Kids are getting slaughtered with assault weapons. It’s tragic, yet we continue to hear that assault weapons and high capacity magazines are necessary to stand up against a tyrannical government.
Are they really? And do those who advocate so ardently for the right to bear arms actually stand against tyranny when it presents itself?
The widely accepted definition of tyranny is “cruel,” “oppressive,” “arbitrary.” Let’s think of all the instances when armed citizens stood by and did nothing during times of tyranny.
The U.S. government put Japanese-Americans in internment camps. What did our fellow Americans do?
The U.S. Army held a trial for 63 African American soldiers, all represented by one lawyer. Thirteen soldiers were hung two weeks later without an appeal. Who stood up to this arbitrary legal forum?
Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. The Cherokee Nation filed a case in our Supreme Court and secured its rights as a sovereign nation, yet President Andrew Jackson ignored the decision and continued to remove natives from their homes. Their “Trail of Tears” west led to 4,000 dead. Any Constitutional defenders react?
What about slavery? The Fugitive Slave Act? Dred Scott v. Sandford?
Of course, there is a notable exception, when citizens actually took up an armed rebellion against a “tyrannical” government to keep humans enslaved.
I get it. I’ve read Jefferson, Madison, Locke, Rousseau, etc. I understand the concept that arms are necessary to restore Constitutional order. I am a skeptic of big government too. I’ve carried an assault rifle in a combat zone.
But is that argument realistic anymore? Isn’t the credibility of the argument forfeited by longstanding hypocrisy and inaction?
We don’t step up during times of actual tyranny. We tolerate oppression of our fellow humans. We spend billions of dollars on building a giant military and federal law enforcement agencies. What is an assault weapon going to do against a tank, plane, boats with really big guns, and nuclear bombs? Is opposing gun control really about preventing tyranny?
Have you even seen a kid with a bullet hole in his head? Ever seen dozens of people slaughtered? Human lives mangled and left in a pool of blood?
I would be strongly opposed to gun control if we had a history of citizens standing up to actual incidents of tyranny, oppression, and injustice. But we don’t.
I love our nation, but I love human lives more. I’ve proudly served. Smart gun control measures will save lives.
It isn’t the only measure needed, of course. You may have other arguments against gun control, but the “standing up to tyranny” doesn’t stand.
Mike Millios is a veteran, a lawyer, and a "bit of a history nerd" from Minneapolis.