Our freedom is under attack, constantly. Freedom comes under attack in the media, in our courts, in schools, in our own halls of government, even in our own homes and streets. Milton Friedman was a guiding light for the advocates of a free and just society and was also the tireless advocate of lower income and less advantaged. He clearly outlined many times his beliefs on what constitutes freedom and how lucky we are to live in a free society. Policies he advocated will always be an inspiration and give direction to those struggling to protect the rights of free society.
Friedman was a supporter of gun rights and the right of self-defense. He praised John Lott, the current leading academic scholar for his work in support of the Second Amendment. “This sophisticated analysis yields a well-established conclusion that supports the wisdom of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution rather than of those who would limit the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns.… Lott has done us all a service by his thorough, thoughtful scholarly approach to a highly controversial issue.”
With the Aurora Colorado shooting fresh in everyone’s mind, those that wish to curtail our freedom should take note of the principles of freedom. Limits on freedom have consequences. Those that wish to take advantage of those that are not free and not able to resist usually do so simply because of that fact. Governments that wish to abuse their power against the public historically have turned to gun control laws before the force of tyranny is unleashed on the general public.
The reasons we have the Second Amendment are embedded in our own independence as a country and as individuals, and we are not the only country that has that tradition. The freedom to own firearms within our constitution served to protect the population against those that desire to take our freedom away. We should never forget the most horrific regimes are always the most aggressive towards regulating individual rights.
Reasons behind “gun control” are not always sinister, but sometimes terribly misguided and absurd. Take Michael Bloomberg for example. The head of Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently came under scrutiny for suggesting law enforcement officers go on strike until we get more gun control laws passed. Making that suggestion as Mayor of New York City is a felony in the State of New York. Bloomberg has been on the wrong end of many other oddball public policy positions recently suggesting that the big apple ban large soft drinks, happy hour, fatty foods, and limit the availability of baby formula to newborn children and mothers. It is safe to say that Mr. Bloomberg falls outside the mainstream.
The shooting in the Aurora Colorado move theater was not unlike many other mass shootings in recent memory. The shootings that occurred at Luby’s, Columbine and Virginia Tech share a commonality with the Aurora movie theater as they all happened in so called “gun free zones.” Aurora City Code makes it illegal for anyone to carry a firearm on the premises of a posted “gun free zone” even if that person has a concealed carry permit. Evidence that “gun free zones” are a breeding ground for all kinds of crime is overwhelming and rarely headline news in the mainstream press. Depending on what facts you want to cite, between 2,100 and 6,800 people use their guns in self-defense every day in the United States alone; unfortunately, that fact is rarely applauded or reported by political commentators.
To those that truly hate freedom there is always some new boogeyman to be attacked. The ‘gun show loophole,’ ‘assault weapons,’ ‘high capacity magazines,’ and now ‘online ammunition’ are only the latest in this coordinated attack. The constant meme of the ‘gun show loophole’ is actually an organized attack on freedom designed to strike at the very heart of the gun rights freedom movement. Firearms and ammunition used in these crimes were not purchased at gun shows.
So called ‘assault rifles’ that are supposedly only used by criminals actually account for a fraction of the crime in the country and far less crime is committed with rifles or shotguns. Most rifles in circulation could be classified as an ‘assault rifle.’ The thing that makes an ‘assault weapon’ are not the specifications of the rifle, it’s the person operating it. The Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle used by the movie theater shooter is most commonly used for hunting, target shooting and home defense. The same goes for the Remington Model 870 pump shotgun. The two Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistols are commonly used by both police and civilians for personal defense. After the “assault weapons ban” expired there was not an increase in crime. Neither the Luby’s or Virginia Tech shootings involved a single rifle or shotgun. The “AK-47’s” Obama crassly addressed in his recent speech were curiously absent in not only these, but almost all other recent crime. The thousands of AK-47’s and other weapons recently given by Obama’s own administration to Mexican drug cartels in the Fast and Furious scandal were curiously absent from his speech.
‘High capacity magazines’ and ‘internet ammunition sales’ are just more boogeymen for freedom haters to decry. The fact that these exist and people use them for legitimate purposes is enough to drive any freedom hater crazy. But much like the gun show boogeyman, the actual problem perceived by the freedom haters isn’t actually what they hate, it is the political and individual freedom we have that they truly despise.
On Milton Friedman’s birthday let us celebrate all of our freedoms and why we still have them.
Phil Watson is Executive Director of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights. (iapcar.org)