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Why should people be allowed to own and carry guns?

In the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes the right to gun ownership for citizens of the United States:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

People use guns for a variety of reasons: hunting, self-defense, competitive sport and so on. Recent Supreme Court decisions have upheld citizens’ rights to possess and own guns. Courts have also passed many gun control laws because they believe the laws will help control the small proportion of gun owners who abuse this right.

Naturally, not all people should be allowed to own and carry guns. Gun ownership is a constitutional right, but like all rights it is not absolute. Gun ownership in a free society is necessary, but it is also earned. Freedom is the sum of liberty and virtue – that means in order to maximize liberty, self-control must guide our actions. If we cannot control ourselves, an outside force, such as government, will attempt to control our behavior.

Gun ownership reflects that balance which cherishes liberty and demands virtue. This balance could change throughout time – as virtue declines, public scrutiny of gun ownership might increase; as it increases, that scrutiny might decrease – which fluctuations of public perceptions are completely natural. As a constitutional right, we err on the side of gun ownership, work to preserve this right vigilantly, and only dismiss this right for good cause.

Dig deeper:

Mero Moment: Logan City Gun Laws and Subsidiarity

Essay: To Keep and Bear Arms—Heritage Foundation

Book: More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws by John R. Lott

Book: To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of the Anglo-American Right

Video: Arguments for Gun Rights

Video: Arguments for Gun Control

 
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