The Supreme Court will take a shot at the Second Amendment sometimes next year. So for the foreseeable future, we’re all going to be subjected to a million opinions about gun legislation. It’s already started. Both sides of the gun ownership debate have been gearing up for this battle for years. We’re going to be bombarded with propaganda until the SC makes some kind of decision. Hell, even after that, we’re going to be bombarded with analysis, cross-analysis, debate and rhetoric regarding the decision; so the topic isn’t going away any time soon. I’m already tired of it just thinking of all the mess to which we’re going to be subjected. Still, that doesn’t stop me from putting my two cents into the pot.
First off, a caveat: I’m not a lawyer. I’ve never even researched the Second Amendment seriously in any professional or scholarly way. Oh, I’ve read enough about it, enough to know the basic arguments against private gun ownership. I’m not going to recap them. Frankly, most make very little sense to me. And the arguments that do hold some weight seem insignificant in the face of what I believe is the main reason private gun ownership should be allowed in the US: Private gun ownership is essential to a free society. It is only through gun ownership we citizens can ensure that the rest of our rights are not violated.
I firmly believe that the reason why we have suffered under no Mao, No Pol Pot, no Castro, or no other despot is because of private gun ownership. After all, what is the first thing a successful despot does once they gain control of a government? They restrict gun ownership among citizens.
Their second act is to restrict free speech and the right to assemble. And, of course, they get away with it. Why wouldn’t they? The public doesn’t have ready access to firepower. It’s tough to overthrow a despotic government when your one weapon against the government’s well-armed military consists of your good throwing arm and a bag of rocks.
So what recourse is there for a subjugated unarmed citizenry who wants to change their despotic government? None. That’s why would-be despots work so hard against gun ownership when they are rising to power and ban it altogether once they are in power. They can’t restrict free speech (and thus remain in power indefinitely) unless they first restrict weapons.
This is why the thought of the Second Amendment being argued before the Supreme Court makes my skin crawl. What happens if we lose our right to bear arms? Despots often rise to power under the guise of socialism (or its kissing cousin communism). And socialist dogma is becoming more popular and more acceptable in the US. It worries me.
But for now, I’ll set aside history. I’ll pretend to know nothing of past despotic behavior and I’ll look at the people who, this very minute, want to restrict gun ownership in the US. The same people who want to restrict gun ownership are the ones we hear about in the news all the time. They “protest” at campuses. But these protests aren’t the peaceful hippie sit-ins of the sixties. There’s no love in this crowd, free or otherwise. These protesters storm stages when opposing views are scheduled. And, most often, they drown out the different opinion such that it can’t be heard or has to be cancelled. Specifically, I’m thinking of campuses where conservatives were supposed to present an opinion to the students and were forced to leave before that opinion was rendered. It has happened all over.
Those protesters are the same people who want to restrict gun ownership. And they seem to have problems with free speech. Any thought that is different than theirs is one that cannot be tolerated – it is to be drowned out if it is allowed to be said at all. What would happen if they were allowed to dictate who gets to voice an opinion and who doesn’t? We already know. In their minds, opposing opinion is not allowed.
More than that, opposing thought is not to be allowed. Along with socialism, hate crime legislation is becoming more popular in the US. Criminal activity perpetrated upon another because of the victim’s differences is deplorable. But should criminal activity motivated by the way a perpetrator thinks or feels about the victim be treated differently than the same crime with no “hateful” motivation? That’s what is happening; Criminals are being charged and sentenced based on what they were thinking.
It’s one of those weird places for me. A person has every right to hate others for whatever reason, but I have to agree with the basic premise of hate crime legislation: “hate crimes” are deplorable. At the same time, my inner libertarian is twitching and screaming: do we want the government to be in the business of regulating thought? And how big of a step is it to go from regulating thought-based criminal activity to regulating thought-based opinion* to just plain out regulating thought?
Back to topic, the people who want to restrict gun ownership have been pretty clear: in their minds we only have free speech if we agree with them and we are to be punished for thoughts that don’t agree with theirs. These are the people who want to take away our one defense against a government powerful enough to act on their beliefs.
A well-armed citizenry is not only a right, it is also a necessity for people that want to preserve their rights. And that is exactly why the Supreme Court’s upcoming look at the Second Amendment scares me. What happens if we lose the right to bear arms? I think we all know. Both history and current events have made pretty clear what will happen to our other rights if we lose this one**.
*Snarky thought: Thought-based opinion versus what? Opinion based on something other than thought? I guess it happens. Still, “thought-based opinion” is a weird turn of phrase. And it is easily mocked, even by me and I wrote the thing. I kept it in there anyway because I was trying to draw a comparison. Still, weird.
**Another thought: my liberal friends mock me for my views. “The commies are waiting out there over the hill, waiting and ready to take over the US once they finally outlaw guns,” they snark. They don’t take it seriously, this idea that we must protect ourselves from both our own government and others that would take over it. Well, for all we know, someone might be lurking over the hill, waiting for opportunity. And yes, it’s possible that our government may one day be corrupt enough to warrant defending ourselves against it. I can’t prove either scenario will happen. But you know, my liberal friends can’t prove that neither scenario won’t happen. I think that’s an important distinction. What’s the worst that could happen if they’re right and we’re allowed to own guns? In their view, law-abiding citizens would own guns. What’s the worse that could happen if I’m right and we’re not allowed to own guns? We would be unprepared and unable to defend our rights against those who would subvert them. I think that’s pretty powerful incentive to keep gun ownership legal.