The Modern Day Longbow

Editor’s Note: Below is my first article for a new weekly column, Come to Think of It, I write for The Southern. I’d like to publish it here on CatholicEclipsed, because I think my readers will enjoy it. So enjoy.

A few years back I bought a bow, because I felt like every man should be able to defend his home and country, and because I was afraid of firearms and thought bows more safe and less frightening—and because I wanted to be like Robin Hood. But I was quickly cured of that misconception after I fired my first volley, the sound of which scared the heck out of me. Though my name was Robin, I was no Robin Hood. I sold the bow to the pawn shop and bought a less physically demanding but more effective weapon: an AR-15. 

It is with tragic irony that the reasons given for banning assault weapons today by our political princes are the same reasons given by princes of old to command owning them. Take for instance, the English longbow. Because of its rapid rate of fire—ten arrows a minute—and effective range—about 300 yards—the longbow was the most lethal weapon during the Middle Ages. The law of the day even required every able-bodied man to train with one. The longbow laws made England powerful and instilled fear in her enemies. Now, I ask, is it not reasonable to assume that if we ban assault weapons, which are modern-day longbows, America will become weak? 

I think the gun debate revolves around a general failure to grasp the essentials of the controversy, which should not only be about self-defense but about the defense of one’s country. 

The Founding Father George Mason once said, “To disarm the people…[is] the most effectual way to enslave them.” Bans on assault weapons will not make America safer, because it is by Americans owning such weapons that makes America safe.

Another Founding Father, James Madison, said, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.” The reverse is also true: A poorly equipped militia, with no training in contemporary weapons of war, is the worst way to defend a country.

I would like to ask Gov. Pritzker, and those who support this assault weapons ban, what are the weapons the unorganized militia of Illinois are supposed to wield if not assault weapons? When the Red Storm rises like a Tom Clancy Novel, and Illinois is drowned in a wave of war, what weapons will weather it?       

What does the law say? The Government Information website states concerning United States v. Miller

“After reciting the original provisions of the Constitution dealing with the militia, the Court observed that ‘[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted with that end in view.’ The significance of the militia, the Court continued, was that it was composed of ‘civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.’ It was upon this force that the states could rely for defense and securing of the laws, on a force that ‘comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense,’ who, ‘when called for service. . .were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.’”

Further, The Court stated, “Miller holds that the ‘Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have ‘some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.’” I think the law would agree with that assault weapons are a means by which to properly equip a militia for war.    

If America is invaded in twenty years, and the unorganized militia—all able-bodied men 17-45 not in the National Guard or the Naval Militia—is called forth to defend the State of Illinois, what arms will they bear? If this assault weapons ban lasts, and our sons have no modern weapons of war like assault weapons, how will they be able to defend this land?     

Since purchasing my AR-15, I have fired it precisely once—I thought a bow was scary and loud! But the political climate today is cold to put it mildly. War is not a bygone bogyman of a more barbaric age—the last century should put us in no doubt about that. Just as in Robin Hood’s time, when England suffered a century of war and was saved by the longbow, so America may suffer the same tomorrow. In that dark hour when heroes are needed to defend democracy and freedom, who will be strong enough to stand and fight and save America?

Come to think of it, perhaps it’s time to take my sons back out to the range.