I was talking with a friend at work yesterday about the 4th Amendment and my conversation with Sen. Charbonneau. She is a dyed in the wool, former hippie, Democrat all the way but at the very least she is willing to listen. The conversation turned to random searches and the violations of police doing no-knock raids at the wrong houses and such and she said "they can do it because they have guns." I immediately said, "no, they do it because it's a power thing." She agreed that it was the officers in question, but it started me thinking about power and the perceptions of power.
A gun is a symbol of power. Regardless of the capabilities of a particular tool, and make no mistake that a gun is a powerful tool, in many ways it's the perception about that tool that increases its power over the populace. Merely putting your hand on a firearm can be considered to be a threat, even if it's holstered. That's why the government would prefer to have the people disarmed. They cannot assert their power over the citizens of the United States if the people also have that power. This is one of the reasons that we have the Second Amendment--to make sure that the people have the same capabilities as the police and military--to prevent the oppression of the citizenry.