“If ours is a government for the people, by the people, then why would anyone want to infringe on their own rights?” – Blue Beckham
The constitution in general, and the second amendment in specific, do not give Americans the right to keep and bear arms. Instead, those sacred 27 words prevent the government from infringing on a right that all people have, regardless of government intervention and infringement.
The noted philosopher, activist, and revolutionary, Thomas Paine, built upon the free thinking works of others from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and all the way back to the gifted Greek philosopher Cicero in his seminal work, The Rights of Man. He noted that any charter (read constitution or legal framework of government) “… operates by a contrary effect—that of taking rights away.” In short, a system of government cannot grant rights that already exist by nature, and therefore can only infringe upon them.
In today’s American society we see a fundamental and inherently self-destructive view of gun-rights as a privilege and not a right in the extreme, or in the more moderate (but still incorrect) view, a right granted by our constitution as designed by our founding fathers. Our shared American history is replete with attempts to control, infringe, or otherwise intervene in the rights that all humans have at birth, namely the right of defense of self, family and community.
It is through the lens of natural rights that we should look at attempts to control, restrict, and infringe on our ability to defend ourselves. If ours is a government for the people, by the people, then why would anyone want to infringe on their own rights? It is a fundamental disconnect for gun rights activists that those who would oppose them would want to restrict their own God-given rights. Without question, many “celebrity” anti-gunners have their own armed security yet the vast majority who are protesting do not, and that is a tragedy.
It is therefore incumbent upon us to educate ourselves, our families and our communities not only on the safe handling of firearms, but also on the natural rights we all have, and perhaps even most important what happens when law-abiding citizens are denied their natural rights. In our politically correct culture, we may tend to shy away from these types of conversations. And, yes, our political discourse is becoming increasingly polarized, but I submit it is more important than ever for us to have conversations with our friends, families, and members of our communities.
If not now, when?