Second Amendment advocates, once you get past the pseudoscience and cavalier bullshit, generally fall back on gun rights as freedom insurance. This is the idea that the Second Amendment is more important than any other because it ensures that the government can’t infringe upon our other constitutional rights. Our founding fathers had just fought a bloody revolution and they expected the government to be held in check by the threat of another one. Jefferson said, “God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.”
This was a time where arms that were available to the public were exactly the same as the arms available to the military. Hell, the armed public outnumbered the military. There was no standing army. There were no police, swat, or private security to ensure law and order. The occasional accidental, criminal, or psychopathic killer armed with a musket was the small price of early law and democracy enforcement just like quarantine was the price of containment in the age before antibiotics.
The idea that the federal government of today can be bested by the American people, even at their most well-armed, (which is now) is folly. Arming the population to make sure that the government is held in check is like giving a 5 year old a firecracker in case the lock on their door is broken. The firecracker would never do the job, which is accomplished in far better ways, and the 5 year old is very likely to get hurt holding onto it in the meantime.
As for personal safety, we have a well-armed, well-trained, and only-there-when-needed police force. As has been well documented, the risks of owning a gun far outweigh the safety of keeping one. So the vast majority of people who do so are just being stupid. There may be very rare circumstances under which owning a gun makes sense, but these aren’t the least bit hindered by even the most liberal gun regulations: registries, waiting periods, background checks, locks and safety requirements, smart gun technology, and targeted bans on assault weapons and handguns. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get rid of America’s guns. There are just too many, so America couldn’t possibly dig it’s way out of that hole for a century.
However, the most insidious part of the gun debate is this anti-government idea about revolution. We VOTE in this country when we want to oust our leaders. The Second Amendment isn’t a sacred text. It is just as vulnerable to republican repeal as any other law. If the government moved to repeal the second amendment without popular support, we don’t need guns to solve that problem. We simply elect new people.
If the government were to somehow, undemocratically and out of nowhere, repeal the right to vote, a criminal revolution would be required. In that case, the second amendment would be as defunct as airplane seat belts after the plane has already crashed. It’s not like the populace needs to maintain a massive arsenal (as if it was possible, relative to the military) in this age where millions of guns could be manufactured, or even 3D printed, in a short period of time. If such a violent revolution were remotely likely, it would require the backing of much of the military, rendering individual gun rights moot. In that wild scenario, it would look sort of like a well-regulated militia. Hey, that’s a cool phrase…
This talk of revolution, accompanied by tools of mass-murder, inflames the already hyperbolic sentiments of tribalism and xenophobia that correlate with a diminishing number of increasingly frustrated gun owners. In this age where technology has put the power of mass destruction into the hands of individuals like never before, Americans have to stop fetishizing 18th century standards. You have the right to be stupid. You do not have the right to threaten me and my family or even to “protect” me against my will.
Repeal the Second Amendment. It’s as dumbass and arcane a law for the modern age as homeopathy is in the age of vaccines or logic.