Few anti-gun op-eds acknowledge that gun rights are part of being a free society. In fact, some even try to argue that gun right somehow makes us less free. Apparently, they took the wrong lessons from their readings of 1984.

However, a friend tagged me in her sharing of this particular op-ed from the Salt Lake Tribune. It seems that the writer, George Pyle, doesn’t take issue with guns making us free…he just thinks we should give it up because it might make someone sad.

Consider the deeply felt need of far too many Americans to have the right to possess and sometimes to carry, in broad daylight, in normal places, semi-automatic weapons that civilized peoples consider weapons of war. The desire to so behave, and the argument that it is a right granted not just by the Constitution, but by God, is a claim of absolute security which, by definition, places all others in a position of absolute insecurity.

Unless, one supposes, everyone else is also carrying such a weapon. In which case the holder of absolute security becomes the one without any conscience or decency. The one who, in order to maintain his advantage, must open fire first. And who can reasonably expect to impose the final absolute insecurity on maybe dozens of innocent bystanders before anyone else can stop him.

The idea that freedom rises from a situation where government is small, weak and difficult to find has no basis in reality. Or in the American founding document.

Freedom is “secured” by, among other things, a government that seeks to make sure there is no institution, faction or individual that enjoys absolute security. With the consent of the governed, through institutions that seem to us most likely to create safety and happiness, we set and enforce mutual limits on power.

However, Pyle fails to note a few things.

He opens with the Declaration of Independence, then tries to use it to justify gun control. However, the Declaration, while an important foundational document, doesn’t have force of law. It’s not the United States Constitution, which expressly protects the right to keep and bear arms.

Further, while he argues that no institution gets to enjoy absolute security, he’s using it to somehow justify taking guns from people because it supposedly makes other people less secure. If he can’t understand the stupidity of that argument, it’s a miracle he’s able to actually use human language.

No, no one gets to enjoy absolute security. There’s no such thing, even under a tightly controlled system of government that takes on a far more literal “Nanny State” role in the lives of the citizenry. Absolute security is a myth.

Which is why so many of us carry guns. Most of us aren’t deluded enough to believe that we’re absolutely secure. We just know that we’re more secure than we were.

Further, let’s revisit this paragraph by Pyle.

Unless, one supposes, everyone else is also carrying such a weapon. In which case the holder of absolute security becomes the one without any conscience or decency. The one who, in order to maintain his advantage, must open fire first. And who can reasonably expect to impose the final absolute insecurity on maybe dozens of innocent bystanders before anyone else can stop him.

That’s quite the leap, one justified from a scene out of a science fiction movie. Now, I love me some science fiction. I’ve even written some of it myself. But science fiction isn’t reality.

The more realistic case is that if everyone is carrying guns, those most inclined to start shooting will have to think long and hard about whether they really want to do that. It becomes a case of mutually assured destruction, where anyone so tempted to open fire will know damn good and well that they will be shot.

No law-abiding citizen is interested in shooting first without clear provocation. It’s not about maintaining an advantage. Armed citizens know outright that they’re looking at being at a certain disadvantage from the start. After all, we accept that we don’t get to pick the time and place of an armed confrontation.

Pyle has built up something of a strawman in his depiction of what a more heavily armed society would look like, then turns around and argues that no one should get absolute security.

Where he and I clearly differ, though, is that I include potentially tyrannical federal governments in that mix, yet they will get precisely that should people like Pyle succeed in disarming the American people.

The truth is, none of us are asking for absolute security. We’re demanding we keep our rights to come as close to such a thing as possible, just like any other free man should have.