Americans’ right to defend not a casual privilege

Arizona is considering legislation that would further loosen gun laws in favor of the Second Amendment. Among the provisions is one that is already in place at UAA: the right for students to have a gun on campus as long as it remains locked in their vehicle.

While Arizona contemplates catching up to the great state of Alaska, the real question is: are they going far enough? Having guns in locked vehicles helps, but it does not go far enough in increasing student’s safety.

Anyone opposed to the open interpretation of the Second Amendment has heard the following arguments before.

You’ve heard that areas without guns are not safer because of a lack of guns. In fact, you’ve probably heard about the research that shows that they are even more dangerous than areas in the country that have more open guns laws.

You’ve heard that law-abiding, license-carrying gun owners are not the ones committing crimes with a firearm. Those willing to break the law to murder someone are the same people willing to break the law to get a gun.

And you’ve heard how dangerous college campuses and schools can be in light of events at Virginia Tech, among other examples.

And you’ve heard, I’m sure, the argument that it is your constitutional right to bear arms.

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The bottom line, however, is that through laws and policies that limit the Second Amendment, we have completely stripped the right of Americans to defend themselves.

The ability to defend oneself is one of the most fundamental human rights we have. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, two very important philosophers to our American tradition, both asserted that in the most original state of man, before civilization as we know it, the most important and inalienable right humans have is the right to defend themselves.

Sweeping gun legislation has not produced a society with less violence. On the contrary, it has produced a society where mass murder takes place in schools around the country where citizens are unable to defend themselves.

It has also produced a society whose idea of violence comes almost entirely from television and video games.

For the most part, the extent of contact that kids have with fighting and firearms comes from a make-believe world that fails to impart the seriousness of using these methods for defense on them.

Handling a gun tends to create a fear and healthy respect of it.

Handling a game controller does not.

The same argument can be said for physically and verbally defending yourself. We teach our kids that violence is never the answer. And, of course, we’d all like that to be true. But it’s not. The actual world we live in calls for moments in which a person might be called to defend themselves through physical means.

Sometimes, violence is the answer. Instead of learning when its right to defend yourself, we’ve told kids that no matter what happens, you’re going to be suspended if you engage in physical violence or if you say words not pre-approved by a school board.

What has that mentality gained us?

Our kids are committing suicide because they’re being bullied-rather than standing up for themselves. We’ve taken away tools they have to build their own self-esteem. Fifty years ago a bully would have likely been dealt with in the schoolyard. And sure, the person being bullied may have lost the fight. But standing up for yourself, even when you lose, is something a person can be proud of.

There is something to be said for the person who will not be bullied. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Beyond bullying, it is a your constitutional right to carry a firearm to protect yourself as you walk alone at night to your vehicle. There is no sense in taking that right away- regardless of where someone is walking.

It’s your constitutional right to be able to brandish a firearm when your life is threatened. Regardless of where you happen to be when that moment emerges.

And it is your common-sense right to be able to stand and defend yourself as necessary-without “retreating,” as many states mandate you must do if you have a firearm and you’re not trapped in a corner.

Government has gotten the wrong impression over the years. The second amendment was and is not optional. It does not read, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed…unless (see your local listings for more information).”

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the second amendment was an incorporated right, meaning states are obligated to uphold the right just as they are obligated to uphold the first amendment. As states work to apply this ruling to their legislature, they hopefully will move beyond the idea that gun free ? safe.

The absence of handling of guns creates a fear and distance from the responsibility and danger of guns, so that when people pick up a gun they are less aware of the consequences in doing so.

The best way to make guns safer is more education. Just as citizens have the right to bear arms, they also have the responsibility to educate themselves on the most safe way to do so, similar to the ideal way that people vote in a political election. Furthermore, talking to children about guns and teaching them the heavy burden of responsibility they require is much more effective than avoiding them altogether. The more we talk about it, the safer we become.

The same goes for all other ways we have to defend ourselves as humans. It is important to learn how to peacefully resolve conflicts. It is important to learn when it is best to walk away. It is important to know when to ask for help. We should be teaching all of these ideas while simultaneously teaching how to defend yourself in case the time comes when that is your only option.