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Atheists And The Second Amendment

Atheists And The Second Amendment

"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to  time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. – Thomas Jefferson

Many people are under the assumption that those of us who hold no belief in the existence of deities oppose the private ownership of firearms. While, it is true that gun ownership is often associated with being a god-fearing member of the Republican party, it would come as a surprise to a fairly good portion of American citizens just how many of us are gun owners.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and part of our Bill of Rights states:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

A Controlling Interest…

The fact is that many of the sweeping “across-the-board” gun control laws that aim to remove the right to bear arms from United States citizens are blatantly unconstitutional. The second amendment grants an individual’s right to own guns as personal, private property, and that many restrictions on buying and carrying guns unconstitutionally impede individual rights.

As an American, the First Amendment guarantees we will not to be forced into worshiping any god. The Second Amendment guarantees our right not to be prevented from acting defensively, with extreme prejudice if necessary, to protect life, limb and personal property. Gun ownership has little to do with hunting. Many gun owners do not only refrain from hunting, but are against trophy hunting. They believe if you kill an animal you should be prepared to eat it, unless you shoot it to protect yourself from an imminent attack. The issue is about the right to protection, defense and deterrence.

In spite of the arguments in favor of gun control laws, there are numerous crimes prevented by the deterrence that is provided under the second amendment. Of course, moderation and responsibility come into play, as they do in almost every situation in life and adding certain, very carefully constructed stipulations to gun ownership is a compromise that should be met with open arms. Responsible legislation that prevents or regulates the purchase of assault rifles and machine guns is not unconstitutional, nor are enacting laws that prevent criminals from legally owning guns.

However, for responsible, law-abiding citizens, owning a gun affords the ability of protection against suspicious or threatening people, and to disable those people when they become aggressive. A criminal who chooses to use a gun in the commission of their crime is not going to be affected by whether or not owning a gun is legal or illegal, and restricting the ability for a law-abiding citizen to adequately protect himself or herself gives the criminal an unfair advantage. 

Concealed Carrying…

There are thirty-one states that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, and each one of those states have lower crime rates than those states who have strict laws against carrying concealed weapons. On average, their violent crime rate is twenty-four percent lower, their murder rate is nineteen percent lower and their robbery rate is thirty-nine percent lower. In fact, in these states, guns are used for self-defense more than two million times a year. This is three to five times the estimated number of violent crimes committed with guns.

What it comes down to is a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people.

“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.” – John F. Kennedy

Defending the first amendment has become a way of life for many of us who do not believe in a god. The second amendment deserves equal attention, thus preventing our constitution from be mocked by allowing the right to protect ourselves, our families and our possessions and the defenseless to be infringed upon.


Excerpted in part from Stefanelli's book, "Free Thoughts: A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist"

About Al Stefanelli

Al is a retired author, writer and journalist. His books include "Free Thoughts - A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist" and "A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth." Al began writing in 1985, starting with the New York Times. In 1993 he joined a McClatchy newspaper, writing a weekly column for ten years. His writing continues to be widely distributed on the Internet and in print. He also produced and hosted a weekly syndicated radio broadcast from 1995 to 1998, and his work won a North Carolina Journalism award in 1998. Al is the former Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc., and served on the Board of Directors for "The Clergy Project." He is also a former Southern Baptist Pastor, having served two churches and as pulpit supply for three counties. Currently, he writes part time for The God Discussion, co-hosts the Internet radio programs, "The God Discussion Show" and "Reap Sow Radio." Al lives in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, GA.
  • Deborah_B

    "What it comes down to is a government that does not trust its honest,
    law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not
    itself worthy of trust" — That nailed it. It doesn't matter whether citizens are theist or not.

  • williamdiamon

    The Bill of Rights dosen't "grant" rights, it defines rights that are inherent in all of us from " God and natures God", and can never be removed, "ualienable". Also, 49 states have conceled cary, only 31 of them are "shall issue".

  • Redrider07

    Nowhere in the 2nd amendement does it say anything about a permit or the registration of weapons. How many people are riding the tax dole to keep track of my pistol and permit. If we could find them other work, in industry. I can imagine that the money saved could buy a brand new pistol for every citizens of this country.

  • Peter

    According to Wikipedia there are 290 million registered guns in America. Nearly one for every citizen including kids. The assault weapon ban lapsed in 2004. Do you really need an M-16 to protect yourself? The 2nd amendment says a well regulated militia. But it isn't. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks these neo-nazi militias and it's scary. From 300 in 2005 to over 1200 in 2011. But, what do I know I'm Canadian.

  • williamdiamon

    The second amendment isn't about protecting yourself or even hunting, it is there to protect us from a goverment becoming tyranical and repel foreign invasion. 'Well regulated" dosen't mean controled by the goverment but well trained and effective. Every male between 18 and 45 is considered in " the militia" and can be called to serve by our state's governor in times of emergency. We own and practice with these tools of war not for evil but because as the Greeks said, "If you want peace, prepare for war". Also, do not call us neo-nazi as that is a rude insult to the sons and daughters and grandchildren of those who fought a terible war to defeat the nazi. It also belittles your own comentary and reputation to act like that and dosn't belong in a fourm ment to enlighten your fellow man.

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