Military and Police

A Deeper Question on Gun Control: Does the Left Believe in Your Right to Self-Defense?

I was listening to the radio this morning, you know, to see how the left was attacking my rights and my character as a conservative-libertarian American. I heard the host, John Carlson (KVI 570 AM), mention a report that employed a familiar anti-gun lie: guns in homes cause more homicides and suicides. This toxic tenet recurs persistently, a blast from the past (forgive the cliché—oh, and the pun). The truly great leftist lies never really go away; they merely continue traveling in their elliptical orbit until the next time the Lefty Lies Comet makes a close pass.

Though my political writing began with an occasional letter to the editor back in the 80s, it started in earnest after I became a cop in 1992. This gun myth provoked my first article in the Seattle Police Officers Guild newspaper The Guardian. Like what I heard on the radio today, another officer had contended that having a gun in the home somehow increased the risk of suicide.

A rookie at the time, I didn’t fully realize the limitations I was placing on my career by expressing my opinions—regardless of how respectfully and factually I did it. Still, had the officer written that suicidal people were more likely to commit suicide with a gun in households that had firearms, it might make sense. But guns causing suicide? I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now.

Then again, many people still believe the debunked myth that having a gun in the home makes it 43 times more likely it will be used to kill a family member rather than an intruder. This garbage came from a seriously flawed study whose methodology could only have been contrived to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. For one thing, the researchers failed to include any defensive gun uses in homes, instead focusing on when a gun is actually fired rather than displayed but not fired.

It’s tough to wade through the choppy gun lies to get to the smooth gun truths. But when you have government fact-gathering agencies failing to publish public safety studies because they don’t promote the anti-gun narrative, you see an example of what pro-Second Amendment advocates are up against. They find themselves battling a government agency that is supposed to defend, not infringe upon, their rights to self-defense and the most practical means to enable that defense.

(Credit: Facebook/Hands Off My Guns)

A 2013 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that there are 2.5 million defensive uses of firearms by law-abiding people annually. These are incidents where simply pulling out a gun scares the criminal away.

If many on the left had their way, they would prohibit other Americans from the means to scare the bad guys away. What would the crime stats say today if, on those two million occasions per year, people had not been able to scare those bad guys away? How many of those Americans would have been raped, robbed, maimed or killed if they had no right to keep and bear that gun? This brings up a deeper question: does the anti-gun left believe in a human being’s natural right to self-defense? They may say they do, but what is the right to self-defense without the means to carry out that defense? This is like saying you have the right to write on a piece of paper, but you don’t have a right to a pen or pencil.

Why did the framers of the U. S. Constitution place the right to keep and bear arms so highly among the Bill of Rights? Americans have argued for nearly two-and-a-half centuries about what the framers meant when they crafted the Second Amendment. Critics use dubious grammar skills, presentism, and a lack of simple logic to misinterpret the militia clause in an attempt to obfuscate the entire issue.

Conservatives and libertarians tend to interpret the right to own and carry firearms as one reserved for the people, which is my position. Leftists, who see the Constitution as a living, breathing document changing with modern whims and trends, somehow believe the right to keep and bear arms should belong only to the government through the military and law enforcement. The left feels liberal jurists may interpret the Constitution to mean whatever they believe it should mean, not what the text actually conveys.

So, tell me this: Why would the framers, committed to limited government and individual liberty, restrict the right to keep and bear arms only to the government, thereby expanding government and decreasing individual liberty? They wouldn’t, is the simple answer. Why does the left believe the framers using the word People in Amendments One, Four, Nine, and Ten mean the people there, but they did not mean the people with regard to the Second Amendment? Does this make sense?

Now, since it’s obvious to thinking people that the framers meant to include the right to keep and bear arms as an individual and not a collective right, there is another implicit natural right that precedes this constitutional right: an individual’s God-given right to self-defense. Obviously, if you have a right to life, you have a right to protect your life. Right?

But what happens when a political party is not able to get their way at the ballot box or through legislation? They use the judiciary and appointed administrative officials to infringe on Americans’ rights, including to keep and bear arms. By restricting your ability to carry concealed, limiting magazine capacities, and by banning certain types of popular firearms, these leftist activists and their judicial and bureaucratic allies are restricting the people’s rights not only to keep and bear arms but also the people’s God-given right to self-defense.

(Credit: Pixabay/heliofil)

Humans are very different, and we choose diverse items and product models that suit our needs for various activities. We choose different careers, hobbies, religions (or no religion), cell phones, cars, wines, and guns. We make choices based on a variety of reasons: personal preferences, practicality, efficiency, or even necessity. Different-sized people, for example, will tend to choose items that make it easier for them to use it physically. Perhaps, preferring a small car over a large SUV or pickup truck or vice-versa.

Or, perhaps the smaller person will choose a firearm with a larger capacity magazine because switching out magazines is more difficult due to having smaller hands. Of course, this isn’t the case with all people of slighter stature. Some may have no problems at all. And someone with bigger hands might have dexterity problems, have trouble manipulating magazines for reloads, and also prefer a larger capacity magazine to make having to reload in a self-defense situation less likely.

As you can see, this illustrates how different individuals are and why they might want to choose a particular weapon or magazine due to specific considerations for that person. Self-defense and how you accomplish it is an individual, highly personal venture. Have you ever considered the needs of a wheelchair-bound or otherwise physically challenged person who chooses to exercise his or her gun rights?

So, now we have an apt example of a gun confiscation ruse provided by an activist, obviously anti-gun jurist from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox, writing in America’s 1st Freedom, asked this question: “Can a state attorney general unilaterally reinterpret a gun control statute retroactively to ban firearms that had been legally bought and sold within that state throughout the law’s 20-year history?” Of course not, right? Hang on…

Sadly, but not surprisingly, considering its deep blue hue, a federal judge in the Bay State, William G. Young, answered, “yes.” Cox asserts that many judges ruling on gun cases are “rooted in the mid-to-late 20th century,” which he reminds us is before District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 Supreme Court decision that recognized an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

Cox notes that while judges like Young are technically bound by the SCOTUS ruling, they’re defiant, and they refuse to enforce Heller. Sound familiar? It should. I’ve been writing an awful lot about the left’s antipathy and disregard for laws they don’t like. So, Young and other judges simply ignore laws they don’t like.

Workman v. Healy challenged the Massachusetts attorney general’s retroactive ban on legally purchased guns and magazines (a gun confiscation). Cox accuses Young of “misreading Heller,” saying that Young’s upholding of the ban, “goes out of its way to mock the legacy and jurisprudence of…the late Antonin Scalia.”

Massachusetts banned “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines” parallel to the federal ban of 1994-2004. However, the commonwealth went further and also banned “copies and duplicates” of the firearms specified by name and applied a “features test” to other guns—i.e., does it look scary?

Manufacturers made, and sellers sold guns specifically designed to comply with the ban. When the state legislature created the state law four years after the federal law, they knew the guns were legally being sold to Massachusetts’ residents.

Regardless, in 2016, Attorney General Maura Healey issued an “enforcement notice.” Unilaterally, this anti-gun activist jurist overnight turned many state gun owners into criminals. Guns are now banned that they’d purchased legally. Not a de facto gun confiscation but a bona fide gun confiscation edict.

In an attempt to obfuscate what is obvious to Massachusetts gun owners, sellers, and manufacturers, Healey said the notice only enforces the current law as written. Well, the NRA’s been doing this for a long time, and they noticed the notice was much more than that. They knew the damage the ruling was actually inflicting on gun owners.

Mounting a weak defense, Healy stated that the guns purchased before the notice would be exempt from the new policies. However, she added that the guns were “subject to her right to alter or amend the guidance at a later date.” How politically gelatinous is that?

(Credit: Pixabay/AJEL)

Doesn’t this mean that Healy could still decide to prosecute gun owners for possessing firearmsthey’d purchase legally? Remember, she reserved the “right to alter or amend…at a later date.” Will that date be the day she goes after you in Boston, Worcester, or Springfield? Yeah, I’m talking about you, wearing that Red Sox ballcap, sitting there cleaning a gun you thought would be legal forever!

This is where the story gets truly sleazy—okay, sleazier. Gun owners and advocacy rights groups sued the state. Obviously, Healy’s proclamation was unconstitutionally vague, violated due process, and violates the Second Amendment. Bah! These are merely pesky details to be ignored by today’s gun-hating left.

Cox explains the details of Judge Young’s decision, so I recommend you read that article for yourself—it’s worth the time. Just remember, stuff like this is going on all around us. Backdoor gun control: banks are refusing to do business with gun manufacturers and dealers. Politicians and anti-gun activists are doing it by attacking guns and ammunition by enacting additional “sin” taxes on their sales. And, as in this story, anti-Second Amendment politicians and judges are misusing their public trust and authority to violate their own sworn oaths to the document that, at least in part, they actively seek to destroy.

If you ever wonder why I’m as interested in Second Amendment issues as I am, when my primary focus is on de-policing and unfair attacks on cops, I have good reasons. First, I carried a gun as a primary tool of the trade for an entire career, and I’m tired of seeing guns and the law-abiding who own them demonized. Second, as a cop, I know a police officer is likely to be minutes away when you only have seconds to respond to a violent attack.

Third, a person needs to rely primarily on self-defense, defense of their families and other innocents against an attacker armed with a gun. And finally, I know who the gun-grabbers will expect to enforce the anti-gun laws they enact, who they will need to use to confiscate guns from Americans: The Cops!

By the way, good luck with that!

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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