In the end, even this guy gets it right

I didn’t really know what I would be seeing when I started reading Oregon Daily Emerald columnist Matt Petryni’s “Protect gun rights… but not for the reasons you expect.” He starts by saying that his politics have a distinct leftward tilt (and names some examples), but that he parts ways with many of his liberal brethren on the issue of “gun control” (citizen disarmament).

Perhaps many would find this to be a contradiction, but I do not. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what is “liberal” about a government monopoly on force. Does anyone think of Myanmar (Burma) as liberal?

The next sentence might surprise some:

Now don’t get me wrong. While I’m a member of the NRA, I’m not “pro-gun.”

Considering some of what we hear from the NRA these days, though, I don’t find it to be particularly contradictory.

I think guns are stupid, and that they can and do kill people.

“Guns are stupid“? Certainly they don’t perform very impressively on IQ tests, but I cannot imagine that they do any worse than any other inanimate objects (by the way, don’t get me started again on “smart guns”). “Can and do kill people”? Why yes, they do–as do baseball bats, swimming pools, automobiles, bikini tops, and an infinite array of other things.

Then, he seems to reverse course again, and advocate against citizen disarmament.

But I do think the Second Amendment should be interpreted to mean normal people should carry guns.

I might quibble with some particulars–how am I to guess who would fit his definition of “normal people”–but he does seem to be generally on the side of an armed citizenry, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

And then, he loses me again.

The only positions less sensible, in my view, than those of the gun control left are those of the “pro-gun” right. The argument some supporters espouse regards the right to hunt and to protect our home from burglars, both of which, to me, are somewhat crazy. There aren’t many good arguments out there for gun rights.

OK, I’m with him on his assertion that the Second Amendment was not included in the Bill of Rights to protect hunting (although I believe hunting does provide yet another–albeit subordinate–argument against gun bans). As to his assertion that guns are not a smart choice for dealing with home invaders, a great number of people who have defended their lives with guns in the home would disagree–strongly, I suspect. He doesn’t bother to even touch on the possibility of using a gun defensively outside the home–a rather conspicuous omission.

He then devotes a paragraph each to expanding on why hunting does not constitute an adequate justification for the Second Amendment (a position with which I agree), and to why a gun for home defense is not a good idea (a position I find quite odd). Read those paragraphs if you wish–I don’t really have much of anything more to say about them.

Then, he hits the jackpot.

So why keep them? If we look to our constitutional history, the answer is much more obvious than hunting, tradition and domestic protection. Like everything in the Bill of Rights, it is a safeguard against only one entity: the government. For me, this is the only even remotely logical reason to keep deadly weapons on the streets. It is important, to protect us from tyranny, that the politicians know their citizens are armed. Can we, the people, stop a professional army? Can we actually overthrow the government in some doomsday scenario? It’s hard to say. But one thing’s for certain: We stand a much better chance if we have guns. I think the founders realized this, and so, when they drafted the Second Amendment, they made sure to include the words “free state.” In this, there’s one other worthwhile benefit: protection. My guess is that it’s harder to invade an armed country than an unarmed one, and national security is a reasonable justification for the right to be armed.

Now you’re talking, Matt. Disparage hunting if you must, call guns “stupid” if you wish–and I’ll even let you slide on your apparent assertion that it’s wrong to keep guns in the house to provide defense against common thugs–the fact that you realize what the Second Amendment is about, and value it for that reason, is good enough for me. Hell, I’m even willing to forgive the endorsement in the last paragraph of mandated trigger locks and background checks–you got the important part–we can work on the rest.

By the way, once one acknowledges that the Second Amendment is essential to protect the ability to resist a tyrannical government, can one see strict, draconian regulation of machine guns and “non-sporting,” large-bore firearms as anything less than tyranny enablement?

So Matt gets it–maybe he can help explain it to Ladd Everitt.

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