The Progressive Case for the Second Amendment

Updated on October 17, 2019
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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale. He is from the area near El Paso, the site a recent mass shooting.

"Firearms are the teeth of Liberty."

— Attributed to President George Washington in an address to the First Continental Congress

The irony of the present progressive lockstep on gun control is that the political left, going back to the Vietnam War, has borne the brunt of tyrannical government. Second Amendment defenders cite the possibility of tyrannical government as a reason for keeping substantial arms among the people. The shooting of four peaceful anti-war protesters at Kent State in 1970 by soldiers of the Ohio National Guard was a premonition that even in the US, the government could become oppressive and turn on its own citizens.

It seems to me that every Democrat running for federal office in 2020 has fallen in line with calls for a ban on "assault weapons," a flexible term, but more specifically a ban on "high capacity" magazines.

When the Black Panthers formed in 1966, to address overt police brutality and engage in community building, being armed was a requisite in their philosophy. In the end, they reasoned, the last line of defense between a man's family and marauders of any stripe, be it mob violence, a gang invading the home, or tyrannical government, was the man himself. In Korea Town in Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots, the sight of citizens with rifles on rooftops, some of them ARs or AKs, deterred violent mobs from looting shop owners' stores.

If I am defending my wife and children, the one thing I don't want to be is out-gunned. To the most reasonable extent possible. That does not mean, as some gun control advocates assert "ad absurdum," that anyone thinks machine guns should be legal, or that everyone should have a bazooka. Those truly are "weapons of war," meant for taking out armored vehicles. But semi-automatic rifles with the capacity they were built to perform with—which is really normal capacity—is this century's six-shooter. Bad guys can get them easily, no matter what the gun control laws say.

I think that 30 rounds "onboard," meaning a 30 round magazine, is what you need when multiple guys are coming at you in a home invasion situation. These guns, more prejudicially labeled "assault rifles," are engineered to fire a certain number of rounds consecutively before the barrel gets too hot. This is what they were built for.

Why the Second Amendment?

The Second Amendment is about rural people. One of the biggest disconnects between city and rural folk over gun control is the understanding that, in huge swaths of America, many people live in areas where one sheriff or one state trooper has 500 square miles to cover.

A police officer is not around the corner like in most large municipalities, at least the ones which are still financially solvent. In many places, help is a half-hour to an hour away, depending on what's going on in the rest of the sparsely populated county at the moment. In other words, until help arrives, you are the police. People have guns even if they don't hunt or like hunting, especially women living alone. What are reasonable gun laws in one part of the country may not be reasonable in another.

Many Americans seem to understand that in the final analysis, their own safety is their own responsibility. In El Paso, after the recent mass shooting, more people than ever enrolled in classes to qualify for a concealed-carry license. Most of these were Hispanic, a traditionally Democratic constituency.

The Second Amendment is about those Kent State soldiers, not about hunting, if they ever become the Army. It is about soldiers like Lt. William Calley, one of the officers who ordered the My Lai Massacre, killing mostly women, children, and elderly, hundreds of them, until Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson stopped them. They didn't stop because Thompson appealed to the soldiers' reason and mercy. They stopped because Thompson told his men to point a .50 caliber machine-gun at the American war criminals, with orders to "open up" on them if they "opened up" on him, when he told them to stop the infamous massacre in Vietnam. Hugh Thompson was an unsung American hero.

Washington and the Founders knew that while common armaments change, human nature doesn't. That's why the Second Amendment says nothing about arms limited to utility in hunting.

When a gang of MS-13 is coming through your windows, 30 or more onboard is what you want—without reloading, which is when you die. People who don't know guns and shooting say, ten "bullets" (we call them rounds) should be enough for anyone. What are the chances you get attacked by ten people at once? But hitting something with a gun is actually kind of hard. You miss a lot, especially if it's dark and your attackers are moving and you are shaking from fear and terror for your loved ones upstairs, who mean all the world to you, and without whom you know your life would not be worth living anymore.

Democrats and Gun Control

On this issue, Democrats are placing themselves at a huge disadvantage with people who might otherwise be open to voting for them. Many will vote for Trump because he is all that stands in the way of a nationwide grab of high-capacity (i.e. normal capacity) magazines, and will give Trump what they consider an undeserved second term, despite issues they may disagree with him on like climate change.

The only thing that happens after every major mass shooting, despite calls for gun control, is people run out and buy more guns. The best they can afford. They know those politicians are not coming to stand on their doorsteps to defend them when the world goes to hell.

The Second Amendment is not an anachronism of the 18th century. None other than Democratic President John F. Kennedy said in 1961:

"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."

Americans are loath to give up their personal defense weapons and firepower when trust in the government, and its institutions, is at an all-time low. Despite being told that they are "conspiracy theorists" by the media, two-thirds of Americans do not believe that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide, but that he may have been murdered. It would rightfully follow that if the government and media are lying about that, what else are they lying about?

The Founders never once mentioned hunting in their many documented quotes about the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. They were thinking of something else entirely. That's why so many Americans say, "Gimme 30 onboard pardner." Then pray the Good Lord that you never have to shoot another human being.

Questions & Answers

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        joejames80 

        6 weeks ago

      • profile image

        joejames80 

        6 weeks ago

        It is also a fact that 10 children were able to escape classroom number 10 at Sandy Hook because the shooter had to reload. And several teens were able to escape the marjory stoneman douglas shooting because the shooter had to reload.

        Now, I will speak in the abstract, 43% fall in fatalities would mean roughly 9 children from Sandy Hook. Ill take 9 children alive at home with their parents over your 30 rounds any day.

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        joejames80 

        6 weeks ago

        "While the federal assault weapons and large capacity ammunition ban was in effect, the number of high-fatality mass shootings fell by 37%, and the number of people dying in such shootings fell by 43%. When the ban lapsed in 2004, there was a 183% increase in high-fatality mass shootings and a 239% increase in deaths from such shootings." Additionally, " mass shootings from 2009 to 2017 revealed that, of the incidents with known magazine capacity data, 58 percent involved firearms with high-capacity magazines. These shootings resulted in twice as many fatalities and 14 times as many injuries per incident on average compared to those that did not include the use of high-capacity magazine."

        These are facts.

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        joejames80 

        6 weeks ago

        While I respect your opinion. You are speaking in abstracts. MS-13 does not exist in rural parts of the country they exist in major urban environments with law enforcement. Can you give me an example of someone in a rural environment being attacked by several (more than 4) criminals and were over taken because they wasted all 10 rounds and the police were still enroute? Can you give me 340 examples of this happening in a rural community? In 2018 the United States had 340 mass shootings.

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