“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.” —Second Amendment, US Constitution
Four Broward County Deputies Decided Not to Protect the People
Americans cannot depend on their government to protect them. The police—who generally work for the government, and not for the people directly—have no legal duty to protect victims. There are numerous court rulings affirming this, in state after state. In Hartzeler v. City of San Jose, the court ruled that, absent a “special relationship” between the police department and the victim, police possess “discretionary immunity” and are not obligated to act in defense of the victim. Even the US Supreme Court has ruled, in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, that the police have no Constitutional duty to protect the citizenry. Therefore, when four Broward County deputies hid behind their cars outside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, refusing to protect the victims inside the school, they possessed discretionary immunity and were acting legally, if not morally, by doing so. So, who has the duty to protect crime victims in America? The answer to that question is this: Victims have the duty to protect themselves. Indeed, self-defense is a natural right of the people enshrined in the Constitution as a safeguard against government tyranny.
The Civil Right of Self-Defense: It Is an Eternal Principle
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Although many infringers of the right to defend innocent life like to claim the Second Amendment can only be applied to muskets, this only displays ignorance on their part regarding the fact that a fully-automatic rifle had already been invented, circa 1778, by Tyrolean Master Gunsmith Bartolomeo Girandoni. His invention was called the Girandoni Air Rifle, and knowledge of this weapon was widespread well-ahead of the ratification of the Second Amendment in 1791. Eventually, Captain Meriwether Lewis, an assistant to President Thomas Jefferson, acquired a Girandoni and took it with him on his expedition to the Louisiana Territory, where he often used it to impress the natives, thereby causing them to fear making any attacks against his expedition. Captain Lewis, in his journal entry of January 24, 1806, wrote the following: “My Air-gun . . . astonishes them very much, they cannot comprehend its shooting so often and without powder. . . .” Although this miraculous weapon possessed astonishing capabilities, it was difficult to maintain and, therefore, fell out of use. But it had indeed offered foreknowledge of the future of firearms.
The existence of fully-automatic weapons notwithstanding, the American people live in a free republic where it is against the Constitution for the government to pass laws against armed self-defense. The Second Amendment intentionally does not specify what kinds of arms the people are allowed to possess or use, because the Founders well knew that weapons technology would change in the future. And the principle of self-defense—be it against government tyranny or criminal violence—affirms the timeless natural right of being allowed to use any kind of weapon which may be at the disposal of one’s adversary. This is an unconstrained right of the people that argues against any policy of victim-disarmament, since disarming the victims can only cause the immoral outcome of evil criminals succeeding triumphantly over righteous citizens. It bears mentioning that all Constitutional protections are founded upon the notion that collective rights, without exception, devolve from individual ones.
But What About the Militia?
The next line of attack by infringers of the Second Amendment against the right of the people to keep and bear arms is to claim that only those in a militia—such as the National Guard—are allowed to own weaponry. But the Second Amendment refers to the “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” not the right of the militia. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms for self-defense, in accordance with the original language of the Constitution.
So, what is that reference, in the Second Amendment, to the militia all about? When asked who the militia was, Founder George Mason answered by saying, “They consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officers.” Mason’s definition is standard, across writings, among the nation’s Founders. The Founding Fathers did not believe in a standing army. In fact, they distrusted the government so much that the Constitution allows the government, in Article I, Section 8, “[t]o raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.” This is why a National Defense Authorization Act has to be passed every one or two years, in order to continue the existence of America’s military forces. The Founders believed in an armed populace that could defend itself against invasion by outside forces as well as tyranny by its own government. Indeed, the British Crown had once been the government of all Americans, and the people had had to arm itself against royal tyranny, in order to throw off its yoke of oppression.
Back to the Future: An Atmosphere of Increasing Firearms Ownership Means More Safety
On May 7, 2013, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that firearm-related homicides in the US declined by 39%—and nonfatal gun crimes decreased by 69%—from 1993 to 2011. Firearm-related homicides fell from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011, while nonfatal gun crimes decreased from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011. During this same time period, Americans actually increased the number of legally-owned guns by 50%—from about 200 million to roughly 300 million. So, as Americans actively made the working conditions for criminals harder, murder rates went down.
States that have more permissive policies about where gun owners may carry in public are less likely to have mass shootings. And this extends to public schools, where many school districts already have policies in place which are credited with providing a deterrent effect against those who would do harm to students.
The Dangers of Gun-free Zones
The shooter in Parkland, Florida, was allowed—with the help of “politically-correct” gun-free zones and “no-duty-to-protect” police deputies—to murder seventeen people on the campus he terrorized. It was the anti-Second-Amendment “disarm-the-victims” mentality that required teachers and administrators in the school to be rendered helpless against armed attack. Also, according to the Daily Caller, “law enforcement officers visited [the shooter’s] home 39 times during a seven-year period.” This is an entire history of the government’s actively choosing not to protect public, when it should have done so by arresting Nikolas Cruz. And, as if this were not enough government malfeasance, a caller to the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned about Cruz’s desire to kill people, his erratic behavior, and his more-than-disturbing online social-media posts; the potential for Cruz to conduct a school shooting was mentioned as well! Yet, after all of these failures by government, the victim-disarmament crowd continues to blame the National Rifle Association and Constitutional conservatives for somehow causing the shooting.
Gun-free zones, in reality, only offer assurances to active shooters that the likelihood someone will shoot back is almost non-existent. Police—who are nothing more than hired guns—generally arrive too late to substantially reduce the number of fatalities. And, in the case of Douglas High School, a second police force had to arrive from Coral Springs before any police took action to help the victims inside the school. It is too bad that armed educators were not present to greet the shooter on campus. Many lives would have been saved, had that been the case, thanks to the NRA and its members’ tireless efforts, over time, to preserve the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
The Batman Shooter Went the Extra Distance to Reach a Gun-free Zone
According to Fox News, the Batman Shooter, in Aurora, Colorado, had a choice of eight local theaters upon which to visit his terroristic wrath. Only one of the eight cinemas participated in a policy of victim-disarmament, thus that is the venue he chose.
Per an account by Fox News, “According to mapquest.com and movies.com, there were seven movie theaters showing ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ . . . within 20 minutes of the killer’s apartment at 1690 Paris St, Aurora, Colorado. At 4 miles and an 8-minute car ride, the Cinemark’s Century Theater wasn’t the closest. Another theater was only 1.2 miles (3 minutes) away. There was also a theater just slightly further away, 10 minutes. It is the ‘home of Colorado’s largest auditorium,’ according to their movie hotline greeting message. The potentially huge audience ought to have been attractive to someone trying to kill as many people as possible. Four other theaters were 18 minutes, two at 19 minutes, and 20 minutes away. But all of those theaters allowed permitted concealed handguns. . . . With over 4 percent of the adult population in Colorado having concealed handgun permits, a couple hundred adults in Cinemark’s movie theater #9 means that there is an extremely high probability that at least one adult would have a permit.” The Batman Shooter did not act foolishly, since he zeroed in on the one-and-only theater that would allow him to commit his evil act without being shot down by a concealed-carry permit-holder. Even if a person with a concealed weapon had shot an innocent bystander while taking out the shooter, the outcome would have been better than having 12 individuals murdered and 58 injured, although it might be interesting to note that citizens with licenses to carry concealed weapons are statistically 5 ½ times less likely to hit innocent bystanders than the police are.
Who Governs, in America?
In a country where a free people would establish government as the servant of the people, the government cannot be allowed to remove the people’s natural rights. The people are in charge of the government, not the other way around. The government may only act as the people’s agent to do things for the people that they already have the right to do for themselves. No individual possesses the right to deprive another of his or her right to defend him- or herself, or his or her family. Thus, the government also cannot possess such a right. This is why the Bill of Rights disempowers the government from acting to deprive the people of their natural rights. Once a government is given such a power, the relationship between the government and the people changes fundamentally, for all time, and the people become the servants while the government becomes the master.
When Common Sense Rules, Guns Save Lives
It is time to stop believing that criminals will follow restrictive gun laws or that background checks will cause criminals to shrink from purchasing firearms on the black market. To reduce murders, and crimes of every variety, the people must retain their Second-Amendment right of self-defense and rid themselves of the useless notions that the government will protect them and that gun-free zones will provide them with safety. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson put it best when he said, “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com