Doubling-Down On Crazy, NRA Now Claims AR-15 Is A Modern Musket

Author: February 6, 2013 7:51 pm

The National Rifle Association is clearly in trouble. Not only are they becoming a toxic political endorsement, with misguided moves like running ads criticizing the Secret Service protection for the President’s family, but now it’s clear they do not even represent their dwindling numbers of members but are just a lobbying group for weapons manufacturers. In an attempt to defend themselves, NRA President, David Keene, was interviewed by the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas for Bill O’Reilly’s site, The Daily Caller, on Sunday (see the video here). But in his attempt to defend himself, he wound up looking worse than before.

“This nation was founded as a result of the fact that people – citizens – who had a musket above the fireplace grabbed the gun when an emergency confronted them. For four million Americans, the AR-15 is the musket of today.


“You hear some of the gun controllers saying, ‘Well, the Second Amendment only applied to muskets, it didn’t apply to AR-15s or semi-automatic pistols or semi-automatic shotguns, for that matter.’ That was handled by the Supreme Court in the Heller decision. That was the technology of the day. The technology of this day is different, and those guns are as protected by the Constitution today as the single-shot musket in the 1780s and 1790s.”

On the surface, this sounds strange. But let us example it deeper for a moment. The Heller decision did not give unfettered, unrestricted access to military firearms, nor did any of the judges opinions within it imply that. Heller did require that access to personal hand-held weapons be applied fairly. The decision still stated that there is need for the government to regulate the kinds of weapons to be sold.

But, as for the example itself, is the AR-15 the modern musket? Well, simply put, no. First off, a musket is a category of weapon, not a specific model. There were, in fact, several thousand different models of muskets produced for the Revolutionary Army, each with their own unique traits. But the musket was remarkable in that it was not the heavy weapon of the army. Based on its traits, including being a common hunting weapon, and having the most popular ammunition and style, the equivalent to the Revolutionary Army’s musket would, in fact, be weapons derived from the M-1 carbine, such as the M-14.

For an AR-15 equivalent, we would need to turn to the higher-powered weapon of the Revolutionary Army, the Kentucky Long Rifle. Unlike the common musket, the long rifle was a far deadlier weapon, designed to hit its target from much further away. Nicknamed the “Widow and Orphan Maker,” it was the status symbol of the Army of the Republic, and what set it apart from its British opponents. However, like the AR-15, the Long Rifle was temperamental. Even today, the AR-15 based rifles in the U.S. military are not as prized as the M-1 derived weapons, such as the M-14, M-21 and M-25. If you watch a military parade, they do not use the AR-15 derived M-16, but instead the M-1 derived M-14. The AR-15 has been decried by its critics as a “Mattel toy” and a cheap piece of plastic. Not the most reliable weapon, but in the hands of a skilled user, it is deadly.

And, the Long Rifle was only for use by the Continental Army, until advances in weapons technology had them lift the prohibition on private ownership in 1815. So, per NRA President Keene’s logic, the AR-15 should be prohibited by private ownership, just as the Long Rifle was, for national security. While one can understand why he would make this argument, frankly, he looks silly, both from a historical perspective and from a realistic standpoint. Nobody is talking about taking away the weapons from the 4 million as he claimed, but 3 million reported AR-15’s in existence, worldwide. Of course, his 4 million number is the reported number of NRA members, a number which includes lifetime members who have died, people who have turned in their memberships, etc. The NRA is in trouble, so they are acting like a scared, declawed cat, puffing themselves up to look bigger than they are.

A sad state to see a group which used to stand for responsible gun ownership.

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4 Comments

  • The Armalite Rifle is the equivalent of a musket today,
    If the U.S. Government uses the AR platform then the people should have the same rifle.

    I am not talking about the U.S. Army
    The Posse Comitatus Act that was passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction and was updated in 1981 takes care of that. Its intent (in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807) was to limit the powers of Federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce the State laws.

    The Bill/Act as modified in 1981 refers to the Armed Forces of the United States. It does not apply to the National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state’s governor. The U.S. Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is also not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act, primarily because the Coast Guard has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.

    So I am talking about the DHS. If a tyrannical leader were to get a wild hair up his butt and wanted to become dictator by putting his cronies in positions of power in the federal agencies with teeth and the people only had bolt action rifles or pump shotguns it would be very easy for a DHS force to sweep through every city and control its population when they are better armed.
    And the less firepower the people have, the easier for a tyrannical leader to attempt such a feat.

    If using the IRS as a political weapon to intimidate people over thought crimes, books, Facebook posts and prayers isn’t full-on tyranny, what is?

    “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough also admits gun owners were right all along, saying:
    “I have been saying for months now… that I believe in background checks. After Newton, after Chicago, we need background checks. And my argument has been, don’t worry, background checks aren’t going to lead to a national registry. The government’s never going to create a national registry, right? … I don’t have to even complete my sentence, do I? My argument is less persuasive today because of these scandals. Because people say hey, if they do that with the IRS, asking people what books you read, then how can I trust them with information about my Second Amendment rights? This is DEVASTATING! This IRS scandal is devastating all across the board…”

    To be a progressive / liberal person, you have to hold to the belief (i.e. have “faith”) the governments can never go rogue. Government can never become tyrannies. Governments are always and forever trustworthy and compassionate.

    Every progressive government policy logically follows from those core beliefs: government should regulate what people eat, control how businesses run themselves, monopolize national health care, grant amnesty to undocumented illegal immigrants, take all the guns away from the citizens and concentrate power into its own hands. This is all justified because you can trust the government, right? But what if that trust is broken?

    What I am saying is that as long as we have the second amendment and honest law abiding citizens have the right to own such a weapon, then we will never lose our liberty.

    Now on to the problem at hand that started this debate, Gun Violence” We gun owners need to take more reasonability for the violence not perpetrated by our own hands but by the firearms we keep!, yes most criminals get their weapons from our homes and cars; we need to take greater efforts to thwart the criminal by using safes and storing our firearms out of reach of children, Better education on gun safety and training, this will reduce some violence but when evil lurks in the heart of man, evil will prevail.

    Check out a short film called “A Piece of Wood” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0489541/
    Human nature always finds a way…

    • Smith & Wesson M&P AR-15 by the way is the rifle available to only the Military and Police (M&P) the only difference between the Restricted “M&P” and the Civilian AR Sport Rifle is the ability to fire a round without a magazine inserted into the receiver.

      and second.. some would say “How can citizens fight off the federal government”

      Here is a list of DHS Agencies under its control:

      United States Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine
      Office of Border Patrol U.S. Border Patrol Border Patrol Intelligence
      U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
      U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
      National Ice Center
      United States Ice Patrol
      Transportation Security Administration
      Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
      Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Corps
      US-CERT, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications
      Office of Cybersecurity and Communications
      Office of Infrastructure Protection
      United States Secret Service Secret Service Intelligence Service
      U.S. Fire Administration
      Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
      United States Coast Guard (Transfers to Department of Defense during declared war or national emergency) Coast Guard Intelligence

      think about how many of those agencies could be abused to control the population? and I can tell you as a Cuban Immigrant it’s a reality for me.

  • Mr. Downes, you know nothing about the history of weapons.

    The M14 is derived from the M1 Rifle aka the Garand. It even has interchangeable parts. The M1 carbine is quite different.

    There were (essentially) no “Kentucky” rifles in the Revolution because the Revolution was not fought in Kentucky. It was the Pennsylvania long rifle. It is derived from the German jaeger rifle. It was not an army issue firearm. Bullets had to be jammed down the barrel to load. Lead bullets smear on the inside of rifling and build up until a new bullet can be pushed down. At the battle of Ft. Washington (in Manhattan) the Americans were using rifles and when they could no longer be loaded a Hessian unit massacred them in a bayonet charge.

    The primary weapon of both armies was the British “Brown Bess” musket. Muskets are smooth bore and easy to reload. Both sides relegated riflemen to working as sniper units. Yes, the British were not stupid. When they saw the effectiveness — under some circumstances — of rifles they were able to recruit plenty of Loyalist riflemen.

    There was no law restricting civilian ownership of shoulder arms until 1815 as you imagine. There was no capitlized “Long Rifle”,

    The M16 is quite reliable when maintained in a counterintuitive way. It has powder gases push the bolt directly instead of mediated by a piston as in the M1. If the rifle is maintained by soaking it in oil, as was the advice for the M1 and M14, the gases combine with the excess oil and jam the gun with sludge. In the early days of Vietnam the soldiers couldn’t believe the advice that less is more and their guns jammed.

    I do not know what you mean by the verb “prized” but the M21 and M25 are sniper rifles.

    The manual of arms (the parade routines) was originally practical and was to keep soldiers on track with the many steps of loading a musket. That’s hard to remember when the man next to you falls screaming from a musket ball wound. It has become a dressy matter. The British have made a method of marching with a pistol grip rifle but Americans go back to older rifle forms for parades and snappy drills.

    Please, when you try to flesh out a thesis with ahistorical guess work you make your point ridiculous.

  • And hundred round clips are powder horns…Yeah Right.

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