In a wide-ranging February 27 interview with the Daily Beast, television show host Jerry Springer opined that “there is no reason to have AR-15s and assault weapons.”
Prior to hosting television, Springer was a lawyer and then Mayor of Cincinnati (1977). He said that, during his time as a lawyer, he would try to put himself in the other guy’s position, try to think of pro-Second Amendment arguments to bolster claims for owning certain types of guns. But at the end of the day, he was, and is, a “stout proponent of gun control.”
He told the Daily Beast, “I cannot come up with any rational reason why anyone who is not in the military or some security force should own an assault weapon or a weapon that can be converted to such. If you say it’s a ‘hobby,’ then start collecting stamps.”
Accept that these assault weapons invariably wind up killing more people than would otherwise be killed if there weren’t assault weapons. Measure that against going to the range and shooting. How could any rational person reach the conclusion of “Screw the lives of kids and the people getting shot because we want to keep having these guns?” It’s nothing to do with the Second Amendment. We’re not allowed grenade launchers. There are a lot of weapons we can’t have. There is no reason to have AR-15s and assault weapons.
Springer’s quotes pull a lot of unrelated, and unsupportable, material together. For example, his claim that American deaths are somehow heightened by the existence of “assault rifles” is baseless. FBI crime stats for 2016 show that over four times as many people were stabbed to death than were killed with rifles of any kind.
Also, as for the juxtaposition of grenade launchers and AR-15s, the rule of thumb for which weapons are constitutionally protected is the “common use” measure. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) the Supreme Court of the United States made clear that guns in “common use” during a given generation, particularly as deals with self-defense, are those which are protected by the Second Amendment.
The millions upon millions of AR-15s owned by law-abiding Americans are in “common use,” and one of the most popular applications for the rifle is home defense and self-defense.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.