“We need to repeal the Second Amendment because most gun-control legislation is ineffective when most Americans have a guaranteed constitutional right to purchase deadly weaponry in nearly unlimited quantities.” – Bret Stephens, NY Times 2/16/18
As the rhetoric continues to heat up in the media and across the country after the Parkland, Florida shooting the ultimate leftist agenda is revealed. And the issue continues to divide America across partisan lines. Do guns have a place in civilized society? Is the Second Amendment outdated, antiquated or unfit for modern society as so many critics claim? Should it be repealed?
In my worldview, I place the issue of gun ownership and the right to personal self-defense in a much broader tapestry of history, particularly the history of the last century or two. That being said, I do not believe that gun rights stem from Constitutions, governments, lobbyists or any other sophistries of men. I believe they originate from a higher source.
The Constitution is a unique document with a unique place in history. If we step back and look at the work of the Founding Fathers of this country, we see that their overall mission was not to just create a new form of government but to codify and live by what they viewed as natural or God-given rights.
In the Bill of Rights, the first two Amendments are among the most powerful in expressing such intrinsic rights. The First Amendment is sacrosanct in protecting the rights of assembly, worship, and self-expression without the hindrance of an official government-sanctioned dogma. The Second Amendment is equally important. And that is the right of protection of self, property, and community.
Without engaging all of the constitutional scholars who argue what is or is not a militia, or what weapons might have been under consideration, I say let us examine the core principle. Do we, as sentient beings, have the right to defend ourselves against whatever crime or evil may arise, either individual or institutional or do we not have any such right? And should we not have reasonable access to the tools necessary for our defense or should we not?
In our modern world, standard rifles and pistols as constituted and manufactured are equal tools on the playing field. Single-shot, bolt action, semi-automatic, they are all share specific utility, despite the rhetoric otherwise. They are already heavily regulated and we have numerous sensible laws on the books that set reasonable parameters for accessibility. The question is, are we willing to sacrifice the principle of self-protection for all due to the irresponsible actions of a few? Such a course is both unreasonable and dangerous.
One argument is that we have evolved as a society to where we should be content with systematic and intuitional protections. This presumes that it is acceptable to abrogate our right and responsibility of self-defense to others like the police or military. In the case of global conflict perhaps so, but within the walls of a home that is specious reasoning. Remember, police rarely prevent crime. They show up afterward to clean up and try and determine how to catch criminals after the fact.
History demonstrates that there is no country without periods of time when citizens would be well served to be able to defend themselves as institutional authorities break down or even turn on them. The University of Hawaii’s Democide project showed that in nineteen state-sponsored genocides over the last century, gun confiscation was a precedent in each event. Hundreds of millions of people lost their lives at the hands of their own governments in the twentieth century, with no means to defend themselves from it. That is history. That is fact.
Could it ever happen here? It already has. During and after the US Civil War, gun ownership was almost a necessity for survival. My great-great-grandfather’s journals from Texas document the dangers and lawlessness that took decades to reign in in those days. Who has the power to guarantee that the future will be perfectly regulated and all citizens will be equally and universally protected? There is no legislature in the world that could make such a promise with a straight face. It is pure fallacy to believe that the same bureaucracy that could not screen the alleged Parkland shooter would somehow universally succeed at the far broader task of complete individual protection.
The NRA’s Wayne La Pierre has coined a phrase that must be considered by every caring citizen: “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun[.]” That is a harsh truth and reflection of the reality in which we live. When the smoke from all the rhetoric and emotional manipulation clears, the question still remains. Do we have a right to defend ourselves, or don’t we? If so, the Second Amendment stands as a beacon of freedom, both in principle and in practice. Those who oppose it should re-think their priorities in the light of history. Which is more heartless: to suffer the tragedy and indignity of a few, or eviscerate the natural rights of everyone? One might just see a more rational side to the issue.