As the old adage adage goes, “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” That may be literally true in places like Nazi Germany or communist regimes that have completely banned individuals from owning firearms, but in the U.S., most attempts to merely “control” gun ownership have resulted in far greater numbers of legal guns being purchased by the American public. Today there are more guns than people in the U.S.—by a lot—thanks in no small part by progressives’ efforts to restrict our Second Amendment rights.
David Harsanyi relays these counter-intuitively findings in his new book, First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun — a must read for anyone who wants to understand the heated debate around guns in America, and why the Founders considered the individual right to bear arms so important that they put it right after freedom of speech, religion, etc. in the Bill of Rights. In short, we need the Second Amendment to defend the First. The liberties in the First Amendment could not have been guaranteed were it not for American assertion of their right to gun ownership during and after the American Revolution.
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist, a columnist at National Review, and author of four books. He joins me this Sunday to talk about the on-going importance of standing up for our Second Amendment rights, and how critics of gun rights most commonly miss the mark.
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For the record, I have never owned a gun couldn’t tell you the difference between the butt and the blunderbuss. I get my libertarian bona fides as a card-carrying supporter of the Cato Institute and Reason Foundation — not the National Rifle Association. However, it warms my heart that many of my compatriots, both now and throughout history, have kept government tyranny at bay through their constant vigilance to keep original meaning of the 2nd Amendment intact.
Harsanyi argues that those who oppose an originalist interpretation of the 2nd Amendment (securing an individual right to own guns) have a formidable challenge. First, they must fundamentally revise history, editing out the reliance of the colonists, pioneers, revolutionaries, on guns. Second, they must prove that the “well-regulated militia” clause is actually intended to enshrine a collective right to bear arms in unique cases that have long since become archaic.
Against this line of reasoning, Harsanyi provides ample evidence from the writings of the founders. Before penning the immortal words of the Second Amendment, James Madison wrote:
“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments of the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
This was not license to rebel — save against a government that no longer defends the rights of the people, and thus the nation. He shows how guns were used to end the institution of slavery, defend the world from totalitarian governments in Europe and Asia, and enable minorities to defend themselves against violent mobs.
Today, Progressives are the main enemies of the rights of self -defense— seeking less to ban guns than to “control” them through stringent background checks and other methods that could easily be politicized and used against innocent people placed on faulty “watchlists.” How long will it be before democrats push to place anyone with conservative opinions on their lists of “mental defectives”?
Listen now as we discuss the roots of the current gun control debate, and how it relates to the creeping threat of mob rule leading up to the 2018 mid-term elections.