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Old 09-09-2019, 03:07 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota US
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Originally Posted by kirkrapine View Post
No civilian has any legitimate use for an automatic or semi-automatic rifle. That's much more firepower than you'll ever need for home defense, and it would be unsporting to use such a weapon to hunt.
Which is why before 1934 most people didn't go out and buy a Thompson submachine gun or a Browning Automatic Rifle. And didn't before 1986, when it was expensive and difficult but still legal to buy new ones. These would definitely be "in case of emergency, break glass" weapons. But if you're saying "beyond target shooting, no civilian would ever have a legal reason to shoot one", then that sort of gets to the point: if a serious dispute ever arose over what was legal and what wasn't. No government is ever going to say that its edicts are illegal, so you can't go by that to determine if a despotism has arisen. A government that had the broad support of an overwhelming majority of the populace would have nothing to fear by permitting guns.

And in fact I can think of rare but plausible situations- namely when on the defensive and outnumbered- when it would be useful to have a full-auto firearm. And I broadly believe in the following quote from a 19th century state supreme court ruling: "If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege."