Well now it's five years on and guess what - I still feel the same way. But I'm still going to write about guns, occasionally at least. I dipped my toe in the waters with my recent write-up about Ruger 10/22 modifications and that got some good responses, so I'll keep it going with reviews of some of the firearms I've encountered down through the years and have caught my attention.
But first I think it's important for me to lay out for my readers just where I stand on the issue of guns and gun control. To begin, I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which states (and the US Supreme Court recently affirmed) that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, not a collective or state right. Our Founding Fathers - smart, savvy men hardened by long experience - clearly understood that an armed citizenry is often the last thing standing between despotism and freedom. The right to keep and bear arms is the ultimate veto against a government that no longer serves the will of the people and refuses to stand aside. To men like Adams, Monroe, Jefferson, Mason, Franklin and Washington the need for the citizenry to retain arms wasn't some academic exercise in good government. They had experienced first hand a tyrannical government that took as its first step the seizing of weapons when its citizens began asking tough questions and demanding the right of self governance. The Battle of Concorde, the first battle of the American Revolution, was all about the seizing of arms to quell a rebellion.
But my stance on guns (and knives) derives from an even deeper perspective. I believe every person has a fundamental human right to defend themselves, their family and their property to ensure their survival. This right extends not just to American citizens, but also to the goat herder in the Sudan, to the farmer in the Ukraine, to the slum dweller in Venezuela, to the shop keeper in Israel and to the factory worker in China. All human beings have a natural right to life and freedom, and if this means they feel they need to carry a weapon to defend themselves and their loved ones then so be it. No state, no law, no political system should be allowed to override this most basic human right - the right to live. In my interpretation this means that any political system that seeks to deny or tightly restrict the right of self defense is an immoral system. I'm not just talking about places like North Korea. This includes political entities like Washinghton D.C., New York City, Chicago, and the United Nations.
Simply stated, I believe in and support the right of every single human being on the face of this Earth to defend themselves and those they love by whatever means necessary to ensure their survival in the face of violence and aggression.
But this is a right of defense. The moment you take unprovoked offensive action you are giving another human the authority to act in his or her own defense and you deserve anything and everything that comes your way.
As is often said, with rights come responsibilities. We must adopt our defensive practices to meet the likely threat. We must also adopt to the society and the times we live in. If you are going to carry a firearm for self defense do it in a responsible manner that meshes well with societal norms and respects the citizens around you. In the US this means no M4 carbines slung over the shoulder while riding the bus to work or schlepping an AK-47 into a Starbucks just because you can. In the US during times of peace and normalcy the responsible approach to defensive carry of a firearm is concealed carry or non-threatening open carry of a pistol.
I am also a firm believer in training. I live in a state where the major pro-citizen carry organization espouses a firm belief that a Constitutional right must not be restricted by education or training requirements. I believe they are 100% correct. I also believe that every citizen who chooses to carry a weapon or own one for home defense has a duty and responsibility to know how to safely and effectively use that firearm. This includes regular shooting practice to ensure proficiency. Achieving just a moderate level of proficiency helps ensure the firearm owner can safely carry the weapon and effectively employ it should the need arise. In my case I practice regularly, often weekly, with the firearms I regularly carry for self defense.
I also respect the wishes of private property owners and the mandates of my employer. If a business or location states they do not want guns on their premises I will honor that and leave my pistol locked in my car. However, I will likely never do business with them again. If they don't respect my right of self defense then I will spend my money elsewhere. Work is a bit more complicated. My employer has a strict no firearms rule, and I respect that. Why? Simple - because I chose to accept their offer of employment and their no-guns policy was well established when I signed on. I don't like the rule and hope that some day they will change it, but as long as I work for them I will respect and abide by their rules as long as they comply with existing law.
So in summation:
- The Second Amendment to the US Constitution addresses the citizen's right to keep and bear arms as an ultimate recourse to an unjust government that no longer reflects the will of the people
- Beyond that, all human beings have the fundamental right of self defense. This is a basic human right no government can grant or take away. This individual right is universal and always supersedes governmental authority and rights. Any government that refuses to acknowledge this right of self defense and/or works to subvert it is an immoral government.
- The individual right of self defense is a defensive right - it can not be used to justify unprovoked aggressive acts against individuals or governmental representatives (to include police)
- Rights come with responsibilities, and the responsibilities that go along with carrying firearms are heavy. You and you alone are responsible for ensuring the proper and safe carry and employment of that firearm. If you are unwilling to meet these responsibilities then do society a favor and leave the gun at home