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David Keene, NRA President, says AR-15s are "Musket of Today"
David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, said that the AR-15 military-style assault rifle is the "musket of today" and therefore should not be banned.
"The nation was founded as a result of the fact that people - citizens - who had a musket above the fireplace grabbed the gun when an emergency confronted them," Keene said. "For four million Americans, the AR-15 is the musket of today.
"You hear some of the gun controllers saying, 'well, the Second Amendment only applied to muskets, it didn't apply to AR-15s or semi-automatic pistols or semi-automatic shotguns, for that matter.' That was handled by the Supreme Court in the Heller decision. That was the technology of the day. The technology of this day is different, and those guns are as protected by the Constitution today as the single-shot musket in the 1780s and 1790s."
Keene also said during the interview that President Barack Obama's attempt to ban the weapon could "take the firearms of over four million people" and punish them.
But the bill, which was introduced by Dianne Feinstein, would only ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing and import of 158 types of semi-automatic assault weapons. It does not state that it would take away firearms of people who already own them.
The History Channel explains that a musket could fire up to three shots per minute during the Revolutionary War era. An AR-15 can fire up to 45 rounds per minute or more.
In the District of Columbia v. Heller case, Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Second Amendment is not "unlimited."
"It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose," he said.
"Miller's holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those in 'common use at the time' finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons."