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has affirmed that the Second Amendment really does mean what it says: That the right to keep and bear arms is not some outdated reference to state militias, but rather an individual right not to be taken away by the government?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.