I wrote the following years before the Las Vegas massacre. Before the carnage was cleaned up, the predictable cry rose from the anti-gunners, blaming the inanimate metal object.  Interestingly, when a bomber kills people, they blame the bomber, and not the bomb. I wonder why?

To Each According to His Needs

by John Glatthar

I cannot count exactly how many times I have heard or read someone proclaim that “no one needs this or that [particular] gun.” If I hear “no one needs an AK-47 to hunt deer,” or “no one needs a magazine that holds more than x rounds” one more time, I may burst. The height of arrogance and condescension is when one presumes to decide for others what their needs should be. A profoundly dangerous path is created when one segment of society endows government with the power to strip others of their personal property, under the false and misleading pretenses.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. The problem is that groundless opinions (often based on emotion and not facts) often become public policy. It has been said that there are two kinds of people in the world – those who want the government to force people to do something they are not currently doing, and those who want the government to force people to stop doing what they are currently doing. Almost all of us are in one or both of these categories, to a degree. I despise, for example, graffiti and vandalism, and would very much like my local government to stop it. I know that they can’t stop it altogether, so I would like them to dramatically ratchet up the punishment for those convicted of “tagging” and other forms of vandalism. No one needs their property to be vandalized and damaged by hooligans, after all. While that is my opinion, it is not groundless.

As for guns, my right to buy and keep the firearms of my choice for self-defense or other lawful purposes is not only a right protected by the Second Amendment; it is a private property rights issue. Which right is more important to you, some tricky anti-gunner may ask. This is a deceptive question. The answer is that both rights are God-given rights and are inextricably woven together in the same fabric we call basic human rights or natural rights.  Do not ask me which hand I would rather have; I want both.  Remember always that the Bill of Rights is not the Bill of Needs.

My decision to buy a particular firearm, or vehicle, or appliance, or whatever, is my decision alone. If I make a poor decision, I must live with it.  People who do not want others to have Gun X or Gun Y, and want the government to ban and confiscate these personally-owned items rarely stop and think about the indirect damage their actions may cause, and have already caused. The unintended consequence of endowing a government agency with the power to dictate what item one may possess is that they will never stop at a temporary limit defined by the language in a legislative bill. Agencies always expand and accumulate more power. Doubt it? Study the history of the BATFE. Name three agencies in your lifetime that have diminished in size or power.

Can you imagine a world where you had to open up your house for a mandatory annual inspection of your personal firearms? In Washington State, Senate Bill SB5737 was introduced in 2013. One of the most sinister parts of it called for annual home inspections by police of anyone in possession of a so-called “assault weapon.” What’s an “assault weapon? Anything they say it is, and that is only part of the problem. While warrantless searches are clearly a violation of the 4th Amendment, that did not stop the gun-hating lawmakers from drafting this repugnant bill. The annual home inspection segment of the bill was eventually scrapped due to public outcry, but it laid bare the gun-grabbers ugly motives for all to see.

It is very easy to be a tyrant. Wise people have always recognized that power over others is the most seductive and addictive drug on the planet. Our Constitution was written specifically to prevent the abuse of power by restraining the government, not the people. Anyone of us can momentarily put ourselves in that tyrannical mindset and proclaim, for example, that:


  • No one needs a sports car capable of 175 miles per hour!
  • No one needs a house larger than x square feet.
  • No one needs a second home on the beach!
  • No one needs a refrigerator larger than 10 cubic feet in capacity!
  • No one needs jewelry to adorn the body!
  • No one needs artwork to adorn his walls.
  • No one needs _____________ (fill in the blank.)


I could create nearly limitless of examples like this. We can all play this game, and most of us have done this to a degree when evaluating others.

When you get down to the essentials of life on this planet, it can be argued that no one really needs anything more than air, food, water, shelter, and clothing. Can a human being survive with ONLY these basic necessities? Yes, of course. For a time. That’s not living, however, that is mere survival. Who wants to live like that?  At least prison inmates can watch TV, read books, socialize, play cards, or exercise in the “yard.” But is life behind bars the sort of life a “normal” person would aspire to?

Are you one who thinks that you know more about other’s needs than they do, and that you can make “better” decisions for them, without their consent or permission? Are you one who yearns to exercise complete control over others? If so, study the following words in a good dictionary: tyrant, bully, despot, dictator, and autocrat. Then look in the mirror. Now reverse things. Would you willingly allow anyone to step into your personal life and let them control and dictate your “needs?”  I didn’t think so.

Recognize that we are all unique. None of us the same. Now, get on with your affairs, and have the decency to leave me and my personal property, including my gun, alone.

Image Courtesy of Oleg Volk