As a conservative, I hold to certain fundamental, eternal principles that uphold freedom. These principles are the foundation of this country and the reason we have had the success we have had. They are as follows –
Principle 3 could also be termed limited government. When government is limited to its proper role, freedom is expanded. The problem with freedom is often we disagree with people on how they use their freedom.
Kroger recently joined Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart in raising the minimum age to purchase a rifle to 21. This is Principle 3 operating exactly as it should.
If you’ve read much of my work, you know that I am staunchly pro-2nd Amendment. And while I would love to see all sporting goods stores encourage responsible gun ownership, I am also staunchly pro-liberty.
Individual stores have the freedom to regulate themselves as much as they’d like. The problem comes when government is the one trying to regulate our rights out of existence instead of doing its job – protecting our rights.
Good for Them – But They’re Still Wrong
If Kroger, Dick’s, and Walmart stop selling so-called “assault style rifles”, that is wholly within their rights to do, however it will not solve any problems. Evil people will find a way to commit evil deeds. We have seen it over and over where knives, vehicles, or pressure cookers were used to murder.
Do these stores honestly think someone bent on murder will walk into Walmart, realize they can’t buy the gun they want, and then maybe they shouldn’t murder after all?
Not going to happen.
I am confident that those stores truly believe that what they’re doing is going to help. I’m sure that their heart is in the right place. But it doesn’t change that they are wrong. Evil people will find a way to commit evil deeds, and the answer is not making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain the means of defending themselves.
If Kroger, Dick’s, and Walmart raise the age to buy rifles to 21, that is wholly within their rights to do, however, it will not solve any problems.
In 2006, 19 year old Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis “was patrolling Baghdad’s Adhamiyah district as a Humvee gunner when an enemy fighter threw a grenade into the vehicle from a nearby rooftop. McGinnis shouted a warning to the four other soldiers in the Humvee, but quickly realized that none of them had time to escape the combat-locked vehicle. He pushed his gunner strap out and laid his back on top of the grenade, absorbing the blast. McGinnis was killed instantly. The four other soldiers survived.” (Stripes.com)
McGinnis was awarded the medal of honor for his bravery.
The Parkland shooter who ruthlessly murdered 17 young students in Florida was also a 19 year old.
We must realize that responsibility is not necessarily conferred with age. America has a long history of brave teenagers serving nobly in our military. However, there are also countless irresponsible teenagers who have made horrible decisions that have negatively affected those around them.
The Las Vegas shooter was 64 years old. He killed 58 people and wounded 851. Age is not the determining factor in how responsible or moral a person is. I addressed this issue in a previous article so we won’t get into it here. However, no matter how well meaning these stores may be, they must realize that these measures will do effectively nothing to prevent tragedies.
Freedom Comes With Responsibility
While I strongly disagree with the new gun policies of these stores, I wholly support their right to have such policies. In order to be consistent, a person who believes in conservative principles must be very careful that they don’t have knee jerk reactions. The principles of limited government dictate that government does not infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. Government is to protect our right to keep and bear arms.
A liberal’s reaction to this would be a boycott, a protest, and then petitioning congress to force the store to conform to their ideas (Hobby Lobby, anyone?).
A conservative’s reaction to this kind of policy is to thank God for the free market and go to a different store.
So I say to Kroger, Dick’s and Walmart, you have the right to do what you’re doing, but just know it will not accomplish your goals. Instead it will lose you business while making it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to defend themselves from the evil people who are not about to be stopped by some new feel-good store policies.