Gun Rights:
Why Are We Armed?

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Forget about why we Americans are armed for a moment. Don’t give any thought to the reasoning of the Founding Fathers and what they were doing when they drafted, then passed, the Second Amendment. Disregard the court cases, arguments, myths and fears — push all that aside. You care about these, sure, and see it as essential. You latch your Second Amendment hopes on those sorts of things. But surprise — none of that matters. It simply doesn’t matter to society’s adversaries — criminals who arm themselves.

They Walk Among Us

It’s already well-established gun control doesn’t work. Criminals the world over are already armed. The cause? It’s because the Chinese invented gunpowder in the 9th century. Add centuries of human ingenuity and here we are. The Founders are in no way responsible for armed villains around the world and they’re certainly not responsible for it here. The criminals are responsible solely and completely. They choose and acquire weapons then stand outside of control. If gunpowder ceased to exist villains would remain. They would switch to edged weapons or clubs. It’s not the guns.

We have criminals on some streets (but not all); they’re in our schools; they run black ops to provide drugs, sex and anything else a demanding public wants that government forbids. A lapel pin famously says, “Disarm Criminals First.” But evidence shows this doesn’t work. Splashy public efforts to disarm affect only the good guys, the innocent, the protectors of peace, safety, law, order — essentially you and me. The pretzel gun in front of the U.N. isn’t a statement against the armed thugs and tyrants running that place. It’s aimed at innocent civilians, us.

Just for the record, the endless delightful global world peace the pretzel-gun worshippers seek is of course utopian. It exists nowhere. While the human condition contains what I call the Four Horsemen of Human Havoc — angry, hungry, stupid and wicked — we are doomed to a turbulent world. Your options are limited, but you do have some. Hungry we might be able to solve, angry only in your dreams with endless psychiatry and soma in the water. But stupid and especially wicked, are part and parcel of this existence. This begins to answer the question I posed when we started. It’s about the villains.

It Ain’t The Crime …

Many gun enthusiasts and Second Amendment supporters make the mistaken assumption we are armed to protect ourselves from them … “the criminal element.” While true, it’s short-sighted and incomplete. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and the rest were well aware of the self-defense values of firearms. They faced dangers in a new land, wild animals on four and two legs, criminal activity in a largely lawless land, often with too much distance between them to simply call for help. Self-reliance and independence required the ability to police your own surroundings. It was simply understood. That right and reality of self-defense harkens all the way back to the Bible. But self-defense was not the main driver of their desire for an armed public.

The fundamental reason the Founders wanted us armed is for balance of power. Self-governance had never been tried. Worldwide, rulers were armed. In classic time-honored style, they use that capability, that monopoly of force, against the people they supposedly serve. Power corrupts — and possession of power frees those with it to act as they please — a two-way street! By spreading power around, freeing everyone, we achieved a level of liberty unimagined.

Democidal Tendencies

If you’re reading this, you likely know genocides of the past were preceded by disarmament campaigns, orchestrated by “officials,” who then go on to commit atrocities and democide once the population is de-fanged. Democide — murder by government — claims the very top mass-murder statistic. Street thugs and police don’t hold a candle. Last century it cost 262 million lives by the best estimates available (U.S. historian Rudolph Rummel). The slaughtered were generally defenseless. That right there is why we’re armed. And that right there is why America is and remains the land of the free: because we’re armed. Thoughts of messing with us gives villains pause.

Now this isn’t to say even this system is perfect, far from it, and we all know it. While anti-rights monsters will insist our unique right to arms — exceedingly well-implemented — has something to do with the fact criminals exist, we know better. Malfeasants are active and sometimes horrific but being armed and being evil are unrelated concepts. America’s 100 million gun owners basically never shoot anything but targets and food. The anti-rights bigots may holler guns kill people. We know guns protect people. Guns are good. If guns disappeared, we would have to re-invent them.

Guns keep the peace. Action-at-a-distance from a firearm far exceeds the value of a broadsword. Sam Colt’s great equalizer works on the person-to-person scale, and writ large, against the entire artifice of civilization. Villains will conduct their villainy. Accept it. Guns, and people who bear them righteously, watch over and protect all of us. And that’s why we’re armed.

Award-winning author Alan Korwin has written 14 books, 10 of them on gun law, and has advocated for gun rights for nearly three decades. See his work or reach him at GunLaws.com.

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