Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The case for Guns

I live in San Francisco so I run into a lot of angrily expressed opinion on the need for firearms.
"Why do we need guns?" is a perfectly fair question. The answer really is: "We don't 'need' guns. We just need free access to them."

First, lets clear the brush a little. Guns do not work, in most cases, for self defense. All studies, that I've read, show having a firearm in your house makes you more at risk for being shot, not less. In fact you're more likely to be shot with your own weapon. We could argue this point forever, but it's more of a side issue and one I'm not very concerned with.


We, in this country of ours, have a right to own firearms. Why?

First, when we fought the revolutionary war, we took on the British almost entirely with citizen soldiers. Regular people who, because they owned guns for hunting and protection, were able to form an army to drive off the army of King George. The founders figured this sort of thing might happen again some day, so they added, as the second amendment: "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

Second, and probably more importantly, we the people are endowed by our creators with inalienable rights. We entrust our government to protect those rights. If, at some later point, our government no longer respects our right to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness we must revolt. Again, the founders foresaw a time when our own government might turn into one resembling King George's. Were such a thing to happen, we have a responsibility to rise up. According to Jefferson:

And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to
the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a
century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to
time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

We must, as responsible citizens, be ready and capable to defend our rights from those who would take them from us. Again, as Jefferson said
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
This is why we must, in order to live in a free society, have access to firearms. How could we possibly mount a resistance without them? Knives and sticks do very little against an M16.


Anyone who thinks our government could never possibly become tyrannical need only look to the erosion of our rights in the last 8 years. Do we need to revolt right now? Absolutely not. But that doesn't mean we won't need to later. If nothing else, George W (the irony of his first name is not lost on me) has reminded us that it only takes one event for us to close our eyes to protecting our Constitution from the government who's forsaken their oath to uphold it.

This is why we don't need to own guns. But we need to be able to whenever the mood strikes us.

No comments: