Does the Right to Self-Defense Come from Government?

NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox recently wrote a column in U.S. News & World Report describing the right to keep and bear arms as the "most fundamental of human rights," adding that the right to self-defense "is not bestowed on [us] by government."

Cox's message rings of Thomas Jefferson, who famously wrote that men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights," and it reminds readers that some rights not only transcend but actually supersede government regulation.  

And this is exactly what our Founding Fathers understood, and what they intended us to understand, when they used the Bill of Rights to build a high wall of protection around our unalienable rights. 

Cox opens his column this way: "Your right to defend your life and the lives of your loved ones when faced with a deadly threat is not is not bestowed on you by government. Indeed, self-defense is the most fundamental of all human rights, and it's the duty of all elected officials to preserve it."

From there he uses examples from jurisprudence to show that legal precedent in America supports his contention.  

He then closes by showing that in addition to being a fundamental right, self-defense is a right that brings Americans together. This is the same point that Breitbart News' Stephen K. Bannon makes again and again when he speaks of gun rights as the issue that cuts across party lines to unite Americans of all political views. 

Cox drives these points home in his conclusion:

The right to self-defense is a fundamental human right that deserves bipartisan protection at every level of government. No parent should ever be denied the right to defend his or her children. No woman should ever be denied the right to defend herself against a violent, sexual predator. Very simply, no one should be denied the right to defend themselves in the face of grave danger. And despite the views of [President Obama] and [Attorney General Eric Holder], this is  a point on which most Americans agree. 

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.


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