The issue of gun control finds itself, yet again, at the forefront of debate in the United States following the events of the Aurora massacre, and indeed, instances from around the world. Cho, Breievek, and now Holmes are all names that stir deep emotion in good and honest citizens as they ask themselves whether the second ammendment is relevant, and if it should be questioned. And while the people asking such questions ought to be given every respect and admired for their efforts to address a real and palpable issue, I feel that I should nail my proverbial colours to the mast - I disagree with them.
Yes, I disagree with them. I am 100% pro gun freedom in the United States. Now, I can understand if one considers the timing of this article inappropriate, but I confess I feel a certain calling to write it; my pro-gun beliefs are firm, and if one considers someting to be morally acceptable, then it ought be accepted in all times and places and now, with the ever-growing clamping down on gun freedom, I could suppose that guns are in need of an advocate. A rational one.
First and foremost, it is my conviction that the liberty endowed by the owning and bearing of a firearm is rather a desirable pursuit. When a people, on an individual basis, own weapons, they are enfranchised, they are capitalised. They, in every essence, have the literal means to rise up against tyranny and oppression wherever it is present. Whether it is in the monopoly of government, or the lethal menace of an unlawful intruder into one's personal property, a man who owns a firearm can defend himself. This, I feel, is quite eminently desirable, and for the executive branch to suspend or remove or license - or whatever verb should suffice - this right - this intrinsic, natural right of of a decent human being - is to, in effect, handicap a citizenry from self defence and revolution. As George Mason neatly surmised, "to disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them".
And one only has to observe the history of the United States - and not the constitution - to note this. For the United States, as it was historically and nobly born, was started with a gun shot, not a decree of legislation. Just look at Concord, Massachusetts - this was the place where the Yanks fought of us Brits, with guns and the freedom they ensued. Indeed, I would argue that the gun, for better or for worse, is a highly accurate symbol for the values of American liberty.
I would urge you to keep that liberty in mind when you consider the notions of a state controlling gun usage. Is it, in all reality, a positive measure when a government can, by a simple declaration of 'insanity', remove the liberty and franchise of an individual, of a citizen? When I consider this, and I understand that it may not "work out like this in practice", I confess an image of Soviet style judgment panels declaring any dissent "insane" perforates around my mind - of course that might never happen, but attacks on the liberty of American citizens are happening, all in the name of "anti-terrorism", and one cannot rule out such scenarios in the future - this is the government that has faced allegations of rendition, and has created "free speech zones", where dissent has been alleged to have been found, in certain circumstance, illegal.
My arguments here are abridged, as I intend to keep my piece short and, hopefully, concise, and I invite you, reader, to express your views, whatever side of the fence they fall on. Ultimately, the most important part of the gun debate is the debate, is the discourse, and I am always willing to change my opinion if the facts present themselves in such a way as to comprehensively change the scenario. But for now, reader, I admit freely, the freedom of the gun and the liberty it brings must surely be pursuits worth chasing.
I conclude with this side-thought, which is just that - Can we say in good faith that certain criminals, who are prepared to harm and even kill, are going to obey some form of law preventing gun ownership?
Andrew Beazley is the co-founder of First Thought, a site showcasing the best young journalists from across the UK.