Less than a decade ago, politicians in Venezuela thought they “must do more” to combat crime and gun violence, so they banned private firearm ownership. Curbing crime was the perfect, seemingly benevolent justification for disarming the people, completing their transformation from citizens to subjects of the state. The same government that took away their guns is now killing its citizen en masse through starvation, performing extra-judicial executions of dissidents, and arbitrarily detaining any political threat. Regardless of how benign an administration or leader is, ceding the right to self-preservation opens the door to totalitarianism.
The people of Venezuela, defenseless and deprived of freedom, are being murdered by the socialist Maduro regime. Most of the population is starving and wallowing in abject poverty, devoid of the most essential freedoms. Unarmed without the right to firearms, there is little to nothing they can do to resist the tyranny. Those who practice free speech and criticize the government are dealt with harshly. Just recently military vehicles were caught on camera plowing into crowds of Venezuelans protesting.
The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights was the U.S. government’s recognition of a self-evident truth that is universal to all people: the right to self-defense precedes and secures the right to life, liberty, and property. The right to bear arms doesn’t need to be justified to anyone or any government. The purpose behind it is self-defense against violence.
In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote about the “advantage[s] of being armed.” With a gun-toting populace, no opposing country would be able to successfully take the American continent, subject to not only a standing militia but also the reality of near every American fighting for their small patch of land. Perhaps more importantly, worried about the recently ended tyranny of the British Empire, Madison knew that an armed citizenry would be unyielding and able to fight off oppression like Maduro’s were any dictator ever to take the executive branch.
The second amendment is a wholly misunderstood amendment. Living in a prosperous country, few can understand the founder’s original intent. So many modern-day squabbles over the right to bear arms centers on hunting, hobbyist ownership, or the protection of a home against a thief. While all legitimate reasons for ownership, one can understand liberal frustrations; are we really allowing school shootings so that right-wingers can go to the shooting range? But these glib justifications never entered the founder’s minds. After recent events in Venezuela, the original intent of the second amendment—the staving off of authoritarianism and the right to protect oneself against oppression—is once again clear.
There are no rights independent of the right to bear arms; without it, there is no way to ensure other rights can survive. The right to bear arms is, in essence, the right to protect yourself against those wishing to deprive you of your life and liberty. It includes the right to own arms, but more than that, it enshrines the idea that your rights to life and liberty are valid even when the state would deprive you of them. Everyone values the rights to free speech, religion, property, life, free media, a fair trial, and assembly. Without the right to bear arms, they are in jeopardy; that is apparent now more than ever.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.