BHARADWAJ: Global tumult accentuates the necessity of the right to bear arms

Over-dependence on government and law enforcement are not the makings of a free society

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The most unique and greatest aspects of American society would not be possible without the Second Amendment. 

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Following sweeping victories in Virginia state elections, Democrats now have complete control of the Commonwealth and have trained their sights upon the right to bear arms. At a recent victory party, the bastion of morality and ringleader of Virginia Democrats — Ralph “Blackface” Northam — unveiled an array of new gun control proposals, ranging from mandatory universal background checks to full-scale assault weapons bans. While many of these proposals are in fact sensible and widely supported by both parties — such as background checks on gun sales — it is still vital that we recognize the importance of preserving our constitutional liberties, and ensuring that accessibility to firearms is maintained. 

In my mind, the most significant utility of the Second Amendment is empowering individuals to defend their rights to life, liberty and property when the government is incapable of doing so. Perhaps the most prominent instance of this in recent memory was during the Los Angeles riots, in which insurgents inflicted over $1 billion dollars in property damage, in addition to causing dozens of deaths and more than 2,000 injuries. Though Los Angeles law enforcement ended up arresting nearly 12,000 individuals, they were still unable to prevent much of the violence and destruction. Thus, the onus fell upon the people to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property. 

The most infamous and iconic example from the riots were the shopkeepers who resided in the “Koreatown” district of Los Angeles. With looters and rioters running rampant — and law enforcement spread sparsely throughout the sprawling metropolis — the Korean-American shop owners and families were forced to take to the rooftops with assault weapons to protect their livelihoods and property. The guerilla fighters resembled “armed militia,” and without access to firearms, they would have surely seen their shops pillaged and destroyed.  

Though no domestic uprising in recent years can compare to the Los Angeles riots in terms of scale, there are still many more instances when the authority of law enforcement simply was not enough to protect the populace — such as during the recent Ferguson riots in which nearly $5 million in property damage was incurred

Moreover, internationally we are currently witnessing dozens of violent insurgencies across the globe — from China to Bolivia — in which “thousands have been injured and scores killed” and “protesters have blocked roads, closed airports and attacked institutions that have become objects of their ire.” 

However, the inadequacy of government protection is not just a problem in large-scale insurgencies, but also in isolated emergencies. In the U.S., the average police response time to emergency calls is roughly 18 minutes and can be significantly higher in many rural areas. Therefore, in the event of a home invasion or other immediate threat, individuals will be wholly without government assistance for a sizeable length of time and will have to rely on themselves for self-defense. With all of these examples in mind, I find it absolutely crucial that our right to bear arms be preserved in order to maintain the personal sovereignty and independence of the individual.

Supplementing these arguments concerning the insufficiency of law enforcement, one of the biggest talking points in current political discourse is the topic of police brutality and criminal justice. Many on the political left love to vilify officers and the racist institutions that they purportedly make up, but if this is indeed the case then would it not be grossly immoral to strip individuals of the means by which to protect themselves and force minorities like myself to rely on police forces for protection? 

This is a sentiment that has been long touted by many iconic minority leaders, such as investigative journalist and NAACP co-founder Ida B. Wells, who stated that “A Winchester rifle deserved a place of honor in every Black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.” 

Though some gun control legislation can have a positive impact on society, with these points in mind, it is crucial to also consider the negative ramifications that such laws may have if they are implemented. One of the most unique and greatest aspects of American society is our dedication to individualism and personal sovereignty, which would not be possible without the Second Amendment. After all, without the means by which to defend our lives, liberty and property, do we truly have those rights at all? Over-dependence on government for protection may seem like a simple solution in the short-run, but the time will surely arise when our institutions will fail to protect us, and we will have to rely on ourselves — necessitating the need for accessible firearms. 

Milan Bharadwaj is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at opinion@cavalierdaily.com.

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