NRA News commentator Billy Johnson put out a thought-provoking video entitled, “Everyone Gets A Gun,” in which he suggests that gun policy should be constructed off the premise that firearms are an essential part of a free society.
Naturally, media elites were not too thrilled with the idea and began bashing the video. Consider this response from Slate.com:
Johnson’s “provocation sends two very disturbing messages: Guns are a human necessity, and learning how to shoot a gun is as important as learning how to read. We already have 289 people getting shot every day in the United States. Imagine how much higher that number would be if we lived Billy Johnson’s dream.”
While a U.S. in which everyone gets a gun is a pipe dream, Switzerland has been doing its own version of universal gun ownership for quite some time and it hasn’t descended into chaos. For whatever reason when it comes to gun training, gun-control advocates just don’t see the logic in educating folks on how to safely and responsible handle a firearm. They just don’t get that when it comes to firearms, ignorance kills.
Here’s the full transcript of Johnson’s remarks from the video:
JOHNSON: As a country we have an education policy. Imagine if that policy was about limiting who has access to public education. I mean, let’s be honest, the danger in educating people to think is that they might actually start to think for themselves. Perhaps we should think seriously about who we give access to knowledge. They could use it to do a lot of damage.
As a country we have a far reaching public parks program. Imagine if that program was designed to limit who has access to those parks. You littered once in high school, sorry no park access for you.
As a country we have labor policies designed to ensure that people are given access to jobs regardless of gender, race, or creed. Imagine if that policy withheld certain types of jobs as only the purview of the government elite.
The point is that as a country we often write policy to protect access to something; education, parks, jobs. But one for one of the most important protections, a constitutional right, we write policy designed to limit access. Among Second Amendment supporters it’s common to talk about U.S. gun policy. We worry that policies will encroach on our rights; we share our concerns about overreaching gun policy that fails to make any of us safer.
But we don’t spend nearly enough time asking what is the purpose of policy and what should the purpose of gun policy be? We don’t have a U.S. gun policy. We have a U.S. anti-gun policy. Our gun policies are designed around the assumption that we need to protect people from guns, that guns are bad or dangerous. But what would happen if we designed gun policy from the assumption that people need guns — that guns make people’s lives better. Let’s consider that for a minute.
Gun policy driven by people’s need for guns would seek to encourage people to keep and bear arms at all times. Maybe it would even reward those who do so. What if instead of gun free-zones we had gun-required zones?
Gun policy driven by our need for guns would insist that we introduce young people to guns early and that we’d give them the skills to use firearms safely. Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency. It wouldn’t matter if a child’s parents weren’t good at it. We’d find them a mentor. It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade.
Gun policy driven by the assumption we need guns would probably mean our government would subsidize it. I mean, perhaps we would have government ranges where you could shoot for free or a yearly allotment of free ammunition. Sound crazy? Think about it. Education, healthcare, food, retirement, we subsidize things we value. Gun policy, driven by our need for guns would protect equal access to guns, just like we protect equal access to voting, and due process, and free speech. Our Founding Fathers believed that we did need guns. That’s why they codified our access to guns into the Constitution. But the idea of a gun policy that does justice to their intentions sounds ridiculous. What does that say about us? Even as Second Amendment advocates we can’t fathom a world where we would treat guns as a need.