Like many of you, I’m sure, I spent part of Christmas Day talking with family about the gunning down of little boys and girls in Connecticut. Tis the season, and all that.
The tenor around the table was that nobody should have guns, even that the 2nd Amendment was an anachronism, better forgotten or repealed entirely. I don’t know fully how I feel about gun control (we have some, we may need more or less), but I certainly didn’t agree with that opinion (expressed by a lawyer, I should note). I offered a line I expressed here: there were either three guns too many at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or one gun too few. Why we ever thought it was safe to send our most vulnerable to congregate in one spot, looked after by mostly women, all unarmed, sounds crazy in retrospect.
But it also occurred to me that the 2nd Amendment fits in with the rest of the Bill of Rights, namely as a protection against the abuses of the very government the Founders had just created. Government may not legislate our freedom of speech, assembly, or religion; may not subject us to unreasonable search and seizure; may not suspend due process or compel our self-incrimination; must try us fairly and speedily, with a jury and counsel for our defense; must not subject us to cruel or unusual punishment—to name just a few “negative liberties”.
And: 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.
The right to keep and bear arms—and the right to regulate them—is as much a part of our founding DNA as freedom of speech. And for the same reason: to empower the individual against the oppressive and suppressive potential of government. At some time or other, all the Amendments in the Bill of Rights can prove vexing. But we usually answer by doubling down in their defense: i.e. the answer to offensive speech is more speech, not restricted speech.
So maybe the answer to gun violence is more guns, not restrictions on guns.
Unlike my Christmas table, that’s how other people are thinking:
Classroom teachers could stop school shootings by carrying concealed weapons, say gun-rights advocates who plan to offer the required training Thursday for 200 Utah teachers.
The Utah Shooting Sports Council said it would waive its $50 fee for concealed-weapons training for the teachers. Instruction featuring plastic guns is set to begin at noon Thursday inside a conference room at Maverick Center, a hockey arena in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley.
It’s an idea gaining traction in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting. In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Association said it was launching a test program in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers initially.
“Schools are some of the safest places in the world, but I think teachers understand that something has changed — the sanctity of schools has changed,” said Clark Aposhian, one of Utah’s leading gun instructors. “Mass shootings may still be rare, but that doesn’t help you when the monster comes in.”
As I say, I don’t have the answers. But I’m tired of liberal, know-it-all, do-gooders thinking they have the only answers. Try owning a gun, or even just talking to someone who does, before you abrogate the Constitutional right to keep and bear one.