"Weapons designed primarily for the use of soldiers" – Replying to Senator McCaskill

I first contacted Senator Claire McCaskill on January 4 (here), and she responded on January 13 (here). In response to her latest message, I sent a reply, reproduced below.

My concern with her reply to me is one that I’ve seen mentioned a lot with gun control advocates, and that is the idea that “weapons of war” don’t belong in civilian hands. One thing they either don’t realize, or they do and it’s the predicate to an all-out civilian ban on firearms, is that all pistols and rifles that exist are the result of innovations needed for war. I wanted to point that out and focus on that, because from there one can easily make the case that civilian ownership of firearms should be banned because they all started as weapons for a soldier.

Anyway, without further adieu…

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Madam Senator,

Thank you for your reply and your time and consideration of my previous message.

You said in your previous e-mail, “Weapons designed primarily for the use of soldiers to kill people in war are not used in hunting and can be reasonably limited without jeopardizing any rights under the Second Amendment.”

Madam Senator, are you familiar with the 1911 handgun? The first 1911 handguns were designed for the military, presumably to be used “to kill people in war”, and they were first used in combat in the First World War. Today the 1911 is one of the most popular pistols and they exist in several variations. A weapon initially designed for soldiers is in law-abiding civilian hands. It is also still used in our military as well.

Then there is the Beretta M9, one of the current standard issue pistols of our military. The civilian variant on the M9 is the Beretta 92, which is also a service pistol in many law enforcement agencies. The Beretta 92 and M9 are almost identical, and numerous civilians own either. Again, weapons designed for the military in law-abiding civilian hands.

And other weapons originally designed for war are also currently held in law-abiding civilian hands. Pistols originally made for foreign militaries are owned by civilians both in the US and abroad. The same with numerous rifle classifications. Most pistol and rifle technology that exists today is due to a need on the battlefield, but a pistol developed for war to defend interests or advance liberty is equally capable of defending life against another civilian threat.

The point I’m trying to make is this: the original purpose of a firearm is immaterial. Civilians can and do own weapons originally made for war without those weapons posing any harm to anyone else. The weapon is not the issue, the firearm is not the issue, and never was. The firearm is only an issue to those with an agenda of wanting to see all Americans disarmed, whatever their reasons or motivations. The focus on firearms is a ruse that will not improve things in this country, because Americans are not inherently violent, and gun owners are not inherently evil.

A firearm in the hands and homes of arguably most people does not compromise anyone’s safety with exception to those who would seek to cause harm to those individuals or their families.

Today several hundred million firearms exist in civilian hands and homes, including high-powered rifles that many seek to classify as “assault weapons”. They will not be taking the lives of anyone else because their owners are law-abiding civilians who would never dream of taking another life, unless necessary to save someone else from harm or defend their home against invasion.

You may not feel that enacting laws regarding “weapons designed primarily for the use of soldiers to kill people” is an infringement on a person’s rights. To that I must disagree. Most firearms are derived from technologies and innovations to firearms carried by military personnel. Further, it is a law that declares illegal what another person enjoys peacefully.

The vast majority of gun owners are not out to kill people, yet gun control laws seem to start with that premise and the premise that firearms are inherently evil.

Please bear in mind that if you vote in favor of more gun control, regardless of how reasonable you feel it may be, you will be punishing your innocent, law-abiding gun-owning constituents. If you truly support the Second Amendment, as you said in your reply to me, I hope you will not want to be doing that.

Again, thank you for your time.

Kenneth Ballard
Kansas City, Missouri