NRA President David Keene says AR-15s are ‘the musket of today’

By David Edwards
Monday, February 4, 2013 13:08 EDT
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NRA President David Keene speaks to The Daily Caller
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The president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) says that the Second Amendment was designed to protect the right to own muskets and the AR-15 military-style assault rifle — like the one used to slaughter 20 children in Newtown — is just “the musket of today.”

“This nation was founded as a result of the fact that people – citizens – who had a musket above the fireplace grabbed the gun when an emergency confronted them,” NRA President David Keene told Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in an interview published by The Daily Caller on Sunday. “For four million Americans, the AR-15 is the musket of today.”

“You hear some of the gun controllers saying, ‘Well, the Second Amendment only applied to muskets, it didn’t apply to AR-15s or semi-automatic pistols or semi-automatic shotguns, for that matter.’ That was handled by the Supreme Court in the Heller decision. That was the technology of the day. The technology of this day is different, and those guns are as protected by the Constitution today as the single-shot musket in the 1780s and 1790s.”

Keene pointed out that the AR-15 was the “civilian semi-automatic platform that the Army uses” and if President Barack Obama was successful at banning it, “that would make people less safe” and “take the firearms of over four million people who are law-abiding citizens and punish them because two or three people misused a firearm.”

In fact, the bill recently introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing and import of 158 types of semi-automatic assault weapons, but it does not propose confiscating “firearms of over four million people.”

According the The History Channel a well-trained minuteman could fire up to three shots per minute with a Revolutionary War-era musket. The Bushmaster AR-15 used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was capable of firing 45 rounds per minute or more.

Writing for the majority in the District of Columbia v. Heller decision, Justice Antonin Scalia noted that “the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those ‘in common use at the time; finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

Watch the video below from The Daily Caller, broadcast Feb. 3, 2013.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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