The Second Amendment is a human right — ignorance toward it is troubling

In the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting some people are pushing their hopes for gun control, even gun confiscation, while others are virtue signaling and offering no real solutions for actually dealing with school safety, such as raising the age to 21 to purchase a rifle when in fact the average age of a mass shooter in America is 35 years old.

If we really care about school safety, there are some viable solutions. Schools can be made “harder” targets, and with four of my own children in public school, that is my priority. We can protect our children while not infringing on basic constitutional rights.

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We need to repeal the 1990 Gun-Free School Zone Act and stop advertising to madmen with guns that almost everyone on school grounds is unarmed. 

The act, a brainchild of the Left and passed with the support of milquetoast Republicans in 1990, was a dangerous act of virtue signaling that actually made our schools some of the softest targets in the country.

In fact, most mass school shootings have taken place after the law was passed. We must repeal the act and remove the signs advertising gun-free zones. Heck, replace those with “Armed Guards on Duty” to act as a deterrent, even if no armed guards are present.

In repealing the Gun-Free School Zone Act, you allow teachers and administrators, who are willing, to be trained, armed and prepared if the school is attacked. Some are using the false argument that somehow all teachers would be expected to be trained and armed.

That’s not the point. The point is to give certain teachers the freedom to defend themselves and their students, and to have an “offensive approach” on school grounds at all times.

Case in point, Chris Hixon, the deceased athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, was a Navy veteran. Aaron Feis, the deceased football coach who ran into the school to confront the shooter, was a trained security guard. Both were unarmed when confronting the shooter thanks to the Gun-Free School Zone Act. Imagine if they had been armed.

Beyond the discussion of actually making schools “harder,” it’s also fair to point out the utter failure of law enforcement in this situation. How is a young man not flagged when police were warned about him dozens of times, who the police knew had held a gun to someone’s head a few months before the horrific shooting?

Or how four cowardly Broward County officers were outside the school sitting once the shooting began. And we can’t forget the FBI’s multiple warnings about the shooter.   

How about we have a conversation about the incompetence displayed by some of our law enforcement, both local and national, in addressing this situation? And even though we know there is a clear link between mental health issues and mass shooters, many on the Left want to go right to gun control and potentially even gun confiscation.

The ignorance on display regarding the Second Amendment and its history is troubling and is due to the fact that no one really teaches about our rights ensconced in our Constitution.

They weren’t pulled from thin air but from the idea of natural law and the concept of human rights endowed by a Creator.

There is absurd talk, from even some within Republican circles, asking why there’s a need for semi-automatic rifles for hunting and sport shooting.

While the SKS is a great rifle for hog hunting, as is an AR-15, the idea behind those guns, and other semi-automatic weapons, is very simple: “the collective right of the individual to lawful self-defense.”

Of all of the rights we have as human beings, the pre-eminent one is this right to self-defense — The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible.” Our founders weren’t thinking about hunting or sport shooting when they wrote about an armed militia being necessary for “the security of a free state.”  

They were actually talking about a populace being armed in the face of a powerful government. As they had just won their freedom from an oppressive government, they believed strongly in the collective right of the individual to defend himself or herself from a government that had overstepped its bounds.

So yes, a populace should be as well be armed as possible with the best legally available tools for self-defense. Even the rapper T.I. gets the basics, “If you lose the right to bear arms as a citizen, then you know what I’m saying, it’s easy to enslave.”

We were created to be free, yet with our deeply imperfect human nature there is a need for government — “If all men were angels, no government would be necessary.” As we’re no angels, we’ve a need for government to insure God-given rights and have none of them taken away.  

Yet let’s never assume that government is essentially good. It is a necessary evil in an imperfect world. It is naive to trust the explosive mix of imperfect human nature combined with the awesome power of the state. And let’s be honest — as the government failed those children in Parkland so many times, why on earth would we engender more trust in government? It should do precisely the opposite.

It is hoped and expected that the people’s duly elected representatives will always protect and defend the Americans' rights and demand transparency and accountability and keep government in check and in its proper role.

Yet the trends and the “arc of human history” do not point toward justice but injustice as government continues to expand and encroach and take more and more of life’s decisions away from the individual. 

So we would do well to remember, in light of the understandably emotional response to Parkland, with many wrong solutions being proposed, the words of Alexander Hamilton from Federalist 28: “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.”

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter at @NedRyun.