SOME VETERANS in politics and media have taken it upon themselves to rescue Americans from the “dangers” of firearms, specifically the AR-15.

Their contention is that these are “weapons of war” and therefore unfit for civilian use. Pat Ryan, an Iraq War veteran who had run for Congress in New York’s 19th district, ran a campaign ad in 2018 expressing his desire to “get rid of assault rifles.” In the wake of the Orlando shooting, Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine officer, stated on Twitter that “I know assault rifles. I carried one in Iraq. They have no place on America’s streets.”

As a Marine trained on the use of numerous military-grade weapons, Seth and others should know better.

The original definition of “assault rifle” from a 1970 Army Field Manual (FSTC-CW-07-03-70) has been re-purposed by the anti-gun movement to nebulously define firearms they believe civilians should not own. One of the four requirements for the field manual’s definition of an assault rifle is a “select-fire” option (i.e. you can toggle settings between single shot and fully automatic or burst). The fact that the AR-15 currently sold to civilians in America only has a single fire option means it does not meet their definition of an assault rifle. And, just in case anyone’s wondering, the “AR” in AR-15 stands for “Armalite Rifle” not “Assault Rifle.”

But details like these don’t matter to the gun control lobby, and the issue with these anti-gun veterans is that they believe they know better than the rest of us. They tout their combat experience with these “weapons of war,” demanding that we trust their message and heed their warning.

The irony is either they do not know what they are talking about, or, worse, they have suppressed that knowledge in order to appease the politics of the time. At its core, this issue is less about civilian ownership of AR-15s and more about the elitist mentality of any veteran who believes civilians are incapable or irresponsible when it comes to firearms.

As a Marine Corps officer, I carried the same M4 in Iraq that Seth Moulton did. During my time in Iraq, my Marines investigated an officer who had experienced a “negligent discharge,” where he almost accidentally shot and killed another Marine.

In Iraq, I also witnessed a court martial trial for one of my Marines who had threatened to shoot an NCO in his chain-of-command. Tragically, we also saw a Marine who used his rifle to take his own life.

Human error and human factors affect members of the military just as much as civilians. Should we prevent veterans from owning firearms because they have a higher-than-average rate of suicide compared to the rest of the U.S. population?

At the end of the day, if a person is responsible and knowledgeable about the firearms they own, what difference does it make if he/she is veteran or civilian?

Governor Chris Sununu has done a great job stemming the tide of anti-gun legislation coming through the New Hampshire Legislature. Unfortunately, anti-gun veterans threaten to tip the scales of the discussion in favor of more gun control because they claim to know better than the rest of us.

Most veterans I know do not want to outlaw AR-15s or limit civilian firearm ownership and it is time for the silent majority of pro-Second Amendment veterans to speak their minds, especially in an election year.

If we fail to do so, we are foregoing a responsibility to speak out against the same injustices we joined the military to defend against. And sadly, this issue extends beyond just the discussion of Second Amendment rights.

The “I-know-better-than-the-average-civilian” mentality has become the de facto stance of the corrupt and powerful in our government. Look no further than the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, where a handful of rogue officials sought to undo the will of the people.

Mike Judge lives in Mason.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY Attorney’s Office works with local law enforcement to administer justice and manage the prosecution of most felony crimes. In April 2018, before I took office, my predecessor, Dennis Hogan, tried to obtain $500,000 of additional funding and had called his office “on t…

I FIRST VOTED for a Republican presidential candidate in 1964 when I was 21 and head of Youth for Goldwater at UNH. Since then I have voted 13 more times for every nominee of my party including Donald Trump four years ago. I have been a delegate to four Republican National Conventions.

Friday, September 25, 2020

DURING the COVID-19 crisis, charities have been delivering services to vulnerable individuals and families across New Hampshire, but we’ve also been hit particularly hard by the pandemic with facility closures, declines in donations, cuts in program revenue and staff reductions. Without addi…

Thursday, September 24, 2020

IN THE federal government’s anemic effort against COVID-19, nursing homes have effectively been left for dead. Despite deaths that began with the February outbreak in a Kirkland, Wash., nursing home, hospitals were prioritized for personal protective equipment. Hospital workers were publicly…

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

IT WAS ONCE written of Chester Arthur, the 21st president, that “No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired...more generally respected, alike by political foe and friend.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
  • Updated

EVERY TIME military officers are promoted, they repeat the oath of office they took when first commissioned: “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

AS THE Union Leader and many other papers have reported, all of New Hampshire is experiencing some level of drought and nearly one quarter of the state is experiencing severe drought (despite our recent batch of rain), according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Monday, September 21, 2020

THE PANDEMIC grinds on. A fraught new school year begins (sort of). Chilly weather brings ominous thoughts of how much more difficult it will be to keep distanced and stay safe. And hundreds of thousands in the Granite State struggle with maddeningly slow and unreliable internet service — if…

Sunday, September 20, 2020
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IN THE summer of 2010, I started seeing flags everywhere. It was like when you buy a new car and then start seeing the same vehicle on every street you drive. The official name is the “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon,” also known as “frequency illusion.” No matter the name, during that summer, fla…

WHEN I ANSWERED the front door one Sunday morning, a chaplain, a U.S. Navy admiral, and a casualty notification officer came bearing news from Londonderry. News I had to share with the primary next of kin — a dedicated Navy wife of 11 years — upstairs in our family’s home on the Naval Air St…

Friday, September 18, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020

IN RESPONSE to the well-written article by Jim Adams, former district manager of the Postal Service, although his opinion piece was accurate, it also omitted some significant changes in recent postal operations that go beyond a mere continuation of former policies. Most of the changes instit…

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WHILE THE primaries are a fading image in the rear-view mirror and the chosen candidates are fully immersed in their general election stumping, there are still some interesting lessons to be learned from the results of those primary contests.