One of the arguments invoked by those who think we should keep assault weapons freely available in this country is that the Constitution says we have a right to own and buy them.
The Constitution actually doesn’t say that.
All the Constitution says is that we have the right to “bear arms.”
And that “right to bear arms” is actually supposed to support the existence of a “well-regulated militia,” an important qualifying clause in the Second Amendment that those in favour of free access to assault weapons usually ignore.
But even leaving aside the “well-regulated militia” clause, the Constitution doesn’t specify what “arms” we’re allowed to bear.
And we have long set limits on the type of arms we are allowed to bear, thus establishing clearly that we have the Constitutional right to do that.
For example, we’re not (individually) allowed to own aircraft carriers, tanks, ballistic nuclear missiles, fighter aircraft, or attack submarines.
We’re not even allowed to own fully automatic machine guns.*
All of those are “arms.”
And yet we have established that, despite the Second Amendment, we’re not individually allowed to bear them.
So if we decided to establish that we are not individually allowed to bear semi-automatic assault rifles and pistols while still being allowed to own single-shot hunting guns, this would be perfectly in keeping with how we have interpreted our Second Amendment rights under the Constitution.
But it will still make lots of people scream that we have tromped all over the Constitution, even if we haven’t.
So, how about if we limit access to something that factors into every gun massacre that the Constitution doesn’t address at all:
What if we keep semi-automatic weapons freely available but strictly control the manufacture, distribution, and sales of bullets?
* With some exceptions.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.