Guns are legal in the United States thanks to the second amendment of the Constitution. The amendment states as follows:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The reason for this amendment, originally, was as a safeguard against tyranny. The framers wanted to ensure that the people had a way to defend themselves against unjust government and laws. At that time people also used their weapons to hunt and protect themselves against hostile Native Americans. So the main reasons for people to have firearms are protection and hunting.
Most legal weapons in the United States today are still made for those two reasons, protection and hunting. A characteristic trait of weapons used for those purposes is accuracy. Weapons used for protection need to be accurate to insure that other innocent people don’t get hurt. Examples of these types of weapons are revolver pistols/handguns, semiautomatic pistols/handguns and slide bolt or semi-automatic rifles. These weapons all have a common ability to be able to pick a single target and fire at that target without as great a danger of hurting innocent bystanders, assuming the person shooting knows what they are doing.
The other use for firearms is hunting. Typically hunters use shotguns and/or rifles. These are longer barreled and allow the hunter to shoot the target from further away. Long barreled shotguns are legal and are used in hunting anything from game to birds. Rifles are probably the most famous hunting weapon because of their long distance accuracy.
Types of illegal weapons include: automatic handguns, automatic rifles, and sawed off shotguns. These weapons all are indiscriminate when firing, meaning it is harder for the shooter to be accurate. These weapons are more for mass destruction than for the accuracy that people should be trying to achieve. The sawed off shotgun is basically a normal long barreled shotgun, but they saw off most of the barrel. This completely changes the function and how the shotgun is used. By shortening the barrel, it makes the spray (dispersal of the pellets) wider. This means that you will hit a greater number of things in the general area that you fire at. Another reason the sawed off shotgun is dangerous and illegal, in conjunction with the wide spray from the sawed off barrel, is that because of the shorter length it is easier to conceal. While people will say that handguns are small and easy to conceal, they do not have the destructive and indiscriminate power of the sawed off shotgun.
The framers of the Constitution had specific ideas of the uses of firearms in mind when they made the 2nd amendment. The sawed off shotgun does not fit into any of those ideas, and so, therefore, should be illegal. While we are insured the right to bear arms, we also have to be responsible by using and owning weapons that hold with the ideas and uses the framers had in mind.