Honor Veterans on Memorial Day by Restricting Military Weapons to Military Purposes

“The Three Soldiers” by Frederick Hart (Leo Boudreau) | via Flickr
Written by Guy Nave

Why do gun advocates make baseless claims that people advocating for gun-control legislation are people who are “anti-gun”?

In response to the horrific racial violence perpetrated against black people in Buffalo, NY, and school children in Uvalde, TX, I have published multiple articles advocating for what I consider to be “common sense” gun legislation.

Military equipment should be limited to military purposes

As a military veteran with family and friends who volunteered to serve in the military, there are similarities between the two most recent U.S. mass shootings that trouble me.

Both of the most recent mass shootings involved the use of military assault weapons and military-style body armor.

As pointed out in an insightful NPR news article, in everyday instances of gun violence, assault rifles are used less than 1% of the time. In mass, public shootings, however, it’s over 25%.

In response to an article I wrote identifying the AR-15 as a military weapon, a defender of the weapon wrote, “The AR-15 wasn’t designed to kill; it’s a platform: a LEGO rifle, that can be assembled into every imaginable setup. It can fire .22lr at squirrels or tin cans, then swap it out for something heavier for deer or hog. No military on the planet uses it, nor has any military ever used it.”

In case others are operating under this delusion, allow me to point out that the ArmaLite Rifle (AR-15) was developed by ArmalLite in the late 1950s as a military rifle.

ArmaLite had limited success in selling it. In 1959 the company sold the design to Colt. In 1963, the U.S. military selected Colt to manufacture the automatic rifle that soon became standard issue for U.S. troops in the Vietnam War. It was known as the M-16.

Armed with that success, Colt ramped up production of a semiautomatic version of the M-16 that it sold to law enforcement and the public, marketed as the AR-15. The AR-15 was in fact designed to kill.

When Colt’s patents for the AR-15 expired in the 1970s, other manufacturers began making similar models.

Additionally, the Buffalo, NY shooter wore body armor as he went into the Buffalo grocery store, and the shooter in the Uvalde, TX school shooting wore a vest used to store extra magazines, similar to the ones worn by military and police personnel.

The Violence Project found that at least 21 mass shooters over the last 40 years have worn body armor — the majority in the last decade.

Military-grade equipment is designed to be inexpensive, easy to use, and deadly efficient. While this may be good for military purposes, it serves no beneficial civilian purpose.

Responsible gun-control legislation is not “anti-gun” legislation

The respondent to the previous article I mentioned also responded, “The absolute LAST thing I want is more anti-gun politicians.”

Nothing about my article, however, was “anti-gun.”

While I no longer own or use a gun, I’m not “anti-gun.” I, like many veterans, am in favor of “responsible gun-use” legislation. It is similar to how I am not anti-car; I’m simply pro-seat belt legislation.

I’m a military veteran. I have military veterans in my family. As a military veteran, I strongly believe 18-year-old civilians (or any age civilian for that matter) do not need military assault weapons.

As a military veteran who has served his country and understands the purpose of military assault weapons, restricting military assault weapons to military use seems like common sense.

Military assault weapons are DESIGNED to do exactly what they did in Uvalde, TX, in Buffalo NY, at Sandy Hook Elementary, and everywhere else they have been used in mass shootings.

Military assault weapons are designed to produce the greatest number of human casualties possible. I say this as a military veteran who was TRAINED to use military assault weapons.

Honor military personnel by protecting the lives of those for whom military personnel gave their lives

Memorial Day honors military personnel who gave their lives to help ensure others might be able to live their lives freely. Most military personnel killed on the battlefield were killed by military assault weapons designed for one purpose — to efficiently kill as many people as possible.

It is a dishonor to every military person killed by military assault weapons to allow such weapons to be used to kill the very people military personnel died protecting.

Protecting human lives from military assault weapons is NOT “anti-gun” it is “pro-life.”

The best way to honor military veterans is to protect the lives of those for whom military veterans have given (and continue to give) their lives.

Never Miss a Post

Sign up for our email newsletter and get notified every time we publish a new post.

About the author

Guy Nave

Guy Nave is a professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. His research focuses on the topics of Christianity, religion and social justice, the social construction of religious meaning, and race-religion-and-politics. Professor Nave is currently researching the power, politics, and meaning behind the rhetoric of "change."

He is the author of several articles and book chapters, and he served as a New Testament Greek translator for the 2011 Common English Bible. His commentary on 2 Corinthians is published in the African American New Testament Commentary, and his book, The Role and Function of Repentance in Luke-Acts has been identified as “the standard scholarly work on repentance in the New Testament.”

Guy Nave received his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Yale University. In addition to his blog posts here, he is a frequent contributor to Sojourners Magazine's online "Commentary" blog series.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.