For many of us, our Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms is more than a right. It’s our duty. When we swore to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” we undertook an oath to perform a duty.
There are many ways to go about protecting our Constitutional rights within the law, but the most effective way to protect our rights while informing the minds of the ignorant, a large part of the “domestic enemy,” is to simply exercise them throughout the normal course of our day.
When I carry my firearm, I don’t go out of my way to be noticed. In fact, I wear conservative clothing and behave normally, the same as I always behave.
I take the same approach towards our other rights, including freedom of speech.
I exercise my rights because of what happens when we don’t exercise them. People forget what they look like. People forget that they even have rights. Societies become “too polite,” which is a nice way of saying “politically correct.” Norms shift from freedom, the objective Constitutional standard of the free exercise of one’s rights, to the subjective politically correct standard based on avoiding “making a fuss,” “rocking the boat,” or “offending someone.”
Offense is not a legitimate reason to forfeit one’s rights. Neither is alarm. The Supreme Court has already decided this on several fronts, including racial equality, freedom of speech, and the right to keep and bear arms. While we may attempt to minimize offense or alarm in the exercise of our rights, it is impossible to eradicate either, and attempting to do so undermines the rights which it is our duty to protect! Let’s face it – people are offended by all kinds of things: The color of my skin, the length of my hair, the fact I served in the military. Heck, some folks are problem alarmed by the length of my hair, or the fact that I drive a truck!
Are those reasons to forfeit my right to keep and bear arms? They are not.
What about alarm? “OMG! He’s got a gun!” Thankfully, that’s not a statement I’ve heard any time in the 22 years I’ve been carrying a firearm, either on or off duty, including the last 2-1/2 years during which I’ve predominantly open carried. In fact, I’ve been thanked more than a dozen times, and have had at least that many conversations during which I’ve been asked about the local laws governing our Second Amendment rights.
I’ll close with a final thought: Holding true to what’s right will always offend some people, and it will always alarm others.
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