Gun Rights

Here are some comments of the late William B. Ruger, co-founder and CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Company. They are part of an interview which was published in the June 1998 American Rifleman. Mr. Ruger was 81 years of age at the time, and reflecting upon his life experiences.

"The right to own firearms, while it was guaranteed in the Constitution was often challenged or there were attempts to modify it. This always bothered me, even as a child. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to try to make a simple mechanical object into a form of contraband, or how that could serve a social purpose. I've always thought about this question and have heard these arguments pro and con. I'm really a student of this and will say that the whole question is academic. In essence, the Bill of Rights should not be challenged. If we do not under the existing phraseology of the Constitution have a genuine right to own and carry firearms, then I say that no other part of the Constitution is worth a damn either. If you destroy the Second Amendment, you have destroyed a major thread of the whole Constitution. It should not be weakened by modifications all the time or by trying to make it say what a few people want it to say. The document says what it says. 'The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' If you can't live with that, then you shouldn't be trying to be an American citizen."

"A constant problem the industry has is that you can't compromise with the gun prohibitionists. Every time you concede an inch, it's a wasted concession. That is my view. These people are not interested in rational discourse on how society can best control violent criminals. They simply hate guns, and a complete elimination of these inanimate objects is their actual goal. That is a really shocking and divisive end, in my opinion."

"I think what is often lost sight of today is that the Constitution is there to protect the citizen from the government. It is the bulwark that sustains the liberties we are so used to having and that sometimes we are not even aware of."

"Another thing that ought to be said is about the Bill of Rights and its whole purpose at the time it was written. All those founding fathers who prepared these amendments to the Constitution or additions to it specified ways in which they reassured the 13 Colonies that they were not bartering away fundamental liberties. In other words, the Bill of Rights enlarged on the Constitution and made it much more concrete. This gave the document the force which it still has today, and people who talk about doodling with this thing or making it say what they want it to say are the very ones we should regard as dangerous and wrong to listen to."

I agree, and have always thought that it's really pretty simple: the unfettered possession of arms is the ultimate warrant that government governs only with the consent of the governed. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that government is the master, not the servant, of the people.