Kobach: The Riots Remind Us Why We Need the Second Amendment

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 01: Shop owners survey the damage to their store in the aftermath of widespread unrest following the death of George Floyd on June 1, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Protests have erupted all across the country in response to the death of Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota while …
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For years, Philadelphia has been run by liberal progressives who oppose private gun ownership. In Philadelphia, a permit is required to carry a gun or transport one in a vehicle. Although Pennsylvania state law prohibits Philadelphia from enacting all of the gun control measures the city’s leaders wish, the city’s website reads like a gun control propaganda sheet.

The city’s progressive leaders believe that guns should not be widely owned by ordinary citizens. The protection of the city’s residents should be handled exclusively by the police department.

But what happens when the police are unable to protect the city’s residents?  The entire theory collapses. That’s exactly what happened over the weekend in Philadelphia.

The looting and rioting escalated to the point where the police could not cover the city. In some parts of the city, looting was occurring without any police interference. In other places, police cars were hijacked or burned by the rioters. The Philadelphia Police Department asked for help from neighboring police departments in Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Abington Township,  as well as the state police.

Times like this remind us just how important the Second Amendment is. When thousands of rioters loot and burn the businesses of innocent people, there’s only so much the police can do to protect them. And in cities like Philadelphia, the police were completely overwhelmed.

In other cities such as Minneapolis, business owners of all races were able to protect themselves with firearms. They stood on their property and made clear that they intended to defend it. Having a police officer five minutes away is of limited value when an Antifa thug is five seconds away.

This is doubly true when the rioters are not only threatening residents’ businesses, but also their homes. The possession of a firearm to defend oneself is literally a matter of life and death.

Here’s what one of Philadelphia’s most famous temporary residents had to say on the subject:

“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

Wondering who said that?  Those words were written more than 200 years ago by Thomas Jefferson in his Legal Commonplace Book, quoting the Italian Cesare Beccaria’s Essay on Crimes and Punishments. It’s common sense that’s true now more than ever.

The police cannot completely protect any city’s residents from harm when mass riots and lootings occur. To believe otherwise is progressive fantasy.

If you don’t believe it, turn on the television.

Kris W. Kobach served as the Secretary of State of Kansas during 2011-2019. He was a professor of constitutional law at UMKC Law School for 15 years from 1996 to 2011. He is currently General Counsel for We Build the Wall. He is currently a candidate for Kansas’s U.S. Senate seat. His website is kriskobach.com.


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