Jacob Hornberger: The Unfettered Right to Own and Possess Guns

People have the unfettered right to own and possess guns and other weapons. That is what private property is all about. It is also what the right of self-defense is all about. People have the right to defend themselves from murderers, rapists, robbers, and anyone else who initiates force against them.

Equally important, people have the right to defend themselves from the tyranny of their own government. That’s what our ancestors had in mind when they enacted the Second Amendment.

There are those who maintain that the concept of resistance to tyranny is quaint and outmoded. They say that there is no reasonable possibility that the federal government would ever engage in tyrannical action against its own citizens, especially since the federal government is a “democracy.”

Yet, it is undisputed that U.S. national-security state officials have installed into power, trained, and partnered with some of the most brutal and tyrannical regimes in history. It is a short step to go from supporting tyranny to engaging in it.

Moreover, we mustn’t forget that ever since the U.S. government was converted into a national-security state after World War II, U.S. officials have wielded and exercised such totalitarian powers as indefinite detention, torture, secret surveillance, and assassination, including against Americans, with the approval of the judicial branch of the federal government.

The cartridge box is a more effective way to preserve freedom than the soap box, ballot box, and jury box. If the American people ever permit federal officials to confiscate their guns, it is a mistake that tyrannical officials will never permit them to make again.

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  1. For 86 years, since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934, we have stood by passively while politicians have passed gun law after gun law. Not one of them has had any effect on violence. There has been 86 years of trying the same old thing and it has never worked. They have only stripped the rights of law-abiding citizens who own guns. The attack gets progressively more invasive with each passing year. The National Firearms act of 1968, The Brady Bill, The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the list goes on and on. All failed to reduce gun violence. Yet we travel down the same worn path again and again. All the time people continue to die while our elected officials carry on the same old debates. However, there is hope. The model of action used to prevent drunk driving has a lot of positive transfer. I can remember when drunk driving was more of a rite of passage than a crime. Now it is a serious crime with serious consequences. For the drunk driving problem, we did not find fault with cars, we went after irresponsible drivers with a great deal of success that has been copied in many other countries. We are the leader and the current world model. Those who drive drunk are swiftly and severely punished. I propose that we use our lessons learned, abandon methods that have been repeatedly proven ineffective, and pursue methods with a proven track record. Those who use firearms to do violence should be punished with vigor. All too often, in our courtrooms, prosecutors will plea bargain away the gun charges to get a guilty plea to another offense. If the criminal is convicted, they often receive a light sentence for the gun charge.
    This is what needs to be changed.

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