There was a time when American colonists were loyal British subjects. But the relationship with a far-off king and Parliament deteriorated eventually, resulting in the estranged colonists listing their grievances in a Declaration of Independence. Hostilities broke out into open warfare when British troops marched on Concord to disarm the upstart colonists by confiscating their supply of gunpowder. Initial gunite was the practical starting point of the American Revolutionary War famously noted as the “Shot Heard Around the World.” The long war was fought by an ill-equipped, rag-tag, shoeless army of patriots that couldn’t win a battle but also couldn’t be defeated. The British Naval and Army forces were vastly better supplied and trained, plus had experienced military leaders. There was, however, one very important way in which troops facing each other were substantially equal—the basic firearm for each side was the flintlock rifle or musket. The best rate one soldier could fire at the other was no more than three shots in a minute and that with questionable accuracy.
After winning the war, the colonists founded a constitution that created a government of the people, by the people, and for the people that enshrined certain fundamental freedoms. In doing so, the Founders were mindful of their own recent history that any government, even one that at one time was worthy of loyalty, could one day mutate and alienate fair-minded people to the point of righteous rebellion.
Consequently, the Founders prominently placed in the Constitution freedom that allows the people a means of maintaining their fundamental rights in the face of usurpation by their own government. It was the freedom the colonists had before the bonds with British rule were broken and it was the same freedom the British first undertook to take away. It was the right to bear arms. Not just for hunting, not just for recreation, not even just for personal protection, but a right to ensure the people had a desperate means to fight for and defend their rights and freedom from any foe, foreign or domestic. As it was in the war between the American patriots and the British soldiers, in order for this fundamental right to remain meaningful over time, the firearms available to the people must be substantially as capable as those employed by the government.
The civilian AR15 is described as an assault “style” weapon because it can only fire semi-automatic. Though it appears similar, it doesn’t have the ability to fire fully automatic as do government assault weapons. Even though it may not be as formidable, the civilian AR15 provides the people—many of whom are trained and experienced in its use—a means of resisting oppression by an abusive totalitarian government should one ever develop.
The Founders of the United States of America knew that the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms comparable to that of their government could one dreadful day be the last bastion of freedom.