“Why would a person need a semi-automatic rifle?” That, of course, is the argument often made by liberal gun-ban advocates who claim that peaceful citizens have no need for firearms in general and certainly no need for semi-automatics or the like. Why indeed would a peaceful citizen need anything more than a handgun?
Of course, constitutional purists would accuse me of ignoring the main problem with any type of gun ban. The first question, they would point out, is not whether a gun ban is wise or unwise policy, but rather if the ban would violate the Constitution. The Second Amendment, they would argue, guarantees citizens the right to bear arms regardless of whether such a policy is wise or not. Thus, unless gun-ban advocates suggest amending the Constitution, the discussion is moot.
I am not unsympathetic to such an argument. Yet, I think there is also a purpose in gun rights advocates putting forth intelligent policy arguments in support of their agenda. Ironically, now, after almost eight years of a Democratic administration, the Left has handed them strong arguments in favor of gun rights.
If eight years ago you would have said that you feel you need a gun because you fear the rise of an autocratic, repressive regime, your liberal listeners would all have rolled their eyes. “What a crackpot,” they would have thought. “This is the United States of America. These things don’t happen here.” Now, their own arguments contradict that reaction. After all, it is they who compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Hillary Clinton herself recently said that half of his supporters are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, [or] Islamophobic.” (Hillary later retracted her statement, but I leave it to the reader to determine the sincerity of her retraction.)
Violence is unfortunately not atypical at Trump rallies (although the fact that it is the anti-Trumpers who run amok is quite often ignored; see here). If liberals truly believe their rhetoric, they ought to be completely understanding of the concerns of gun owners. On the other hand, if they don’t believe their own rhetoric, then we have bigger problems, and they ought to apologize for over-the-top comparisons and language that only divides the country further.