Sorry. You can complain all you want. You can deny that “gun homicides” are down dramatically over the last 25 years (they are by 50%). You can cite completely fabricated school shooting stats. You can act like the kids in Florida don’t have a giant PR firm (they do, George Clooney’s) and funding behind them and that they aren’t being used to further the goals of people who despise that we have the 2nd Amendment. You can have no concept of risk or statistics and scream your ignorance to the heavens. You can yell, and walk out, and scribble on poster boards all you want. You are welcome to do it.
But you don’t get to ban guns. Ever. Guns and the right to defend oneself are cornerstones of the American republic. A well armed citizenry makes us safer and a well armed citizenry makes it harder for the control freaks to impose their will. A well armed citizenry is fundamental to keeping tyranny, both the goose-stepping kind and the kind that comes from people wearing tweed elbow patched sport jackets in check.
We are citizens, not subjects in this country. This is not a place where everything is supposed to be bubbled wrapped (like in the EU). We have a right to defend ourselves.
Why shouldn’t the exercise of individual rights be subject to popular opinion or debate? Well, that’s a philosophical question. From my perspective, as well as that of many libertarians and classical liberals, individuals are sovereign beings free to do as they please so long as they don’t cause each other actual harm. To the limited extent that government has any legitimacy, it can act only to prevent people from injuring one another—”the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others,” as John Stuart Mill put it. The potential for injuring one another in the exercise of our liberty isn’t enough to justify government action since that’s inherent in just being alive and the having the ability to contemplate mischief.
That’s not to say that everybody is bound to share my concept of what makes government legitimate or illegitimate. But these are the principles that guide me and other people who roughly share my point of view. We really don’t consider our rights open to discussion. We don’t consider anybody’s rights open to discussion—not even when they’re exercising some rights to call for limiting others.
Where this lands us is that even if today’s protesters get their way and legislators vote to impose restrictions on gun ownership and self-defense, that doesn’t mean that those of us who value those rights will change our conduct…
…The track record on disobeying such laws is very clear. Residents of Connecticut and New York defied requirements that they register their so-called “assault weapons.” Gun owners in Colorado ignored mandates that they pass all their person-to-person sales through the background check system. Even the French and Germans flip the bird to laws that gun-haters can only dream of imposing in the United States, owning millions of illegal firearms that supporters of restrictions wish they didn’t have.