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As I wrote last week, the Biden administration is just getting warmed up when it comes to attacks on the Second Amendment. In fact, Biden will test the Second Amendment like never before in U.S. history; both in the ferocity of attacks, and in finding new ways and methods to undermine its place in American culture. Making matters worse, conservatives are woefully underprepared to properly defend it.

This is the central thesis of my report on firearms published this month at The Heritage Foundation. In it, I assert the current “needs-based” defense of the Second Amendment not only is inadequate to withstand today’s onslaught by Democrats but also fundamentally misinterprets the spirit of the Amendment. Instead, conservatives must learn to defend the Second Amendment as their natural right; one that is far beyond the reach of gun-grabbers at all levels of government. 

Consider what is the most common response from liberals when arguing whether a particular firearm or accessory is covered by the Second Amendment’s guarantee. It is almost always some version of, “nobody needs that;” as if there is some unwritten, but obvious list indicating which specific items are protected by the Amendment and which are not.

The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban was based on the argument that citizens did not “need” modern sporting rifles; a sentiment that persists to this day, long after the legislation expired a decade later. Bans on high-capacity magazines and certain types of ammunition, monthly limits on purchases of firearms, and similar legislative efforts are all premised on the same justification of a perceived lack of “need” by law-abiding citizens.

Kevin Drum, a contributor to Mother Jones, encapsulated the extremes to which this mentality is applied when responding to calls to ban all semiautomatic weapons – leaving just revolvers, pump-action shotguns, and bolt- or lever-action rifles available to citizens – by saying, “that’s plenty for self-defense and for hunting…no one outside of the military or law enforcement really needs the high-speed shooting of a semiautomatic” (emphasis added). There is no limit to how, why, and when liberals use this “need” standard, and conservatives attempting to defend on the liberals’ playing field only play into their hands.

Take, for example, when in 2019 a Twitter user responded to singer Jason Isbell’s ignorant comments about the “need” for “assault weapons,” with a question about how otherwise he was to “kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into [his] yard within 3-5 mins while [his] small kids play?” To Midwesterners or Southerners for whom this is a very real problem, it was a legitimate question; but to progressives who just saw it as “gun nut” craziness, it quickly became pop culture fodder to mock and ridicule. This is precisely how liberals have constantly won through the years, by nibbling away at what people “need” or don’t “need.”

It is not only what Democrats have taken away using a needs-based argument against the Second Amendment, but also how they use it to manipulate Republicans. For instance, in spite of the objective health and safety benefits of firearm suppressors, Republicans for years have failed to pass the Hearing Protection Act – even when they had majorities in Congress and controlled the White House – because they did not know how to counter Democrats’ claims that citizens do not really “need” such devices. 

Then there was the “bump stock” controversy following the 2017 mass shooting at an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas Strip. Because such a device was used by the assailant during his rampage, President Donald Trump directed that the Department of Justice ban them by regulatory fiat (which it did), because such devices were deemed not “needed.”

Clearly, defending against this “needs-based” gun control strategy is not working for defenders of the Second Amendment, and it will continue to fail with disastrous consequences as gun control advocates up their game with the anti-Second Amendment Biden now in the White House – such as going after pistol braces. It is time for a change in strategy, and next week I will outline why a natural rights defense of gun rights is the approach conservatives should adopt if they want to preserve gun rights in America.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.

Bob Barr represented Georgia's Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s.

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Eugene Ross
Eugene Ross
1 year ago

they better remember what happened to the british in 1776 you know that history repeats it’s self

GRampStang
GRampStang
1 year ago

They remember that. That is why they want to take our guns away from us.

Dan Tyree
Dan Tyree
1 year ago
Reply to  GRampStang

It’s all about controlling the people. But us millions of gun owners should and can stand with one voice and say HELL NO!!! And there’s plenty of democrats that own guns. Some even have so called assault weapons. Stick together people. I for one refuse to comply with any laws infringing on our gun rights.

Jack
Jack
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan Tyree

Any law made against the 2nd amendment is unconstitutional and fight worthy and I for one will fight !!

TomB
TomB
1 year ago

Well…all the Karens out there that base their arguments on “needs” should fully understand that, “It is far better to have and not need than it is to need and not have.” There, fixed it for you…

Tod L. Bartels
Tod L. Bartels
1 year ago
Reply to  TomB

I use this to their ( who needs ? ) who in the USA needs a car that exceads 75 MPH ? who needs a phone that will work while moving / driving ??? both are technological advancements , but neither is enumerated in the BILL OF RIGHTS ! while bearing arms is a Protected right !

I never use their terms , if they say ( WHO NEEDS ? ) I respond with the car & Phone anolagy. Never defend always attack , if we always defend we have already lost ! AR stands for Arlamite rifle , I show them the original logo ! Assault is either a VERB or a NOUN , not a object or a thing ! they always like to corect gramer so I like to set them straight on that ! LOL

Lastly I use the people like them through out history Anology ! people like them pop up through out history, they dislike a BOOK ? they BURN it ! fear a object outlaw it, fear a race of people enslave them or exterminate them ! they have gone by many names , Communist , National socialist, facist, KKK, ETC. always the same , telling others what they can or can’t do, or say, or write, how to act,what to own / not own , buy, not buy , worship what god/ or gods, based on their feelings !

Dan Tyree
Dan Tyree
1 year ago
Reply to  Tod L. Bartels

Why should free Americans have to explain why we “need “ anything?

Felippe Blass
Felippe Blass
1 year ago
Reply to  Tod L. Bartels

This is one of the best and simplest and history proven arguments for the preservation of the 2nd Amendment.

Dan Tyree
Dan Tyree
1 year ago
Reply to  TomB

The moms demand action crowd is made up of karens.

cats257
cats257
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan Tyree

In that case who ” Needs” an abortion let alone a late term abortion since there are ways to avoid pregnancy in the first place and “abortions kill”.