For many Americans, the Second Amendment is a defense against their own government

The crowded room exploded in thunderous cheers and applause. A bill to make it a felony to possess gun magazines larger than 10 rounds had just been unexpectedly killed by its sponsor in the middle of debate before the Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee after it was met with rancor by the audience and opposing delegates.

It was a powerful display of the continued influence of politically active gun owners mere weeks since new national calls for gun control were sparked by the killing of 17 people in Parkland, Fla.

America has seen a number of mass shootings in the past year: Las Vegas. Sutherland Springs. Stoneman Douglas. In those three instances, the shooter used AR-15 platform rifles.The shooters in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs used the high-capacity magazines the defeated Maryland bill sought to outlaw. 

Most Americans who plan to march on Washington Saturday against gun violence don't believe that private citizens should own high-capacity semi-automatic rifles. They don't understand what many gun rights defenders see as the heart of the Second Amendment: The defense against a tyrannical government. 

In recent debates, gun rights activists have offered a number of defenses of what gun control advocates call assault weapons, from the rifles not being more deadly than other firearms to illegalization leaving them only in the hands of criminals. The tyranny argument is often overlooked by people who assume this argument is limited to people on the extreme, militia-end of the gun rights spectrum. But it's become common among gun owners and mainstream conservative figures. 

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