Video: The Legal Status of Automatic Weapons

 Posted by on 23 November 2011 at 10:00 am  Firearms, Politics, Videocast
Nov 232011
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed the legal status of automatic weapons. The question was:

Should it be legal for civilians to own fully automatic weapons? At present, civilians can only own full-auto firearms by special permission of the US Treasury. In a free society, would such weapons be banned or regulated, such that only members of the police and military could access them? As a law-abiding civilian, am I somehow violating someone else’s rights by owning an M-16 fully automatic rifle – as opposed to the virtually identical (and currently legal) semi-automatic AR-15 rifle?

My answer, in brief:

The critical question to ask with any potentially dangerous property is whether mere ownership constitutes a threat to others. That’s not true of firearms, including fully automatic weapons.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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