Infringing the Time, Manner and Place to Bear Arms

How "Safe" Are You? The House of Cards That is Gun Free Zones, iStock-490657417
How “Safe” Are You? The House of Cards That is Gun Free Zones, iStock-490657417

U.S.A. –-( We don’t agree on very much. That is why the rights of free speech and freedom of action are so uncomfortable, so important, and so necessary. We have to tolerate ideas we find offensive or even dangerous because there is so much we don’t know and so much we need to learn. If you doubt that our rights of free speech are infringed today then please consider how public discussion was censored on the topics of Covid lockdowns and election integrity. Rather than free speech being dangerous, we found that the most dangerous problems are the ones we’re not allowed to debate. The cure to offensive speech is more speech, not less. We face a similar problem when we consider infringements on the right to bear arms and the right of self-defense.

We have to talk about our infringed right to bear arms. Freedom isn’t comfortable, but it is the safest option we have.

We’re told we would be safer if approved citizens were the only ones allowed to exercise the right of armed defense. We’re told that we’d be safer if law-abiding people were disarmed in public. We’ve seen that taken to ridiculous extremes where honest gun owners were disarmed in public parking lots, parks, churches, and businesses. We saw criminals and mass murderers attack unarmed victims in so-called “gun free” zones. What happens to our individual right of armed defense when politicians and businesses infringe on those rights?

There are many restrictions on our rights that we submit to voluntarily. We agree to moderate our speech in concert halls, in libraries, theaters, and in comedy clubs so that others can enjoy the performance along with us. We lose our right to speak in the temporary circumstance when that right infringes on the rights of other people to listen.

Note that we’re speaking about rights rather than mere preferences. Disarming the honest good guys can have drastic consequences. Does a store owner assume extra liabilities and obligations if he disarms the law-abiding customers who want to enter his store? What happens if a city council says that the store owner must disarm all his customers? What if the city council passes a law so law-abiding citizens can’t bring their tools of armed defense into town at all? Do storekeepers and public officials assume additional liability for our safety when they prevent us from protecting ourselves and our families?

If those answers seem obvious, then consider if self-defense is a right or a privilege. If shopkeepers and city governments are allowed to discriminate based on gun ownership, could they legally demand that everyone in their store or in their town has to be a gun owner? Infringements are always done in the name of public safety.

This might sound like we have a handful of questions and are very short of answers. Our legal system has a long history of resolving the natural tension between rights and obligations. We also have some facts to guide us.

We know that honest citizens in the US use a firearm between one-and-two-million times a year to stop an immediate threat of death or great bodily harm. That is a large number, but we can put it into perspective. Honest gun owners defend themselves with a firearm about 150 times for each time a criminal uses a firearm to commit murder. Armed citizens save lives several thousand times a day.

The frequency and proportion of armed defense explain why our so-called “public safety” gun-control laws are so dangerous. The advocates for gun-control claim their gun laws make us safer, but our most dangerous and most violent cities have some of the strictest gun-control regulations. Political promises are cheap, but our 20-thousand gun control regulations haven’t stopped armed criminals. Again, looking at proportions makes it clear why gun control fails time after time.

It is really hard to pass a law that will reduce the harm that criminals do with a gun while at the same time leaving honest citizens armed so they can still defend themselves. If we disarm one-hundred criminals and only inadvertently disarm one-law-abiding gun owner, then we’ve cost more lives than we’ve saved. It is hard to write a gun control law that does no harm.

We already have laws and procedures that hold private citizens and government officials accountable when their negligence injures others. We are responsible if a guest hurts themselves on a broken step as they walk up to our front door. The city council may be liable if they refuse to test the quality of their municipal water supply and the water makes people sick.

The law has been studying human behavior for a long time. We are held liable for what actually happens rather than what we hoped would happen. We can claim that the rotten step on our front porch was part of our home’s rustic charm, but we are still responsible for the broken ankle after our guest falls through the broken step. The city council and the taxpayers are liable for the attack on disarmed victims in the city-mandated “gun-free” public parking lot. We can be criminally and civilly liable when our actions contribute to another person’s injury.

As always, laws are cheap but consequences can be costly. That is a necessary feature so that we consider our actions and fix our mistakes. If you think that sounds punitive then please read past the titles and consider what our thousands of gun-control laws really do.

Our elites already know that gun-control fails. That is why our gun-control laws seldom apply to the elites. Provisions are usually written into gun-control laws so that politicians, judges, and police officers are exempt.

Please think about that for a minute. If a law needs an exception because the law puts a politician and his family at risk, then that law is too dangerous for us and for our families too.

Freedom isn’t comfortable, but it is the safest option we have.

About Rob Morse

The original article, with sources, is posted here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at Second Call Defense, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.Rob Morse