As the newly-elected Republicans get closer to assuming office in the House, Senate, and in gubernatorial offices around the country, it is important to remember that gun ownership is a natural right, not a political one.
In other words, although Second Amendment supporters should be thrilled that gun control candidates were trounced on November 4, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Rather, it is time to make sure incoming officeholders remember that our right to keep and bear arms comes to us via our Creator and not from government, so says Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson expressed these things in the Declaration of Independence when he pointed to “certain unalienable rights” with which we have been endowed by our “Creator.” These rights include those guarded by the Second Amendment, as well as the others protected in the Bill of Rights. And Breitbart News has previously reported that Jefferson described them as “unalienable” to show that they are inseparable from us—they are part of our humanity.
Oxford law professor William Blackstone greatly impacted Jefferson’s understanding of these things by describing unalienable rights as “absolute” rights. Blackstone explained that they were absolute because they came from him who is absolute, and that they were, are, and always will be, because the giver of those rights was, is, and always will be.
John Locke wrote on these rights too, calling them natural rights instead of unalienable or absolute rights but recognizing their origins in the Creator nonetheless.
Locke studied natural rights extensively and showed that lessons on property and justice are inherent to them. He explained that natural rights are not orchestrated by government but by natural law, and that law presents a framework for freedom within those rights and also communicates the virtue of self-defense (see Locke’s Second Treatise of Government).
Therefore, natural rights are not political inasmuch as they exist with or without the consent of those in political office—such rights even exist without the citizens’ consent—and the Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights to protect them.
So the lesson for incoming officeholders is simple—gun rights are not like speed limits, school funding, defense spending, or treaties with foreign countries. The government’s role is not to regulate such rights but to protect them in accordance with the Constitution. This is what our Founders meant by the words, “Shall not be Infringed.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.