States from Montana to Texas have relaxed laws restricting the carrying and use of firearms in self-defense. The Lone Star state is even considering following Utah’s lead in making firearms legal on university and college campuses — the sort of thing that was politically unthinkable not long ago, thanks to the incurably irrational liberalism that tends to hold sway in the halls of higher learning.
In other encouraging news for those who embrace the Second Amendment and understand its purpose, at least 8 states, according to Time, have either passed concealed-carry laws or relaxed existing laws to ensure that residents are not denied the right. Laws protecting the right to defend one’s home and person with lethal force are being strengthened in many states, and even Washington, DC — long a Second Amendment-free zone — has been forced to begin permitting residents to legally own handguns, thanks to last summer’s ambiguous Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment.
All of this has occurred because of a (for Time and kindred liberals) troubling political trend, a steep decline in public enthusiasm for gun control legislation. As Time admitted, “Americans in general have cooled significantly to the idea of restricting gun rights. A poll released last week by CNN showed that support for stricter gun laws was at an all-time low, with just 39% of respondents in favor. Eight years ago that number was 54%.”
Americans, in other words, are rediscovering their heritage as an armed people, and not only in rural areas where hunting and target shooting are still rites of passage. Huge numbers of ordinary citizens (this writer included) are taking the time and expense to arm themselves and learn how to use guns, since it is impossible to know where the next hardened gunman will strike.
Tragic as mass shootings like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Binghamton may be, most of them tend to occur at schools, colleges, and other government offices (post offices used to be a favorite target; hence the term “going postal”), where homicidal gunmen know their victims will be unarmed. A recent mass shooting in Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square Mall, by contrast, claimed several lives but was stopped by an armed off-duty policeman before the shooter could accumulate the sort of appalling body count accomplished by the Columbine or Virginia Tech shooters.
Of course, behind the debate over whether fewer firearms laws and more armed citizens deter crime lurks the real motive for the Second Amendment, and with it the reason why the right to keep and bear arms is more detested by political leaders than any other: privately owned firearms are a potential check on unlimited government power. And this is not merely the case for firearms; all privately-owned weapons are loathed by power elites, as Japan’s infamous Great Sword Hunt and the Roman Emperor Justinian’s prohibition of all private weapons ownership in the wake of the Nika Uprising serve to illustrate.
Evildoers will always walk among us, unfortunately. Some of them are private citizens driven over the edge, but many of them also work for the state. Sometimes the latter get out of hand, as Americans saw in the Waco massacre 16 years ago (an anniversary Time was careful not to mention in its article). Events at Waco under the Clinton Administration probably did more than anything else to persuade Americans that its own government is capable of appalling acts, against which armed resistance may sometimes be necessary. Washington knows it too, which is why every crime committed with a gun will be used as an excuse to try to relieve law-abiding Americans of one of their most precious legal birthrights.
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