The Constitution preserves “the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation… (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” — James Madison, Federalist No. 46
When President Joe Biden told the American people that citizens simply don’t need AR-15s because the federal government could easily overpower any civilian resistance, it seemed to embolden those on the left making the age-old argument that yes, owning an assault weapon is trivial and conservatives are stupid for clinging to their guns.
But this is an extremely disingenuous argument on part of the Biden administration. The argument for the right of an armed citizenry to potentially thwart a tyrannical government was never necessarily about the hypothetical scenario regarding who would win, but rather a matter of principle.
For the sake of the argument, however, let us indulge in this standard liberal talking point, just for a moment. During a press conference at the White House focused on discussing gun violence, President Biden made the following statement:
“What’s happened is that there have never been — if you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons. The point is that there has always been the ability to limit — rationally limit the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it.”
F-15s? Nuclear weapons? In the scenario of a tyrannical government attempting to subjugate and enslave a previously free people, it’s pretty unlikely that tanks, battleships, fighter jets, and nuclear weapons would be the government’s weapons of choice.
If martial law ever comes to America, with the Constitution and all the institutional norms that come with it somehow being rendered defunct, it will not be an F-15 fighter jet that unlawfully storms your house in the middle of the night to haul you and your family away to a concentration camp. An armored battle tank cannot be posted on street corners and enforce no-assembly edicts. Nuclear ICBMs will not be launched in order to thwart civilian resistance, nor will military drones flatten the Island of Manhattan from 10,000 feet in the air.
Mr. President, these aren’t weapons designed for instituting the rule of a tyrannical regime, but rather weapons designed for mass-destruction on multiple levels. They are designed to flatten vast swaths of enemy territory and annihilate all combatants within said territory, nothing more, nothing less.
Any savvy military regime tasked with controlling the vast continental area that would be the former United States (not to mention her Atlantic and Pacific territories) would understand that destroying all pre-existing infrastructure would be a death blow to their ability to control the population. Such a regime would not want to risk destroying roads, bridges, tunnels, canals, phone towers, data centers, power lines, or factories for the sake of killing armed civilians. These are the very utilities that enable our current law enforcement to spy on our citizens in the name of “counterterrorism” as it already is.
When this is brought to light, we are now forced to realize the only practical means of asserting control: military personnel and/or secret police. For as powerful and intimidating as these soldiers may be, they would certainly be vastly outnumbered by the general populace. And therein lies the great news for the Americans in this scenario: due to the Second Amendment, there are plenty of everyday American citizens walking around with glock pistols strapped to their waists, as well as plenty of semi-automatic weapons safely locked in the gun safes of average suburban homes.
You and your family getting driven away in an armored military humvee to God knows where suddenly becomes a lot less likely when the soldiers charged with dragging you away aren’t the only ones with a firearm.
Such a hypothetical scenario is also grounded in good precedent, given that the U.S. Military, largely considered to be the world’s most powerful fighting force, was unable to win a war against the determined North Vietnamese, all of whom had inferior weaponry and training compared to their American opponents. But because they knew the land, engaged in creative military tactics, and dedicated their lives to the independence of their country, they were able to thwart American military might.
I estimate that this effect would be even stronger if the U.S. Government was to turn against its own citizens. Nothing seems to anger trigger-happy gun-owning Americans more than blatant infringements of their constitutional rights, and martial law would certainly be the severest of violations.
After all, the heritage of the American people is grounded in rebellion from the tyranny of ancient European monarchical rule. I wouldn’t imagine a Washington-gone-rogue iteration of tyranny being tolerated.
There is a fabricated quote by World War II Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto that, while there being no historical evidence that he actually said it, still speaks volumes about this subject:
“You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”
Luckily, it’s very unlikely that we would have to seriously entertain such a grim scenario. Ensuring that the Second Amendment also applies to assault weapons will keep it that way.