Larry Pratt is a 70 year old gentleman who has the look of a reasonable fellow. But start a conversation with him and you find that as the Executive Director of an organization known as the Gun Owners of America, he’s an outspoken advocate for citizens’ possession of assault weapons, 30-round magazine clips, and bullets that inflict the maximum amount of tissue damage when they hit a human target. If all that doesn’t really engage your attention, then listen to Larry as he tells you WHY we all need this lethal “stuff”. According to Pratt, it’s to make it possible for us to fight back should the federal government ever decide to overrun us and take away by force, our American way of life.

Mr. P. offer will offer little in the way of specific answers to such questions as “When is this overrun likely to occur and what arm of the federal government will do the “dirty work” of robbing us of freedom of movement, thought, etc.” You just have to embrace his idea that the threat is “out there” which is where it always exists in the world of conspiracy theorists and the paranoid.

Of course, in the 200+ years of our nation’s history, nothing even remotely close to the Pratt scenario has ever happened. Nor are there any signs afoot that it is imminent. There are two reasons for this and they are enshrined in our Constitution:  The capacity of a sitting Congress to vote articles of impeachment against a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors”, find him guilty and remove him from office. The second reason involves our elections.

In spite of the fact that we have had some pretty bad presidents, articles of impeachment has been advanced against just two of them. Both failed. As for elections, they have consistently proven a highly effective means of transferring presidential powers to someone the electorate decided would be better able to handle them.

In the final analysis then, Larry Pratt’s rationale collapses in the face of history and the Constitutional provisions for dealing with a power-grab by a president or, on a larger scale, the federal government. There is a legitimate bases for gun ownership by citizens. Pratt’s justification for the possession of assault weapons is surely not one of them.