GUNS AND TYRANNY: As wrote about women and crime, no one thinks bad things will happen to them. In America, most people will scoff if you cite "defense against tyranny" as a justification for the Second Amendment, but at the lowest level that really is the whole point. Dave Kopel compares guns to fire extinguishers:
One never knows if one will need a fire extinguisher. Many people go their whole lives without needing to use a fire extinguisher, and most people never need firearms to resist genocide. But if you don't prepare to have a life-saving tool on hand during an unexpected emergency, then you and your family may not survive.It's a good analogy, but it misses one critical difference: owning a fire extinguisher won't make it less likely that a fire will start, it will only make it easier to deal with; if people own a guns it will make it less likely that tyranny will ever gain a foothold.
People who say they would feel unsafe owning or carrying a gun remind me of people who say that they don't wear seatbelts because they don't want to get trapped in a burning car. Sure, that's happened before, no doubt; and yes, people are killed by their own guns from time to time (discounting suicides, even). But the vast majority of the time you're going to be safer if you wear your seatbelt than if you don't, and you're going to be safer if you carry a gun than if you don't.
No one thinks that a ruthless dictator is going to rise to power in their country, but if you look back at history it happens all the time. Pol Pot and Hitler are obvious examples, but even the Roman Republic was undermined by Julius Ceasar. If you think it can't possibly happen in America, ask yourself why not? There's really only one reason: there are more than 200,000,000 guns in America in the hands of private citizens.
(Kopel article via Instapundit.)