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Gun control threatens Americans' natural rights

July 18, 2018

In the wake of Parkland and several other recent mass shootings, it seems clear that gun control advocates do not understand natural rights and the founding principles of the United States.

In the wake of Parkland and several other recent mass shootings, it seems clear that gun control advocates do not understand natural rights and the founding principles of the United States.

The Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights reads, "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."

People commonly speak as though unalienable rights, such as the right to own a gun, are granted by the government to the people, but that's the polar opposite of what America's founding documents declare.  The government doesn't grant unalienable rights to the people; the people possess those rights inherently.  Governments can and often do violate those rights, but they can't revoke them, because they belong to each and every person, simply by being born.

Gun-grabbers, especially after the tragic Parkland shooting, have incessantly called for bans on the manufacture and sale of semi-automatic "assault" rifles and high-capacity magazines.  Their "solution," which would effectively ban all semi-automatic weapons (including most handguns), would deny Americans their God-given right to own a gun and protect themselves and their families and communities.

Some on the anti-gun left reject calls for the confiscation of currently owned firearms, but they often promote buyback programs, the registration of all guns, and the digitization of gun records.  Advocates claim that this doesn't affect anyone's right to own a banned firearm, but this argument totally disregards the history of how gun registries have been used to take away people's liberties.

For example, registered gun owners in Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York had their names and addresses published on an interactive website following the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.  Every one of these law-abiding New Yorkers outed by the Journal News instantly became easy targets for harassment or more serious offenses.  Additionally, those not on the gun list arguably became more susceptible to criminals targeting their homes for burglary and other crimes.

Furthermore, registries can serve as a first step toward future gun confiscation efforts.  Such was the case in 1991, after New York City instituted an "assault weapon" ban.  Police then used registration lists to search homes for these newly banned guns.

The European history of gun registry is even more sinister.  Shortly after his rise to power, Hitler confiscated guns from German citizens based on a gun registry list his Nazi government inherited.  He repeated this tactic in each country he invaded, too, ultimately disarming the public so his regime could wield unlimited power.  Under Stalin, the Soviet Union did the same.  From 1915 to 1917, the "Young Turks" massacred 1.5 million Armenians after confiscating their weapons.

Other examples of strict gun control laws being tied to massacres occurred in Cambodia, China, Guatemala, North Korea, and Uganda.

Apart from violating law-abiding citizens' natural rights, gun registries provide limited value.  Since criminals don't register guns, the police often have no information on the gun-owners most likely to commit crimes.

Rather than try to take people's freedoms away or put Americans at risk of losing their unalienable rights in the future, people should take heed of this wonderful wisdom, espoused by Benjamin Franklin: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

[Originally Posted on American Thinker]

Author
Lennie Jarratt is the project manager for the Center for Transforming Education at The Heartland Institute.
ljarratt@heartland.org @LennieJarratt
Author
Chris Talgo is editor for The Heartland Institute

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