Most of the mass killings by gun in the United States in recent years—Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, San Bernardino, and now Orlando—took place in venues where local or state law prohibited carrying guns, even by those lawfully licensed to do so. The government cheerfully calls these venues “gun-free zones.” They should be called killing zones. As unspeakable and horrific as is the recent slaughter in Orlando, it has become just another example of the tragic consequences of government’s interfering with the exercise of fundamental liberties. After a while, these events cease to shock; but they should not cease to cause us to re-examine what the government has done to us.
We know from reason, human nature, and history that the right to defend yourself is a natural instinct that is an extension of the right to self-preservation, which is itself derived from the right to live. Life is the great gift from the Creator, and we have a duty to exercise our freedoms to preserve life until its natural expiration. But the lives we strive to preserve should not be those actively engaged in killing innocent life.
The Framers recognized this when they ratified the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court recently held was written to codify—and thus prevent the government from infringing on—the pre-political right to own and use modern-day weapons for self-defense or to repel tyrants.
The term “pre-political” derives from the language of the Second Amendment, which protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” The constitutional reference of “the” right to keep and bear arms makes clear that the Framers recognized that the right pre-existed the government because it stems from our humanity. That’s why pre-political rights are known as fundamental or natural rights.
Because the right to use modern weaponry for the defense of life, liberty, and property is natural, we should not need a government permission slip before exercising it, any more than we need one to exercise other natural rights, such as speech, press, assembly, travel and privacy.