Two Yale Law School students put together a pretty laughable argument for restricting the 2A rights of law-abiding citizens in a recent article published by The Atlantic, titled, “A Constitutional Case for Gun Control: History and textual analysis aren’t the only factors that matter. Our lives do, too.”
You can read the whole article but the gist is that the Supreme Court should consider a “constitutional narrative” when deciding what limitations, if any, should be placed on one’s right to keep and bear arms. By “constitutional narrative” what they really mean to say is stories from the likes of David Hogg and other activists from the anti-gun advocacy group, March for Our Lives.
Now, I’m not opposed to that per se, provided the judges also get to hear the countervailing narratives from the hundreds of thousands of citizens who defend themselves with firearms each year. Their stories matter, too. After all, they are the majority.
Yes, good guys use guns more often to defend themselves than bad guys use guns to perpetrate crime and violence. This should be common knowledge but sadly it’s not. Conservative estimates indicate that the former happens 3-5x more than the latter, which means for every David Hogg there are three to five Stephen Willefords.
Pew Research looked into this in 2017 and found that one-in-six gun owners used a firearm to defend themselves, their families or their possessions. Considering there’re tens of millions of gun owners in this country, that’s not a trivial sum.
Yet, the Yalies who wrote that Atlantic article don’t acknowledge these facts or statistics. Instead, they see gun control — specifically, universal background checks, a ban on “assault weapons” and a law prohibiting adults under 21 from purchasing firearms — as “preemptive self-defense” for the citizen.
“An individual right to gun ownership offers one path, deputizing all people to defend themselves with a firearm at their side. Gun regulation offers another such path to self-defense, one vastly more efficacious and preferred by the American public. It represents a mode of preemptive self-defense, whereby the state is tasked by its citizens with limiting access to deadly force,” they write.
Like communism, gun control works in theory. But how does it play out in the real world?
Let’s pretend for a moment that a 20-year-old college student is sitting alone at home doing school work. It’s late at night. She can’t afford to live in the best part of town, so she compromised and moved to a different, not-so-great part of town. She wanted to purchase a firearm for self-defense but, alas, she’s not 21. No worries, though. The state will protect her. It has recently passed the aforementioned gun-control legislation and she can rest assured that Big Brother has sufficiently “limited access to deadly force.”
Except for that it hasn’t, really. The serial rapist who has been casing her home for the past week doesn’t really care what the law says. The law prohibiting rape didn’t stop him from savaging his first two victims, the law banning dope didn’t stop him from shooting up a few hours ago, and the new law requiring universal background checks did nothing to stop him from buying a pistol on the black market. Despite all the state’s efforts, he is still armed and dangerous.
When she sees him prowling about the front lawn, she dials 9-1-1. Police promise to be on the scene within minutes. The dispatcher instructs her to stay on the phone and to describe his movements as they unfold. She does, until he breaks through the front window and she can no longer report. He is inside the residence, bearing down on her. And she has to fight for her life with whatever she has on hand.
Unarmed and physically outmatched, how does she survive? Where is the state in this equation? Police are on their way but they’re not there yet. What happens next???
In real life, when the rubber meets the road, self-defense is not a task for the state, it’s an obligation for the individual. Heck, the whole freakin’ concept is built around oneself, hence self-defense. How did these Ivy Leaguers miss that?
What this comes down to is one is ultimately responsible for one’s own safety. Consequently, in a free society, 2A rights should be maximized, not restricted. Because as much as gun-control advocates would have one believe that the government’s quest to disarm good guys will make bad guys harmless, that’s just not the case.