"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.
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"