Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Utopian Pipe Dreams

Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Utopian Pipe Dreams

Article excerpt

Linda Gorman and David B. Kopel convincingly document how experiments in tighter firearm control laws have failed to stop serious crime, have demonized firearms and private possession of firearms, and have disastrously eroded the right of self defense, particularly in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States ("Self-Defense: The Equalizer," FORUM, Winter 2000). This dangerous erosion of self-defense rights is all the more deplorable because these countries possess a great common-law tradition and legal heritage of the righteousness of self defense, founded upon Judeo-Christian religious values.

It is time that we took stock. We have come a long way from the English medieval era when, during the manumission ceremony of freeing a slave, the master put into the slave's hands a sword and a spear, "as arms symbolical of liberty." We have come a long way from the days when our founders insisted on putting the Second Amendment, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, into the Bill of Rights of the Constitution because they believed that an unarmed populace was an enslaved people.

We have come a long way from former mainstream American thought, derived directly from the Magna Carta of 1215, concerning the right of the individual citizen to keep arms as a salutary threat to act through formal state militias, in order to restore constitutional government if the federal government would run amok and roughshod over the rights of the people. …

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