Politicians have been determined to diminish or eliminate our rights under the Constitution for more than a century. Today, left-leaning legislators and executives are still beating away at our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Former National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston used to say this was the amendment that protected all the other rights of the Constitution.
It makes sense that those who wish to destroy our God-given rights would try to destroy the second one first.
Patriots are very reluctant to give up any rights and will battle to the end to keep them. The battle stems from the difference in opinion of what "shall not be infringed" really means. There is also a difference of opinion of what "reasonable restrictions" means in describing gun ownership.
We know that rights are not absolute, for the most part. Those who believe in restrictions quote court decisions that say our freedom of speech does not allow someone to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. One cannot commit perjury, slander or libel. Those are reasonable restrictions. Otherwise, a person may pretty much say what he chooses to say, although the "politically correct" crowd will insist on penalties of some sort for people who do not adhere to their political definition of what is correct.
Gun owners also understand that the right to keep and bear arms is not absolute. It does not give them the right to use a gun to harm or threaten anyone unless there is justification to do so. Self-defense is a natural right. It is also a basic law of nature ingrained with any organism and is necessary for survival.
Self defense is usually broken down to fight or flight. If you can escape danger, that is the first step. Get out of the way of harm. If that isn't possible, the next step is to diffuse the attack by the use of force. If your force is greater than the force you oppose, you will survive in most cases.
This is where the right to keep and bear arms comes in. The right to self-defense requires a viable means to end a deadly conflict. In a civilized society, there are laws designed to protect people. There is a code of conduct that defines what is acceptable and legal when it comes to self-protection. In New York State, and many others, the law requires a person to retreat if he can do so with complete safety to himself or another innocent third party. It is not just the law; it is good common sense.
However, in any civilized society, there are people who do not obey the law. These criminals, in many cases, must be dealt with by the use of force. When resolving a confrontation with a criminal, most people will first try to ease the situation with a verbal response. Some will submit rather than resist, like robbery victims who would rather give up their property to avoid personal harm. That also makes sense, but in today's society the criminal will often take the money and kill the victim to avoid being identified.
In an assault, there is danger of death or serious bodily injury. To prevent that, the law says a person may use any degree of force up to, and including, deadly physical force. This is where law enforcement and the criminal justice system come into play. One must be able to prove that their actions were reasonable and, in the end, necessary.
Some personal protection trainers say the last line of defense is the victim, and if the attacked person has a viable means of defense, and the will and skill to use those means, the chances of not being a victim are greatly enhanced. Personal protection is one of the original "do it yourself" rules, dating from the dawn of man.
This brings us back to the right to keep and bear arms. A victim is at a huge disadvantage when attacked by a criminal who is bigger, stronger, and perhaps has a weapon. However, a smaller or weaker person who has a firearm can greatly switch the advantage to himself, simply because he or she is armed. Our right to self defense is greatly enhanced by our Second Amendment right to bear arms.
In fact, this helps make America unique among nations: our Founders assured that those two rights may never be divided.
This is a reason so many honest, law-abiding gun owners are resisting the New York SAFE Act. They believe politicians do not have the right to deprive or restrict their rights of survival and are refusing to comply with a law that can put their lives in jeopardy. The movement to urge the legislature to repeal this unjust and irresponsible law keeps gaining momentum. It will most likely be a major issue in next year's elections because the people who believe that the Constitution should be followed will be looking to get rid of the legislators and bureaucrats who disagree. This is not an issue that will go away.