Tennessee state senator Mark Green, once Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Army, made the news back in May for his 2013 statements on the Second Amendment. He stated that he thought citizens should be able to own any weapons the government owns. He was quoted as saying, “If they can have an aircraft carrier, I ought to be able to have an aircraft carrier.” The media, of course, portrayed this as ridiculous. Some outlets even wondered if this meant that citizens should be allowed to own nuclear weapons.
As Second Amendment advocates have had to reiterate time and time again, the true intention behind the Amendment is to ensure citizens can resist tyrannical government. If such a government is using tanks, aircraft carriers, and nuclear weapons, how could they reasonably be stopped with only small arms? Sure, there have been successful guerrilla wars that defeated better armed opponents – Vietnam and Afghanistan come to mind. But the Second Amendment is intended to even the odds between a tyrannical government and its citizens.
There are historical examples of citizens legally owning military-grade weaponry beyond small arms. During the War of 1812, James DeWolf – the second richest person in the U.S. at the time of his death – was commissioned by President Madison to field two privateers outfitted with privately-owned cannons. Captain Nicholas Millin was granted a Letter of Marque by Madison that confirmed his right to mount eighteen cannons to his vessel, the Prince de Neufchatel.
In a world where citizens could own any weapon the military does, would everybody have a tank, aircraft carrier, or a nuclear weapon? No – it’s cost prohibitive. Only the wealthiest of the wealthy with access to resources and manufacturing facilities for those weapons would be able to possess them. Not only is an aircraft carrier not cheap, but the requirements to staff, house, and maintain such a vessel drive that cost even higher. As for nuclear weapons, those resources would be even harder to obtain and form into a functional weapon. Short of a government, it would take a dedicated billionaire.
But just because it’s expensive and few to none will ever independently produce these weapons doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to own them. Mike Green was correctly interpreting the Second Amendment. So yes, all citizens should be allowed to own any weapon the military does. I know this viewpoint will be labeled as crazy. A common argument is that the founding fathers could never have imagined the future of weaponry. But it doesn’t matter – they didn’t write it that way. As written, any arms should be allowed for citizens.