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1. There was a distinct moral basis for the entire Bill of Rights. The First Amendment is a declaration that the greatest abuse of government authority is to make one violate his own conscience. There is a fundamental right to live one’s beliefs, nor be compelled to conform to contrary moral/theological notions, nor be silenced when things need to be said. The Second Amendment is about discharging the moral obligation to defend one’s family and community. For the founding generation, compulsory disarmament was not just tyranny but directly infringed on a matter of conscience. That this right was second only to express protections for deeply held beliefs illustrates its centrality in the moral calculus that shaped the Constitution.
2. There are few legislative solutions if a criminal is suicidal. It is already illegal (with stiff penalties) for hijacking and crashing airplanes or shooting children. The threat of sanction only functions as a deterrent in the risk-benefit calculus for criminals who prefer and plan not to be caught.
So we must know the enemy. Can we identify and anticipate? Should we expand rather than restrict weapons possession to harden the target that is normal life? Bureaucratic harassment of arms-owning normals is clearly never the answer. Maybe if the Deep State is going to spy on us anyway, perhaps focus on express social media declarations of violent intent instead of school board protests and vaccination opposition.
3. Currently, our enlightened thinkers believe that self-defense should be entirely delegated to the police. This opens up a form of government abuse pioneered by Hugo Chavez. He dispatched his cadre of Cuban thugs against dissidents and then withheld police protection. Disarming citizens, fostering chaos, and then making protection conditional on compliance is tyranny. (Will the Ferguson Effect give big city regimes ideas along these lines?) Ben Franklin saw this kind of policy firsthand when the colonial legislature of Pennsylvania discovered that the Royal Governor had promised native tribes that the militia and British regulars would not defend settlers west of the agreed line even though such settlements were entirely legal under the charter and law of the commonwealth.
4. Given the moral underpinning of 2A, it is perverse or at least ironic that a kneejerk hatred of guns and their owners is supposed to confer moral superiority and self-gratulations.
5. We need perspective borne of better math skills. Based on a half-century of data, the chances of a mass shooting in your kid’s school in any given year is one in 550,000. The extent of the very real horror of a statistically freak event does not make it a trend or our biggest legislative challenge. Resisting the temptation to Do Something when there is no solution at hand is hard but necessary.Published in