Gun rights have nothing to do with "sporting purposes"

One of the many odious provisions of the National Firearms Act of 1934 is the classification of firearms whose barrels have a bore of greater than 1/2″ as “destructive devices,” thus subjecting them to the same kind of draconian regulation that is applied to machine guns. This, of course, would cover even politically correct hunting shotguns (since .410’s are the only shotguns whose bores are less than 1/2″), so an exception was made for shotguns that the Secretary of the Treasury judges to be suitable for “sporting purposes.” Presumably, the same kind of exemption applies to large bore big game rifles–.577 Tyrannosaur, .600 (and even .700) Nitro Express, etc.

The “sporting purposes” clause shows up elsewhere in regard to gun legislation–importation of guns of any caliber has been banned, if (again) the gun is not judged to be suitable for sport. This is how the bans on the importation of semi-automatic shotguns fed from detachable magazines (demonized as “streetsweepers”), semi-automatic rifles fed from detachable magazines (so-called “assault weapons”), and inexpensive handguns (“Saturday Night Specials”) were implemented.

There are some problems with the idea of banning weapons based on their failure to be recognized as suitable for sporting purposes. First, that’s a pretty subjective determination. There is a huge variety of shooting sports, and just about anything that shoots can be used for at least one of them.

More importantly, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with sports. That’s why candidates for political office who claim that they support the Second Amendment, because they are avid hunters, are finding precious little support from the real advocates of gun rights. If I want a 20mm magazine fed rifle (they exist, by the way), it shouldn’t make any difference whether or not the government thinks there is a recreational purpose for it.

The Second Amendment is the last line of defense against tyranny–when writing the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers had a bit more than sports on their minds. As far as I know, ESPN doesn’t cover Major League Insurgency events, and Hank Williams Jr. doesn’t prance around on Monday nights singing “Are You Ready for Some Revolution?”.


3 Responses to “Gun rights have nothing to do with "sporting purposes"”

  1. Jeff Says:


  2. hairy hobbit Says:

    see, proof that machine guns and anti-tank weapons DO meet the so-called “sporting purpose requirement.”

    If even one machine gun is fired at a target, it counts. After all, isn’t that the basis for the ban on cheap 7.62×39 ammo, a pistol was made and it was deemed “armor piercing.”

    The point that ONE PERSON has the power to determine this shouldn’t be glossed over. That’s the kind of thing that brought us the revolutionary war, a tyrant king imposing his will from a distance on the citizens, or more specifically, the subjects.

    Don’t know if I’d WANT to shoot a 20mm rifle…well, maybe once, and I would like to hear “Are You Ready for Some Revolution?”

  3. 45superman Says:

    Ha–cool video.

    Good point about the utterly anti-American nature of putting that kind of power into the hands of one person.

    To be honest, I’d approach the “opportunity” to fire a 20mm rifle with more than a little trepidation, too–I just resent anyone saying it’s not my choice to make.

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