In the increasingly post-Anglo United States, we still retain a number of pesky rights that the mostly British founders of this country thought should be secured for themselves and their progeny, just as many of those rights had existed in English common law. One such right is that of a free people to arm themselves, as articulated in the Second Amendment; yet despite being recognized legally as a right under the Constitution, it is still widely debated and contested. Then again, it’s the current year; what traditional aspect of the United States as a society isn’t subject to such scrutiny and hostility? Firearms are a special case, however, since there is often a strong push on behalf of the left to actually dispose of one of our rights on the grounds that guns are dangerous and kill people, much like swimming pools, SUVs and urban youths.
According to the Second Amendment, as contained in the Bill of Rights:
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.
For those of you who are illiterate in ‘Murica Studies, this is basically Classical Republicanism in a nutshell, a philosophy popular with the likes of Jefferson, Washington, and Madison that sought to model the United States after the republics of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. It should not be confused with Cuckservative Republicanism. As Jefferson once wrote, “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.” In order to check the power of the state and secure freedom for the people, it was thought necessary that the people own weapons as a protection against arbitrary and oppressive government as well as external threats. The able-bodied male citizenry had both an obligation and a right to defend the realm from invasion and to protect their own lives, liberty, and property.
The question of how to prevent tyranny—both aristocratic and democratic—and secure a free state weighed upon the Founding Fathers, and judging by the armed insurrection they lead against the British crown and the subsequent skeletal military that remained afterward, there seems to have been both a practical and a theoretical emphasis on the idea that the citizenry ought to possess lethal force for themselves rather than delegating it away to a large federal army. This is where the whole militia idea comes in, that a decentralized, locally-sourced fighting force would be responsible for defense of each state. And in order for these militias to actually form, private ownership of firearms is a prerequisite. And it is the people who keep and bear those arms.
But these are not the ideas most people engage with when they talk about our Second Amendment rights and the issue of gun control; that debate is shaped more by current events and the everyday usage of guns, such as for hunting, sport or protection. On the anti-gun end of things, rarely is gun control interpreted as stripping away a right but more often as a means of protecting people—especially children—from violent people-killing assault weapons wielded by mass-shooters who are invariably mentally ill, on drugs, socially autistic, Muslim or some other maladaptive category. The other angle is that guns are killing people in inner cities and we gotta get them guns off the street before they kill again. And apparently, the best way to protect us from them is to make sure both criminals and law-abiding citizens have a harder time getting their hands on firearms (although those who want them will not be easily deterred). Because reducing the ability of criminals to hurt people as well as the ability of citizens to defend themselves is somehow a victory. It’s not like they’ll switch to other weapons.
So basically, gun control often comes down to the meme “your rights end where my feelings begin,” with leftists feeling threatened by the very existence of weapons—which we use to defend everything we value which we cannot guarantee the safety and security of by mutual consent alone. A great example of that are politicians, who in order to avoid assassination, will surround themselves covertly and overtly with armed guards and surveillance. Since they cannot guarantee their safety by words and agreement alone, they resort to weapons. Gun control is those same people debating whether or not anyone else has the right to do the same.
What is ironic is that the same people who want to cripple the right to self-defense by arms are frequently anti-cop as well, which would end with no one having the ability to effectively protect anyone from violent crime. And in the United States, this presents a very particular problem, because we do not live in a society where violent crime is uncommon enough to warrant disarmament of the police (and in my opinion, never the free citizenry).
This is where I tap out though, and let other sources and some infographics speak for the Second Amendment.