Gun Control and Courage Don’t Mix

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords recently visited New Hampshire asking for politicians to display what she called “courage” in passing expanded gun control laws. Courage!? Talk about an invasion of Orwellian newspeak into the public discourse.

Those who promote gun control legislation usually argue that they seek to “enhance public safety,” or to “protect the children,” or some similar paternalistic sentiment. Giffords’ call for “courage” is truly ironic given that gun control proponents are, at base, motivated by the irrational fear that somewhere, somehow a gun might be misused. And, of course, Giffords’ allies believe that only governmental action can rescue citizens from the risk of gun-related violence. It’s doubly shameful that Giffords issued her call to (no) arms in New Hampshire, the “Live Free or Die” State.

The recipe for true courage in the realm of the Second Amendment issue is this: Remind the public that government as an institution cannot possibly protect everyone at all times and in all places. It’s a bad idea to even wish that government could accomplish such a feat, since that level of omnipotence would be indistinguishable from a police state.

It’s called “self-defense” for a reason, after all. Life in a free society requires personal responsibility and even a willingness to endure exposure to a certain level of risk; true courage resides in facing this reality, not in pleading with politicians to help evade it.

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