Gun Possession as an Unalienable Right

March 5, 2017

“We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonist” (Patrick Henry- Founding Father of United States, Revolutionary War activist)

In 1778, while building and setting the rules for the newborn United States, the founding fathers carefully composed the Bill of Rights ensuring the citizens would have the rights they deserved. The founding fathers understood gun possession is a crucial human right based upon the need of guns for self-defense, protection, and most importantly to overthrow a tyrannical government (Ferreria “Should”).

The United States independence was not instated solely by a declaration on paper, it was the colonists’ firearms that empowered them to conquer their oppressor. Realizing this, the founding fathers understood the importance of the unalienable right to bear arms in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, and in the protection from tyrannical rule. For example, in the novella Anthem by Ayn Reed, a government enforced society exists where everyone is equal. Individual rights are ignored. The main character runs away from the collective society and reaches an epiphany “At first, man was enslaved by the gods. Then he was enslaved by kings. But he broke their chains... He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him…” (Reed 101-102) This quote mirrors exactly what happened to the United States. England claimed possession of the oversea colony and denied the colonist’s rights. The oppressed citizens rose together and fought to break the chains put on by the imperialistic British. The citizens wanting their freedom fought and shed their blood in brutal war. Without firearms there would be no liberation of the 13 colonies and no freedom for the United States of America.

200 years post Revolutionary War, people are questioning the unalienable right to bear arms, arguing it's a greater risk than protection. Many believe guns should be banned and deemed illegal to carry by citizens, and only accessible to militia or law enforcement trained to handle them. The major flaw in this is that just like illegal drugs or items on the black market, illegal things are still accessible to posses if someone is determined, and in heated acts of crime. Author Phoebe Bovy, states in her article that most guns used on crime scenes are in fact acquired illegally. (“It’s”) Secondly, the practice of permitting guns to select groups of people, such as militia and law enforcement versus all citizens, creates a scenario in which elitists can take power and the vulnerable can’t defend themselves or protect their freedom in life-threatening situations. As stated in Why We Will Always Need to Own Guns, 80% of police arrive to the scene 15-20 mins after summoned (Donovan). This statistic demonstrates that need of self-protection in imminent danger.

One could argue that self-protection is tied to self-actualization as taught by Siddhartha, who followed Buddhism. Siddhartha said “I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself, alone.” (Hesse 129) The individual actualizes through the fulfilment of one’s potential which is guaranteed via their own safety, and many, although not necessarily Buddhists,  believe the right to bear arms allows this. 

On a national level, possession of firearms have protected Americans from foreign invasion as well. According to various historians, there is speculation that the Japanese avoided invading the United States mainland and instead bombed Pearl Harbor because of knowledge of citizen firearm possession. (Dresner “Japan”) Foreign countries awareness of the 2nd Amendment has protected the United States’ citizens and warded off enemies’ potential invasions.

The lack of foreign invasion in the 200+ years since the right to bear arms has been guaranteed and practiced, speaks to the collective power of individual’s possession of guns. This is contrary to pro-gun regulation activists argument that guns serve only to protect individuals and not groups.  Their belief that will gun control will create an even safer society for the country as a whole is not entirely true.

In addition to defending and protecting citizens today, the right to bear arms protects Americans from future invasions, both personally and nationally. It helps citizens defend their property and protect themselves and their freedom. The founding fathers determined that it is an unalienable right, it is part of our pursuit of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which includes the choice to own a firearm or not to. Owning a gun is a choice, not a requirement. Many do not feel empowered or safe owning and operating something they don’t know how to use. However, for those who do, or choose to learn and follow regulations, gun ownership has proven to be a life-saving factor and has protected Americans from tyrannical rule, personal and national invasion.

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