I’m pro-gun. Maybe that’s shocking to you. I believe my interpretation of the Second Amendment is shared with those who wrote it, and that means something to me. I believe in truth and facts.

There are two facts I’m especially concerned about as it relates to guns. Fact One: There is no America without the right to bear arms. Without guns, we’d still be British. Fact Two: Kids are getting gunned down and murdered in schools. How do we reconcile this and not become the even-more-Divided States of America?

Thomas Jefferson once said: “The Constitution … asserts that all power is inherent in the people … that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.” This rings true to me.

When I was serving as a cop in Salt Lake City, I sometimes pulled over armed people. If they announced it, along with the fact they were permit holders, I could relax a little. What? Yes. I would relax.

I loved it when they told me. I would often remark, smiling, “Thank you for exercising your God-given right to carry a gun!”

After a blank stare, they would sometimes smile back. Did I still ticket them? Absolutely, I needed to hit my daily quota to keep my job. (Fortunately, that’s now fixed in Utah.)

I once responded to a deadly scene in the heart of the city, where two of my brothers in blue were shot because an assailant attacked them, unannounced that he was armed. That’s right, bad guys don’t announce. I still have flashbacks from it. There are and were already laws that should have prevented the perp from carrying. Should have — if bad guys followed laws, ahem.

More laws, regulations and restrictions will fail. We are at a crossroads, with only two real options left: Confiscate all the guns in America, or have armed security, including teachers. We can’t give up our guns if we care to resist tyranny (the real reason the Second Amendment exists … not merely protection or hunting). Arming teachers who are willing and able, or hiring armed security, just makes sense, and it shouldn’t make you any more nervous than it made me when I found lawfully carrying citizens on traffic stops who told me they had weapons.

We protect our president, politicians, banks, events, jewelry stores, buildings and even celebrities with what? Guns. Even the celebrities who speak against your gun ownership. They may be noisy, but they’re not stupid — many of them.

But we pretend to protect our most valuable assets — our children — with signs that say “Gun Free Zone.” Illogical. We need to learn from the Israelis who have enemies on all sides. They protect themselves with guns. We should do likewise. There are over 300 million guns in the United States. Those firearms will never be confiscated, legally or illegally. Never. Not without more bloodshed than the first Civil War. It’s silly to even consider it. Tyrannical governments can — and, with a horrible dictator, will — kill millions of unarmed citizens to gain more control. That’s how it works. It seems we learn from history that we don’t learn from history.

Any time I think of the eras when Hitler, Stalin or Mao reigned supreme, I wonder what would have happened if the people under control had been properly armed. How many Jews would have been saved in the 20th century if they were armed? Or the millions under Mao? I’m pro-gun because the “power” Jefferson spoke of is meaningless unless it resides in the people. I’m pro-gun because no centralized government — whether led by Trump, Clinton, Hitler or whomever — should be trusted to the point we relinquish, voluntarily, our own freedoms we once fought to obtain from a dictator. We have the power to give it up. Once given up, it doesn’t come back.

I’m pro-gun because, in America, I can be. Here, we get to have ideas and express them freely. This is a big idea. It was in the 18th century and was important enough to be and remain our Second Amendment, right after the rights of religion, expression and assembly. It was uniquely American. What are we without it?

Eric Moutsos

Eric Moutsos is a former Salt Lake City police officer.