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Don T. sent this question to RF:

In your letter published in the current Harper’s [ED: republished after the jump] you write about “law-abiding Americans…exercising their natural, civil, and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.” I haven’t thoroughly searched your web site, but I am wondering if you have addressed or can further elaborate on the alleged “natural” right to bear arms. I am unaware of Nature issuing any set of rights for human beings, or for any species. There may be many “laws of nature,” but I am unfamiliar with rights granted by nature.

So we’ll put it to you, the Armed Intelligentsia: do human beings have a natural right to armed self defense?

[Dan] Baum is right that banning possession of AR-15 semiautomatic rifles is a fool’s errand and that gun owners have a responsibility to keep their firearms secure from criminals and unsupervised children. But mandating gun safes and making owners criminally liable for acts committed with guns stolen from their homes isn’t closing the barn door after the horse has bolted; it’s opening that door to tyranny.

There’s only one way to ensure that a gun-safe requirement is being followed: random inspections. That sounds more like a police state than a republic in which citizens are innocent until proven guilty.

Making gun owners responsible for criminal misuse of stolen firearms is patently ridiculous. Since there isn’t a safe that can’t be breached, a mandatory gun-safe law would have no practical impact — other than discouraging law-abiding Americans from exercising their natural, civil, and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Most American gun owners are extremely responsible: they keep their firearms secure and teach their children about gun safety. Both the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have programs designed to encourage these practices. Prescribing a cure for the few dangerously lax gun owners through mandatory gun-safe and liability laws is no less a feel-good nonsolution than banning the AR-15.

Robert Farago
Publisher, The Truth About Guns
Austin, Tex.

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  1. If rights were natural, every human being would have them. Rights are established through blood and perseverance. Once obtained, they must be preserved through constant vigilance to ensure that they are not taken by those who would subjugate us.

    • Disagree, at least regarding the inherence of rights. It is force or its threat that infringes on those inherent natural rights, thus it must be met with equal or greater force to preserve them.

    • Every human does have rights; a person’s being prevented from exercising their rights does not mean that they are no longer entitled to them. These rights must be defended through blood and perseverance.

      • I disagree. The universe enforces conservation of momentum; it does not enforce “rights”. It’s humans who invent rights, and it’s up to humans to enforce them.

        • Our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and all that naturally exist without any effort at all. The removal of a natural right by laws is what requires enforcement.

        • Humans did NOT “invent” any legitimate right. We DISCOVERED them — in much the same way as we discovered fire, the speed of light, or the fact that gravity is proportional to mass. The existence of a LEGITIMATE individual right can be identified with mathematical certainty.

    • Certain rights are natural, given by the Creator,as stated plainly in the Declaration of Independence.
      Every human has been given them by the Creator, as stated above. It is also true that in most countries in the world Governments of Kings or Dictators or a select group of people who have set themselves up as rulers of the many, these natural rights have been curtailed to different degrees. This is because governments exist to gain ever more power. All of our forefathers were aware of this. They fought their rulers until they triumphed over them, then set to work building their grand experiment, which, after a couple of failed tries, resulted in the formation of the United States of America. Our forefathers warned of the danger of a powerful government, and also warned against the perils of keeping a standing army. Many of us today, after seeing and experiencing the creeping power of the government, are attempting to regain our initial Freedoms. We prefer to do this without armed intervention. But we will regain our Freedoms. Check out the Oathkeepers, Sons of Liberty, or any of several active organizations. I recommend the Libertarian party if you are politically interested. MOLON LABE.

    • Everyhuman being does have them.

      And every tyrant wants to take some or all of them away.

      Thus the fight.

      • “. . . Every human being does have them.”
        “. . . Every LIVING being does have them.”
        There. Fixed it for ya!
        Even la Cucaracha has the NATURAL right to protect itself, it’s nest, it’s offspring, and it’s friends (if it has any) with every means available to it!
        I DEMAND to have Rights at least equal to those enjoyed by a Cockroach! How about you?
        Freemen (and women) have Rights.
        Subjects have no Rights
        Slaves have no Rights
        Governments have no Rights, only Powers.
        Governments are naturally bound to increase their powers.
        By way of a Constitution, The People gave the government 17 specific Powers and ONLY 17. It gave the Government NO Rights!
        Freemen (and women) must resist this natural tendency of government or defer their rights to it.
        “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” — Benjamin Franklin, Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (Barnes and Noble, 1993), p. 201.

    • A natural right to bears arms? Is there anything in the Second Amendment that specifies firearms? I don’t recall any such wording.

      Every living creature has a natural right to defend its own life and by extension the lives of its relatives and group. Ask a rattlesnake, or a grizzly, or a cat, or that pit bull down the street. The fact that humans devise their own arms for protection does not change the fact that they have the same right to protect themselves from predation of any sort as any other living creature has.

  2. the idea that you have no rights save for that which government grants to you is a fundamental reversal of the notion on which this nation was founded. It is truly the mentality of a slave. I think we might just have to write this one off as terminally statist.

    • The letter writer is asking a simple question. Actually, a very thought provoking and interesting question. How does that make him a statist?

      • I am not sure it simply a question. There is an assertion that there are no natural rights whatsoever. this leaves to types of remaining rights: those granted by governments and those acquired by violence.

        The political contract of the United States, recognizes existing rights, it does not grant them. It recognizes and reiterates rights each person has already.

        Absent the idea of recognizing those rights, Don T is in fact a statist — unless he believes there is no such thing as rights of any kind.

        • True, as far as it goes. I assert that the short list of rights ACKNOWLEDGED in the BoR, are merely a few of the rights most commonly trampled by government. In fact, harmless adults possess the right to do ANY harmless thing! This means that we all have literally BILLIONS of rights!

  3. I have as much right to pick up a club or gun or rock to defend myself with as anyone has to stop me from doing so. Probably because they have a club or gun or rock they want to use against me.

  4. I keep my house locked, that means my guns are locked up. What’s the problem? Am I really supposed to be responsible for a burglars actions?

    • Its not the criminals fault your house was broken into, its your fault for having such nice stuff.

  5. The most basic instinct of any animal, critter, even bacteria is survival, and that is what the second amendment is all about, deep down — survival in acquiring food, survival against criminals who want to steal that food, and survival against governments which want to control that survival instinct to their advantage.

    If you don’t like that definition, make up your own. If you don’t agree that survival is the most basic instinct, and that the second amendment is about survival, then you are a fool.

    • I was typing something similar. Self defense is a natural right if all life. We just use tools for our self defense.

      • You’re in good company. Aristotle noted that animals possessed the tooth and the claw to defend themselves, and that the human hand was no less adapted to defense because it could handle a weapon such as a sword or a spear.

        All nature teaches that creatures have the right to defend themselves. But modern so-called liberals would like to lock up the oryx for using its horns to defend against the lion. See George Zimmerman. They have set themselves against nature.

  6. Natural imperatives such as the need for water & food, the need for clothing & shelter, the need for security from others (including from one’s overlords), these all evolve into rights.

    So…yes; defense of self, family, and community is now a natural right and shall ever remain so.

  7. Just look around. A gazelle uses its speed, a snunk its scent, a bear its claws and teeth to defend itself and its young. Humans just have more options to defend ourselves and they are not to be infinged. There’s nothing more natural than the preservation of self.

  8. The question posed is not about locking guns, it’s about a natural right to bear arms. I think the question writer, Don T, has a decent question, but he fails to recognize that the right to bear arms is the natural extension of the right to self defense, which we all should be able to agree is a natural right. If you have the natural right to live unendangered, the natural right to self defense follows. And the right to bear a an effective arm is the natural extension of that natural right. Don never would have questioned a lion’s right to use his claws against an attacking lion, nor would I imagine he would argue that Oog shouldn’t have used a club in the Neanderthal times, the epoch of weapon technology at the time….

    The natural right to bear arms, as effective as possible, extends from our natural right to live without fear of attack, predation, and assault.

    • Like you, DP, my respect for humanity immediately caused me to feel great sympathy for Don T.’s hunger for knowledge. I took this course in college (twice, because you have to pass it), so I can answer Don T. authoritatively: Nature issues living creatures nothing but appetites, and is red in tooth and claw: It’s a cat eat bird, dog eat cat, revenuers eat your earnings world, unquestionably and empirically. No matter who you are and where you live there is a politician or hoodlum with an appetite that tells him he should confiscate your money, abuse your children, steal your food, and beat you senseless if you object. A right is a super-law that instructs such people that they may not do these things even if the voters approve of it, unless the Supreme Court caves. A natural right is a right which, when violated by the politician or hoodlum, naturally causes you to strap on your firearms as a defacto injunction allowing you time to file a lawsuit in objection. There’s really nothing more to it.

  9. The very idea of “Natural” rights was created by man, therefore any rights we have are in fact granted by man. Nature is not capable of granting rights. The rights that we have are either granted to us from others, or taken by force for ourselves.

    • Also, as to rights being granted by our creator. What rights? My experience is with Christianity so I’ll use that. No where that I know of in the Bible does God grant people earthly rights. God is playing the long game, with our life here on earth being a temporary one. Render unto Caesar, in this world not of it, etc. I suppose that our only right would be to worship him, and yet active resistance to religious oppression is not advocated by Christ.

      • Well you never read the Bible! Christ said sell your coat and buy a sword, how about David killing the pagans, etc.etc. Self defense is justified all over the Bible…Christ when after the money changers with a whip. And God GIVES the people LIBERTY. That’s what is written on our Liberty Bell is right out of the Bible… and i can give 100’s more times too…..Christ is the King for Christians, our Constitution is the LAW of the LAND ( our King in USA) no one or no law is higher than the Constitution , But King JESUS (TRUE GOD)!

        • I have read the Bible, and if you subscribe to any of that then you’ll conclude that you have no rights, but rather live and die by the sole discretion and mercy of your Creator. You’re given commandments, not rights.

          Not that it matters. The argument about whether they are natural or not is a red herring. Either you enjoy them under your current political reality or you don’t. Whether you *should* enjoy a certain right is another question and one we arrive at by rational means. We can, and should, conduct that evaluation without having to appeal to supernatural forces.

        • Your argument about the sword has nothing to do with self defense, but with prophecy. If you demand literalism, he says that one sword is enough for the 12 of them, so it seems that Christ is saying that out of every 12 people, there should be one weapon. Also, can you cite one place where Christ says anything negative about slavery? It is troubling that we would attribute to God the idea of natural rights when there seems to not be a single place in the scriptures that speaks out against slavery.

          • God wrote the Bible, and the truth is in the whole world, if you reject it , You will find out on Judgement day , NOW you can not say i was never told!

        • God did not write the bible, men did…and it was passed down through the ages by men, and edited by the church along the way. Even if God wrote it through man, you’re still trusting your fellow man from 2000 years ago that they are handing down the true word…

    • Anthropomorphism of “Mother Nature” aside, nature is not an entity or a diety and so cannot grant or deny anything. The right in question is not granted by anyone or anything, it is a NATURAL right, that is, something that occurs naturally without other interfence, like the weather.

      And to further clarify, a natural right is not something that was granted or permitted nor is it in any way related to any supposed diety, supreme being, god, God, Allah, Krishna, etc. It simply is.

  10. There’s only one way to ensure that a gun-safe requirement is being followed: random inspections.


    “The only way to ensure that people are not making drugs in their basements is random inspections”.

    “The only way to ensure that parents are not engaging in incest with their children is random inspections”.

    “The only way to ensure that people are eating healthy is RANDOM INSPECTIONS”.

    Oh, wait, no, that’s fucking nonsense.

    We can “ensure” that people are following a safe storage requirement the same way we used to “ensure” that people followed all sorts of other laws and requirements. When they get caught breaking it they face the statutory penalties.

  11. Apparently the letter writer needs to take a philosophy class or two. John Locke would be an excellent place to start. Then maybe he wouldn’t be so unfamiliar with “rights granted by nature”.

    The question is neither thought-provoking nor interesting, because he clearly assumes Natural Law is the same thing as the laws of nature – like Newtonian physics or chemistry – rather than a philosophical outlook. In fact, had the letter writer actually bother to google or wiki “Natural Law”, he could have answered the question himself in about thirty seconds, or at least gotten a good start.

  12. It’s amazing to me how few of the commenters here are unfamiliar with the concept of “Natural Law”; that rights come from our Creator and that men form governments to guarantee those rights. It’s right in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson manages to cover it a couple sentences. It’s not difficult and doesn’t require a law degree to get it.

    • From WHAT Creator? If there is none, your entire argument crumbles to dust. Are you comfortable with insupportable beliefs?

      Not me. When I’m honest with myself, I must admit that there is no proof of a creator, nor is there disproof. You are entitled to believe what you believe (but really, does it NEVER change?), but belief and proof are two different things entirely.

      I believe Aborigines founded Uranus.

      No, really, I don’t believe that at all.

      • I’m just quoting the Declaration of Independence.

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

        If you don’t agree with this premise, I’m not sure where you think we get our rights. You’ve given up being able to draw a moral distinction between “democracy” as practiced in the US and “authoritarianism” as practiced in Red China, the former USSR, or, for that matter, Nazi Germany.

        • But our rights are enumerated in our secular Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence. The latter is our break up letter with a king, so of course we referenced our “Creator” since he sees his authority as divinely mandated.

          You needn’t establish natural rights to make a moral distinction between democracy and authoritarianism. Those concepts are defined by how power is distributed, not by how moral they are. (BTW, the Nazis thought they were manifesting God’s will and had “Gott mit uns” on their belt buckles). After all, you could have amoral democracies and benevolent dictatorships.

        • So you’re implying that if I do not agree with the concept of a supernatural Creator that I do not have any natural rights? That’s just absurd.

          Rights were not created by God nor by man’s philosophy, they were only described through the application of our intellect an enshrined in our Consitution. And the fact they are not so enshrined in other political documents in no way changes the fact that every person still has those rights.

        • Cliff, if they weren’t so enshrined in those documents then you wouldn’t enjoy those rights. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have worked so hard to create and defend those documents.

          What good is having a right that you can’t exercise?

        • Well Zach, we have “In God We Trust” on our money. By your logic, that means we’re a Christian nation. If the Nazis thought they were doing God’s will, why did they lock up so many priests and ministers. You do know that over 2500 priests were locked up at Dachau, don’t you? About 40% died there. So much for doing God’s Will.

          In any case, that’s beyond the scope of our discussion. Natural Law theory espouses that there are certain inalienable rights, rights that are granted by a higher power than man or government. Otherwise, these rights aren’t inalienable, they are dependent on the benevolence of your fellow man. Arguing for natural rights without acknowledging “Nature’s God” is appealing to an authority that you don’t believe in. It’s why John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”.

        • ucfengr, No, by my logic having “in God we Trust” means we’ve made the same mistake that the Nazi’s have…confusing God’s will with our own political agenda (which arguably we did under manifest destiny).

          The Nazi’s locking up priests and clergy is only evidence that they wanted absolute control over the state, not that they didn’t feel they were doing God’s work. They were just trying to cut out the middle man.

          In any case, arguing for Natural Rights by acknowledging “Natures God” is arguing for an authority you can’t prove. An argument made solely from authority commits a logical fallacy.

          Unfortunately, history has shown that rights are alienable, and do rely on human enlightenment and benevolence. Sometimes, they rely on a world class army.

        • When someone says that the having “God with us” on their belt buckles means the Nazis were Christians, I find it best to just assume ignorance on the arguers part and move on.

          Regarding “natural rights”, if there is no higher authority than man or government than the concept of inalienable rights makes no sense. It’s why the founders of the nation understood that our form of government was designed for a moral and religious people. Let’s be honest, many of the Founding Fathers were only nominally religious, but they did understand that absent an acknowledgement that our rights come from something greater than us our form of government could not survive. I think we’re starting to see the fruits of the abandonment of the idea of “natural law” and it our freedoms are suffering for it.

        • ucfengr, I never wrote that having “Gott mit uns” on their belt buckles made them Christians, just that they thought they were acting out god’s plan. You inferred that somehow and then set up a straw man argument.

          Obviously you and I disagree on the point that you need a supernatural source for an idea to have meaning or value.

      • That you and the Earth is here proves a Creator. You can not make a Earth , or dog,or cat.. So all you have is Fools Wind!

        • The Bible says in their wisdom they became FOOLS.Why does every one know what the Bible and God says and have NEVER read it…

  13. I would have to say that natural right exists in that all creatures defend themselves from harm by other creatures using the best means available. For humans that means firearms, as those happen to be the most effective means of defense we can deploy against other predators, be they two or four legged.

  14. I can’t find it anywhere in The Bible where God granted us “rights”. I found the responsibilities He gave us (10 Commandments), but no “rights” at all. Probably the best course is “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” If men established rights, then men can take them away, if you let them. If someone needs to be fought, I’ll do it, but please don’t think that God considers it important.

    • How is what the Bible says relevant? Should we also look to the Quran, the Vedas, and the Book of Shadows while we’re at it?

    • This is one of the common misconceptions about natural rights, that the belief is that they are rights granted by god. Christians can believe in that, but natural rights theory predates Christianity. One can be an atheist and still believe in natural rights.

    • Not only does the Bible have nothing to do with natural rights, but organized religion as a whole attempts to force man to do things contrary to natural law.

    • Robin, the short version is : it’s complicated.

      Here’s a slightly less short version. The idea of natural rights predates Christianity, going back at least to ancient Greece, whose philosophers posited the idea of equal natural rights stemming from the state of human beings when removed from the trappings of society – strand a king and a slave naked on a desert island and they both find themselves quite in the same position.

      Then Christianity came along, and as it grew scholars – already accustomed to the arguments and philosophy of the ancient pagan world, started exploring these same ideas from a Christian scriptural standpoint. This led to an idea of hierarchical natural rights – with God above men, kings above commoners, men above women, adults above children, etc. The idea of equal natural rights fell out of favor as a heretical and pagan idea. If you want to see the scriptural basis for this, you’ll have to read up on Thomas Aquinas. An alternate theory defending the Divine Right of Kings from a scriptural perspective is given in Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha.

      This state of affairs persisted until the enlightenment, when philosophers undertook the task of rehabilitating the idea of equal natural rights using Christian theological arguments, making them once again palatable to Western society. See especially the work of John Locke.

        • Um, the oldest books of the Bible were canonized around the 5th Century BCE…that hardly predates history.

          • They keep making copies so dates mean nothing , and we have the dead sea parts of copies that date 30 BC…

    • HE gave the People LIBERTY, just what is written on the Liberty Bell , proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof..LEV .10 , this means GOD and God only is the source of your rights, HE created nature as Creator , HE came in Blood (Jesus Christ) to Bring FREEDOM also to REJECT GODS LOVE , ends in Hell , HE MADE A WAY (JESUS) . two roads Heaven or Hell .. Now you been TOLD , come judgement you can not say I don’t know…

  15. What I find an interesting irony is that oftentimes the people questioning about the natural right of self-defense or natural right to keep and bear arms are then the kind who act as if things like a woman’s right to choose (regarding abortion) were written by the hand of God himself.

    That said, the country was founded on the concept of natural rights. We humans are born with natural rights and the core reason we create a government is to protect those rights. All the other stuff the government does is extra.

    I would argue that right to self-defense, and thus right to arms, is the most fundamental law of nature that there is. From the moment all life forms come into existence, it is a fight for survival, and such life forms must protect themselves, against everything from the elements to other life forms. Defense is one of the core parts of existence for most life forms.

    We humans have a natural defensive system within our bodies that is constantly fighting off invading pathogens, and we build shelters and make clothing to protect ourselves from the elements, and make tools (weapons) to protect ourselves from other animals and other humans.

    All life I would argue has a right to defend itself. The reason why we humans kill other life forms is a few-fold:

    1) It is impossible for all life forms to exist in peace with one another, and some survive by eating other life forms. In the case of humans, we thus have to control, and/or kill off, certain life forms, for example certain viruses (although it is questionable whether viruses are really life forms) and bacteria. It’s nothing against the viruses or bacteria, except that they infect our bodies and thus give us really nasty diseases, so we don’t have a choice.

    2) We also kill other animals for population control and for food purposes. Otherwise, we have laws regarding what animals can be killed, when they can be killed, and how they can be killed (what types of weapons and ammunition used).

    Since we humans are the only animals capable of high-level reasoning, we have laws against murdering other humans. If a human violates these laws, we have a legal system set up to address it. In the case of other life forms, if they kill a human, well they are not capable of reasoning as humans are, so we have other ways of dealing with those creatures.

    To argue that something does not have a right to defense or arms is the equivalent of arguing that a person does not have a right to live. It also blows a hole through all the other rights that the (usually) left-wing gun grabbers claim that we do have.

  16. It’s if you think a little the only true right all man have, that is the right to stay alive , fighting with arms or the mind…Wars by nations are not rights, but even a revolt,a civil war, samples the American natives, the 1860 copper heads, the southerns in the American civil war, all about staying alive…. we have kings, because they have large army’s , but look at the English civil war, The English king viewed that he was above all,, HE found out when Oliver Cromwell stopped his large army over and over, because Cromwell army won already in their minds, the king lost his head.. The same again in our war for Independence , Washington had a army of man in Rags, but the war was won in the minds of his men… Today our army wins only one way the human wave . but do we Win ??? never! we kill a lot but never win ,,, wars are won or lost in the mind,, We fight to no end and only reap BLOW BACK…. that is why blacks want guns it’s a war in their mind, and they may be very correct ,, it’s the dumb American liberal whites who do not understand Freedom and Liberty is the natural SANE mind , so gun control can and will never work because it is a sick INSANE mind set………

  17. I am unaware of rights granted by nature

    First of all, RF didn’t call RKBA a right “granted” by nature. Don T. did, because he needs to control the language to control the dialog. It’s the oldest (dirty) trick in the book.

    So allow me to explain: Humans as a species have a natural desire to live. I know that I do, and I will defend my life. If Don T. can’t understand the very basic human desire to live, then he’s wasting valuable oxygen. And bandwidth.

    • Not just humans, every living species. Everything on earth has the desire to live, and the ‘right’ to fight to do so. That some people can’t understand this blows my mind.

    • We’re ‘endowed by our creator with’ certain inalienable rights. I asked my mom. She said ‘yep.’

  18. Don T is using a classic Marxist question. Marx and his followers attacked the classic western idea of natural rights, which is grounded in Socrates, Aristotle and Plato.

    It was a useful question for Marxists, because the alternative to natural rights is state granted rights. State granted rights are collective and not inherent to the individual.

  19. Yes – hence the word “unalienable” rather than “inalienable” when describing them.

    • “Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.”
      ― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

      • Read the Declaration of Independence then the Constitution and Bill or Rights which is the enumeration of the unalienable rights.

        What Heinlein is referring to is an Government destructive to the ends, not the natural right itself. The right exists, but is attempted to be suppressed.

        • Sorry, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s the full quote:

          “Ah, yes, the `unalienable rights.’ Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What `right’ to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What `right’ to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of `right’? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man’s right is `unalienable’? And is it `right’? As to liberty, the heroes who signed that great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called `natural human rights’ that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

          “The third `right’? — the `pursuit of happiness’? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can `pursue happiness’ as long as my brain lives — but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it.”

        • Sorry, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s the full quote:

          “Ah, yes, the `unalienable rights.’ Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What `right’ to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What `right’ to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of `right’? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man’s right is `unalienable’? And is it `right’? As to liberty, the heroes who signed that great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called `natural human rights’ that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

          “The third `right’? — the `pursuit of happiness’? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can `pursue happiness’ as long as my brain lives — but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it.”

  20. In a simple answer yes.
    If we go by our 3 rights of the creator: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness (land& property) how can we preserve these without arming ourselves ?

  21. If natural rights don’t exist, then people who suffered in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Darfur, Rwanda, etc. really have no right to complain, nor the right to rise up and save themselves.

    After all, rights only come from governments, and their government chooses not to give them any rights, right? So that’s that.


    • They apparently didn’t have the means to rise up and save themselves. Accordingly, they only had whatever rights were granted to them by others using force upon their behalf. To use one of your examples: a Jew in 1942 Germany did not have the right to life under German rule. By July 1945 he did have such a right, because others had imposed their will upon the German people at the point of a gun.

      It’s been this way throughout history, and I see no reason to conclude that things are ever going to change.

      • Hal, I feel it necessary to point out that just because a person or government has the power to deprive you of your life does not mean that you do not have the natural right to defend same to the best of your ability, including taking up whatever arms you may find or devise. Suppression of a right does not mean the right no longer exists.

        A Jew in Nazi Germany still had the right to his life and the right to take up arms to defend himself and his community, as in Warsaw. The effective exercise of those rights was simply overpowered by the weight of the German army. The fact that so many Jews and others did not take up arms in their own defense was a matter of personal choice, not a suspension of their natural right to do so.

  22. So long as I can use my teeth, fists, rocks, or sticks to defend myself from grievous injury, am wired to want to do so, and can reserve these capabilities without proactively intending harm to my human brothers and sisters, I have a natural right to self-defense. It is a prerogative granted to by my natural state as an organism, and is hence a natural “right”.

    As an organism, I have the ability, and therefore a natural “right” to seek the best tools for my defense, per conditions above. A gun exists on the same spectrum as my fists. By government telling me that I can’t have my choice of the best tools for my defense, they are infringing on my natural rights.

    • Name calling never won a debate and the fact is that the RKBA places a LOT of emphasis on the “R”

  23. Do we have a right to life?

    If so, the right to defend that life by whatever means you choose goes without saying.

  24. At first I thought Don T. was “teeing it up” for RF to hit a home run, but then I realized his real intent.
    Therefore Don, natural means as in it is “natural” for me to relieve myself when my bladder or bowels are full or natural for me to want to relieve myself on your pinheaded statement that “I am unaware of Nature issuing any set of rights for human beings, or for any species.”

    Come back when you have an intelligent point to make and I’ll provide a “come back” on the same level as your point. Hint: My above comeback was on the same level as your pinheaded statement.

  25. I have had this debate ad nauseum and I have settled on this as my defacto response:

    Natural rights are what you could do if you were the only person on earth. Period.

    The fact that you live confers upon you unlimited natural rights. You are not subject to the rule of god or man. You are completely unfettered. You have the natural right to create and destroy, learn and evolve, preserve life or take life.

    Its really quite simple.

  26. It’s a “natural” right because as a human being when someone threatens you with imminent and potentially deadly bodily harm, then you have the right to defend yourself, up to and including using reasonable but deadly force to stop to the attack.

    Self defense is your right as a human being, that’s about as natural as it gets.

  27. holding gun owners responsible for stolen firearms contradicts the natural right of everyone else including criminals.

  28. EVERY LIVING BEING has the right to TRY to defend itself any way it can. (Period)

    Every living being has the right to try to stay alive. And so, every living being has the right to try to defend itself any way it can. And so, every living being has a right to have, find, or make, any weapon it can to do so.

    Technically, this would also mean criminals. So, technically, much as i may not like it, the laws which ban criminals from keeping and bearing firearms might just be unconstitutional. It also means that maybe we as a society need to be MUCH more strict in the way we punish violent offenders, like, for instance, locking up such criminals for life, or, killing such criminals so they are no longer a threat. This “flip side” which i’m sure some people may think is extreme, may not actually be all that extreme in the long run. And, it very likely has a wonderful side benefit, bringing crime almost to a grinding halt. Also, a huge reduction in the number of people that are locked up in prison, as well as the cost of locking them up.

    That also means many things, like, for instance, that a country like Iran has a right to try to defend itself by making nukes and using them if they believe they have a need. BUT, that also means that any other living being, or group of living beings, has the right to stop Iran by any means necessary, ESPECIALLY since Iran has made so many threats.

    On the flip side, a government that has been created to be subservient to the People that created it does NOT have any right to disarm its law abiding citizens, as that would be “putting the cart before the horse”.

  29. Ab initio: In Exodus God gives us a command not to kill. We are required to assist God whenever necessary, to prevent others from falling foul of his Law. If this means putting a .45 slug between their eyes to prevent them from doing us harm, so be it. Surrendering to violent attack is not part of God’s plan. The advice to turn the other cheek is only to prevent escalating retaliation to a bullying authority.

    In medieval times, villagers were expected to have and use arms, and to join with their feudal overlord in whatever military enterprises he dreamed up. There were severe penalties for failing to practise regularly with whatever weapon you had.

    After the upheavals of the English Civil War, and the later ousting of James II, the 1689 Bill of Rights gave legal validity to the right of citizens to using arms for self defense. This was merely the Parliamentary recognition of a natural right.

    The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution later amplified this statement of right (it did not confer it – it was one of the self evident natural rights referred to earlier in the Constitution), though sadly this was not taken up by the British Empire. This right has since been revoked by the Commonwealth countries, and here we are now as vulnerable as a new born babe.

    If there is any attempt to use arms in self defense in New Zealand, we will be jailed. Think about that before considering changing your Constitution. There is no market for portable self defense weapons, as this is illegal. Therefore only criminals and some Police carry firearms. How safe do you think we feel?

  30. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

    Americans believe in natural rights. Which is to say, human rights which every person naturally has, even if some government comes along and denies them. The person asking this question does not understand this.

    Americans also believe in civil rights, like voting, but that is a different subject.

  31. ‘Nature’, defined however you want, provided us with tool-making and -using capability. Hence, ‘natural’ right.

    The End.

  32. Self defense is as much as a “right” as breathing is, and is a natural right for every living creature, plant and animal. If it were not, the roses would not have thorns, and the bull would not have horns. I have a natural right to defense as much as any other living creature does, and a right to bear the tools in which to defend myself with, and it is IMHO completely unnatural to try and deny that right.

  33. As I understand it, Natural Law in human society derives from decisions about our own essential natures. That said . . . Yes – for me, the natural right to keep and bear arms is as real as the right to breathe. To take the first you must also take the second.

  34. Does anyone really have to spell this out? Self defense is self defense and does not even need to be declared as a right. The manner in which self defense is employed -armed or otherwise- is irrelevant. By definition self defense is natural and necessary.

  35. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

    Americans believe in natural rights. Which is to say, human rights which every person naturally has, even if some government comes along and denies them. The person asking this question does not understand this.

    Americans also believe in civil rights, like voting, but that is a different subject.

  36. Cats have claws, dogs have fangs, bees and other insects have stingers, some frogs have poison and humans have hands that can hold stones, sticks, a knife, a bow and arrow or a gun. All have a natural right to defend themselves from aggressors when being attacked. If people simply sat there and submit to being brutally beaten or otherwise attacked and killed, only the bully among us would survive.

    All men have not evolved to a point where they will simply leave others alone, for that fact we have a natural right to defend our persons and our property.

    I would ask the writer of the letter, would it be better for a women to rapped without fighting back, or to defend herself from attackers? I refer to India which has a horrible record of rape of both domestic and foreigners. Would it be better to those young women to submit and be raped on a bus while the crowd watched, or for just one women to shoot back killing her attackers? After a few such incidents, very few scumbag would consider rape for fear of their own lives.

    Which brings me to my final point. It does not matter if it is in nature with animals or humans who roam on two legs, if some one or some animal does not fight back, they will continue to be dominated and controlled until kill. IF, they fight back, the aggressor will move on to a software target. Get burned, and you will not touch the hot flame again.

    Many gun grabbers believe “Oh, that will never happen to me [or anyone]” that is until it does, and then it is too late. But, as long as the consequence are none or little, then the aggressors have NOTHING to loose and will continue to harass the same victim or find new ones. There is a reason so many criminals pray on children and women.

    Not being a victim requires a mindset of which our schools and society works hard to remove. Gun grabbers are of the ilk that “government” is always there to help and it is “better to be beaten or raped” than to defend yourself without thought for the loss of self confidence and life long emotional distress that an assault, rape or other attack can cause.

    The anti-gun crowd falsely believes that we have “evolved” to a point where we no longer have a need to defend ourselves. While it is true, we have come a long way and a majority of our country has the benefit of living in situation white, but the evil that men do, has not gone away.

    It has to be looked at this way, many take CPR and First Aid classes “just in case” it is needed to save “someone else’s” life. Many who take these course feel better that should the day come, they could save the life of someone including a loved one. One should own a gun and learn to properly maintain and use it with as much training you can afford, so that one day you “just in case” need it to save your own life or that of another from attacker. Just like CPR or First Aid training, YOU MAY NEVER USE IT, but should that day arise, in either case, YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU HAD THE SKILL.

    Ignorance and irresponsibility is having a swimming pool and having young kids either yours or someone else’s and not knowing CPR or First Aid, it is equally irresponsible to live in the belief that you will never be attacked.

    Many people who have lost loved ones who could have possibly be saved if they simply known CPR. Many of those who have been violently violated in their person or property probably feel the same, if they could only have defended themselves instead of fearing the shadows today.

    Laws like restraining orders are meaningless! A piece of paper with words does not stop anyone from harming another just because a judge says so. The police ARE NOT your personal protection agency. ONLY YOU, can protect yourself and you have two hands and brain and the natural right to defend yourself from all whom to do you harm.

    [I taught another class today and helped 12 more people to get closer to getting their permits. A similar question was asked, and above is my answer the best I can remember]

  37. Whenever this subject comes up I see lots of assertions but precious little in the way of evidence. I can demonstrate in the laboratory that relativistic time dilation exists; heck, GPS relies on it…but how does one demonstrate in a reliable, verifiable way that “rights” even exist outside the agency of human action in the first place?

    • Simple, Hal. Make a list of those supposed rights and then actively and purposefully (by your own free will) stop exercising them. It is very likely, almost assured, that very quickly you will be bullied, dominated, sickly and very possibly dead.

  38. Our Constitution affirms that we have a “right” to bear arms and even goes on to imply that every human in the world has this right (that’s as close as you can get to calling it a natural right).

    Now, did the Founders know something that we didn’t? Was Jefferson channeling God when he asserted that the Creator endowed us with certain rights?? I don’t know but I seriously doubt it. Ultimately “rights” come from the ideas of Men.

    • Rights do not come from the ideas of men.

      If we say that God did indeed create man, then he did indeed create all men (and women) equally. This equality of all people is the basis for all of our rights. In this way, even though God did not explicitly state that all men have 2nd Amendment rights these rights are based on the inherent right to equality and that no man is above any other from birth.

      If rights came from the ideas of men, then I could do whatever I wanted and when questioned simply retort “it is my right to do so!”

      • You can do what you want, and when questioned simply retort “it is my right to do so!”

        That doesn’t mean you you won’t suffer the consequences of your actions, mind you.

      • Yet, that’s pretty how divine rights work with Kings and tyrants, so if were a king living in the middle ages then you could pretty much do whatever you wanted. Prima nocta, for example.

        There’s some level of social consent or enforcement mechanism behind every right to give life to those ideas and make them our prevailing reality about what we can and can’t do.

        Just because Max can’t do whatever he wants doesn’t mean that rights are not human conceived ideas. It just means that Max is either a peon or someone whose idea hasn’t taken root with the rest of society (in America, if this were a kingdom then he’d only have to convince the king).

        • Kings in the medieval period did not have nealy unlimited powers. The idea of divine rights of kings comes to the fore centuries later. The English kings, for example, could not even raise taxes without the assent of the lords. And look at what happened to Charles I when he tried to impose the idea of divine rights.

        • The human intellect has evolved the means to describe natural rights, this does not mean that these rigts were conceived by the human mind. The right to self defense and to bear arms exists in every living species and certainly existed among humans long before they had a language with which to describe it.

        • Cliff, how was that possible that we had the right to bear arms before we developed our first armament? You act like they were there before we climbed out of the primordial soup. We conceive of and articulate the idea of personal rights based on our very narrow (within the context of the universe) set of physical circumstances.

          And karlb, obviously there are limits on any person’s authority (and the extent of or limits imposed on a monarch’s rule or power through history), but my point is that historically it’s been the case that an individual’s rights were sometimes conceived of by a more democratic process while at other times they were determined under a more authoritarian regime. It was to Max’s point that rights couldn’t be man-made because he can’t do whatever he pleases in society.

  39. If all people are created equally (let’s assume they are, as I believe) than no man has any right over any other as long as all conform to that rule. That is to say that if everyone deserves the life they are born with than to take that life would be to forfeit your own right to life thereby making you unequal for example. A crime against another person causes automatic nullification of rights up to a level equal to the crime; eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Our criminal justice system is much more complex than that, but I’d still venture to say that that is the way humans determine punishments.

    The main point being is not whether or not you have a right to keep and bear arms, but whether or not you have a right to disallow me from the right to keep and bear arms.

    Which by the way, you don’t… Unless I commit a crime against another person.

    Which by the way, I haven’t.

    • If somenone makes a poor decision in relation to commiting a crime they may forfeit their life either by misjudging the ability of their victim to resist or the ability of the community to aprehend, convict and terminate them.

      Barring any of those eventualities, where does any individual, even a criminal, forfiet their NATURAL right to self defense and to bear arms in self defense just because they have committed a crime? We may not like these people, we may fear these people, but they still retain the natural right to defend their own life.

  40. Self preservation is a right and instinct of every creature on the planet. My position is I have the natural God given right to use the same tools to preserve my life as my enemy will use to try and take it. Murica…

  41. This seems pretty straightforward. Before any government was ever established, if someone or something tried to harm another human, that human had the right (and even duty) to defend themselves using violent means if necessary. An extension of that is the right to protect our property, because property is gained as a result of our own efforts and is therefore an extension of our person. Many of the live things of the world have the ability to defend themselves and their food (property) by poison, horns, teeth, brut strength etc. They will by nature defend themselves through violence. Humans have the same rights as any other living thing to defend themselves using all the tools available.
    Hayek in “The Road to Serfdom” states the case much better than I can.

  42. Every living thing has a natural right of self defense and self preservation. Even plants and bacteria develop defense mechanisms, otherwise they become extinct and cannot evolve over millions of years.

    Prey animals are fleet of foot and can flee. Predators have large teeth, claws or muscles. Bipedal humans have none of those mechanisms for any practical purpose.

    We have large brains and opposable thumbs. These attributes facilitate the development of technology and the use of tools. It’s almost certain the the very first employment of technology in human history was a tool in the form of a weapon. A rock or tree limb used as a bludgeon or a stick used as a lance.

    Modern firearms are simply the current state of the art. There is an appropriate firearm for any context. For the home, a rifle or shotgun is best. For everyday modern society, a concealed pistol is ideal.

  43. The “nature” in natural rights is that of man as the kind of being he is. The nature of man dictates certain objective requirements for life as a man, and it dictates certain requirements for preserving a man’s ability to meet these in the presence of others. We call them rights, and they include the requirement that man be able to defend himself against physical aggressors with the best tool availabe, thus the right to be armed.

  44. EVERY single living thing that has/will ever live on this planet has the right to self defense. And nearly everything has the means or develops the means to defend against it’s predators. If they don’t they go extinct.

  45. Dear Nitwit: You happen to be correct, but for every know reason know to man. Please come and see me sometime for a tasty Knuckle Sandwich.

    No, the notion of “natural rights” is indeed incorrect. If they were natural, they would be inseperable and impossible to take away.

    Yet they HAVE BEEN taken away, and the only natural right you currently enjoy is the one that currently, generously conveys “sentient being” to you.

    Tell ya what, Nancy Boy: if you don’t believe in my rights, which are EARNED IN BLOOD, and not “natural” in any way, COME AND TAKE THEM!!

  46. Someone above claimed that the Bible doesn’t speak of rights. It’s really not that simple. It is partially true, in that the King James Version doesn’t contain the word “rights.” Some newer English translations have used the term, especially in the Old Testament.

    “Rights” in the NIV:

    “Rights” in the NASB:

    Not being a Biblical scholar, I can only guess that the Biblical authors had a different concept in mind when they used the term(s) that might be similar to what we think of as “rights” today.

    Rights are actually just a certain way of expressing what morality demands of us, in the way we relate to other people (individually, or through our governments). That is why it is wrong to object to government “enforcing morality.” Enforcing morality (of the “Smith should not take what belongs to Jones” variety) is really the only thing government should do. Well, maybe that, and build roads.

    • At this present time in history the world population is over 7 Billion souls. Of those approximately 1 in 6, or 16.5%, count themsleves as Christian or Jewish. Does that mean that if the Bible is the arbiter of whether or not we have a natural right to bear arms the other almost 6 billion people do not have that natural right?

      Trying to base this argument on scripture or reference to any religious philosophy is not productive. A natural right is just that, and is not relient on any diety or government or philosophy or moral code. Absent any of those created things the right still exists and therefore it is a natural right.

  47. All living things defend themselves against attack or the predations of other living things – that is observed in natural, so self defense is natural. As for doing so with firearms…
    Law, as the term is used, is a human idea or construct which individuals need to follow to live together in societies, but the specific laws are not universal and vary from group to group. We live as a society because we have and respect laws. With the idea of laws, the idea of “rights” or individual actions which are always allowed play an important role in defining what is and should be legal actions and laws.
    Implicit in the founding of the US and explicit in the wording of the 2nd amendment in the Bill of Rights is the pre-existing right of “the people” to own arms and take an active role in the protection of our society: neighbors, community, and country.
    Using the combination of “Natural” and “Right” may throw some people off as to where the right came from and who granted the right. There are many possible ways to address this point, but I will say that “we” as a social species have decided long ago that it is allowable to defend yourself, family, and community against outside aggression. It is ironic that the historical precedent for the protected rights of free men being able to defend themselves with weapons came from our British heritage, as the UK now seems to treat anyone defending themselves worse than the common criminals who they were defending themselves from.
    The US 2nd amendment does not grant our citizens the right to keep and bear arms, it acknowledges it [as pre-existing] and protects it from infringement.
    While the term “Natural Right” may be problematic, it would be historically accurate to say, “The pre-existing right to [armed self-defense with] firearms that are owned and carried by private citizens was codified with the 2nd amendment in the US bill of rights – when the United States of America was founded.”

  48. The only nature of our universe is Gods nature, to which, in this world, he gives us dominion.

    If one does not believe in God, his rulership or The Christ, he does not care snd you will bear his wrath on Judgement Day.

    As such, in this Country we have been affirmed the Right of keeping an bearing arms. In that Right we maintain our secular Government and individual freedom of choice. We can choose to execute these Rights or not.

  49. I would say it’s a natural right by progression. There are only a few different kind of sports when you break it down. Running, jumping, racing, throwing/marksmanship etc. I’m leaving out all the board sports but most can be boiled down to a combination of the aforementioned. Human’s upper extremities are made to be able to throw objects. From throwing stones, to slings, to slingshots, to bows etc. Firearms are just an extension of that and the best way to throw a stone. Maybe some cavemen were arguing about the size of stone or how ugg was compensating for a small loin cloth with his big stones. or maybe they argued about the amount of stones one could possess to make it fair for the game they were hunting or tribes they were defending against, but I doubt it because they saw the use for them. Now people that are against guns can’t see the use for them and people of the gun see the use for them. To project and small stone between 800-3000 fps at varying distances while making a lot of noise amongst other reasons, but I would consider it a natural right.

  50. How far we have come from our prior understandings. We have spent the last hundred years selling out our higher natural and civil rights for the promised “goodies” of mere political rights. Consider how far we have come from the initial understanding that we once had:

    There are three classes of rights: natural, such as those recognized in the Declaration of Independence; civil, such as the rights of property; and political rights.
    Society has nothing to do with natural rights except to protect them.
    Civil rights belong equally to all. Every one has the right to acquire property, and even in infants the laws of all governments preserve this.
    But political rights are matters of practical utility. A right to vote comes
    under this class.

    Luther v. Borden, 48 U.S. 1, 28 (1849)

    • Property is a natural, and not a civil right. You need not be part of a society to own property. Classically, the right to own property was believed to come from one’s putting work into a piece of land to develop it, or from one’s labor in extracting valuable goods from nature (hunting/gathering/mining). So it depends on the individual, not the collective.

      A civil right is one which only makes sense when one has membership in a society, a community. The right to vote is the most obvious example of a right that only makes sense within the context of a social order. A man living alone in the wilderness, with no established relationship to others, can defend his life or property against outsiders, or express himself (whether or not any outsider comes along to hear/see him); but the right to vote makes no sense for him, and is of no use to him.

  51. Are water buffalo carnivores? No? So they are not on the offensive when a lion goes after their calves. Natural right to self defense.

    • Yet, the carnivore has a natural right to life and needs to eat the water buffalo to survive, so who’s right prevails in that situation? The lion or the water buffalo?

      And that’s why “natural rights” is an idiotic red herring.

      • Both have the natural right to bear arms in their own defense. The Tiger has right to TRY to use its claws and teeth to kill the Water Buffalo for food. The Water Buffalo has the natural right to use its greater size, strength and horns to defend itself from being eaten. The fact that a conflict of interests exists does not negate the naturl right of either party any more than a criminal attacking me does not lose his natural right to tr to keep me from killing him during that event.

        • Does the criminal then have a natural right to TRY to kill you then, like the tiger does with the water buffalo? LOL.

          I still think you’re confusing survival instinct with natural rights.

  52. Not sure if it was in the previous posts because I can’t claim to have read them all…

    Every species life on this planet has some sort of defense mechanism that has evolved over time. Some animals are fast, some taste bad, some are poisonous, others imitate more dangerous animals, etc. et nauseum. Homo Sapiens evolved down a different path after a certain point. We developed intelligence as our defense. This led to more destruction followed by new defenses followed yet again by more destruction. Since the spear was invented, the human race has always been searching for the next deadliest item.

    Every creature deserves a defensive ability to prolong its life. We have surpassed evolutionary defenses and developed mechanical ones. Hence the creation of the gun and our right to carry one to prolong our life should the need arise.

  53. Yes. All natural rights inherently flow from property rights. The only assumptions necessary for this to work are that people may procure and give away their property, and that one’s body and labor is property. By this definition it is clear that we have the natural right to defend our property through whatever means we deem necessary from someone who would violently take it, but we must also be held liable for any actions we undertake that result in the destruction of other people’s property. While there are other more powerful options for self defense, a firearm is a classic compromise between collateral damage (that the shooter and aggressor should rightly need to compensate) and effective defense from a violent attack. It is also important to note that by this theory, theft of a firearm cannot be considered a crime by the original owner, since he does not take any actions to deprive anyone of their property.

  54. To follow up on something Robert’s senator from Texas recently said, Without life, there is no liberty. If you can’t defend your own life, your freedom of speech and right to vote equal pretty much zero.

    • It is generally considered that we humans do not rely on instinct for our survival as so many other creatures do and must, so we must not confuse a natural right with an instinct. That being said, if we have instincts and rely on them, we have a natural right to those instincts.

      • You’re saying that we don’t have a natural instinct to survive? Really? I don’t think that’s generally considered to be true by anyone. At least no one in the sciences. Heck, even the self defense gurus talk about trusting your instincts and honing your situational awareness.

  55. Humans have the right to exist. Defending your right to exist (with common weapons/tools of the time) is a natural one.

  56. I just love – LOVE – all the lay political theory experts among the Armed “Intelligentsia” who believe the political philosophies our country was founded on – ideas like “Natural Law” – all began and ended with the Founders. You say names like “Locke” or “Blackstone” and get blank, vacant stares in return. This type of ignorance reinforces the stereotype that gun owners are all grade-school dropouts who fancy themselves smarter than most but don’t know how to do anything more than interpret words and phrases literally from within the bubble of their own experience without a whit of consideration for the time, history or context in which they were written. They are entirely unaware that seemingly simple, straight-forward phrases like “pursuit of happiness” belie large bodies of political thought with specific historical and legal implications. Just because you managed to read the Constitution and the Federalist Papers without having to use a dictionary does not make you an expert on American political theory. Stop acting like it. Go read an introduction to political theory or, better still, take a class on political theory at a local school.

    • All truth starts and ends with God (Christ Jesus) (I Am) , He wrote the Bible and God’s Government is very limited , It’s us that are having a problem that God is so loving and just we will not accept it.. So many will go to Hell because they can not accept TRUTH , it just can not be that easy. So we fight wars and kill one another than get God’s Blessings!

  57. Quote duels are rarely fruitful (though often entertaining). “Right” is a loaded word now. I have found one proposition both sides can usually agree to as a starting point:

    Life is valuable.

    From there it needs some refining, but what I’ve worked out looks kind of like this:

    Let’s start with a basic proposition. From there, without resort to legal or philosophical quotation or citations I can lay out why I believe, strongly, in the right to keep and bear arms. This is the basis of my support of gun rights, nothing else.

    1. Life is valuable.
    2. My life if valuable.
    3. It is proper that I defend my life from those who would take it from me.
    4. It is my duty to defend the life of my children from those who would take their lives.
    5. In order to defend myself and my children, I must have the proper tools.
    6. Life, being the most valuable of possessions, deserves the best tools for it’s protection.
    7. I deserve the best tools for my own defense and the defense of my children.
    8. Modern technology provides the best tools available today in the form of firearms.
    9. Therefore, because I am alive, my life has value, it is mine to defend, with the best tools available, which are firearms: I must be allowed to keep and bear arms in recognition of the value of life.
    10. Nothing in this places any inherent limit on the arms, just as there is no inherent limit on the value of life.

    I have (once) presented this one step at a time and asked if they agreed or did not agree with each step. That worked until they saw where it was going (about step seven) and just stopped arguing and went to name calling.

    [I start with this being “my” position because it’s intended to short circut claims about law, philosophy, Framer’s intent, grammer and the consequences of comma placement, lingual drift, biblical citation, religious validity, or any of that.]
    [If they don’t agree life is valuable then tell them to butt out of the conversation since they don’t care about life.]
    [I try to avoid “right” “moral” “just” “natural”. Proper means allowed by whatever value system you care to apply. If someone is very picky adjust 2 to: it is proper that I defend my life from those who would wrongfully take it from me. This sometimes also needs “those who would take it from me be they animal, man, lunatic, criminal, mob, invading army, or tyrannical government”]
    [5 often requires the note that humans are poorly equipped to deal with predators without tools. We are slow food.]
    [8 frequently requires a diversion into why police and soldiers need guns: to stop those who would kill us. Absent a cop or soldier *right here* only I am available to defend myself, which is proper, or my children, which is my duty. Sometimes examples of 80 year old ladies, abused women, gays or minorities attached by mobs, help highlight this. Basically, i rarely see anyone say that a gay man surrounded by bashers or a black man surrounded by KKK is anything other than justified in shooting them. It also allows for “if there’s a better tool, I will use that, but right now there isn’t”.]

    Starting off with the “life is valuable” agreement usually throws them for a few steps, so far, in my experience.

  58. OK, to enlarge upon RF’s original thesis, that the State inspecting gun safes, was tyranny. Very few of the people here will have experienced this.

    It is the Law in New Zealand. To qualify for a Firearms License, one must pass a written test about gun safety. You must install an appropriate gun safe into your house. A senior policeman (usually retired or about to) will visit and question relatives and neighbours to determine your degree of mental stability and attitude to firearms*, and inspect the quality of your safe and its installation. None of this is particularly onerous or demeaning. It might prevent the less mature or slightly whacko applicants from qualifying. We can buy only shotguns and rifles (rimfire and centrefire).

    Saying that, there are occasional cases of criminals committing home invasions at firearms owners’ houses, and they rarely have any difficulty removing said firearms from the safes installed. These cases are treated very seriously by Police, and have resulted in car chases and deaths by gunshot.

    To obtain a Pistol permit means belonging to a pistol club for over a year, buying a 6mm safe, and adhering to stringent rules, mainly that pistols can only be transported to and from pistol ranges, and in particular can never be worn on the person. Prices are very high here, too. So handguns can never serve in the role they were intended for. Reenactors can use black powder pistols, also in clubs.

    BTW, the 12 Apostles had TWO swords between them, which Christ declared to be enough. One was used in combat, which was not authorised by Christ. Nothing says that Peter gave his one up,though.

    *BTW, any hint that self defense or home defense may be the reason for purchasing a firearm means automatic disqualification for a firearms license. AR and AK type weapons are also frowned upon, and can only be owned with a Category E license, which of course has greater safe security and background checking and cost involved.

  59. In Dan Baums rebuttal:

    The problem of gun violence could be largely solved with no government intervention at all if gun owners considered it unforgivable to leave a gun in a nightstand, closet, or glove compartment. But we’ve demonstrated that we don’t, so we should not be surprised when the nanny state steps in. We have only ourselves to blame.

    And here we have the difference between Baum and us. Baum is “ok” with the US government stepping in to nanny us for leaving our gun in the closet. It appears Baum is 100% trustworthy of our government which uses drones to blow up unarmed, innocent civilians for target practice and a laugh (see wikileaks). In my honest opinion, People will be accidentally killed by those that are not prudent, and the accidents of the few do not justify the rights of the many or even the rights of one.

    To address the subject of this article and subsequently Don T:

    Natural rights referes to god given rights. Rights that everyone should have. It has nothing to do with “nature.” The bill of rights were concepts and ideals written that the founding fathers (and the citizenry of the times) felt were god given rights that free men should have. People who are free and thus not totally dominated by a governing force had these rights. You can find them here:

    Despite what main stream media and totalitarian politicians say, they are very much valid back then as they are now. You’ll notice the wording of the bill of rights is very generalized and provides the content of the idea not detailed specifics. The 2nd amendment is also not very specific and does not explain why we need it. If you would like to know why the founding fathers put it in – you can find that here:

    • >>In my honest opinion, People will be accidentally killed by those that are not prudent, and the accidents of the few do not justify the removal of the rights of the many or even the rights of one.

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