With the uptick in gun violence across America, and the tragic shooting in Nashville that took the lives of adults and children, it seems out of place and almost unhinged to make an argument for no gun control.
However, if we are to remain a free people and retain our liberties, as well as protect ourselves and others, the discussion must be put on the table.
No discussion of gun control, or the lack thereof, can begin without an understanding of what the Second Amendment means; viz., what was its original intention, and how is it applied today.
First off, here is the text of the amendment itself:
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.
Our Founding Fathers knew tyranny well; they had literally put their lives on the line to declare that they wanted separation from Great Britain. They knew that there were times when citizens had to take up arms in defense of liberty and freedom—talking and diplomacy does not work in all cases.
Another thing they knew, which our 21st century consciousness has seemed to have forgotten, is human nature. Governments rarely give up power willingly, especially imperialistic governments seeking to hold on to territory.
The colonies were under the choke hold of the British government in regards to taxes and duties. More to the point, that same British government had no problem with flexing its military might to keep the colonists in line, including imprisonment, threats and quartering troops in private homes at will.
The Second Amendment was therefore put in place to guarantee Americans, separated from the British government, that there would be no “repeat act” of rights violations in their newly formed government: the people would have the right to form militias.
It implied also that arms could be kept for self-preservation, although this is the sore point that lies at the heart of owning personal firearms.
When contemporary liberals read, a “well regulated militia,” they envision a force that is controlled by the central government—or, agencies like the FBI, CIA, etc.
But the term “well regulated” in 18th century parlance is better understood as “well disciplined.” Note the qualifier: “right of the people…” Therefore, a highly centralized government was not the intention of the text. Rather, the people could maintain a “well disciplined” militia to protect themselves from the government.
This is what our Founding Fathers intended.
But what about personal self-defense? That issue was specifically taken up in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, where the Supreme Court declared that the Second Amendment included the right to protect yourself from bodily harm.
So, there you go: we have the right to defend ourselves from a rogue government, and we have the right to defend ourselves from personal bodily harm.
Now to the question at hand: should the government control how and who should own a gun? Should they be the custodians of licensure for firearms?
The argument against gun control is simply this: if we allow the government, state or federal, to control personal firearms, we are giving back to the government the very right that guarantees our liberty, namely, the aforementioned right to protect ourselves from government oppression and to defend ourselves from bodily harm.
The wording of the Second Amendment is clear: “shall not be infringed.”
A test, a license, and certainly a bureaucrat deciding whether to rubber stamp a license would therefore qualify as an “infringement.”
Why go to the government for a right that you already possess?
Let us now take up the question regarding criminal use of firearms, and those who are of unsound mind.
First, illegal guns have proliferated in our country for many years.
The John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy says that 65% of all violent crimes were committed by people with an illegal gun. Less than 40% are committed with a legally obtained firearm.
There also seems to be a correlation between stricter gun laws, and more illegal gun violence. Hence, more laws, more illegal guns.
The fact is that criminals and the mentally troubled will be able to get a gun, laws or not.
Now, combine all this with the weaponization of our judicial system, and you have a very dangerous cocktail. There are those in power who believe that stricter gun laws will quell gun violence, particularly mass shootings. Again, the statistics simply do not agree with this notion, and what will invariably happen is that law abiding citizens will be stripped of their right to defend themselves. No one will benefit.
We also hear the hue and cry about “assault weapons.”
There are NO assault weapons sold in the United States. The AR-15 is not an “assault weapon.” An assault weapon is an automatic long gun, the kind that is used in the military. Long guns like the AR-15 are semi-automatic weapons wherein the trigger must be pulled multiple times to fire rounds.
We then hear: Why do you need an AR-15?
Well, first for sport shooting and some hunting. Most importantly, however, is our right to defend ourselves against a rogue government. And that is precisely what the Founders were thinking about when they wrote the Second Amendment.
We might also add, to protect ourselves in the event of a societal collapse. In this case, even if the government has good intensions, they might not have the power to stop the violence.
If one hundred violent people surround your home, coming out with an air gun or a .22 pistol is not going to help you.
Having no government gun control is not an irrational idea. In fact, it is both rational and captures what our Founders had in mind to protect our freedom and our families.
Therefore, our rights shall not be infringed.
Joseph M Bianchi is an independent journalist based in Greenville, SC. His work has appeared in national and international publications. His books include Common Faith, Common Culture and The 21st Century Corinthians.