Mass murders like those in El Paso and Dayton are deeply disturbing and far too commonplace. The American people are right to be outraged and demands for action are justified. The solution, however, will not be found in depriving law-abiding Americans of their unalienable right to defend themselves. This only creates more victims and emboldens those who would do us harm

The founders of our great nation composed the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, to guarantee individual rights and civil liberties. These amendments were added to protect American citizens from intrusive government power and included fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and due process.

The Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms. History is littered with examples of governments whose slide toward authoritarianism began with the disarmament of the people. Our right to gun ownership ensures that we can defend those freedoms from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Our friends on the left would have you believe the Constitution is antiquated, written in a bygone era, and in need of substantial revision to address the needs of a modern society. I disagree. That centuries-old document is the only thing preventing us from becoming like countries such as Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea which have no respect for the rights of the individual.

As we consider a response to these tragic events, I urge my colleagues in Washington to do so carefully and thoughtfully. Many of the solutions currently under consideration might serve as a short-term fix, but denying individuals any of their rights, including the right to arm and defend themselves, will lead to the downfall of our society. This must never be allowed.