The results of the ongoing political process in the United States have an
effect on every citizen. One area of concern for me is the erosion of
rights recognized and protected under the second article of the Bill of
Rights. This concern manifests itself in two areas. I am concerned that
by the time I am 21, the state will have acted in an unlawful and
unconstitutional way to remove those protected rights before I am fully
able to exercise them. Additionally, the erosion of this all important right
is having an effect in a general way, one that has an effect on all citizens.
Stated simply, the weakening or dissolving of the right to keep and bear
arms leaves the state unrestrained to chill and violate what civil rights
remain to the citizens of this country.
It is my personal responsibility to provide for the protection and
security of my person, home, and family. This is a deep concern of mine, in this time when home invasions and carjackings are common. Courts in various
jurisdictions, up to and including the Supreme Court, have ruled that
local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, agents, and agencies have no legal responsibility to protect my person, home or family. Their
protective responsibility is to the community at large. So whose responsibility is it, if not the state's? Mine alone.
The Old Testament speaks to this subject, in the book of Nehemiah.
"Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and
fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your
houses."(Nehemiah 4:14) Our nation's first President, George Washington, said it best, "To secure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good."
Some politicians and special interest groups present the argument
that guns for defense are actually a hindrance to safety, or that society
should be willing to give up the personal security that the firearm
represents, in order to establish a "gun free" society, providing safety
for all. First, a personal observation. If all guns are removed, then the
"equalizing" aspect of the gun is removed. Therefore, the 250 pound man
would more easily use his natural size and strength to get what he wants.
The same for a man with a big stick. A 105 pound woman in a dark parking
lot is in a much better position with an extra 38 ounces of fine Colt
steel in 45ACP at hand in her pocketbook when she is faced with a 250 pound
attacker, than she would be in a "gun free" society. For those that need
more than my opinion, "If those states which did not have right-to-carry
concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570
murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated assaults would have been
avoided yearly." (Lott-Mustard Summary).
For those that feel personal security should be sacrificed for some
nebulous "social safety", "Some security is essential if freedom is to be
preserved, because most men are willing to bear the risk which freedom
inevitably involves only so long as that risk is not too great. But while
this is a truth of which we must never lose sight, nothing is more fatal
than the present fashion among intellectual leaders of extolling security
at the expense of freedom. It is essential that we should re-learn frankly to
face the fact that freedom can be had only at a price and that as
individuals we must be prepared to make severe material sacrifices to
preserve our liberty. If we want to retain this, we must regain the
conviction on which the rule of liberty in the Anglo-Saxon countries has
been based and which Benjamin Franklin expressed in a phrase applicable to us in our lives as individuals no less than as nations: "Those who would
give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve
neither liberty nor safety." (Hayek/Internet).
The 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. What was the
purpose? Some would have us believe it is a state's right to form
National Guard units, or only for the militia, and that being a dead issue since the formation of a standing army. Roy Copperud, one of the leading experts in the usage and grammar of the English language, was convinced that the right to keep and bear arms mentioned in the 2nd Amendment was a pre-existant, unconditional, unrestricted right, with the Framers using the militia clause as the reason why it should remain so. Reading the extra-constitutional writings of the Framers, it is clear that they understood the necessity of an armed citizenry to insure checks, balances, and good behavior should the then new born federal government evolve into something beyond what they envisioned in the constitution (Parker).
The following is a sampling of quotes on this subject from great early
American citizens. "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty.
Suspect all who approach that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve
it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined...The
great object is that every man be armed...Everyone who is able may have a
gun." (Patrick Henry). "A well regulated militia (is) composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their
property as individuals, and their rights as freemen." (Josiah Quincy
Jr.). "No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against the tyranny of government." (Thomas Jefferson). These quotes should be sufficient to establish the position of these great men.
As mentioned before, some feel the 2nd Amendment is a "dead
letter" now that we have a standing army, 60,000 armed federal law enforcement
agents, and many more armed local and state police officers. We need to
remember that these are armed employees of the state, and are the very
reason that the Framers saw the necessity for protecting the citizen's
right to keep and bear arms. Please permit another quote that addresses this
most eloquently. "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be
disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in
America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the
people are armed & constitute a force superior to any band of regular
When the government approaches the point where they are the "supreme
power", then it is easier for them to "enforce unjust laws". A few short
examples. Atlanta police officers dragging Catholic nuns and Baptist
Sunday School teachers to the paddy wagons by their hair, because they were
peacefully protesting abortion. Federal judges that "throw the book" at
citizens participating in peaceful protest against the improper use of the
School of the Americas, all for simple trespass and minor defacement of
"federal" property. Is "federal" property holy ground? Eureka,
California sheriff's deputies that spray pepper gas directly into the eyes and mouths of teenage girls while protesting on environmental issues in a
Congressman's office. Federal holy ground. These are examples of "jackbooting". Either the law enforcement actions or the judicial rulings are way out of proportion in response to citizens exercising their right to speak out on a variety of issues that are important to them. When the citizenry is
armed, knows their rights and responsibilities acknowledged by the 2nd Amendment, and the government knows it, then they should be more circumspect in their treatment of citizens engaged in dissent, civil protest, and civil disobedience. This is exactly what George Mason meant when he said, "To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
In conclusion, I take a simple position. It is a God given right
and responsibility for me to protect my own person, property, and those
that I hold dear. Today, the modern firearm, both the handgun and rifle, are
the most effective means of carrying out that responsibility. Furthermore,
I take the position held by those great men that shaped, formed, and
fashioned the original Republic. The means to keep my freedom, and hold in
check a government tending toward repression of civil rights, is the
constitutionally recognized and protected right to keep and bear arms. I
totally repudiate and reject the typical statist position that in a modern
society, it is a necessity that firearms are best left in the hands of the
government approved professionals. "Necessity is the plea for every
infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the
creed of slaves." (William Pitt 1783). I reject the concept that the unconstitutional outlawing of firearms is in the best interest of society.
"Today, as always, the people, no less than their courts, must remain
vigilant to preserve the principles of our Bill of Rights, lest in our
desire to be secure we lose our ability to be free." (Chief Justice Earl Warren). As George Orwell once said, "The rifle...is the symbol of
democracy." (Orwell). Personal safety, family security, protection of my property, all are good reasons for me to keep and bear arms. Above all of that, if citizens cannot insure their freedoms against government
repression and tyranny, then the ability to protect our lives, loved ones, and hard earned personal property will also disappear.