Do you own a gun?

The recent armed robbery at FUDA, which at least one UVM student was present, got us thinking about the second amendment. We get the general impression that most people at UVM who are opposed to guns have never fired or even seen a real gun other than on television/movies or in a video game. After shooting with friends and getting into marksmanship, we feel fully comfortable around guns and the serious responsibility involved in owning a firearm. As with any niche hobby, shooting is not something that people who are unfamiliar with it really understand. Guns are not inherently bad. They are inanimate objects imbued with purpose and meaning by people. These meanings range from target shooting, to self defense, to hunting, and military use. If they did not exist now, they would be re-invented. The fact that the government of the United States trusts its citizens to legally own and operate firearms both for pleasure, and more serious things like personal protection, speaks much to our government and to our founding fathers. The main problem associated with guns is their misuse by criminals and the occasional individual who abuses his freedom. This is an inherent problem with civil liberties: if you allow people to be free, a small percentage of people will abuse that freedom; be it drugs, motorcycle helmet laws, guns, alcohol or cars. If you continue to take away more and more freedoms for fear of abuse, we will be left with none of the core values that our country was founded on. More government intervention means less civil liberties, less civil liberties mean less individual freedom. Unlike driving – which is a privilege – our nations founding fathers, who drafted our constitution, deemed owning a firearm a right, not a privilege (though exceptions now exist). Why do modern liberals think that they have the right to dismiss this constitutionally protected right? We must also remember that the framers intended the right to bear arms also a defense against a tyrannical government. This is something most student radicals should be able to relate to. Thomas Jefferson said, “No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Do we want to live in a world of little freedom, where life is a boring and anesthetized experience because we are no longer free to take risks? It comes down to personal responsibility, maturity, and accountability for our actions. As well as the acknowledgment that freedom brings inherent risks, and awesome possibilities.