I’m a liberal. My voting record is largely Green Party and Democrat. I’m a strong environmentalist – I respect and treat all life equally. I think equal opportunity is a good concept, and I view our international policy with distaste.

I’m also a gun collector and strong proponent of the Second Amendment.

People have been misled to think that guns are a Republican thing. That’s unfortunate. Gun ownership is the most liberal thing I can imagine. It’s about keeping power in the hands of the people instead of being exclusively the tools of government and the rich. It’s about equality, letting an old woman defend herself as well as a bodybuilder. It’s about being able to protect not only the people that are important to us but the rest of our freedoms as well.

In an effort to garner votes, the Democrats have used guns as a scapegoat like the Republicans have used terror. They’ve created boogymen like “assault weapons” to convince constituents something is being done about the fundamentally human problem of violence. By banning guns, Democrats want you to believe something is being done to bring down crime. Do you know the definition of assault weapon? It’s not a machine gun. It’s a gun that has features like a grip that protrudes from the bottom or a bayonet lug. When’s the last time anyone was bayoneted? Another sensationalized item is hollow point ammo – bullets that flatten when they hit something. The police switched to hollow points because the alternative, round bullets, had a tendency to go straight through objects, ricochet and they also require a greater number of shots to stop attackers.

Guns aren’t even the most damaging method of killing. In the Happy Land Fire, a man killed 87 people with one dollar’s worth of gas. The record number of deaths at a school is held by a person with a bomb, not a gun. A nut job with a car in a crowded area can do more damage than a man with a bag full of guns. Where’s our gas licensing? Let’s ban cars. Americans understand cars; not many understand guns because they’re getting their information from a media that loves to sensationalize. You hear about one psychopath killer, but not about the thousands of people who were saved from being murdered or raped.

Guns are the best tools we as citizens have for defense. Not only has the Supreme Court ruled that police have no obligation to protect individuals, but it’s a physical impossibility for police to be there at all times. We shouldn’t rely on others for self-defense.

Guns also protect our freedoms. They ensure that, if necessary, the people have means to offer resistance to rogue authority. It wasn’t long ago that rogue police officers, after illegally disarming the citizenry, took advantage of Hurricane Katrina to steal much-needed food and supplies. A liberal should know that authority figures commit crimes every day. If we take physical power away from the people, what’s left to balance against governmental abuse? If we take guns away from the people, only criminals and the government will have them.

Banning guns to reduce violence is like playing Whac-A-Mole, remove one weapon and another will pop up. People have one less way to hurt each other out of billions. Unfortunately the unique benefits guns provide are gone, along with the lack of shootings, and there’s no replacing them.

It’s a citizen’s duty to vote with an informed understanding. Next time you see a gun control bill, don’t agree because it looks like common sense. Take the time to educate yourself on the terms, try substituting “gun” for “car” to remove an emotional bias. Place Second Amendment infringements in the context of better understood ones. Should we ban Ferraris because they’re too fast for normal citizens, or revolutionary texts because they’re too powerful? Go to a range and try out a gun. How could someone who’s never shot a gun dictate what types are and aren’t allowed?

Bearing arms is a constitutional right. It’s an empowerment of the citizenry that, like free speech, must be preserved for the most dire circumstances, lest we find it gone when we most need it. Let’s not define a freedom by its abuse, and let’s not give it up just because we don’t understand it.