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-gunner redefining the Second Amendment in their own terms. If one feels the wording of the passage itself is somewhat vague(frankly, I think its intent is crystal clear), it is only necessary to turn to the Federalist Papers to determine what the founding fathers considered to be the "militia". No, it's not the National Guard or any other sort of officially constituted force - it's you and me. The framers of the Consititution were wise enough to put the ultimate power in the hands of the people. While I am sure the Thomas Jefferson, et all would be less than enthralled with some of our current government's actions, at this juncture, I am more concerned with the courts' over-solicitousness toward criminals at the expense of the law-abiding citizen. I'm not saying that this is the most oppressive administration in our history, per se, but it's permissive attitudes toward criminals, the basic undermining of family values and constant reinterpretation of the Consitution certainly would lead one to that conclusion. To me, it seems that somewhere along the line, the law-abiding tax-paying citizen is getting lost in the morass of political correctness and pandering to the lowest common denominator. Like my compatriots at Gun & Ammo, I lived through the Los Angles riots of a couple years ago and came to a couple of conclusions. First, in situations of civil insurrection, the local law enforcement is totally incapable of providing adequate protection to the populace. Second, it seems that the merchants in the hard-hit areas who where armed managed to keep their business somewhat intact. One of the few inspiring things about the riots was the televisions pictures of the feisty armed Korean shopkeepers protecting their business and property. I have it on good authority that the G&A crowed became pretty popular with the other occupants of the Petersen Building, especially as the fires on La Cienega Blvd, moved closer and closer. The bottom line is, when things start getting hot, ultimately, the only resource one has for personal protection is one's self. Handguns are fine for circumstances in which concealment and portability are primary considerations, but if I'm going to protect hearth and home (and workplace) from external incursions, give me a rifle any day. Its accuracy and effective calibers can keep the bad guys at a distance and generally dissuade them from knocking at my door or trying to break in. Look, I'm one of the last guys in the world to run around shouting, "the British are coming!" However, recent events in Los Angles, coupled with a good look at the history books that emphasize the events of the last century or so, have done nothing to convince me that it's time to tote my sword down to the agricultural implement factory. I'm not intending to be an alarmist, I only think that it is a good idea to be prepared against any domestic difficulties--organized or spontaneous-that might beset us unexpectedly. What is the ideal long arm for the task? If I had to pick only one gun from my personal battery, it would be my Australian L1A1 variant of the FN-FAL semi-auto .308. The gun has a detachable box magazine, fires a very effective round and is supremely accurate
and doesn't need to be reloaded every few rounds. Needless to say, any military semi-auto rifle of this ilk (HK 91, Colt AR-15, Springfield, Inc. M1A1 and the like) would be just about ideal for the task. Interestingly enough, the very thing that makes them good for home defense, makes them totally impractical for drive-bys and surreptitious use by urban guerrillas. They are too big, to noisy and split cases all over the place. Imagine trying to shoot an M14 clone from the passenger side of a moving auto! On the other hand, if I didn't have the L1A1, I would have no problem pressing my World War II Garand eight-shooter into service, though some of my more exotic collectibles, such as a rather cranky French Model 1944 MAS, would probably be retired in favor of a good old Mark III Enfield, Model 1898 Mauser or 1903 Springfield. Currently, based on reliability, low cost and availability, I would be a strong supporter of any one of the various SKS semi-auto rifles out there. While I would eschew a ratty Vietnam bring back, any one of the current Chinese or Russian imports, in either military or sporter configuration, would be particularly handy defense long arms. It should be evident that military rifles were designed for this kind of self-protection work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that Remington Model 700 or Winchester Model 70 in your closet. These guns are both accurate and effective. They are intended for rough use in the field as they bear witness to their military ancestors and, with proper sighting setups, would be more than adequate for the job. Let's face it, the Pennsylvania rifle of a couple of centuries ago was one of the least martial arms extant, and numbers of them served the colonists quite well during the Revolution. True, the smoothbore military musket was still the preeminent arm of the period, but military and civilian confrontational styles have changed somewhat over the last 200 years, and there is not quite the disparity between martial and sporting arms that there was in the 1770s. To be honest, given my druthers, I would prefer a military arm over a sporter if things got particularly hot. The army guns have provisions for fast reloading, and frankly, their sights are generally better adapted to combat situations. Still, there are many fine bolt-action, semi-auto ( I would think any of the current Remington, Browning, Marlin or Ruger autoloading sporters would be particularly good choices) pump and lever-action rifles that would provide excellent personal security, though the areas in which they are to be used would dictate caliber and, to a degree, action style. If the distance involved were not too great, I might opt for a pistol-caliber lever gun, such as a .44-40 Model 1873 Winchester copy over a .30-06 Model 70. Too, enclosed areas are not particularly conductive to the use of semi-automatic big-bores, as case ejection can often be quite forceful and could provide discomfort or hazard to the shooter. I recognize that many sporting rifles are fitted with scopes, and that is fine at the ranges for which they were intended. Urban distances are not kind to sophisticated qlassware, so it might not be a bad idea to rig up some sort of see-through mount setup or iron-sight backup for "militia" use. If push came to shove, I would really have no problem with a good semi-auto .22 autoloader, such as a Ruger 10/22 or Calico M100 Carbine. They could be extremely effective when loaded with one of the hot .22 LRs on the market. Again, where the gun is to be employed would be a major factor in the choice of one of the .22 LR or .22 WMR guns, but even so, one should never underestimate the
effectiveness of the little rimfire in a self-defense posture. Too, the size of the rifle, the lack of recoil and the lesser reports and concussive effect make them particularly adaptable to tight quarters. Whatever you choose, make sure it is serviceable and not too antiquated for the task. I would stay away from single-shots or antique arms, even though you may shoot them on a regular basis. Metal fatigue, coupled with sometimes cranky germinal mechanisms could be more of a liability than an advantage in a sticky situation. I would have no lack of confidence in some of my World War II or even Great War rifles, but such things as a KragJorgensen or Model 71/84 Mauser would just be too risky to take a chance on. While I do have a couple of loaded handguns sited in strategic places around my house to be used as party favors should my family experience a nocturnal (or even diurnal) visit by some evil minded uninvited guest, I don't really think it's necessary to have your long arm charged and ready to go. For one thing, it is more difficult to hide a rifle and keep it out of the hands of untrained minors. In the event of some sort of civil insurrection, there will generally be plenty of advance warning and enough time for one to charge his arms and get ready. I would admonish you to keep ammo and (if applicable) magazines at least readily available within your house or business so that you do not have to leave the premises to go scrounging for cartridges. Also, it would behoove you to take the time in advance to determine the weak spots in your defensive position and to formulate a basic plan to insure that all areas are adequately covered. You might note that throughout this guide, I have only referred to the defensive usage of firearms. I cannot stress this credo too strongly. I have no intention nor do I advocated any find of preemptive strikes against real or imagined bad mashes out there. By the same token, I do realize that in the case of civil insurrection or even a common house burglary, the capability of the "thin blue line" to respond in a timely fashion may be somewhat limited. Given the fine rifles, military and civilian, we have at our disposal, with a little planning and forethought, there is absolutely no reason to become a victim. I, for one, intend to take the "militia" portion of the Second Amendment seriously and to exercise my rights whenever the need may arise! The bottom line is, any rifle can be used as a militia rifle. The Second Amendment doesn't have anything to do with sporting purposes!
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