Throughout history, we have had to impose limitations on certain rights enumerated in the Constitution or codified by law. For example, we have the right of free speech, but we also have restrictions in the form of slander, libel and defamation of character laws. We cannot falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater and in many states it is illegal to post threats on our Facebook page.
We have the right to own a car, but we also have laws about which side of the road to use and how fast we can drive. We are required to carry insurance and children must be restrained in car seats. We cannot use a car as a weapon to do harm to a person or his property, nor can we drive a car while intoxicated. We have such laws and restrictions in order to protect the lives and for the safety of the public.
We have the right to buy and consume drugs, but only those approved by the Food and Drug Administration and only those considered “legal.” Many drugs must be prescribed by a doctor. Why? If used incorrectly, they could pose a threat to a person’s life or health. Most of us accept that such safeguards must be in place in order to protect the public’s health and safety.
So, here’s my question. If we accept that restrictions on certain rights are necessary in order to protect our health, character and safety, then why is it so difficult to accept that there must be restrictions on gun ownership as well?
If we accept that certain drugs must be banned or restricted, if we accept that there are limits to free speech, and if we accept that certain laws must be maintained for automobile safety, then why is it so difficult to accept that we must also place restrictions on a class of weapons and ammunition that were designed for the sole purpose of killing the highest number of people in the shortest amount of time?