Anti gun politicians and special interest groups have tried to argue that the Second Amendment should be limited to protecting guns with a “sporting purpose”. In other words, the anti gun groups believe that law abiding citizens should only be able to own guns designed for hunting or target practice, rather than self defense.
The idea that only “sporting” firearms are protected by the Second Amendment is contrary to the plain language of the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, in full:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
There is no mention of hunting, or target practice, but of security. The rather short text of the Second Amendment makes clear that the purpose is not to protect hunting rights, or target practice rights, but to protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms that can be used defensively. This individual right to keep and bear arms allows the people to have the experience with effective combat weapons that they would need in the event of a foreign war, invasion, etc. It also allows the people to be part of a “free state”, rather than to live under tyranny, oppression, and fear. It provides the army with a population experienced with firearms in case a draft is needed.
With an understanding of the plain language that makes up the Second Amendment, it becomes clear that the goal of the founders was to ensure that citizen’s right to bear effective arms would not be infringed. By “effective”, I refer to firearms which would allow a citizen to defend their home and country against an invading foreign force (such as terrorists today), as well as criminals.
Banning “non-sporting” firearms undermines the purpose of the Second Amendment.
A double barreled shotgun might be great for duck hunting, but would not help all that much during an invasion by a foreign power, or terrorist attack. As effective as a long barreled, bolt action rifle may be for deer hunting, it is simply not effective for home defense, especially when the home invaders have semiautomatic (or illegally, fully automatic) pistols and short barreled rifles. A .22 single shot target pistol with accurate but low powered bullets is great for recreational or Olympic target practice, but might be less useful than a pointy stick during self defense situations. Banning “assault weapons” and restricting ownership of guns to those with a “sporting purpose”won’t stop criminals, terrorists, or other wrong doers from possessing them, or smuggling them in to the country. It will only leave the law abiding citizens at an often severe disadvantage, and undermine the purpose of the Second Amendment.