November 30, 2023

Do Americans Love Guns More Than Life?

No, we love guns because we love protecting life and Liberty.

Nothing about leftists’ approach to the Second Amendment surprises us anymore. They use caskets as platforms for their agenda when it suits their purposes of undermining gun rights. They cynically exploit emotion while pushing “safety” measures that would do little or nothing to stop an evil or deranged person. This time, a historian argues that Americans love their guns more than they love life.

“America once valued life more than guns. How did that change?” reads the headline on a CNN op-ed by historian Dominic Erdozain, author of One Nation Under Guns. His op-ed is full of historical revisionism, false or manipulated statistics, dripping hatred for Americans who cherish their rights, and emotional incontinence that frankly should embarrass a teenage girl.

The prime example of his revisionism is this farcical news flash:

This “constitutional right” to own a gun for self-defense is another product of our times — a right unknown before the “dramatic upheaval” of the District of Columbia v. Heller decision of 2008.

Erdozain pretends that the vast majority of Americans, as well as public officials, understood this until a “madman” named Ronald Reagan came along with his NRA hordes and politicized the issue.

Remember, this guy’s a historian.

The Second Amendment couldn’t be more clear: “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.” Our Mark Alexander has written extensively on this constitutional right — no scare quotes necessary — including the Heller ruling. James Madison, the author of the Constitution, insisted on its inclusion in the Bill of Rights. Madison appointee Justice Joseph Story, in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833), called the right to keep and bear arms the “palladium of the liberties of the republic.” And the 19th-century authors of the 14th Amendment counted it among the rights protected therein, which eventually led to the Supreme Court’s ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago.

Some of what Erdozain says is true. There were anti-gun laws in various states and cities, sometimes for decades. There has been a movement — long preceding Heller, however — of states passing more permissive gun laws. And a certain number of Americans have always hated guns and didn’t want them in public or even owned by private citizens at all.

But despite shifting public opinion over certain kinds of firearms — as if a person’s response to a pollster has any bearing on a fundamental right — Americans have always had the right and cherished the right to keep and bear arms. The Patriots at Lexington and Concord fired the first shots in a war to protect it.

What sticks most in our craw, however, is Erdozain’s utterly mendacious framing of the debate. Repeatedly, he asserts various slurs that effectively challenge the moral motivation of anyone who values guns. “Americans love their guns … and no suffering, no slaughter can loosen their grip.”

As if that’s the binary choice, and as if gun-rights defenders care nothing for innocent lives.

It reminds us of the obnoxious virtue-signaling and false-dichotomy signs found in wealthy, white suburban enclaves: “Protect Kids, Not Guns.” We say, Protect Kids WITH Guns.

We certainly challenge the motivation of leftist activists who want to erode Liberty and exert control over law-abiding citizens. And we don’t for a second think that most of the measures they propose would do much if anything to reduce murder or other crimes. Some, in fact, would increase crime by making criminals of otherwise law-abiding people.

But we don’t doubt they are genuine in their desire to protect children (at least the ones already born) or to reduce murders overall. Why do they so readily assert that Second Amendment advocates want dead kids?

What Erdozain and many like him utterly fail to talk about are the cultural influences that plague America with a high murder rate. The words “drugs” or “gangs” never show up in his screed, though he uses the word “gangster” once — to rail about the “fully automatic ‘Tommy’ guns” they used “to terrorize the nation.” Erdozain doesn’t say a word about Democrat mayors and district attorneys who are so soft on crime that criminals routinely return to the streets to commit more crime. He completely ignores the racist and deadly Black Lives Matter riots and the rampant rise in inner city crime since 2020. He’s silent about the scourge of black men killing other black men.

It is those latter considerations, by the way, that have led since 2019 to a 17-point increase in the number of black homes with firearms. More than half of Americans now say they own guns, and there are likely more guns than people in America. Erdozain can libel his fellow Americans all day, or cast out a few wishes that things were different, and it will change nothing.

One thing that needs to change: He and other gun grabbers should stop throwing around libelous straw man arguments.

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