My right to keep and bear arms is merely the practical expression of my underlying right to self-defense. That, as a polity, we have decided to hire certain people [law enforcement] to take the first shot at keeping the peace is fine. But it has no bearing on my liberties.
And how could it, given that I do not live in a police station? The old saw that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away” is trotted out as often as it is because it is unquestionably true.
Whether the average police department is virtuous or evil is irrelevant here. What matters is that no government has the right — and in America, mercifully, no government has the legal power — to farm out, and then to abolish, my elementary rights.
It would not fly if the government hired people to speak for me and then shut down my speech; if would not fly if the government hired people to worship for me and then restricted my right to exercise my religion; and it will not fly for the government to hire a security agency and then to remove, or limit, my access to weaponry. This is a personal question, not an aggregate question: I have one life, and I am entitled to defend it in any way I see fit against those who would do me harm. If there is a single principle that has animated this realm since the time of the Emperor Justinian, it is that.
Happily, defending their lives and their property as they see fit is exactly what those who have been abandoned by the authorities are doing in droves. Like father, like son, we have seen the return of the Rooftop Koreans — supplemented, this time, by Rooftop African-Americans, Rooftop Hispanics, Rooftop Pakistanis, and the rest.
The NAACP is helping to organize armed patrols of minority-owned business. Gun sales are up by a staggering 80 percent over this time last year. During the coronavirus lockdown, there was a public debate over whether gun stores should be deemed “essential.” During this outbreak of rioting, such an inquiry seems quaint. Now, as ever, there is no greater prophylactic against a criminal on the rampage than a loaded firearm in the hands of a free man.
– Charles C.W. Cooke in This Is Why We Need Guns