Where do we get our Rights? From Man (aka Governments) or from God?

by May 19, 2012Guns and Self Defense

… “whenever the Legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence. … [Power then] devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty, and, by the Establishment of a new Legislative (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own Safety and Security, which is the end for which they are in Society.”
— John Locke

Who gives us our “rights” and who sets the “laws” and regulations of an organized group of people?

In my opinion God Almighty gives us certain rights included among these are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or, as originally rendered, the ownership of property…

If God gives us these rights is government to be allowed to “regulate” those rights? Such as the registering of people for the permitting of them to carry a dangerous weapon in public for a person’s personal self defense or the defense of another who is being mistreated?

We have fallen so far away from the concept of individual freedom that most people would cringe if they heard someone advocate that everyone be required to carry a personal self defense weapon. What if the concept to provide for your own personal defense and the defense of others nearby was how the founders intended man to be? Read this account of Thomas Jefferson;

In 1785 Thomas Jefferson wrote to his fifteen-year-old nephew, Peter Carr, regarding what he considered the best form of exercise: “…I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”[1]

Evidence exists to show that Jefferson was a fair marksman. At twenty-five he noted in his accounts: “Won shooting 1/6.”[2] In a later contest during a muster of Captain Jacob Moon’s Albemarle County militia company he lost 2/6.[3] But as he grew older, Jefferson limited his exercise to horseback riding while restraining his attachment for firearms and hunting.

References to ownership of arms and accoutrements may be found throughout his manuscripts and accounts. A cursory compilation shows that he owned a shotgun called a “two shot-double barrel,” purchased in France, a number of pistols and other shoulder weapons. Further evidence that he used these may be found in the columns of his account books. In 1775 he paid to have a pistol repaired; a year later he bought a “double barrel gun-lock” for £5-5; in 1799 he had Henry Yost, a Staunton, Virginia gunsmith, mend his pistols (possibly those he carried for protection when traveling) and, as late as 1817 he was charged eight dollars for having a gun put in order by a Charlottesville repairman.[4]

Unquestionably, the finest arms that Jefferson owned were a pair of Turkish pistols received from the estate of General Isaac Zane in place of a money bequest. He described them and, at the same time, modestly alluded to his ability as a pistol shot: “They are 20. inch barrels so well made that I never missed a squirrel at 30 yards with them…”[5]

– Text from James A. Bear, “Some Jefferson Ideas on Exercise, Guns and Game,” Monticello Research Report, n.d.


My thought is considered very radical today but has its origins in common sense and a sense that I seem to share with Mr Jefferson. We should be training children in the safe use and handling of firearms from gradeschool on up. (he was writing to his 15 year old nephew) We as citizens should be required to possess a firearm in public and be fined if, when asked by a lawman to present our weapon, we should not have it in our possession. The ability to walk carefree throughout society is a great privilege and those who do should pay taxes to do so. Someone will scream, “you can’t let EVERYONE run around with a gun!!!?” to which I would reply that we MUST! But at the same time we also must be willing to punish swiftly, and that by the testimony of two or three witnesses, all who would commit crimes with their weapon. This would transform our society into a group of very responsible citizens.

It’s in man’s human nature to not trust his neighbor but when you are a Christian you can be far more trusting because you know that God Almighty is in control. Even if the unthinkable happens and you or a loved one dies from a whacko with a gun we can rest in the hope that our loved one is with The Lord and that we will one day go to meet Him. The terrifying prospect is to find yourself in a public square where a whacko has a weapon and is wantonly killing unarmed people and you must simple wait to be dispatched along with the rest. This is no doubt how many of the students at Virginia Tech felt as the lone gunman walked methodically through the halls opening each door to find students huddling together, easy targets…

No, it’s time we grew up as a people and took our responsibility seriously that we must protect ourselves and one another from evil doers.