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Defending Liberty and the Second Amendment

News-Herald Guest View

November 30, 2012
By John Hendrickson , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The Second Amendment is once again under attack as many liberals and progressives are calling for new gun control measures in the aftermath of tragic shootings such as the incident which occurred at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. The argument being made is that stricter gun control laws are needed in order to prevent these types of tragic incidents. Defenders of the Second Amendment are arguing that current gun control laws are sufficient and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is a sacred tradition and liberty in our nation which must be honored and protected.

Conservatives are also challenging the notion that every societal problem needs to be solved by some form of legislation, in this case more gun control laws, which will prohibit future gun violence. The conservative philosophy correctly views human nature as flawed because of original sin and argues that the most well-crafted law or government program will not lead to a more perfect or secure America.

The United States Supreme Court in two landmark decisions, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, ruled that the Second Amendment does provide a constitutional right for an individual to keep and bear arms. Our constitutional right to keep and bear arms has a rich historical tradition in our nation. The individual right to keep and bear arms is not only essential for the preservation of liberty, but many Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, are proud, responsible gun owners who use firearms for hunting, collecting, and participating in a variety of shooting-related sporting activities. Perhaps fundamentally the right to keep and bear arms is an issue of the right of self-defense.

More gun control laws do not necessarily mean less gun violence. The noted economist and author John R. Lott, who is the author of More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns, has offered substantial evidence that gun ownership is a deterrent to crime. The Second Amendment is a fundamental right and liberty that is unique in the world. In preventing violent crime, more gun control is not the answer; rather, the answer is to allow people to exercise their right to keep and bear arms through the Second Amendment.

Whether the Second Amendment is being attacked by more stringent gun control laws and regulations or from international attempts to undermine this liberty through such treaties as the United Nations Arms Trade treaty, policymakers must be vigilant in defending the sacred right to keep and bear arms. This is not a partisan issue, because the Second Amendment is a liberty enjoyed by all law-abiding citizens regardless of political affiliation or philosophy.

If the Second Amendment is allowed to be undermined or destroyed it will be the death knell for all liberty in the United States.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Public Interest Institute. They are brought to you in the interest of a better informed citizenry.

John Hendrickson is a research analyst at the Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant,



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