Short Shots: The Guns I Need

The language of necessity should never be used to discuss rights.

by posted on May 14, 2021
Guns I Need Lede
Image courtesy NSSF

1. “Do you really need this?” he asked, glaring at me over the checkout counter. “This has 150 grams of sugar in it. Not in the whole package, per serving. There are a full 13 servings in this box. That’s too much for you,” he concluded, yanking my doughnuts off the conveyor belt.

“Obesity is a killer, and unless you have a doctor’s note certified by our local sheriff and the head of the FDA, you don’t need these doughnuts, and you can’t buy them.”

2. “You cannot possibly expect me to believe that you really need this,” she spat, looking at my cart full of fire extinguishers. “What on Earth are you planning to do with all these fire extinguishers? The only reason anyone needs more than one fire extinguisher is if they’re pyromaniacs or arsonists.” She reached for the phone. “I don’t care which one you are, but I’m sure the police will.”

3. “Do you really need this?” he demanded, pointing an angry finger at the muscle car I was trying to finance. “That car has a V-8 engine that generates 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. That’s law-enforcement power, and the only reason you’d need a car that fast is to outrun the police.

Unless you have a note from your local law enforcement as well as the head of your state’s Department of Transportation proving that you have a consistent need to get from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds, you need to leave.”

4. “You don’t need this,” said the banker, shaking his head. “The house you’re trying to buy is four times larger than a single person needs to survive. Why do you want 1,600 square feet when you really only need 400? What are you planning to do with the other 1,200 square feet?” He gasped, “Are you one of those crazy square-footage stockpilers?”

I watched as he pulled out his stamp and marked “DENIED” on my loan application.

5. “Do you really need this?” he said, looking at me over his mask with a drill in one hand and a work order in the other. “This paper says you’re authorized to have 9 megabytes per second of internet speed. And here you are with 12. Why do you need 12 megabytes per second to post pictures of your dinner to social media? You don’t,” he concluded smugly. “Not unless you’re trying to use your Internet to send large files, and nobody needs to do that except the government. We’re cranking you back down to dial-up.”

Of course, I didn’t write this article on parchment using a quill pen. Of course, nobody tried to tell me I couldn’t buy all the doughnuts I want. Nobody denied me financing for a muscle car (mainly because I can’t afford it anyway and haven’t tried). Everybody knows that it’s wrong to deny financing to someone for a large home just because they could probably survive in a smaller one. None of those things happened, and if they had, it would have been an outrage.

So why are we gun owners routinely asked these same questions, with the threat of having our rights and property taken away from us if The Powers That Be don’t like our answers? Let’s roll back to #1. Let’s substitute “doughnuts” with “a matched pair of classic revolvers.” If I live in Virginia (and don’t have a concealed-carry permit), then I cannot buy both of those revolvers at once thanks to Virginia’s new “One Gun a Month” law.

Let’s go back to #3, and replace the muscle car with a suppressor. I’ll quote Jeff Johnston’s “How to Buy a Suppressor” article here: “Silencers for firearms were made in 1902 by Hiram Percy Maxim in lock-step with another one of his inventions, the car muffler. This makes sense because both products utilized nearly identical technology. Today car mufflers are mandated by the government, while firearm suppressors are highly regulated by it. That doesn't make any sense at all.”

No, no it doesn’t. The reason why it doesn’t make any sense is because, if we’re discussing need, we are having the wrong discussion … and that is not an accident. Anti-gunners know that if they can force us to justify our rights while only using the language of necessity, they can tie up the argument on this detail or that technicality forever.

The truth of the matter is that of course, neither you nor I need six fire extinguishers all rated for different kinds of fires right this moment. However, if we do come to need them, we will need them very badly and 10 minutes ago; not having them could prove fatal for us. It is the same for guns, but with a twist: The Bill of Rights doesn’t have a special amendment for fire extinguishers. Guns do. And that’s why the next time someone asks you if you really need an AR-15 when a bolt-action would do the job, or if you really need 10 cases of ammo, just say, “Yes, and you really need to read the Constitution.”


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