It’s difficult for some people to understand the significance of personal ownership of firearms, especially after the violent chaos with innocent children at a school or at a crowded venue like a movie theater. Owning a firearm for many people seems incomprehensible, barbaric, or unnecessary risk vs. obscure antiquated principle.
Obvious to me are the intransigent people who will never change their mind given the facts. Setting aside the knee-jerk reactions by those who immediately oppose or read anything that has to do with firearms, let’s attempt to dispel some of the myths and assumptions.
- Owning a gun won’t automatically protect you from violence or other crime.
- Choosing the type of firearm and caliber isn’t as important as practice with it.
- You’re better off not owning a gun if you aren’t familiar how to use it and do so safely.
- Many crimes can be prevented with safe practices and better security.
- Choosing to NOT own or carry a firearm will NOT increase your personal or family safety.
Having those facts alone suggest to some people that owning a firearm isn’t a good idea. My response to those people, I suggest the simple answer, don’t own one. There are some people who miss the whole point of the second amendment. Instead of understanding the basic ideas were more than just having a well armed militia, or even more foolishly insisting that private ownership in modern society is antiquated and in the same breath say that it’s OK to own the type of firearms available in the 18th century, ie.; musket, single shot flint sparked rifles. The real silliness of that idea is when you say, OK, how about cannons and grenades? Those weapons and many more were available and in use at that time.
In point of fact, none of those ideas were part of the founders reasoning for private firearms ownership. Their concerns were based on centuries of writing about human behaviour, which despite the current century, remain essentially the same. They understood whenever a centralized government gains power with increased autonomy, the rights of the individual to be free to govern themselves are decreased. More central power, less responsiveness to the individual, combined with financial and bureaucratic tyranny. These central figures John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington all recognized how power and authority corrupts. People placed in authority frequently focus their energies on maintaining and expanding their power when possible. Their ideas were a foundational part of the Bill of Rights to promote government accountability and among these basic rights were private gun ownership. This meant leadership in the new Federal Republic wouldn’t be able to aggregate power to the extent as witnessed by European heads of state. Monarchies were all the rage, and they made sure they were the ones with guns. A side benefit of this was to allow people to form volunteer militia for homeland protection without having to raise a huge army on government payroll. They knew a government organized, trained and equipped army & navy were necessities, however a public militia gave them added depth from which they could draw conscripts should the need arise. This was also the basic idea in forming ‘reserves’.
Beside the military and home land defense, which the Japanese were very concerned about during discussions for invading the U.S. in WWII, another fundamental principle was understood and included as background as part of the second amendment. They valued the individual more than they valued a group. A group wasn’t free (meaning the society) unless the individual was free and had the same right to self-defense as the country. It was a foregone conclusion by the founders of our nation, an individual should have as much right to defend themselves from attack as the society at large. They didn’t see people as victims who were in need of a ‘big brother’, rather they saw the nation composed of fully functional people who wanted to enjoy the rights set forth in the Constitution including – life – liberty – pursuit of happiness and private property ownership.
Therefore, if Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin or any other citizen of this new nation were to be free, they needed to be free of the tyranny of the powerful, the younger, faster, stronger or any assailant. The great idea was to simply permit the citizen the right to own armament sufficient for personal protection.
Do these principles apply to modern society? If not, why not? Some people think this need has been superseded by local police and maybe the federal government, such as Homeland Security. If you think the government has an obligation to protect you, they’re failing miserably. Communities which write and pass laws to declare gun free zones or ban private ownership haven’t eliminated those who don’t care about such laws. Clearly someone who wants to use a weapon to kill anyone doesn’t concern themselves with the legality of owning a gun or using it in a banned location. So what are we left with in communities which have stricter gun law? Does anyone truly believe we’ve eliminated the use of banned chemical substances and solved the drug problem? How or why would anyone believe we could limit violent behavior through further restrictions?
Any community that gives the individual more sovereign rights to defend themselves shows up in a positive way with simple statistics. A disarmed population is a victim population and most likely under served by their government leaders. Click on the graphic on the right to expand for additional statistics and understanding.
Are governments today doing what’s necessary to protect their community?
Do only the wealthy and the well connected have protection from violence?
Is it possible to become so compliant and complacent that riot or overthrow is inevitable?