The Second Amendment: the first and still the best anti-terrorism policy

Fox News Commentator and former judge, Andrew Napolitano, recently made the common-sense observation that the best protection against "Lone Wolf" terrorist attacks, such as those that occurred in Canada this week, is an armed citizenry:

Napolitano said loners with guns are a "devious" way for terrorists to strike.

"It's one guy getting out of a car and starting to shoot. What is the best deterrent to that? An armed citizenry. People able to protect themselves. We have a Second Amendment in this country. They do not have the equivalent of that in Canada," said Napolitano.

Steve Doocy and Napolitano also highlighted the state of Oklahoma, where a company executive with a firearm was able to stop the beheading suspect before he could murder more people about a month ago. The heroic employee was also a sheriff's deputy.

Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul agrees with Judge Napolitano that, instead of creating new bureaucracies to take away our rights, government should allow citizens to protect themselves from terrorism by respecting the right to keep and bear arms. Shortly after the attacks of September 11, Dr. Paul introduced legislation to allow pilots to carry firearms.

While a watered-down version of Dr. Paul's bill did eventually pass Congress, the bill required pilots to get federal "permission" before they could exercise their Second Amendment rights. The federal bureaucracy then made it so difficult for pilots to get permission to exercise their rights that few pilots were able to qualify. Dr. Paul worked to remove all restrictions on pilots exercising their Second Amendment rights; after all, you should never have to ask federal permission to exercise your rights.

Dr. Paul addressed this issue in his October 2001 speech Anti-terrorism and Homeland Security:

We should never casually sacrifice any of our freedoms for the sake of a perceived security. Most security, especially in a free society, is best carried out by individuals protecting their own property and their own lives. The founders certainly understood this and is the main reason we have the second amendment. We cannot have a policeman stationed in each of our homes to prevent burglaries, but owners with property with possession of a gun can easily do it. A new giant agency for homeland security cannot provide security, but it can severely undermine our liberties. This approach may well, in the long run, make many Americans feel less secure.

The principle of private property ownership did not work to prevent the tragedies of September 11, and there is a reason for that. The cries have gone out that due to the failure of the airlines to protect us, we must nationalize every aspect of aviation security. This reflects a serious error in judgment and will lead us further away from the principle of private property ownership and toward increasing government dependency and control with further sacrifice of our freedoms.

More dollars and more Federal control over the airline industries are not likely to give us the security we all seek.

All industrial plants in the United States enjoy reasonably good security. They are protected not by the local police but by owners putting up barbed wire fences, hiring guards with guns, and requiring identification cards to enter. All this, without any violation of anyone's civil liberties. And in a free society private owners have a right, if not an obligation, to profile if it enhances security. This technique of providing security through private property ownership is about to be rejected in its entirety for the airline industry.

The problem was that the principle of private property was already undermined for the airlines by partial federalization of security by FAA regulations. Airports are owned by various government entities. The system that failed us prior to 9-11 not only was strictly controlled by government regulations, it specifically denied the right of owners to defend their property with a gun. At one time, guns were permitted on airlines to protect the U.S. mail. But for more than 40 years, airlines have not been allowed to protect human life with firearms.

Some argue that pilots have enough to worry about flying the airplane and have no time to be concerned about a gun. How come drivers of armored vehicles can handle both? Why do we permit more protection for money being hauled around the country in a truck than we do for passengers on an airline? If government management of airline security has already failed us, why should we expect expanding the role of government in this area to be successful? One thing for sure, we can expect it to get very expensive and the lines to get a lot longer. The Government's idea of security is asking ``who packed your bag''; ``has the bag been with you since you packed it''; and requiring plastic knives to be used on all flights while taking fingernail clippers away from pilots.

Pilots overwhelmingly support their right to be armed, some even threatening not to fly if they are not permitted to do so. This could be done quickly and cheaply by merely removing the prohibition against it, as my bill, H.R. 2896, would do. We must not forget four well-placed guns could have prevented the entire tragedy of 9-11.

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Tags: , , ,