Owning a gun is an extension of this law of nature, and has been recognized as such for a very long time in Anglo-America. The right to bear arms had deep roots in England, and predated the Constitution on these shores. Pennsylvania guaranteed the right early on. In his draft of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” (His language wasn’t adopted.)

It is out of this historical and jurisprudential soil that we got the Second Amendment. Guns would make it possible for Americans to defend themselves, and to defend their liberties.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist of the importance of “the original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.” This right can be used if necessary, per Hamilton, “against the usurpations of the national rulers.”