The Founding Fathers on Arms
"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
First President of the United States
Personal gun ownership is key to the first inalienable right of “life.” Throughout history, humans have carried weapons for self-defense; they still do. A U.S. Department of Justice study on guns in America, show that in 1994 alone, over one million people used firearms to defend themselves, their families, or others from harm. Our founding fathers respected these important tools and placed a protection in the Bill of Rights, as the 2nd Amendment, so all people could protect their lives. Many who disagree with the personal carrying or ownership of firearms for self-defense often argue that it’s the police department’s job to protect citizens. Unfortunately, this line of thought is not probable. Attacks occur in seconds. Looking at police response times alone, any reasonable person should conclude that the police simply can’t be at all places preventing murder or assault on everyone. For that main reason, many people keep a firearm at home or carry a concealed weapon when away from their home in an effort to protect life. Opponents may argue against ownership saying, “What if these weapon-bearing individuals are careless with their firearms or may not be trained to use them?” First, there are laws on the books on the negligent or careless discharge of a firearm. Persons found negligent or careless should and are prosecuted. Owning a firearm comes the added responsibility to using it in accordance with the law of the land. It is much like the freedom of speech. There are still laws, which require speech to be responsible such as liable, slander, or screaming “fire” in a crowded movie theater. Secondly, nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a person must be trained to exercise a right. While most firearm owners will tell you training is imperative to the skill and safe deployment of a firearm for self-defense, very few will say that training should be a requirement. This train of thought in legalese is known as the “slippery slope.” Laws cannot prevent all unfortunate things from happening, which is why there are laws that can penalize an individual after committing a crime.
Gun ownership also plays into protecting the inalienable right of “liberty.” The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that, “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.” Having just fought against the forces of tyranny in the Revolutionary War, the founding fathers understood how important an armed population was to keeping their government from taking away their liberty. In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Jefferson wrote that, “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms” (“Quotes on the Second Amendment”). People may say that this is 2016, times have changed, and there is no longer a need for resistance. Throughout history oppressive governments, as well as non-oppressive governments, have outlawed firearms for citizens.
In turn, atrocities are nearly always carried out on the unarmed. After invading Russia, Hitler said, The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so. Liberties are nothing if they can’t be defended and fought for – arms allow that to happen.