Monday, August 6, 2012

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

I can't take seriously anyone who uses this quotation to argue against sensible gun laws.

The colonies sought freedom from the British monarchy. The King offered safety to those who would swear loyalty to the crown, and then the British army killed those who would not; burning down their farms and towns. As a fledgling group of colonies, we did not have a unified army to match British power until George Washington was made general. Even then, we were often outnumbered and there were many brutal casualties. At this time in our history it was essential for the people to be armed in order to protect themselves. 

Giving arms to the people established a citizen's militia.

It's now 2012. We are a free nation -- a democratic republic. The 2nd Amendment allows for the ownership of guns for the protection of citizens against the tyranny of the Church and King of England. Every citizen in the US is allowed a musket because the historical context is enshrined in our Constitution.

Ben Franklin never envisioned a United States in which people are allowed to carry assault weapons into schoolyards. And this isn't the Wild West, where there was little law enforcement and it really was "every man/woman for him/herself".

We are a nation of laws and law enforcement agencies.

But we are also a nation of guns and gun violence, surpassed statistically only by a few countries such as Brazil, Slovakia, and Guatemala. We have a gun lobby that makes a fortune in gun sales every time some delusional person goes on a rampage. And we have a Congress that can't put in place any common sense laws -- not even repairs to bad laws -- because the NRA, like the tobacco industry, has all the power. 
The People do not have the power, even if they think they do because they can carry a gun and vote.

So make your arguments against gun regulation, but don't quote Ben Franklin when you do it.