Is Right To Armed Self-Defense Obsolete?

Is Right To Armed Self-Defense Obsolete?

Even most anti-gunners I’ve interacted with agree that people have a right to defend themselves. They may have strange ideas as to what that may or may not entail–ideas often born out of ignorance, either willfully held or not–but they tend to accept we have a right to defend ourselves. On some level, most of them don’t argue that we have a right to use weapons to defend that life, though some think we should use a bad or knife or something.


However, it seems that many people believe the right to armed self-defense is obsolete.

Gun control advocates argue that to the extent the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms was meant to ensure people can defend themselves, that concern is anachronistic in modern times when we have professional police. I couldn’t help but notice that this past Summer the police, often on direct orders from mayor and public safety chiefs, often stood by while looting and rioting gripped American cities. This abdication of basic policing responsibilities rather weakens the argument that people should just rely on police, as do calls to defund the police.

So I decided to write an article about it, which is forthcoming in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy. In the article, I describe the argument that the right to armed self-defense is obsolete, go into the most detail of anything published thus far about this past Summer’s violence and the anemic law enforcement response, and then provide examples of individuals and groups that countered the violence with armed self-defense.


David Bernstein, who wrote the above, makes care to note that there is a difference between peaceful protestors and those who perpetrated violence on our cities’ streets. I tend to believe that if the protestors had a problem with violence, they should have either left or stopped it, but I don’t know that Bernstein and I disagree on that.

Not that it matters, of course.

At the end of the day, though, I’m more worked up by the idea that anyone can seriously think that armed self-defense is an outdated and obsolete concept.

If you look through the archives here at Bearing Arms, you’ll find countless examples of armed citizens defending either their life or the life of another with their weapons. Each of these corresponds to a situation where someone would likely be either killed or seriously injured had armed self-defense not have taken place.

To call such a concept obsolete is to completely ignore the myriad of examples that we have showing that armed self-defense is still needed. I’m honestly baffled that anyone could seriously argue that it’s not needed.

I’m not talking about those who want to make a duty to retreat the law of the land, or who want to hamstring citizens who opt to carry a gun to defend human life, either. Even most of those who advance those issues don’t try to argue the right to self-defense with a weapon is obsolete. I suppose they might think it, but they know better than to make that claim in anything approaching a serious manner.


The question I have is just how prevalent is that thinking? With luck, it never leave academia, because if it does, we’re in for difficult times ahead.

And let’s be honest, stupid ideas leave academia all the time.


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