Apparently some of my new television spots have touched a raw nerve with some people who advocate “unrestricted right to bear arms”. I say “people”, but a more common phrase is “gun nut” – a term that reflects the infirmity of their position.
Closely examine their argument that the US Constitution guarantees the unrestricted right to bear arms. Taken to its logical conclusion, the gun nuts advocate that every citizen has the right to bear any arms, anywhere. The NRA would have citizens showing up at airports toting Stinger missiles, drive-ins with Abrams tanks, and, of course, no home would be safe without your own tactical nuclear warhead! In addition to nuclear arms, one would also have the right to own biological and chemical weapons as well, since they are also armaments used for “self-defense”. Unrestricted right to bear any arms anywhere? Really?
When confronted with the absurdity of their argument, some of the gun nuts will admit that it is ridiculous to allow individuals to own tactical nuclear weapons, because that was not the “intent” of the Founding Fathers and they could not have foreseen weapons of mass destruction. This is a historical distortion (the Founding Fathers simply wanted people on the frontiers to be able to defend themselves), but let’s follow the argument to its logical conclusion. Well, if it is a matter of what the Founding Fathers intended and could not foresee, then the right to bear arms should only include swords, muskets and cannons, not semi-automatic or automatic assault weapons.
The argument for the right to bear automatic weapons is absurd. Even the NRA would find it difficult to advocate for unrestricted sales of nuclear weapons (or maybe not). Either the right is unrestricted or it can (and should) be restricted. Some reasonable restrictions on gun sales and possession are not only Constitutional but they are also rational.