Full Auto Should Be Legal...?
Ok, I come from a family that never owned a firearm. Since I reached adulthood, I have amassed many firearms and have had conversations with my family on the subject.
My family feels the 2nd Amendment is a valid amendment and supports the right of any citizen to lawfully keep and bear arms. They have simply chosen not to.
Recently we had a conversation about full auto firearms and I am soliciting opinions on the subject.
Before I pose the question however, here is some background;
I am a law student who is nearly done with school. I am a passionate supporter of the 2nd A. and I have been recently looking at the arguments that anti-gun proponents put forth as their justifications for banning many types of firearms.
I realized, that many of the arguments put out against semi-auto ownership would be just as applicable against full auto ownership. I.e. "Why do you need 'that much' firepower"?
I am 25 yo and I have never known a time when full auto firearms ownership didn't requires extensive federal licensing.
It occurred to me however, that the 2nd A. never placed a limitation on the type of firearm ownership that the citizens had a right to keep.
Rather it merely states "Shall not be infringed". Further, when the amendment was put into place, the citizens were using rifles that were of equal effectiveness as the rifles used by the military.
It then further occurred to me that the lethality of the bullet out of a full auto gun is the same as that of a semi auto.
My family argued that law exists to protect (at times) the people from themselves. They argued that the harm that say, a child could unintentionally cause to his family could be much greater with a gun that could dump 10 rounds with one trigger pull, then 1 round.
They called this the "collateral damage" justification for the prohibition on widely available full autos.
While I feel that certainly, a full auto COULD cause more damage, I pointed out that this was the point of the full auto gun. Further, that nearly anyone could cycle a semi-auto at a ROF that would come close to some full autos. Further, bump firing can be caused by an INEXPERIENCED shooter and effect full auto.
But that argument missed the greater point which focuses on what (i perceive) the intent of the 2nd A. to be.
I.e. a deterrent.
A deterrent against corrupt government (i.e. what the colonists suffered from King George III).
If in fact that the right to keep and bear arms is to be a deterrent, then shouldn't the deterrent be as great as it can be?
Further, I argued, if the "bad guys" have the full autos, should not the law abiding citizen be able to meet force with equal defensive force?
Unfortunately, I was not able to sway my family. They felt that the potential danger to the average citizen was too great and that having full autos severely limited was a good thing.
I feel that they MIGHT have some valid points, but as I said to them and my Wife, the 2nd A. was not built around accidents or the "Crazy"s its built around individual firearms ownership, presumably as a deterrant.
It was built around the idea of keeping the public armed to prevent government oppression and corruption.
My Wife was giving me strange looks after I suggested that full auto should be legal. I told her that it only seems strange that full auto isn't widely available because we've been brought up in a world where full auto isn't widely available.
If we had it, we wouldn't think twice about it.
My question is:
Do you think that full auto differs from full auto enough to limit it as severely as it is?
Any case law or citations would be greatly appreciated along with your opinions.