Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Tide Is Turning on Gun Control

By Cody J. Wisniewski, The American Conservative

Contrary to popular misconceptions, the Second Amendment did not create a right to keep and bear arms. Rather, the Second Amendment acknowledges and seeks to protect the People’s natural right to self-defense and the tools required for the exercise of that right, which obviously include firearms. This is why the amendment speaks of the right to arms as something already in existence and not to be infringed—rather than as something newly conferred, a point recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It should not be a polarized and partisan issue. Historically, the right of armed self-defense was understood and exercised by figures who were far from conservative or libertarian, from Eleanor Roosevelt and George Orwell to the Black Panthers and Malcolm X. In a dangerous world, they understood that one’s life should not be left to the mercy of an aggressor.

In light of 2021—a second consecutive year of record violence—are some on the left rediscovering the importance of self-defense? There’s reason to think so.

Of course, 2020 was already an eye-opening time for many. Amid historic riots, pandemic restrictions, a nationwide spike in murders, and calls to “defund the police,” the importance of self-defense was made clear. That year, an estimated 8.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time.


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