Op-Ed from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

February 20, 2013
Contact: 512-463-0130

Shall Not Be Infringed
By State Senator Craig Estes

Over the last month or so, we have been dragged into another intense national conversation about guns. The same national conversation about guns we have every time some disturbed individual decides he wants his suicide to be noticed, kills a bunch of innocent people, and then has his wish granted and his motivation vindicated by society at large. Liberal politicians and their wealthy allies, surrounded by armed guards, secure in the knowledge that their children go to elite private schools in safe neighborhoods protected by more armed guards, will lecture all of us Neanderthals in the "fly-over states" about how dangerous guns are, how there is no need for them, and how we are unable to use them responsibly and will in all likelihood hurt ourselves, at the same time talking about their love of hunting. What a load of bull!

The reason you call the police when you're in serious trouble, even if you're already armed, is because they show up with guns. The phone call puts more guns on your side of the equation, and even the most zealous gun control advocates in the world understand this principle at some deep, subconscious level.

The problem is not about guns at all. The problem is not even that there are guns in our schools. When I went to high school, some of us had guns in our cars and pickups so we could go hunting after school. The YMCA and Boy's Club had rifle instruction and riflery teams. The result was that firearms were familiar implements to us, understood to be capable of many useful applications, though dangerous if mishandled. It is modern society's fear of guns and lack of familiarity with them that makes them attractive to deranged loners searching for retribution and infamy.

If guns aren't the problem, then what is the problem? How do we stop random acts of violence from happening again? Unfortunately, the answer is that we won't always be able to stop them from happening again. The problem is not guns; nor is the problem some recent phenomenon. The biggest school massacre in the history of this country was a 1927 bombing that took place in Michigan. The problem is also not restricted to the United States. There is violence all over the world.

The problem is evil.

That is what the Bible calls it, anyway. The jury is still out on whether this "evil" is a clinical condition of some sort, a psychological disorder, or just the best word we have to describe conscious, random acts of depravity. But this evil has been with us as long as history has been recorded, and there is no reason to suspect it will ever leave the human race alone. The best we can do is to be prepared when evil strikes.

The worst we can do is to legislate away our best preparation: our firearms. Our founding fathers understood that the impulse to ban weapons would crop up from time to time. That is why they placed the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights. It is absolutely not about hunting or the sport of target practice. It was written by men who had just finished overthrowing a government they believed to be evil. No one seems to want to talk about this uncomfortable historical fact. To say the Second Amendment only protects a single-shot musket, because the men who wrote it could not have foreseen modern weaponry, is as ridiculous as claiming that freedom of the press only protects manual presses, because our founders could not have foreseen the Internet.

The Second Amendment was written by men who had fought against evil to guarantee that those who came after them would be able to do the same. Whether that evil is a tyrannical government (and there are still many in the world today), a rapist kicking down your door, or a deranged loner looking to create havoc, firearms in the hands of good (non-evil) people who are trained to use them are always the best defense. And the Constitution makes it clear that our right to bear arms in defense of the good shall not be infringed. What part of not do we not understand?

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