A Gun-Owning Citizenry Is a Free Citizenry | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Colion Noir during a Newsweek podcast debate on guns in America. You can listen to the podcast here:

I started off not being pro-gun. I was largely apathetic, kind of leaning toward anti-gun. It became a fascination for me, from a physics and enthusiasm standpoint. I started getting into more political aspects of it and realized that my ability to protect myself with a firearm is probably one of the most important aspects of things that I do in my life, because the most important thing I have is my life. The ability to depend on myself to protect myself, and the people that I love, to me, is one of the most important things you could possibly have in this world.

The reason we have the Second Amendment is to keep our government in check. This country was established by people who had to deal with a tyrannical government and had to come together with their own arms to fight that government. As a result, they preserved that ability within the Constitution. So we had to deal with a tyrannical government, and the people needed to protect themselves, their property, their lives, their families and the country—they had to do that readily. If the government has control of all the guns, you may have a "right" to own a gun, but you would have to go and ask them for the guns to stop them from being tyrannical.

Militia members return fire during an ambush
Militia members return fire during an ambush as they practice a two person patrol using airsoft rifles that resemble their AR-15 weapons, as part of their training exercises in the woods of southern New Hampshire on October 25, 2020. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The reason we defend the ability to own the AR-15 so vehemently is because back when the Second Amendment was established, both the government and the people had muskets. Fast-forward to today: Our government doesn't have muskets, they have machine guns. And we can barely hold onto our AR-15s as it is. If the Second Amendment was designed to keep the government in check, why can't we have the arms necessary to do that?

The vast majority of deaths in this country by way of firearm are suicides. When we talk about homicides, the vast majority of the homicides that take place in this country are happening in very specific targeted areas in this country that have the same socioeconomic problems. Then when we get to mass shootings, they're such a statistical anomaly compared to everything else with respect to gun violence. I have to beg the question: Why are we overly focused on them?

And I get it, there is a fear component there. But that's the same reason why I carry a firearm. If I have a certain fear of going to a movie theater, because of a potential mass shooter. I want the ability to carry a firearm when I go there. The vast majority of people who commit mass shootings obtain their firearms legally. So there is no law that you're going to create that's going to prevent that. So from that standpoint, we need to go beyond the idea of legislation and deal with the problem in the moment.

Colion Noir is a popular gun rights activist, attorney and host of the web series "NOIR."

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.