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.