Jefferson was at most a deist and probably an atheist. He was playing the political game of using religious language, a common American trope. But his phrasing in the Declaration of Independence is not the only way to explain rights.

Rights are an expression of our ability to make choices. If I am minding my own business, you have to try to persuade me to change if you want me to do something different. That’s what rights are: personal choices. No one has any business compelling you to change your personal choices if you are not in agreement with the change.

That certainly applies to AK-47s or to any other type of firearm. If you aren’t trying to harm me, and I threaten you with a gun, I have violated your rights. If, by contrast, you try to take away a gun from me that I haven’t used against an innocent person, you are violating my rights.

And let’s not quibble about innocence. I used it as a shorthand for “someone who isn’t trying to harm me right now.”

Gee, Camp, what were you thinking? Supports gay rights, #2a, #1a, science, and other seemingly incongruous things. Books available on Amazon.

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