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Even in gun-friendly states such as New Hampshire and Maine, I am regularly asked about guns and their place in a civilized society.  In this first of a two-part series, I’ll address the misconception I hear most often and tell you why you should want your neighbors to own guns.

The biggest misconception about the Second Amendment is that it is primarily about hunting and that therefore only hunting weapons are protected by it.   While hunting certainly is important, hunting is NOT the point of the Second Amendment.  The primary purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is to serve as a counter to government tyranny.  (Refer to Federalist Papers 29 and 46 to get this directly from the Founders.) 

Even if you don’t own guns and never plan to–which is perfectly fine– everyone should care about the rise of tyranny.  Tyranny is a sadly common state of human affairs across the globe and we are blessed to live in an exception to that miserable form of government. Freedom from fear of tyranny is the gift that the Second Amendment provides us.   It has served this purpose so well for so long that most Americans can’t even conceive of tyranny rising here, but tyranny can rise anywhere, as history has repeatedly proven.  I think we can all agree that we

Some of you were convinced that Trump was an unhinged maniac who would impose his dictatorial will on us all. I would argue that this fear was unfounded but what if it wasn’t?  What if the “next Trump” (either from the left or the right) is not so restrained?  Both sides are now convinced that the other side could elect a lunatic, and perhaps someday one side will do so.  What happens then?  What could hold government power in check if Americans somehow elect a wanna-be dictator?  There is only one thing that holds a potential dictator back, and that is fear of an opposing force – either that of an armed citizenry or that of another country’s army.  This is why we cannot fall for the argument that private citizens only need hunting rifles and shotguns.  Armed citizens serve as a counterbalance to the immense power the federal government can wield over us.

Occasionally citizens protesting the government will do so openly displaying firearms, particularly in Constitutional-carry states like ours.   Some people find this scary, but I find it reassuring.  Such a display is a not-so-subtle reminder to those who would rule us that their power comes from the consent of the governed.  You should feel grateful that some of our fellow citizens have the courage to do this, regardless of whatever position they are advocating. The bigger picture – that citizens can fight (I don’t mean symbolically!) against unjust laws – is one that benefits us all.  Compare this with the reality in Hong Kong:  Last year MILLIONS of people protested in the streets in opposition to China’s new dictatorial laws related to extradition, and the Chinese government simply ignored them.  The people of Hong Kong have NO power.   They are unarmed and the Chinese government knows it.   The people of the United States are among the very few in the world who DO have power, and it is critically important for us to maintain this power to ensure freedom for generations to come.

Even if those calling for more gun restrictions have good intentions, which I doubt but will grant for the sake of argument, the leaders that follow later often do not.  We must not fall for the “ban guns for your safety” lie.   The right to keep and bear arms is the TRUE source of our freedom, liberty, and safety, even for those people who will never own a gun.  The real danger humans face everywhere is the rise of tyranny. The fact that enough citizens in this country owns guns to counter tyranny keeps YOU safe from it.  You must stand for their rights even if you choose not to exercise it yourself.

There well are 400 million guns in private hands in this country.  More than 23 million were sold in the last year, with many to first-time gun owners.  The gun genie is out of the box, and it can never be put back.  Wishing guns didn’t exist may FEEL virtuous but we live in the real world, and the real world is ruled by the aggressive use of force, backed by guns.   All laws (even seemingly innocuous ones) are ultimately backed by the threat of force.  An armed citizenry ensures that those laws are fair.

Alan Forbes is the Chairman of the Portsmouth Republican Committee. www.ProtectNewHampshire.com

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