The Instinct for Self-Preservation: Why Gun Control Does Not Work

We have heard time and again from politicians and gun control advocates that America needs to follow the example of the rest of the developed world and impose strict gun control laws. Piers Morgan ran a crusade for gun control after the shooting at Sandy Hook, asking Ben Shapiro in an interview, “why don’t we try our way?” Morgan was referring to the total gun ban in the UK. Hollywood stars have also called for gun control, with Matt Damon saying that Americans “need to evolve further” in order to be open to implementing Australian style gun control. Put simply, Americans are too brutal and primitive to understand the wisdom of liberal gun control policies. In this post I am going to argue on behalf of the philistines and make the case as to why we support the 2nd amendment and are against gun control.

Let us begin with the language and interpretation of the 2nd amendment. The text reads, “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.” Progressives read this and say that only people in a well-regulated militia have the right to keep and bear arms. This is a complete misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment and must be fully refuted. Author J. Neil Schulman conducted an exercise with retired Professor of Journalism Roy Copperud to examine the language of the 2nd amendment and its meaning. Copperud taught journalism at USC for 17 years and is on the usage panel of the America Heritage Dictionary. Miriam-Webster’s Usage Dictionary frequently cites him as an expert. Schulman asked Copperud a series of questions on the interpretation of the 2nd amendment. I have part of their conversation below:

[Schulman:] “(1) Can the sentence be interpreted to grant the right to keep and bear arms solely to ‘a well-regulated militia’?”

[Copperud:] “(1) The sentence does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms, nor does it state or imply possession of the right elsewhere or by others than the people; it simply makes a positive statement with respect to a right of the people.”

[Schulman:] “(2) Is ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ granted by the words of the Second Amendment, or does the Second Amendment assume a preexisting right of the people to keep and bear arms, and merely state that such right ‘shall not be infringed’?”

[Copperud:] “(2) The right is not granted by the amendment; its existence is assumed. The thrust of the sentence is that the right shall be preserved inviolate for the sake of ensuring a militia.”

[Schulman:] “(3) Is the right of the people to keep and bear arms conditioned upon whether or not a well regulated militia, is, in fact necessary to the security of a free State, and if that condition is not existing, is the statement ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’ null and void?”

[Copperud:] “(3) No such condition is expressed or implied. The right to keep and bear arms is not said by the amendment to depend on the existence of a militia. No condition is stated or implied as to the relation of the right to keep and bear arms and to the necessity of a well-regulated militia as a requisite to the security of a free state. The right to keep and bear arms is deemed unconditional by the entire sentence.”

This exchange clearly shows that Americans have a natural right to keep and bear arms that is not granted, but rather protected by the 2nd amendment. A well-regulated militia is one of the benefits of having an armed population. However, it is not the only reason for a population to be armed. The right to keep and bear arms belongs only to the people, not the militia. A militia, by definition, is made up of a group of people who bring their own guns. It cannot exist without an armed population. The reason the Founding Fathers adopted this amendment is because they had just finished fighting a war against a tyrannical king. They recognized that they could not have won the Revolutionary war without an armed population. Therefore, they decided to protect the people’s natural right to bear arms in the event that they face another tyranny in the future. They wanted the people to be able to start another revolution if necessary. Thomas Jefferson once said in a private letter, “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 & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” Only look at the unarmed masses who were made to submit to tyrants in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Mao’s China to see the wisdom of his words.

In addition to resisting government tyranny, we as human beings have a right to defend ourselves from those who try to hurt or kill us. I once had a conversation with a friend who, when asked if he would use a gun to defend himself, said that he would rather let the assailant kill him than use a gun to defend himself. I did not believe him. While his words may impress his friends at a cocktail party, I think if he were facing death he would want a person with a gun to save him. When someone makes that argument, what they are saying is that humans are the only creatures on Earth who do not have a right to defend themselves. If we see a lion chase after a gazelle and during the altercation the gazelle injures the lion with its horns, would we fault the gazelle? Doesn’t that gazelle have a right to defend itself? Why then would we deny the right of self-defense to humans? We have a right to kill someone who is trying to murder us in the same way that the gazelle has a right to hurt or even kill the lion that tries to eat it. Lions are predators that hunt the weakest in the herd of gazelles. Criminals are the same in that they target those who cannot defend themselves, namely the unarmed.

Having a gun is a strong deterrent against violent criminals. How many felons who are sitting prison would say that they want their potential victims to be alert and armed? None. It would be suicidal for them to attack someone who is armed. Gun control laws would only make it easier for them to commit crimes. When you pass a law that disarms the population, the only people who will follow it are law-abiding citizens. In other words, not the criminals. For example, mass shooters look for areas with unarmed potential victims so that they can kill as many people as they can. They therefore go to gun-free zones where they know that nobody will shoot back at them. If you look at mass public shootings from 1950 to July 10th 2016, 98.4% of them took place in gun-free zones. The recent shooting in Orlando also took place in a gun-free zone. The innocent people inside a gun-free zone during these shootings must wait until the police show up for someone to defend them. Until then, they can only pray that they are not killed. It is important to note that the police do not stop crime, they arrive after the crime is committed. They only draw the chalk outline of where your body was after you were murdered. Only you can stop an assailant when a crime is in progress with your own firearm. The residents of my hometown of Chicago are not allowed to have the gun they need to defend themselves. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but extremely high rates of gun crimes and murders. Between last Friday and early Thursday 99 people were shot in Chicago, 24 of them fatally. The laws that were instituted to stop those shootings are in fact allowing them to happen.

The fallacy of gun control is that it is an attempt to ban murders by banning guns. That is fundamentally impossible for two reasons. The first is that human beings have been murdering each other well before firearms existed. Violence and murder are a part of the human condition and cannot be stopped by laws. If someone has the motivation to kill someone, they will not care if they violate a gun law in the process of committing the murder. The second reason is that there is no way that the government could get rid of all of the guns in America. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are more than 300 million guns in America. That is almost one gun for every person. It is impossible to track down all of them. Even if gun control laws were instituted, criminals will still find a way to get their hands on guns. Even if we call the police when they commit a crime, we will still be relying on men with guns to defend us.

When liberals say they want gun control, it is really a misnomer. Their position is that guns should not be in the hands of private citizens, but exclusively in the hands of the government. Advocates for a total gun ban in reality want the government to use its guns to take guns away from citizens. The irony is that their proposal to ban guns requires the use of guns. Furthermore, they will make it much easier for a tyrant to subjugate us by taking away our means to resist. We will also be left defenseless in the face of violent criminals. As one of the philistines, I am not smart enough to see the wisdom of these policies. Until I can, I will remain ignorant and support the 2nd amendment and my right to defend myself with a firearm.

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