Please excuse this mini-rant.
I often wonder if anti-gun people understand the importance of the role of firearms when it comes to the liberty that most of us take for granted. People talk about where human rights come from in theory. It is also important to think about where they came from in practice.
Throughout (basically) all of human history, the vast majority of human beings lived in abject subjugation. The average person was basically the property of a king, or warlord, or emperor, or tribal ruler, or whatever. This situation was ALWAYS maintained using one basic mechanism; the professional soldier. In different times, places, and cultures, this looked different. The Roman Legion, the Greek Hoplite, the Byzantine Cataphract, and so on. The ruling class was able to maintain absolute control over the population by maintaining small numbers of expertly trained and well equipped soldiers. Human beings had, in practice, no rights because they could not exert their claim to human rights against rulers wielding even small numbers of professional soldiers.
Use the classic European Knight as an example. The knight was part of the ruling class. He was trained from a young age to fight. His weapons, armor, several trained warhorses and so on were incredibly expensive. By maintaining even a small number of these professional soldiers, the ruling class could maintain whatever level of control over the subject class they desired.
All the religious principles, all the philosophy, all the basic yearning people have for human dignity cannot stand up to a mounted charge from knights on horseback. Humans have always had basic, inherent rights. However, they had no way to force the ruling classes to acknowledge this fact. Five thousand righteously angry peasants with pitchforks could not stand up to 100 professionally trained and equipped knights on horseback.
Then the firearm was invented. Now, the peasant could be trained in a day to use a musket to shoot a knight off of his horse. Many people acknowledge how this changed warfare, but fewer acknowledge how it changed the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. After the proliferation of the firearm, the ruling class could no longer subjugate the vast majority of human beings with the threat of small numbers of professional soldiers. It totally changed the power dynamic. It is not a coincidence that the 18th and 19th and 20th century saw people all over the world overthrowing their rulers, or at least demanding basic human rights and dignity.
Human beings didn't suddenly figure out they should be free. They always knew it. The proliferation of the firearm gave them the ability to demand it. Human rights, dignity, and liberty in practice literally flow from the barrel of a gun. Ask, tell, make.
Those who would willingly give up the firearm and throw themselves on the mercy of their rulers are insane. They are not progressive, they are regressive. They are short sighted, they and blind, they do not understand history. Human ingenuity has given us a tool to ensure our basic human rights. Keeping this tool is worth the cost of 10, 20, 30, 50 thousand deaths a year and more.
How people can fail to see this baffles me.