All this alarmism surrounding firearms in America lately is getting out of control.

I figure it’s time to offer a unique take on the issue–one that puts American gun rights and their continued need into perspective.

From the amateurish House sit-in to the full-on assault on AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, your assumptions about Democrats pursuing full disarmanent under the guise of “gun control” are correct. They mean it.

As a Virginia gun owner and concealed handgun permit (CHP) holder myself, I hope my perspective get can you to think differently about firearms if you have doubts.

Don’t know the Second Amendment? Let me list it for you:

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

But, but, but this amendment is outdated, archaic and Draconian! But, but, but there’s no explicit mention of individual gun ownership! (Nope, and nope!)

When I hear the most ardent supporters of gun control (aka disarmament) use these talking points, I cannot help but think of societies where totalitarian regimes succeeded in oppressing people by first disarming them–like the former Soviet Union.

Guns and freedom go hand-in-hand

My parents never despised guns before coming to America, except when they were in the hands of bad people.

When they came here 30 years ago, they were intrigued by the American way of life and boundless freedom here. They knew Americans owned firearms (especially the likes of actor John Wayne) and proudly touted the Second Amendment. Compared to the U.S., Soviet-occupied Lithuania was gun-free except for those in elite governmental positions. My dad always said the Soviets succeeded in oppressing Lithuanians and others by first disarming them. I always knew he was right, but aimed to confirm his assertions. Low and behold, he was right about gun confiscation as a pretext to installing tyranny in a country.

Here’s a case study from Firearms Possession by ‘Non-State Actors’: The Question of Sovereignty (2004) published in Texas Review of Law & Politics. Examples of gun control are bolded below:

Indeed, the best testimony to the power of an armed populace is the vigor with which the Warsaw Pact dictatorships enforced gun control. When the Communists took over Bulgaria on September 9, 1944, they immediately confiscated every weapon in private possession.

In East Germany, private gun ownership was outlawed, though selected members of agricultural collectives were allowed to possess hunting weapons while participating in government-organized collective hunts, under immediate government supervision.

Immediately after World War II, Hungary was governed by a coalition of democrats and Communists. Preparing the way for a total Communist takeover, Laszlo Rajk, the Communist Minister of the Interior, ordered the dissolution of all pistol and hunting clubs, as well as of other organizations which might prove a threat to government power. Rajk claimed he acted “in order to more efficiently protect the democratic system of the state.”

Poland, on the other hand, did initially allow limited ownership of registered target guns with a license from the so-called “Citizen’s Militia.” However, in December 1981, Poland’s dictator, General Jaruzelski, decided that Solidarnosc had gone too far. He declared martial law, arrested all the pro-democracy leaders he could find, and ordered all firearms and ammunition be turned over to the government. (424)

A 2007 Harvard study confirmed a disarmed, gun-free Soviet Union saw worse crime rates than an armed America. Below is the study’s findings, also bolded:

Since at least 1965, the false assertion that the United States has the industrialized world’s highest murder rate has been an artifact of politically motivated Soviet minimization designed to hide the true homicide rates. Since well before that date, the Soviet Union possessed extremely stringent gun controls that were effectuated by a police state apparatus providing stringent enforcement. So successful was that regime that few Russian civilians now have firearms and very few murders involve them. Yet, manifest success in keeping its people disarmed did not prevent the Soviet Union from having far and away the highest murder rate in the developed world.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the gunless Soviet Union’s murder rates paralleled or generally exceeded those of gun‐ridden America. While American rates stabilized and then steeply declined, however, Russian murder increased so drastically that by the early 1990s the Russian rate was three times higher than that of the United States. Between 1998‐2004 (the latest figure available for Russia), Russian murder rates were nearly four times higher than American rates.

Imagine that–an armed society is a polite society? Who knew!

Not only do studies point to gun control failures, personal experiences shed light on this too. Enter former Cuba resident Manuel Martinez. His testimony in support of the Second Amendment before a Salem, Oregon, hearing in April 2013 went viral. Here’s an excerpt from the video:

In 1959 a Revolution … individuals … malicious individuals, masquerading as Democrats, revolutionaries, established a regime … a dictatorial regime … in my nation. Called Communism, Socialism, Stalinism, Marxism, and whatever other named -ism you want to put on it. The reason why it was done was to take away the guns from the People. The right of the People to wear guns. That is a God-given Right. It’s not given by anybody. It’s not given by any group. It’s the same thing as freedom, which is a God-given Right. And no one, absolutely no one, has the authority to take it away. To cease to defend the Second Amendment, and my God-given Right of freedom, will cease only with my death.

I’ve been through it. I’ve been there. You people don’t know what freedom is because you never lost it. You haven’t been tortured. You haven’t been [sic] assassinations, you haven’t been mothers begging for the life of their son not to be killed because the only reason is they wanted to be free. And they killed the mothers and they killed the son.

Here’s the full video:

More guns in hands of good people = less overall crime by bad people with guns

Another thing my parents understood about private ownership of guns having lived in the Soviet Union is that guns in the hands of good people helps stop the threat of tyranny–whether immediate or not.

When good, law-abiding people are armed, the threat of tyranny can be quashed–and law enforcement can be assisted. When more people are properly trained and prepared to handle firearms, society is a safer place. When good people are defenseless against attack, chaos ensues, my dad always said. Look what happened in Eastern Europe, Nazi Germany, South America, and Asia during the 20th century. What did they have in common? Gun control, collectivism, and equitable sharing of misery.

The gun culture doesn’t alarm my family. In fact, they welcome it.

People have an inalienable, human right to self-defense under the Second Amendment

Unlike the former Soviet Union, the U.S. specifically gives us the right to individually keep and bear arms. There was never a right (or many rights, for that matter) in the former USSR allowing people to own guns. Heck, you couldn’t even own your own property in that hellhole! Everything belonged to the state. It was miserable, my parents said. The dehumanization of people there was intolerable.

Although my family didn’t own guns up until recently-it was impossible to own them back in California-they understood that good, law-abiding Americans have a right to protect themselves. They appreciate the Second Amendment like every other amendment to the Constitution (which is a unique, sacred document unlike any other). Without rights, tyranny takes shape. They always remind me of this, and proudly stand alongside supporters of the Second Amendment as a result.

This post was very lengthy, I know. I went into great detail citing historical examples of gun control failures–something not often spotlighted. It’s super important to see the historical failures of gun control to know of its potential here. This is not red-baiting or fear-mongering; it’s learning from the past to not repeat mistakes in the future.

As the never-ending quest to remove firearms from American society persists, remember this: be armed with facts and don’t allow people to malign gun rights–especially if they lack basic understanding of firearms. The facts will always trump hysteria–always! And don’t be afraid to share your story–people need to hear it.

 Previously posted at GabriellaHoffman.com.