To say that the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School emboldened gun control advocates would be an understatement. The ensuing debate over the Second Amendment filtered through all media outlets – mainstream, alternative, and social – into every home in the nation. One of the questions brought to the forefront was two-fold: "What was the original meaning of the Second Amendment, and is it really relevant for us today?"
The perpetually pompous Piers Morgan seemed to have been just waiting for something to happen. 11 days before the shooting he tweeted, "The 2nd amendment was devised with muskets in mind, not high-powered handguns & assault rifles. Fact." In staking his claim as the prime time progressive voice for "sensible" gun control, Sandy Hook provided the springboard he needed (and, as it turns out, the nudge needed to send his show's ratings into the toilet).
The Second Amendment reads as follows: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Gun control advocates like to focus on the phrase "well regulated militia" to show that the right to keep and bear arms wasn't guaranteed to individuals. Forget that the militia was made up of, well, individual people. And then there's that whole "shall not be infringed" part, but let's not get bogged down in semantics.
What reactionaries like Piers Morgan and those in the upper echelon of government fail to realize is that the right to keep and bear arms wasn't even questioned by colonial Americans. Guns were needed for survival, whether they were being used to shoot wild game or to fend off British soldiers. Muskets or not, that meant allowing the people to be as well-armed as those from whom they needed protection. It may have had something to do with living under a tyrant who tried to use superior firepower to his advantage. Who knows?
Fortunately, the trickledown theory doesn't work very well when it comes to gun control. Some state and local law enforcement officials are taking a stand. As of this writing, around 240 sheriffs, including Robin Cole of Pine County, Minnesota, have refused to go along with the Obama administration's anti-gun agenda. It remains to be seen if they will have the courage to stand by their stated convictions, but at least it's a start.
What the issue boils down to is not deciding which type of gun is appropriate but whether or not individuals have the God-given right to defend themselves. The right to self-defense is one of the fundamental pillars of a free society, and defending that right can only happen when Americans realize that the opposite of "armed and dangerous" is not "unarmed and safe."