The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: “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.”
I do not understand the liberal point of view on gun control. It is indeed true that this amendment does leave some ambiguity over whether gun rights are intended to be individual or collective. That said, the ending line, “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” is a clear endorsement of the individualistic interpretation. Additionally, the liberal social view tends to endorse policies that allow for greater personal responsibility and freedom over security and control. How is it that the right to self-defense with the use of firearms is not a part of the liberal perspective?
All humans have basic rights endowed to them by their Creator, according to the Declaration of Independence. The right to life is the first specified. It is reasonable to infer that it bears the greatest weight. Gun ownership is a critical way of assuring the right to life. Self-defense with use of force is a necessity in the modern world. Our society is proliferated with guns. It is as unreasonable to believe that guns can be removed from all Americans as it is to believe that marijuana can be entirely stamped out. The critical question is not whether or not we want a gun-free society. It is whether or not we wish to grant the right to own guns to law-abiding citizens, or simply to criminals. Criminals will always have guns. Many guns used in crimes are illegal today. It is not as though gun-bans, such as those enforced in New York City, Canada, and Great Britain, will actually prevent criminals from possessing firearms. In fact, recent studies by groups such as The Fraser Institute (http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/) and the British Journal of Criminology (http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/) suggest that gun control programs have been a wasteful failure.
Why is there still a lingering notion that loose gun laws in America are responsible for high violent crime rates? Nations such as France, Switzerland, and Germany, all seen as progressive on social issues, have very permissive gun laws in comparison with the U.S., and they have lower violent crime rates than we do. In principle, it is ridiculous to believe that strict gun laws prevent crime. To throw out a simple example, which is robbed more often: a bank, or a gun store? When many individuals have guns in an area, crime is less likely. It is prevention by deterrence at its core.
A number of recent restrictions on guns have been considered. Child safety locks were recently mandated by federal law on all new firearms, and there has been talk of banning assault weapons recently. The child lock legislation, though well-intentioned, is flawed. Imagine that an individual breaks into the home of a gun-owner, awaking her. It is the middle of the night. As a responsible gun-owner, she has placed the gun in one secure, hidden location. The ammunition is in another. The lock’s key is in another. Depending on her level of energy and the location of these items, it could cost several minutes for her to ready herself for self-defense. In situations where every moment is precious, is this reasonable? I think not.As far as the assault weapons ban goes, we are not discussing legalizing grenade launchers, silencers, or full-automatic weapons. The ban outlaws all semi-automatic rifles. Semi-automatic weapons can be a critical tool for home defense. Additionally, they can serve as a great tool in personal protection. The ability to rapidly fire several rounds in a firefight within the home can mean the difference between life and death.
Guns and the right to self-defense are inherently linked. It is irrational to suggest that, through the use of stringent controls on law-abiding gun-owners, violent crime can be reduced. All citizens have the right to own and carry firearms. If one truly wants to reduce gun crime, then outlaw the possession of firearms by convicted felons and encourage all citizens to receive proper training in the use of firearms. Require background checks on all participants at gun shows and on any potential firearm purchaser. Do not infringe on liberty in the name of security.