One right we must never lose is the right to bear arms because it is that right which protects all other rights. It is not because we are barbarians or hunters, and is not solely to protect our life and property from other citizens. As drastic as it sounds, our right to bear arms is mainly to protect ourselves from the potential tyranny of our own government, as a last resort. It is no wonder that governors are constantly changing the language and steering the discussion to be about hunting (as if hunting, in any way, compares to the horrific nature in which we otherwise breed our food). Or the discussion becomes about crime, even though most gun crimes are done with illegally owned guns.
We do have mechanisms built into the government such as checks and balances that generally keep legislators in check, but they can and will be bypassed by a determined government (such as the supreme court’s ruling that the government can fine us for not purchasing health insurance). It would only be as a very last resort that anyone should lift their arms against the government. But many governments have devolved into tyrannical ones, and there is nothing about our ever-growing United States government that tells me it isn’t a possibility with ours at some point in the indefinite future.
In a 2008 Democratic Presidential Debate in Philadelphia, PA, our current president, Barack Obama, said, “As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right, in the same way that we have a right to private property but local governments can establish zoning ordinances that determine how you can use it.” And then he goes on to talk about people’s nostalgia for hunting.
First of all, property zoning laws are counterproductive. And his opinion also goes sharply against the sentiment of our founders. In June of 1776, during the constitutional debates, Thomas Jefferson said, “No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny in government.” The discussion at the time was mainly focused around that sentiment.
More recently, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have used every “opportunity”–every newsworthy gun crime–to push gun control, instead of addressing the important issues at steak in our increasingly dangerous world.
Is it any wonder that the very people who seek more and more power and control over our lives are usually the strongest gun control advocates? It is a an emotion-driven platform with no critical examination of potential consequences. For example, bad guys get guns no matter what the law is. And when they strike, especially in public places like schools, most level headed people wish that the good guys were also armed at that moment.
Many are also emotionally driven to believe the government’s overreaching policies actually exist to help us, in general, as if we are helpless otherwise. We are not children of the state. We are adults who have hired – and continually pay – the state to protect us.
In the case of a government who has completely overstepped its bounds and evolved into a tyrannical one, then unfortunately the only way to regain our freedom is for the might of the people to overwhelm the might of the state. A government will tread much more carefully when its citizens are armed.
In every dictatorship the first thing that happens is that gun ownership is outlawed so that the general populace can no longer defend itself. For instance, before the Nazis began exterminating their Jewish population they needed to disarm them first. An armed populace is the last and most important check on government abuse of individual rights.
In the course of continuing dialog about this most important right, we should never find ourselves drawn into arbitrary talk about which guns are suitable for sport shooting or hunting because those issues are unrelated to our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. We should never cave into arguments about gun control for law abiding citizens, as a result of gun crime.
Not everyone needs to bear arms; only those who feel comfortable doing so. I don’t personally own a gun. But we should all be well trained in how to handle a gun, whether or not we actually own one, and informed of the current laws so as to use them correctly and sparingly for the purpose of defense. I also believe that everyone should have training in unarmed self-defense. Disarming someone or disabling them and running away would in most cases be preferable to shooting them, after all.
There is no reason to ever initiate force, nor is it stated in the constitution that we are allowed to. After all, the main point to be made about freedom is the very idea of never initiating force upon another unless one is in fear of being harmed.