The Second Amendment. Three words that spark seemingly unending debate and interpretation. Right now, it basically means individuals have the right to own firearms for traditional purposes, like self-defense and hunting. States can regulate the sale of guns, but the Federal government can’t interfere.
It’s never been more important to own a gun, especially during this election year. Here’s why.
Why Gun Ownership is Important
The issue of gun ownership is a complex one, despite what the media would have you believe. On the surface, one side blames the NRA for funding legislators who block gun control laws, and the other insists gun ownership is their God-given right as well as a basic right of all U.S. citizens
In reality, neither of these views paints the whole picture.
Owning a gun (or many guns) is about so much more than any right written on a paper. Gun culture is a complex mix of history, insecurity, and community.
A Look at Historical Gun Culture
Historically, there were very few households without guns. They were needed for hunting, protecting livestock and the farmstead, and yes, maintaining the oppression of Native peoples. There were also those militias everyone gets so hung up on in the Second Amendment.
Militias were formed to protect the general population from the threat of a tyrannical government. Should the federal government decide it wanted to forgo democracy and invade the states, the militias were there to put a stop to it.
These militias were an honorable way to protect yourselves and your neighbors. However, they were also rooted in fear and insecurity. People were afraid of a tyrannical federal government, and so they clung to their guns.
What people don’t often mention, however, is that because guns were so necessary for general life and militia use, they were, in fact, heavily regulated. Registration was mandatory and members of government could come into your home to inspect your musket.
As time passed and militias became (supposedly) less necessary, gun culture became, well, a culture. Communities grew around a common appreciation for firearms.
Why Owning a Gun this Election Year Matters
A Look at Gun Loss Fears Today
The fear of a tyrannical government, coupled with the fear of Native peoples, has continued to today, though it has shifted somewhat.
Tensions in America are arguably the highest they’ve been in recent memory. This election year coupled with world events no one could see coming have brought us to a point where each side is so entrenched in their views, it’s practically impossible to meet in the middle.
Each side is convinced that, should the other win, anarchy will reign in the streets. We will descend into another Civil War. Add to this the pandemic, looting, and more, and you have a recipe for fear.
Guns offer people a sense of safety and control in a world that feels anything but safe. The idea that you can stand your ground (in about half the states) provides people with a sense of safety and security in their own home from everyday threats.
A key difference is this time, the federal government has vastly outpaced its civilians in terms of firepower.
That’s where the fear comes in. The federal government has access to the kinds of guns civilians are forbidden from owning. That makes it all the more vital for civilians to be able to own our firearms; if things get really ugly, we have to be able to defend ourselves no matter who wins the election.
A Look at Modern Gun Culture
While one side blames the NRA for lack of gun control, in reality, that narrative doesn’t hold water. If the NRA funding were all that was required to block gun control, all pro-control advocates would have to do is out-bid those who are pro-gun.
This speaks to a greater point: gun culture is still alive and well, and is intrinsically linked to conservatism. Simply put, the right doesn’t want gun control because they like guns.
Collectors bond over rare and exotic firearm finds. Parents take children hunting to teach them to respect life, provide food, or simply to have fun. Laughter is shared over the lanes at the range. The internet is teeming with groups, forums, tips, and tricks for gun ownership.
Those who support gun control laws are going to have to look long and hard at the gun community to understand its value system before trying to make sweeping changes. This is where the problem lies, because the issue gets so heated, it’s hard for each side to see the others’.
Final Thoughts on Gun Ownership
No matter what side you’re on, owning a gun this election season is important. Whether you imagine yourself taking up arms in a militia to overthrow a tyrannical government, want your right to own a gun back, or you simply want to provide food for your family, owning a firearm is part of the American culture.
Jordan McDowell is a writer and second amendment rights advocate. As a proud advocate for responsible gun rights nationwide, he writes about recreational hunting as well as the latest developments in state and national legislation.