As I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a link about concealed carry laws being extended to 18-year-olds, reducing the age from 21. The validity of this occurring, and my opinion of this change didn’t provide the motivation behind this post. What did, however, was that the person who shared the post was someone I immediately worried about carrying a gun on their person at all times. So I was forced to ask myself: how can I be for an originalist approach to the Second Amendment while at the same time believing that a certain individual shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun? Certainly, my view is that basically everyone should be allowed to enjoy a natural right protected by the Constitution, but my immediate reaction seemed to indicate otherwise.
When trying to arrive at a reason I could get behind allowing this person (someone I would question as being responsible enough to wield one) to own a gun I had to take a step back and think of the ramifications of a decision such as this. To me, this situation falls under the umbrella of legislation-based discrimination. As long as the individual has full mental capacities and is not convicted of some egregious crime, that person should not be barred from enjoying a natural right endowed to them simply for being a human. While this may seem to be a reasonable restriction, who am I to say if this individual could actually be responsible with a gun? I understand many people believe firearms should be eliminated entirely, and view this as a reasonable restriction. However, this would just be the beginning. The restrictions would continue to become tighter and tighter until the right loses its value. While those people may view this as a great thing for society, this is not feasible. As we have seen in the cases of alcohol and drugs, prohibition never solves the problem, and how can we really expect a peaceful disarming of the people? Our founders knew that the first step towards a tyrannical government was a disarming of the citizenry, which can ultimately lead to the vaporization of our liberty.
While the issue of guns may be something we disagree on, this is only one case where we are seeing advocacy for the infringement of rights. To put into perspective the discrimination issue, consider this being applied to another amendment, the First Amendment. We are currently seeing issues arise surrounding this amendment, especially on college campuses. Now, let’s suppose that legislation is passed to bar pro-Trump speech on campuses. This would most likely be supported by a wide range on the left. However, we need to think of the implications of a law such as this. The precedent set by abridging the right to free speech could be detrimental to more and more categories until we would no longer understand what it truly meant to have this freedom. This is the delicate film that sits below all legislation. If this film is punctured even slightly, the whole system can come crumbling down on top of us.
We should ensure that we stay grounded in the principles of freedom and liberty even when our emotions are telling us we need the government to step in and eradicate the problem, for while it may work in our favor this time, the power will eventually shift hands and we may find ourselves being the ones affected.