A Former Police Officer’s Perspective on the 2nd Amendment.
Among the sheer genius and framing of the Constitution, sits the 2nd Amendment, giving the people in the inalienable right to “...keep and bear arms,” without infringement from the government and its agents. There’s plenty of research and discourse on why it was placed second, next to the right to free speech, religion, and assembly. Some scholars believe it’s because the British came for our gun stockpiles right at the start of the war. Others believe it was placed second to guard the 1st Amendment and to always have the People of the United States armed against their government, which could easily become tyrannical. It could easily be a mix of all reasons, but it’s arguably the most heated and debated amendment. As a former government agent, a local police officer, I affirmed an Oath to the United States Constitution. I did not affirm to uphold and protect the President, not my police chief, not my local legislators, but my Constitution. Here’s why 80% Lowers are a right we must protect.
This topic is not one that I argue for without merit. Not only did I operate as a police officer with the Constitution in mind every working day, but I studied law and criminal justice and received a bachelor’s degree, with an emphasis on Constitutional Law and Police Misconduct. If you want to be a police officer for the people, those areas of emphasis should be mandatory. As mentioned, I encountered a variety of different situations where I had to apply my knowledge of local, state, and federal law to ensure I was not violating any person's civil rights. It is something you have to have constantly running on repeat in your mind.
Being a police officer in the State of Idaho is unique. Throughout my training, we were told to treat everyone as if they were armed. Sure enough, almost everyone I encountered were responsibly armed citizens carrying weapons on their person or in their vehicles. Now, growing up in Idaho, I didn’t find this a slight bit unusual. It was and is, every day normal life. As a police officer, I did have to keep it in mind. Unsurprisingly, law-abiding citizens who carried firearms were never an issue. Any weapons-related call I responded to, we found out the suspect was a prohibited possessor or stole the firearm.
Legally speaking, 80% lowers are perfectly legal to purchase and own in any state because they are not defined as firearms. As a former police officer, I find the idea of being able to ship a lower and create a firearm out of it completely justified and legal. Furthermore, this would not pose a problem to the police. As I previously mentioned, criminals are not purchasing weapons legally and using them to commit crimes, on average. Add an extra step in the equation and the criminal is now supposed to ‘build’ their firearm and have the special machinery to build the weapon, it is now even more unlikely that this would happen. Anecdotally, I know most of my former coworkers who still work as police officers would agree with me.
As I stated previously, the idea of being able to purchase and own an 80% lower receiver a great way to be a responsible gun owner in a state that maybe not as unrestricted with their firearm laws. If you live in a state that severely restricts your 2nd Amendment rights, you can begin exercising your rights by starting with 80% lowers and legally building firearms. You should always consult your local laws though before proceeding.
By purchasing an 80% lower, you are taking the beginning steps in the right direction of not only practicing your right but helping others by spreading information on 80% lowers. Most of the information that I learn about what’s latest in the gun community is either from word of mouth or online blogs. You can explain to others how you were able to have a lower shipped directly to your house and build an AR-15 or Glock in the comfort of your home! On top of that, it’s a good chance to be active in protecting your Constitutional rights and helping spread information that can protect other’s rights.
When I was a police officer, I would have wanted more people to be gun owners. One would think that is a contradictory statement, but if everyone carried more firearms and had the proper training, we’d be a safer society on many different levels. I still get questions about what weapon someone should buy for self-defense and how to properly train with the weapon. I noticed that when I was still a police officer, I would often go talk to neighborhood watch associations or groups like the Boy Scouts. I began seeing a trend in the questions. How do we protect ourselves? What gun safety should we follow? It was still surprising to me how many people didn’t have a basic knowledge of firearms. Why aren’t there state-sponsored training for firearms in school? That might alleviate many of the issues we have with gun safety and accidental discharges, which are often reported incorrectly in gun deaths stats when people are trying to find gun deaths that are homicides.
80% Lowers could be a perfect training tool for younger and mature people alike. They aren’t dangerous when purchased and can be used to explain the weapon from the inside out. There’s no secret that firearms are a big responsibility and without proper education and knowledge, one should be careful in handling them. You do not have to be an experienced gun owner to start building your AR-15 or Glock. In fact, from the police perspective, it might help make everyone more comfortable around weapons, including the younger generations. Look at a country like Switzerland, where guns are also a part of their culture and the training starts from a young age when you are conscripted into the military. Now, I wouldn’t say we have Switzerland's gun laws, but the training and respect aspect of gun ownership is something to duly note.
Overall, as a former police officer who dealt with a wide variety of firearms-related issues, I can comfortably say that 80% Lower Receivers are safe and responsible items regarding the 2nd Amendment. They can be an excellent intro for newer gun owners or experience gun owners wanting to build their own platform. They can also be used to teach younger generations the workings of their firearm. No matter what new trend or item hits the mainstream, as long as the text and sanctity of the 2nd Amendment is respected and upheld, we should all protect it at all costs.