The Gun And How It Made America Great

We love guns. If you’re reading Bearing Arms, you’re clearly in the camp of people who love the Second Amendment, and most who love the Second Amendment love guns in general. For me, guns are among the most amazing developments of mankind.

We also love our country. We tend to believe it’s the greatest country in the world.

Naturally, we argue that the two go hand-in-hand, an assertion our anti-gun opponents tend to reject. However, over at The Daily Signal, commentator David Harsanyi was talking about his new book and, in the process, spoke about how guns make this nation great.

Ginny Montalbano: David, I want to ask you a very broad question. Could you explain to us, how are firearms linked to America’s rights?

Harsanyi: Well, in every way imaginable almost. First off, it’s important to know that as a philosophical matter, the right to bear arms—or to defend yourself, your property, your family—goes back farther in British law and history than the freedom of religion or freedom of speech, or anything like that. It’s one of the oldest rights.

So right away, the people who were coming here, from England at least, had that embedded in their thinking. And obviously that immediately became, as a practical matter, it became important in survival and in defending yourself from people who were already here, but also for hunting and defending yourself from the French or the Spanish or whoever else was around. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is obviously in the Revolution. Lexington and Concord, let’s just take the first battle of the Revolution, those men were defending a cache of weapons. They weren’t arguing about anything specific. They knew that if the British would take the powder, and take the cannons, and take the guns, they would have no country and their rights could be taken away from them at any point.

Bluey: David, every time the left proposes some restrictions on firearms, or a way to curtail the Second Amendment in some way, we often see a spike in gun ownership in this country. What does that tell us about the American people today?

Harsanyi: It tells us that many of the American people still understand why the Second Amendment is important to them. And it’s not just for hunting—in fact, hunting, as a hobby and as a pastime, has really declined over the years—but as a right and the importance of it.

So whenever that right has been threatened, and I mean from the beginning until now, there’s always an upheaval, obviously, in the capitalistic form of buying more weapons, but sometimes it was more violent as well.

That’s just a glimpse of the interview which is a pretty good read. It was enough to convince me to pick up Harsanyi’s book. Clearly, he gets it. Especially the part about the Second Amendment not being for hunting.

Years ago, a new Republican candidate for Congress was speaking to a group I was a part of, and the subject of guns came up. He began by saying, “I’m a hunter,” and then rambled on a bit. After it was over, I went to speak to the guy. He was likable and I really wanted to see him succeed, so I told him something. “Rick,” I said, “if you want to show that you’re pro-gun, you may want to leave out that you’re a hunter unless it comes up. Many of us hear ‘I’m a hunter’ and we start waiting to hear the word ‘but’ come up. If you’re pro-gun, be pro-gun. The Second Amendment isn’t hunting.” (More or less, anyway. I’m sure I got the exact wording wrong.)

Harsanyi’s comment is along the same line. The Second Amendment isn’t really about hunting, so hunting as a justification for any gun law is ridiculous.

Now, to convince the Fudds of this kind of thing.

May 16, 2021 11:30 AM ET
May 16, 2021 8:30 AM ET