The following guest column was written by Peter Churchman. Churchman is the Libertarian Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 17th District of Texas.
We are all born with unalienable rights; the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. We have purposefully restricted our government from infringing on our unalienable rights in order to protect our freedom. The Bill of Rights was the sticking point in getting the U.S. Constitution ratified by all 13 states. People wanted assurances then, as they do now, that those inalienable rights would not be trampled on. The right to bear arms protects all of our other inalienable rights and is vital to us maintaining a free society. It is the last assurance that we will have a way to not only protect our families, homes, and property, but also a constant reminder to the government that we are a free population and we refuse to be controlled.
Governor Abbott has called for a series of hearings to discuss gun control laws about the storage of firearms and “red flag” legislation. These both have me deeply concerned. While it’s good practice to keep your firearms safely locked away, I don’t keep all of mine in a safe. It is wise to keep a firearm easily accessible in case of an emergency. I can make the decision of how I store my firearms without any help from the state, and I can do this safely. I am a responsible gun owner. I don’t need the state to tell me where or how to store my firearms. I won’t support a law in violation of the 2nd amendment, nor will I consent to the state inspecting how I store my legally purchased property.
More insidious than the gun storage laws are the proposed “red flag” laws. These laws will let any government official, school employee, doctor, neighbor, or ex-romantic partner to falsely report you to an agency that will seize all of your weapons, by force if necessary. This is a horrible idea on many levels.
Firstly, this is going to divert our law enforcement away from crimes that are happening in the present to crimes that might happen in the future, maybe. Many will not freely give up their legally obtained property peacefully. That will put our law enforcement in highly dangerous situations to stop a crime that has not, and likely never will, happen.
Secondly, this will indubitably be used by spiteful people to exact some sort of revenge and have the government do the dirty work. How many exes will send the police after a cheating partner? How many angry neighbors will use the state to get back at a community member? How many activists (gun rights activists will likely be at the top of the list) will be deemed a danger? How many angry parents who spoke up at a school board meeting have their property taken away? “Red Flag” laws are literally legislation to enact the old mantra of “they are coming to take you guns away.”
Thirdly, the best way to make a peaceful person dangerous is to take away their property.
We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. Texans will not, and should not, give in to gun control measures that are a violation of our natural rights. These laws will make us less free, not more.
Ben Franklin wisely said many years ago “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. His words are still true today.