My Right of Self-Defense

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

My Right of Self-Defense

by Sandra Davies Johnson, March 1999

I have a right to defend myself and protect my life. I also have a right to use a gun as a tool in self-defense.

I live in the mountains of Southern Colorado in Costilla County. If I called the sheriff in an emergency it would be at least an hour before anyone arrived, longer if the sheriff were busy with another call. What should I do? Common sense says I should take precautions such as locking my house securely and preparing to protect myself should the need arise. I could try to use my muscles and bare fists. Or I could use tools which do not depend on my size and strength.

I feel safe in my neighborhood where most have the tools they need to protect themselves and their families. One place where I do not feel safe is in parts of Denver. Can I count on the police in Denver? Well yes, about 9 minutes (on the average) after a call for help. What good does that do? The very best law enforcement personnel can be there only after the emergency. If someone kills me, does it matter whether the law shows up 30 seconds or 30 minutes after the crime? The police may be just a few minutes away, yet if I am not allowed to protect myself, I could become a victim of crime.

The irony is that in the rural areas where I don't feel threatened I am allowed to carry tools for self-defense, yet in the city where I do feel threatened I am forbidden to use such tools. Why? What right does any government official have to take away or restrict my basic right of self-defense? Have the politicians noticed that criminals pay no heed to gun control laws? Would the same politicians who want to disarm me be proud to put a sign on their front door: THIS IS A GUN-FREE HOUSEHOLD!

The Colorado State Legislature has considered several concealed carry bills this year. Some of them require registration, criminal background checks, fingerprinting, licensing fees, etc. Would you trust the government with this information? In New York they are using gun registration records to seize firearms that are now decreed illegal. Perhaps you are thinking "only in New York" -- that could never happen in Colorado. Well, did anyone from the State of Colorado ask your permission to sell the information from your drivers license? Did they mention that the Secret Service was funding the company that is buying the data? It seems they want this technology (and information about YOU) for fighting terrorism and for terrorizing immigrants.

If "the pen is mightier than the sword," then it's a wonder the politicians don't restrict the use of the pen. For every would-be journalist, the State could require a "writers license" from the State Board of Journalism. Mandates might include:

  • Government approved training.
  • A waiting period before the purchase of writing supplies.
  • Fingerprinting and criminal background checks.
  • Annual license fees.

Why is such control over the press prohibited? Supporters of free speech give the seemingly obvious answer: because the First Amendment protects our rights to free speech. Does not the Second Amendment still protect our right to keep and bear arms? Unless repealed, where does Colorado get the right to restrict it in any way?

In a free society, no one has the right to infringe on my right to freedom of speech or my right to bear arms to protect myself from criminals and tyrannical governments. History proves time and again that when the State disarms the people it thereby endangers the rest of their rights as well.

Of the current bills in the Colorado State Legislature, only Senator Musgrave's "Freedom to Carry Act" (SB-156), passed in the Senate February 19, comes close to establishing the unrestricted right of law-abiding citizens to carry firearms. Unfortunately, even this bill requires permits for concealed carry and contains "criminal safe zones" where the permits are not valid.

The other concealed carry bills (SB-108, SB-84) are much worse. These bills would carry with them numerous problems, such as:

  • Permits that expire when the current sheriff leaves office.
  • Expensive fees for applicants.
  • Bans on concealed weapons in an automobile.
  • The creation of a statewide database, administered by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
  • Training classes mandated and regulated by the government.

Although SB 156 might be an improvement over the current laws, it ignores these questions:

WHY should I have to get permission from the government to exercise my basic rights?

WHY should I put my name in a government database that tracks possible gun owners?

Sandra Johnson was the 1998 Libertarian Party candidate for governor.

Guns: Sandra Johnson | Ari Armstrong | Dudley Brown | Linn Armstrong

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