The reason for the Second Amendment

National Review has an excellent article by Charles Cooke titled ‘Why Would Anyone Want A Firearm?‘  I know it’s preaching to the choir as far as most of my readers are concerned, but it contains many useful points for those times when you may run into an anti-gunner.  Here’s a brief excerpt to illustrate.

In most of the world’s countries, firearms are regulated in much the same way as are, say, cars, radios, and lawnmowers: as everyday tools whose utility can be evaluated without prejudice. In the United States, by contrast, the government’s hands are tied tight. To those who are unfamiliar with the contours of Anglo-American history, this can be understandably confusing. “Why,” we often hear it asked, “would the architects of the Constitution put a public policy question into the national charter? Do we really have to stick with a regulatory scheme that originated before the invention of the light bulb?”

The answer to this question is a simple one: “Yes.” Why? Because, our contemporary rhetorical habits notwithstanding, the right to keep and bear arms is not so much a right in and of itself as an auxiliary mechanism that protects the real unalienable right underneath: that of self-defense. By placing a prohibition on strict gun control into the Constitution, the Founders did not accidentally insert a matter of quotidian rulemaking into a statement of foundational law; rather, they sought to secure a fundamental liberty whose explicit recognition was the price of the state’s construction. To understand this, I’d venture, is to understand immediately why the people of these United States remain so doggedly attached to their weapons. At bottom, the salient question during any gun-control debate is less “Do you think people should be allowed to have rifles?” and more “Do you think you should be permitted to take care of your own security?”

A five-foot-tall, 110-pound woman is in a certain sense “armed” if she has a kitchen knife or a baseball bat at her disposal. But if the six-foot-four, 250-pound man who has broken into her apartment has one, too, she is not likely to overwhelm him. If that same woman has a nine-millimeter Glock, however? Well, then there is a good chance of her walking out unharmed.

There’s more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.  It won’t do anything to change the minds of those who are blindly, irrationally, emotionally convinced that guns are a sign of Satan and are therefore to be banned and/or destroyed and/or both.  However, nothing will get through to such people.  These arguments will help with those who are open to logic and reason.  There aren’t enough of them, but hey, we’ll have to take what we can get.

I’ve often used the example of the disabled and/or handicapped shooters I’ve trained when talking with anti-gunners.  It’s a lot of fun to see them fulminate that I’m ‘irresponsible’ for arming someone in a wheelchair.  “What if they fall out and the gun goes off?”  Well, that’s why they use holsters, just as a more able-bodied person uses a holster to protect the firearm and stop it going off if he should fall.  As for at least three of my students being alive today because they used their firearms the hard way to defend themselves . . . the moral dilemma in an anti-gunner’s brain is delicious to behold.  Part of their mind is saying, “But guns are eeeee-vil!” and another part is saying, “I daren’t admit that in this case, a gun was a useful tool, because that’ll create an exception to the norm I’m trying to argue!”  I’ve actually challenged some of them to admit that in those three cases, without a gun, the victim of the assault would have been much worse off;  yet they’ve refused to do so.  They literally could not bring themselves to acknowledge the facts, because to do so would be to undermine their world view.

I’d hate to have to live in their minds.  They must be awfully convoluted, confused, nasty places.



  1. Peter:

    Marvelous post! 🙂

    You wrote:

    "I've actually challenged some of them to admit that in those three cases, without a gun, the victim of the assault would have been much worse off; yet they've refused to do so. They literally could not bring themselves to acknowledge the facts, because to do so would be to undermine their world view."

    Exactly right. These people – Leftists mostly but they're of all stripes – literally CANNOT accept information that doesn't match what they already believe lest it not ONLY undermine their world view, but IMHO undermine their view of themselves as moral superiors.

    You might like my essay on that (shameless self-promotional plug!):


  2. I really don't even try anymore. The gun "debate" in America has reached the point that smoking was in a few decades ago: it's been talked to death, everyone knows all the arguments, everyone has decided which "truth" they're going to accept, and continuing to have the conversation just distracts us while the anti side picks our pockets.

    I know I annoy the more moderate gunowners with this stance, but there's so little intellectual honesty left on the other side that we might as well just skip to consequences and hope they have a sense of self-preservation: we have our guns, thank you; you don't know where they are, you can't control the supply of new guns or ammunition, we're not going to surrender any more ground to new laws, and we outnumber you by several orders of magnitude. What, exactly, do you propose to do about that, and how many lives is it worth to you?

  3. Wondrous argumentation, but let's not kid ourselves, the 2nd Amendment
    was written by folks who had deemed it necessary to "break the glass"
    and open the "4th Box" (Soapbox, Ballot Box, Jury Box, Ammo Box).

  4. "They literally could not bring themselves to acknowledge the facts, because to do so would be to undermine their world view."

    Ludwig von Mises labeled this the "Fourier Complex" in his 'Liberalism'. The "Fourier Complex" along with resentment psychologically defines the aniti-liberal. Resentment can be overcome by logic, such as pointing out say, jacking up taxes on the "rich" will also negatively impact the anti-liberal (Progressive). As indicated above, the "Fourier Complex" defies logic. The neurotic will cling to the "saving lie" even in the face of overwhelming evidence in reality. The anti-liberal cannot be argued or counseled away from their clinging to their beliefs but must make the journey alone, if they ever start at all.

    "The neurotic clings to his “saving lie,” and when he must make the choice of renouncing either it or logic, he prefers to sacrifice logic. For life would be unbearable for him without the consolation that he finds in the idea of socialism. It tells him that not he himself, but the world, is at fault for having caused his failure; and this conviction raises his depressed self-confidence and liberates him from a tormenting feeling of inferiority."

    Mises, Ludwig von (2010-12-10). Liberalism (pp. 16-17). Ludwig von Mises Institute. Kindle Edition.

  5. "On the other hand, the right to bear arms is inherent under English ideas, and this alone, with the corresponding right of political assembly, has served largely to maintain English liberty; "

    –Popular Law-making: A Study of the Origin, History, and Present Tendencies of Law-making by Statute
    by Frederic Jesup Stimson (1910)

    "The rifle is a weapon. Let there be no mistake about that. It is a tool of power, and thus dependent completely upon the moral stature of its user. It is equally useful in securing meat for the table, destroying group of enemies on the battlefield, and resisting tyranny. In fact, it is the only means of resisting tyranny, because a citizenry armed with rifles simply cannot be tyrannized."

    –The Art of the Rifle, Jeff Cooper, 1997

  6. Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:13 – the sixth of the Ten commandments) Therefore, by allowing someone to kill, where if armed, you could have stopped them; you are in fact, in violation of the Revealed Law of the Almighty. Let me translate this into secular terms; remember the America where the good guys ride in, kill all the bad guys, and save the weak? That's justified war! That's biblical! That applies as much to individuals as it does to nations. Every living thing on this planet has a defense mechanism. That humans make tools for defense is as natural as making a cup for the drinking of water. By denying access to a weapon, you are in fact, also then, violating God’s Natural Law. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law not to rescind the law. The character change a Christian undergoes when he comes to the realization of Christ Jesus does NOT darken our perception of the world we live in. On the contrary, it sharply reminds us of the violent state of habitation on this evil planet. Mine is a permanently offensive posture against the evil of this world, in which I prayerfully carry a weapon, in the hope that I never have to kill in the defense of the innocent or weak. None the less, I will do just that, as I swore to when I served America, and as I have not forgotten my oath, now in my town, my neighborhood and church. Fight, flight, or hide, all three are legitimate, natural, God given, and inherent. We were born for such a time as these, if it were not so, we would not be here.

  7. I am tired of the idea that my gun ownership is up for discussion and possible confiscation! Pick a different subject, Leftists!

  8. Your wheelchair argument does not work against the hard core anti gunner. They believe that all people have the same value: the death of a rapist is, in their eyes, the same as the death of a shopkeeper. A death is a death. That is why they do not care about self defense, because to them a self defense killing is a killing. Period.

    So in your example, a person in a wheelchair using a firearm to defend their own life is the same as a drug dealer killing someone to defend his ability to sell drugs on 'his' street corner.

    This theory that all people have the same worth is the ultimate expression of communistic thought, and is seen in the "Occupy" movement. They believe that the person serving the hamburger has the same economic value as the brain surgeon, which means that all people should be paid the same.

  9. The position of the fanatical anti gun person is very similar to what Yuri Bezmanov was warning us about- a situation where they can be presented with an absolutely irrefutable fact, and and choose to disbelieve it because it would challenge their inner view of self. Often it will escalate into a complete refusal to even view an alternative point of view, or my favorite, "let's just agree to disagree", AKA, I know my arguments will not stand up but to admit that would put a crack in the dam so deep my entire world view will collapse.
    If any of the folks reading this are unaware of Mr. Bezmanov, I highly reccomend reading what he has to say or listening to the tapes he made- he was a high level Soviet defector- this cognitive dissonance we see in the fanatic anti gun person and elsewhere is not necessarily an accident of mental wiring- it was actively cultivated by the communists as a way to demoralize western societies.

  10. Divemedic nailed it. The core principles of the civilian disarmament movement are simply divorced from reality, except where they're actively evil.

  11. Beautiful. The only thing I might quibble with is "…by placing a prohibition on *strict* gun control…" (emphasis mine). It's arguably a minor quibble about word choice, but I've become extremely simple sensitive to certain words in the debate (giggle-snort) around gun control…one of those sensitivities is to words like "strict" or "common sense" gun control. The anti-self-defense clowns like to say "it's not an infringement if we just ban guns with a 'shoulder thing that goes up' or scary muzzle shrouds!" (The "shoulder thing that goes up" quote brought to you by the disgustingly, hilariously inimitable Diane Feinstein) and so on. The second amendment says "shall not be infringed" not "shall not be unreasonably infringed". It's not a matter of degrees, it's an absolute. Personally I don't think a nuke is within the class of weapons that could be reasonably labeled an "arm" but select-fire rifles, crew-served weapons, etc certainly are. But, as I said, I'm pretty sure I'm quibbling for no good reason…ah well. God bless!

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