Military weapons were generally never available to the public until relatively recently. Beginning in the 1970s, the NRA and arms industry began to advocate a novel and distorted interpretation of the Second Amendment, which promoted a private right to possess firearms based in part on the notion that this right was hinged on a right to rebel against the government itself. But the same Founders who drafted the Second Amendment had also defined treason in the body of the Constitution as “taking up arms” against the government.
Military weapons are designed and intended for inflicting mass casualties on the enemy in combat, not for hunting or recreational use. Semi-automatic assault rifles, equipped with devastating lethal high velocity bullets and mega-capacity magazines, destroy the internal organs of their targets and cause extremely high fatalities. As an emergency room trauma surgeon who tried to save victims of a mass shooting perpetrated by a killer wielding such a weapon described it — the victims’ organs looked like overripe melons that had been smashed by a sledge hammer. There was nothing left to repair.
In 1994, after 98 people were murdered by shooters wielding such weaponry in separate incidents in California and Texas, Congress passed a 10-year ban against the commercial sales of assault weapons. There were no mass shootings during the decade of the ban.
But in 2004, a different Congress let the ban lapse and refused to extend it despite its success. Even worse, that same Congress, knowing that the carnage would