Prohibition was a major American Revolution, although you’ll never hear anyone describe it as such. When looking back at how the National Firearms Act of 1934 came to be, I have taken a much different view of the Prohibition Era itself. Prohibition was the result of a century of “temperance” advocacy and was passed via constitutional amendment (not an easy task). However, the reaction to it was nothing short of a revolution. Like most infringements of individual freedom, temperance and Prohibition where sold to the American public under the guise of “public health.” Our constitutional republican form of government was designed to protect us from such infringements upon our liberty and when it failed to do so, there were those who rebelled against the one size fits all behavioral control. The Prohibition Rebellion was not an organized or ideological rebellion, but rather several small groups and individuals fighting both against the government’s (revenuers) infringement of their LIBERTY and against each other for control of the black market industry the government had created. Lacking the altruistic organization of an ideological revolution, it quickly degenerated into what we now know as the mob or organized crime and “gangland wars,” but it was still very much a rebellion none the less.
Why is characterizing Prohibition as a rebellion so important? Because that set the stage for so many things to come. In 1934, two years AFTER prohibition was repealed, the federal government passed the National Firearms Act whicheffectively banned fully automatic weapons. Part of the justification was the carnage of the Prohibition Era “gangland wars” like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. With Prohibition ended and the bootleg alcohol industry gone, the “territory” being fought over was no longer an issue. So why ban the weapons used in the rebellion turned gang war? The answer is quite obvious actually, the “government” realized that the civilians were better armed than both the police AND the military. This had always been the case in America, but for the Progressive Movement having risen to power and looking to fundamentally transform America THAT was a problem. So, as would become their standard modus operandi, “public safety” became the chosen approach to disarm Americans. Of course back then, just as today, there were a lot of Americans who believed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights who would not stand for such disarmament in any wholesale fashion, so they began the attack on the weapons used in those heinous “massacres” first. Just as they continue to fo to this day.
Over the last 80 years the process has followed the same path, divide and conquer. They separated “hunters” from the rest as a “protected class” as a show of good faith regarding the 2nd Amendment. They have used law enforcement officer safety to go after certain ammunition. They characterized silencers as a tool of assassin’s. So, what particular weapons have they focused on all these years? The ones that would be most effective in defense against a tyrannical government. A couple years ago I sat down and attempted to define the American Gun Culture and came up with what I call “The Gun Culture Trinity Ethos: Hunting, Self Defense and National Defense” and the main focus of “gun control” generally is on those weapons designed for the National Defense ethos. “Against All Enemies Foreign Or Domestic.” Automatic weapons (machineguns), “assault weapons” (military STYLE weapons), silencers, “high capacity” (standard capacity) magazines and generally anything that would be relatively effective in resistance to violent armed oppression has been targeted for “control” in the name of “public safety.” Even ammunition, such as the mythical “cop killer” bullets and the most recent proposal to potentially ban the green tip 5.56 (M855/SS109) ammo, has been regulated due to its “armor piercing” ability. It is sold to the public as a concern for the lives of law enforcement officers, however in light of the EIGHT DECADES of progressive infringements, it would seem that diminishing the ability of The People to resist governmental force in general is more likely the goal.
IS THIS OUR FUTURE?
A century of temperance advocacy resulted in Prohibition which resulted in armed rebellion which launched the next progressive movement of gun control. We are only a generation away from the centennial of gun control and if history teaches us anything, it is that history repeats itself. Will disarmament be achieved in America in the next 20 years? The 2nd Amendment repealed perhaps? After all, the 18th Amendment was repealed and there is international and United Nations support for total disarmament. The majority of Americans no longer own guns, but those that do own them typically own A LOT of them. Will it come to another Prohibition-type rebellion, civil war or another American Revolution? Time will tell, but personally I plan to spend every waking moment trying to avoid such an outcome and to protect that which protects the future freedom of my children and grandchildren. How about you?