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They’re Comin’ for My Guns

Gun control is a hot topic right now. All sorts of opinions have gotten thrown around about it, all sorts of issues have been connected to it, and there’s a lot of emotion around it. But one thing that doesn’t seem to get addressed too often is the efficacy of the 2nd Amendment. Many gun control advocates say that they are afraid of the day when the government tries to impose some sort of limitation on them that is totalitarian or unconstitutional, and that the only way they can keep their government in check is through armed rebellion, and by having guns equal to those of the military.

They suggest that this is a purpose of the 2nd Amendment, and I think most people agree, whether they interpret it as applying to militias or the general public. The second amendment was originally formulated to give the people power so that they can keep their government in check and non-tyrannical, among other things.

Something that I realized recently after reading a comment from John Green of the Vlogbrothers on tumblr was that this logic no longer holds true in any way, shape, or form. By no stretch of the imagination would the American public, even if they were given access to every possible kind of firearm, be able to defend themselves against an attack by the government, or launch a successful rebellion against the government. We have the largest military in the world. We have huge numbers of missiles. We have nuclear weapons. We have drones, and tanks, and military bases, and other huge weapons and resources at the command of our government that no civilian will ever have, and which we wouldn’t want any civilian to be able to have. And no amount of assault rifles will be able to defend you from a tank or a drone. No one is advocating that private citizens suddenly be allowed to have arsenals of the equivalent of the US military (and if they are, then I am very very afraid). It’s simply not feasible, affordable for much of anyone, practical or safe for any private citizen to have the kind of firepower of the US military, or the kind of firepower that would be able to challenge the US military in the event that we have to use our personal weapons to defend ourselves against the tyranny of our own government. If we did allow individuals to rival the firepower of the US army, then we would be allowing people to create personal armies, and that is not safe or prudent.

Gun control is still a debate we can have. There are still elements of the amendment that some could argue are relevant. However people should please stop trying to make the argument that they want guns so that when the government goes crazy, they can protect themselves. We have tried to put other measures in place to keep our government sane, and generally they have worked. We would not be able to defend ourselves against the government if they decided to hurt us. This is not the reason to keep guns.

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Olivia is a giant pile of nerd who tends to freak out about linguistic prescriptivism, gender roles, and discrimination against the mentally ill. By day she writes things for the Autism Society of Minnesota, and by night she writes things everywhere else. Check out her ongoing screeds against jerkbrains at

1 Comment

  1. March 6, 2013 at 6:05 am —

    You’re smarter than the average bear: it is partly about the 2nd Amendment and defense against a tyrannical government, but yet a rebellion is no match for the US military. But on the other hand, what would the military actually do during a rebellion? That’s a head-spinning thought. Presumably the military would be divided like society. I can’t get my head around it. It’s too hard to imagine. But one thing is for sure: in any rebellion, ordinary folks would rather have more firepower than less. And then there’s the threat from lawless roving bandits that might come during a rebellion, which is another good reason to keep your guns. Wow! This is how far America is now divided, that we’re even thinking about civil war. But I live in Australia and we have no guns, so we’re toast if a tyrannical government takes over. So I recommend you keep the 2nd Amendment and your guns. The US will probably look more like Israel as times goes by i.e. high security everywhere. But that is preferable to being disarmed, IMO.

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