Earlier this year, Donald Trump found himself in hot water. When he explained that Hillary Clinton might limit gun rights, he added that no one could prevent her, except perhaps for “the Second Amendment people.”
Regardless of what you think of Donald Trump, you can probably see the problem behind this. What was he trying to say? Was this a veiled threat? It is easy to see that this is not a politically savvy statement to make, but hidden behind the embarrassment of the quotation remains a trace of good philosophy. The Second Amendment was not meant to preserve your right to go deer hunting. It is a constitutional amendment that preserves a mindset of liberty, checks government tyranny, and saves innocent lives.
The Second Amendment Preserves a Mindset of Liberty
The founders of America were vigilant, responsible, and not about to outsource their lives to the whims of government. When the pilgrims arrived on the shores of Massachusetts, or the Virginia Company settlers founded Jamestown, they were starting a new civilization in a land that was a complete wilderness, at least to them. They had to be completely self-reliant. If they didn’t grow crops, there was nothing to eat. If they didn’t build houses, there was no shelter. If they didn’t protect themselves, no one else would.
Today, it is easy to outsource the most valuable things for the sake of ease. When we trust the police to always protect us, we are outsourcing. When we trust the government to always preserve freedom, we are outsourcing. Not only are we outsourcing, but we are putting our minds in a dangerous attitude: ‘don’t worry, those people will take care of it.’
The Second Amendment counteracts this dangerous tendency. Citizens who are armed maintain an attitude of cautious distrust, rather than gullible carelessness. It reminds citizens that they are, themselves, responsible to preserve their liberty and safety.
The Second Amendment Checks Government Tyranny
Citizens rising up against their own government – does this sound strange? Haven’t we outgrown such a concept? The founders of America looked through the annals of history and noticed, time and again, that tyrannical governments delight to disarm their citizens. Once disarmed, citizens are entirely defenseless.
If colonial America was not filled with armed citizens, the War for Independence would have ended in a very different way. The British armies would have marched unopposed throughout the colonies. America might still fly the Union Jack. When British troops were quartered in the houses of colonial families, the husbands, fathers, and brothers would be unable to do anything except meekly submit to the injustice.
The principle stands true today. While ISIS is ravaging the middle east, some of the more effective groups that are standing in their way are militias. Some are small (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/world/middleeast/us-backed-militia-opens-drive-on-isis-capital-in-syria.html?_r=0), while others, like the Peshmerga, are full armies that are fighting ISIS. It makes sense that armed citizens, working together, can fight tyranny.
The Second Amendment Saves Innocent Lives
It may seem strange to think that guns can save lives, but modern events provide many examples. One recent and famous example is when a policeman shot a knife wielding terrorist at an Ohio college (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38136658). Countless lives were saved by this gun.
There are constant stories of armed citizens intervening for good, but few of these stories are spread by the media – it doesn’t fit the liberal, anti-gun narrative that the media elite are so eager to spread. When 49 people were killed at a night club in Orlando, guns were a terrible thing that needed to be banned. No one mentioned that two weeks later, an armed citizen stopped a similar mass shooting (http://bearingarms.com/bob-o/2016/06/29/concealed-carrier-just-stopped-mass-shooting-night-club-media-remained-silent/).
Even if you aren’t convinced that the Second Amendment is necessary to preserve liberty, I’m sure you can recognize that the rise of terrorism in the modern world is reason enough for private citizens to be armed.
What about misfires and accidental deaths? What about criminals with easy access to guns? What about mass shootings? Yes, they exist. They always will in an imperfect world. In the end, what would you rather have? America, with its freedoms and faults, or a nation like Soviet Russia, free of guns, and filled instead with stories of tyranny and oppression.
Maybe guns aren’t such a bad idea after all.