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FILE - In this March 15, 2010 file photo, a volunteer passes through the first full body scanner installed at O FILE - In this March 15, 2010 file photo, a volunteer passes through the first full body scanner installed at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The Transportation Security Administration has been replacing the huge X-ray machines with smaller, millimeter wave body scanners at seven major U.S. airports. The new technology produces a cartoon-like outline rather than naked images of passengers produced by using X-rays. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)  

In its pursuit of ‘safety,’ the government is sacrificing freedom

Photo of Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson
Chairman, Our America Initiative
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      Gary Johnson

      A two-term governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003, Gary Johnson has been a consistent advocate for limited, efficient government and personal liberty. As the Libertarian candidate for president in 2012, he received more votes than any Libertarian candidate in history. An outspoken pro-Constitution libertarian, Johnson opposes American involvement in foreign conflicts with no clear U.S. interest. He opposes the failed multibillion-dollar war on drugs and demands greater transparency at the Federal Reserve. Johnson advocates cutting federal spending dramatically to achieve a balanced budget and make government live within its means without raising taxes. He believes real job creation and economic opportunity can be best achieved through smaller government and less regulation. The National Review rated Johnson as "#1" in job creation as governor. An avid skier and bicyclist, he has reached the highest peaks on five of the seven continents, including Mount Everest and, recently, Aconcagua in Argentina.

And how can the government get around the fact that even the Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment really does mean what it says: That the right to keep and bear arms is not some outdated reference to state militias, but rather an individual right not to be taken away by the government?

Whether it is the First Amendment right to speech or the religious freedoms granted in the Constitution, we may all find the exercise of rights to be uncomfortable, painful, and occasionally even harmful. But our nation is founded — uniquely so — on the idea that individual rights are to be protected and shielded from government control. And just like the rest of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment doesn’t give anyone permission to commit murder. That is covered by a lot of other, perfectly constitutional, laws.

Let us hope, and let us work, to make sure that the politicians don’t decide to make us “safer” from gun violence by taking away even more of our freedoms. There are plenty of countries around the globe where people are denied individual liberties in the name of the state and their own government-provided well-being, and those same countries are full of people who would come to America in a heartbeat if they had the chance.

That is a reality we must not forget.

Gary Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party’s 2012 presidential candidate, is the chairman of Our America Initiative.