Should we eliminate a right because it causes heartbreak? That is the core question of living in America. Capitalism is both a great lover and a cruel mistress. This is a country in which all are given the opportunity to succeed, but with that the chance to fail. And gun ownership is no different. But due to the passion this issue evokes, with the gun control stance a person is basically told that either you are with Michael Moore and hippie central or with Charlton Heston and the NRA cowboys. There is no middle ground. And maybe that’s why we see so much heartache in the world concerning firearms. We must remember that the Second Amendment is not a political issue, but a liberty issue.
First off, let’s make one thing clear: We have a right to bear arms. The United States Constitution says I can. I chose not to, and I’m pretty sure I still get to keep U.S. citizenship. If I felt the need to purchase a gun, maybe I would, but I tend to hang out in peaceful circles. I haven’t had anyone try to rob me at church or Starbucks lately, but my caffé mocha is getting rather expensive these days. I know I’m lucky, but not everyone else is. On Aug. 16, Gurmohinder Singh was shot and killed in front of a bank in Oxnard after walking outside on a cool Saturday morning. Mr. Singh did not deserve to die, obviously, but does his death justify the position that guns should be taken away from U.S. citizens? I still say no.
I do understand that Mr. Singh was not the only area man to be shot this year. Back in February of 2008, a 14-year-old boy shot and killed a 15-year-old classmate. A tragedy, yes, but do we give up constitutional rights because of tragedy? In anti-Obama language: No we can’t! My heart breaks for the family of Lawrence King, but rational viewpoints cannot stem from emotional moments. Even three days after this past Christmas, when another Oxnard native was shot by two gang members. Fortunately, his outcome was different, and he remains alive. I’m sure if I were the last victim, I would sit in my hospital bed wishing that guns were never invented and that no one had access to them, but then I would look at my value system and remember that the greatest price of freedom is the opportunity to have tragedy thrust upon us.
We live in a free country with rights that not all of us use or agree with. We do not give up our rights of free speech because someone else’s opinion is unpopular. We do not take away the right to vote because even the most uneducated are allowed to participate. We do not give up our right to practice religious freedom because some use it to push intolerance. No, we do not, and while I can come up with numerous anecdotes showing the negativity of gun usage, I can also add up the stories about how guns have saved many from similar tragedies about to unfold. This article isn’t about pro gun stories; it’s about the price of freedom and liberty and how we cannot retract our values due to our frustration with unfortunate outcomes.
2009 is upon us, and some fear Barack Obama will tighten the laws to prevent many from owning hand-held guns. In fact, according to CBS news, gun sales went up 50 percent in December, with most gun shop owners attributing the rise to Obama’s liberal leanings. And while some see this as irrational action, I see it as an exercise in personal liberty. The American rebels of 1776 were able to maintain their new home through radical self-protection, and while I don’t see the King of England marching to my house with the redcoats anytime soon, I will argue that my liberty and freedom to possess such a tool are too important for me to give up. While I may not carry a gun by my hip, I do carry a slogan in my heart: “Give me liberty or give me death.” I just pray that the latter doesn’t create a radicalism that destroys