To the editor:
In the current debate over gun violence, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has successfully defined itself as the defender of individual rights as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
Regrettably, advocates of gun control have allowed themselves to be drawn into this argument, and the result is that they appear to be attacking the Constitution. Score one for the NRA.
It’s time we turned the tables. Responsible citizens must demand that the NRA and its gun lobby allies define what the Second Amendment means by the word “arms.” What exactly are these “arms” that individuals are entitled to bear?
I’ll get the conversation started by saying that I think it would be fun to own a functioning M1A2 Abrams battle tank. After all, it’s just a big 120mm gun on a motorized chassis. It would be cool to park it in my driveway and scare the neighbors.
Would the NRA support my right to own a tank? If not, why not? What’s the harm?
OK, instead of the tank, I’ll buy a 50-caliber machine gun. I could mount that baby on my boat, and I’d be ready for any criminal who wanted to hijack me in Gloucester Harbor. I hope the NRA would endorse this; after all, a machine gun is just one of many “arms” that a well-regulated militia would have in its arsenal.
Another form of “arms” that I’d like to own would be a rocket-propelled grenade. Lots of militias all over the world use RPGs with great effectiveness. I would like to know if the NRA would endorse my owning an RPG. If not, why not?
I would like to remind skeptics that I have no police record and would pass any background check. In short, I’m one of the “good guys” that the NRA says should be armed.