On Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, MSNBC’s Steve Schmidt repeated three grossly inaccurate claims regarding the Second Amendment that have been used by the progressive movement for years:
I do think the Founding Fathers, though, they could no more conceive of an AK-47 or an AR-15 firing on full automatic than they could have conceived of a spaceship, ok? These weapons were not conceived of, were not understood, were not imagined in the context of the time when the amendment was authored, and we ought to have a real debate in this country about whether we want military weapons, weapons of war in the hand of every Joe who wants to go in and buy 30 of them. It is harder to buy cough medicine than it is to buy an AK-47 or 50 of them.
The audience applauded multiple times during Schmidt’s remarks.
Here’s the video (pertinent portion begins at the 30-second mark):
Let’s look at these claims one by one.
First, to suggest that the Founding Fathers didn’t want average Americans to have "weapons of war" is simply untrue. Firearms like the Brown Bess, the Blunderbuss, the Charleville Musket, and the Kentucky Rifle were used by military and civilian alike at the time the Second Amendment was written.
Second, the notion that the Founding Fathers couldn’t possibly have conceived of semi-automatic or fully-automatic firearms is intellectually insulting and untrue. During an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF), William Atwater, "a military technology expert and curator at the United States Army Ordnance Museum," said:
[The Founders] lived during the Age of Reason. They celebrated the achievements of the human mind. They had witnessed huge advances in firearms technology — i.e. matchlock giving way to the wheel lock, which, in turn gave way to the flint lock ... they would have expected small arms to continue to develop.
Atwater added: "The idea that firearms technology was static during the 18th/19th century is bunk. Everyone that used firearms was on the lookout for the next best thing so it could be utilized."
The DCNF also mentions that one half of the famous exploring duo, Lewis and Clark, Meriwether Lewis, had "a .46 caliber, magazine-fed repeating gun capable of shooting 22 shots in under a minute," known as a "Girandoni air rifle," developed in the late-1700s.
Lastly, the idea that buying cough syrup is more difficult than buying an AK-47 is, to put it bluntly, insane. As someone who was recently sick, I have firsthand experience purchasing cough syrup. I didn’t have to fill out a 4473 form or submit to a background check, nor was there any waiting period for my cough syrup.
Anti-Second Amendment advocates fill the air with these lies because they don’t have any real arguments — and audiences applaud because they don’t know any better.