Your 'Right To Feel Safe' Versus My 'Right To Feel Safe'

(AP Photo/Ron Harris)

Every so often, someone brings up their “right to feel safe.” They argue that our right to keep and bear arms infringes on their right to feel a certain kind of way.


Now, first, we need to acknowledge that this “right to feel safe” doesn’t actually exist. If it did, such a thing could be exploited to restrict, well, almost anything.

But some people persist in pushing this idea. They’re firmly convinced that they have a right to restrict the actions of others, even restrict a constitutionally protected right, all so they can feel “safe.”

This isn’t new. We’ve seen it for years and I think most of us have probably heard someone make that argument at some point or another.

Yet I’m not going to debate them anymore about whether the right exists or not. They’re not likely to listen to that argument, anyway, so why waste the oxygen?

Instead, I’m going to ask them one simple question: Why does your right to feel safe trump my right to feel safe?

See, by owning and carrying firearms, I feel safer than if I didn’t. I understand that criminals break the law, which means they’re likely to break any gun control regulation you care to put in place, much as they have all the other gun control laws already in place.

I also recognize that the police, despite their best efforts and intentions, often get to the scene of a crime just in time to draw a chalk outline around the body. When seconds count, help is just minutes away.

So, I don’t feel safe with restrictive gun control laws in place. Someone else might, but I don’t. In fact, I feel quite the opposite. I feel far less safe than I did without them.


Yet if one’s right to feel safe is adequate grounds to infringe on the rights of others, why is my right to feel safe secondary? Are people who use this argument to push gun control arguing that they are more important than me, so their feelings of safety are more important than mine?

After all, we’ve seen studies that argue 2.5 million people use a firearm defensively every year. That’s part of why I feel safer with my gun rights intact. The other part is just how often criminals get around gun control laws in the first place. We even have reason to understand that studies claiming gun laws work are garbage, thus undermining any argument meant to sway me from feeling this way.

In other words, I have reasons to feel this way. It’s not irrational or based on some supposedly flawed understanding of the world.

So again, why does someone else’s right to feel a certain kind of way trump my own?

The short answer is that it either shouldn’t or it doesn’t. There is no version of this where it can and should. There’s no argument that could be presented to the contrary, either.

The right to feel safe doesn’t exist, and some people should be glad it doesn’t, because if it did, I’d have a CIWS mounted to my roof right now, just to help me feel safer.

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