Op-ed: The Second Amendment is meant to ensure that the people always have the means to defend themselves

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“The natural and human right to self-defense predates the founding of the United States by millennia, the origins of which can be found in ancient Israel, Greece, and the ancient Roman Empire. The right to self-defense was articulated throughout European history up to and including colonial times.”

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Proponents of the Second Amendment frequently argue that the Second Amendment is meant to protect the rights of the people against tyrannical government, to defend themselves and others, to hunt and other recreational activities, and/or to defend the nation in the case of foreign invasion.

History suggests that each of these purposes is partially correct, but that the right of the people to defend themselves, or self-defense, is the primary origins of the Second Amendment, and that the other purposes are derivatives of the unalienable right to self-defense.

The natural and human right to self-defense predates the founding of the United States by millennia, the origins of which can be found in ancient Israel, Greece and the ancient Roman Empire. The right to self-defense was articulated throughout European history up to and including colonial times.

In ancient Israel, the Torah did not merely create a right to self-defense but created “a duty to defend oneself and others.” Ancient Greece did not create a duty but did protect the right of the people to use up to lethal force to ward off “the attack of a burglar, a highwayman or some other criminal.” Roman law granted, in late fourth century A.D., “to all persons the unrestricted power to defend themselves ……

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