The traditional presumption in the law—from the advent of the Hebrew Bible through the creation of Roman law, English common law, and American law—has been that if you could spare human life, it was incumbent upon you to do so.

By now, most Americans are familiar with the Faustian bargain of the pro-gun movement. We are told that we must allow innocent Americans-including children-to be gunned down by homicidal maniacs with legally-acquired arsenals because it’s “the price we must pay for freedom.” This morally bankrupt idea requires one to ignore history, of course. When James Madison drafted the Second Amendment, his intent was to enhance our nation’s domestic security, not to promote anarchy and the licentiousness of armed mobs that so horrified him during incidents like Shays’ Rebellion.

With “Stand Your Ground” (aka “Shoot First”) laws, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its partners in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have turned 3,000 years of jurisprudence on its head. Now you can provoke a fight, and if losing that fight, kill the person you attacked..

Imagine A Future Free From Gun ViolenceApproximately 40% of gun sales are made without any background check—giving convicted felons, the dangerously mentally ill and others unchecked access to firearms. It’s long past time to require a background check on every gun sale in America.

The insurrectionist ideology promoted by the NRA and other pro-gun groups is corrosive to the democratic values and institutions that protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. It’s time for patriotic Americans to set the record straight when it comes to our Constitution.