is where assault weapons would fall. Based on this statistic, shouldn’t we ban handguns, too? That would seem like an even more pressing issue.
If there is an outcry to ban assault weapons in the hands of civilians, why has no one said anything about handguns? How are innocent handguns killing more people in our country than the “killing machines” that Mr. de Marne claims them to be? This is why I think that the left will eventually be after all guns of any kind. We may not be there yet, but we need to be careful about the legislation we pass and the representatives that we elect to ensure that we never reach this point.
Mr. de Marne also talks about facts and attribution when criticizing my earlier piece, when in fact I found not one cited piece of evidence in his op-ed. He states:
“On the other hand, a shotgun only needs to be aimed at the aggressor to disembowel him or her. Shotguns are the most feared weapon by those with intentions to harm us.”
That was the only material argument that Mr. de Marne made in his response about assault weapons vs. other weapons, and it did not have facts or attribution attached to it. I believe that Mr. de Marne does have statistics to back his case, but they were not shown as well as they could have been, much like my own op-ed.
Mr. de Marne also mentioned the wording of the second amendment and that says that a well-regulated militia may bear arms and that there is nothing regulated about guns on the streets.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the sale of firearms to people under 18, prohibits fugitives, those convicted of a felony with a sentence of over two years, and those convicted of a misdemeanor with a sentence of over two years from purchasing firearms; and it prohibits those who were involuntarily placed in a mental institution from buying a gun. Also, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was mandated by the 1993 Brady Law and implemented by the FBI in 1998, mandating background checks on people wishing to buy a gun.
So, the notion that guns on the street are not regulated at all, as Mr. de Marne claims, is ridiculous. My view, in short, is this: With the confiscation of guns – which I believe will occur in my lifetime – how can a civilian militia ever find success against a tyrannical government?
In the words of Mr. de Marne, “Anyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and we should respect that right, but let’s also respect the facts and make a concerted effort to learn about them before going off uninformed.”
This is very true, and should be considered by both sides of the gun debate, as well as Mr. de Marne and myself.
A note on my first piece: I have revised it with more facts and attribution and can share it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me there, Mr. de Marne, if you wish to continue this debate through a medium other than a weekly local newspaper.
Williston resident Ethan Duncan is a junior at Champlain Valley Union High School.