What If Firearms Had Not Existed at the Time of the 2nd Amendment?

Recently, Fox News host Gretchen Carlson renewed her push for an AR-15 ban, stating that AR-15s are not needed to “hunt or kill deer” and suggesting that “assault rifles” only serve to enable terrorists to carry out their attacks with greater efficiency. Her statements were certainly troubling, but they got even more convoluted when 2nd Amendment supporters on Twitter started challenging Carlson on her views. According to Breitbart, she doubled down on her stance, claiming that, “The fact that you’re even using the 2nd Amendment as an argument against banning assault weapons shows me you’re ignorant. Don’t you know the 2nd Amendment was written before guns were even invented?”

Is Carlson that profoundly ignorant about firearms, history, the Constitution and individual liberty? Is she, perhaps, purposefully lying to gain more people to her side? Or did she just goof up on when AR-15s — versus muskets — were developed?

Even though Carlson claims that most of us “obviously [weren’t] paying attention during history class” (and “must have been distracted by thinking about how [we] were off emptying 30 rounds into some innocent animal”), we actually had some of the most advanced, state-of-the-art weaponry for that time when the 2nd Amendment was penned. And I’m pretty certain that the Founding Fathers didn’t believe that this kind of innovation and technology would cease or simply be discounted in the future. Weapons have been evolving since the beginning of mankind. Our nation’s creators and leaders certainly witnessed that progress in their own lifetimes and likely anticipated even more advancements after their deaths. As Steven Crowder described in a playfully ironic commentary,

  • “…take the Belton flintlock developed during the Revolutionary War that could fire 20 or so rounds in 5 seconds with one pull of the finger.
  • “Or the Girandoni rifle, where a .22 high-capacity-round magazine accurately could be fired within 30 seconds (created during the Revolutionary War), which was later used by Thomas Jefferson to famously outfit the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • “Or even the Puckle gun, an early Gatling gun created 60 years before the Revolutionary War.
  • “Heck — even some Pepper box revolvers could hold over 20 rounds and were developed hundreds of years before the Founding Fathers.”

No matter what the reason (or what the problem), Carlson and others like her seem to have their “facts” all wrong. This can clearly cause problems with those who are in favor of the personal ownership and usage of firearms. But more importantly, this led me to ask an important question: What if firearms had not existed when the Founding Fathers put together the words of the 2nd Amendment? Does anyone believe that the most prominent statesmen of America’s Revolutionary generation would have just ignored self-defense and personal protection? Maybe we would not have the word “arms” within those 27 words, but I firmly believe that the authors of our Constitution still would have had the knowledge and the foresight to recognize and safeguard our natural right to protect ourselves. And if this had been the case, if there really had not been any firearms around at the time, I believe that our nation’s founders would still have created a 2nd Amendment that secures the right of each individual to seek protection with whatever tools of opportunity … and with whatever tools necessary.