28 February 2010

An Armed Society Means Moral Progress

As I happen to be posting this, the Supreme Court is ready to hear another Second Amendment case about extending the Heller decision to all 50 states, and I really hope it upholds firearms rights again.

In a way, the Second Amendment is really about more than self-defense.

According to the Constitution we are a society under the rule of law, not men. Government exists to protect individual rights, and furthermore, private individuals believe in recognizing the rights of other individuals.

This sounds like a quite peaceable societal arrangement, so why should citizens own firearms? Well, why not?

Why - in a free society - should firearms be outlawed or strictly regulated by the government? A man has the right to own property and use it as he likes as long as he harms no other man. Firearms are private property. That presupposes there is a firearms industry for people to make a living from. In other words, because our society has banished the use of force among men, firearms become objects and commodities like any others.

Why do I have firearms? I know I have the right to protect myself, but that is really not an important reason for me. I like to hunt and shoot. I like learning about how firearms work, how they are used, learning about their history and development, and on and on. They are fun and fascinating. That's all.

I live in a society where I can basically own all the firearms I want. I can use them quite freely from the range to the hunting field. I can get instruction in fighting with a firearm. I can wear a handgun in public for protection. I can keep a semi-automatic carbine in my home for defense. I can have rifles that are deadly at long ranges. All that and no one has anything to worry about from me. I am legally and socially trusted with them. I have like trust in my fellow citizens. We do not pose a threat to each other.

Is it not moral progress when a large number of citizens are heavily armed and they harbor no ill intent toward others? Is it not moral progress when we have relegated weapons of war to recreational and sporting uses?

Think about that.

That is an accomplishment that we Americans should be proud of, firearms owners or not. I know I am. I am glad I live in such a society.

Who would not be?

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