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Matt Evans, Fargo, Published January 19 2013

Letter: A 3-point defense of private arms

I offer a short, three-point defense of the institution of broad private arms ownership in the United States. The points start with the purely moral argument and gravitate to the pragmatically empirical one.

1) I am a free human being. As such, I am free to do as I please, so long as I do not harm the person or property of another. Were I alone on an island, everyone would agree that I should retain my intrinsic human freedom to build and use weapons – including firearms. What opponents of broad private gun ownership need to explain is why I should suffer an abridgement of these freedoms if a second man moves to the island.

2) At the onset of the United States, the framers of our young nation understood and agreed with the moral premise that free men may keep and bear arms. They also saw the utility value of an armed populace, as they had just finished defeating the world’s largest standing army – and their own (former) government. So the pre-existing right of all free humans to keep and use weapons was explicitly written into the fabric of our government.

3) Irrespective of your views of personal morality, or of colonial political motivations, the history of the world, and especially the modern world, clearly attests to the following conclusion: The problems of a populace with too few guns are tremendously worse than the problems commonly blamed on a society having too many. All of the accidents, homicides and horrific mass shootings in the U.S. that involved firearms, over its entire history, pale in comparison to the wholesale genocides of the 20th century that were committed in weeks or months once populations had been disarmed by “their” governments.

The notion of each free person in our society retaining the arms required to defend themselves from a government-run army is moral, constitutionally sound and, sadly, necessary if one soberly considers the historical record.