on Arms

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified December 15, 1791

On April 19, 1775, the British Army was given secret orders to confiscate and destroy the military supplies stored by the Massachusetts colonial militia at Concord. Patriot colonials found out about the plan to do so, moved the supplies to other locations, and notified their fellow citizens of the British attempt to seize their arms. As the British made their way through Lexington on their way to Concord, they were engaged by the local citizen militias to halt their progress. The colonials, outnumbered, fell back to Concord, where at the North Bridge they then defeated three companies of the King’s troops and forced their retreat to Boston. It was the shot heard round the world; the American Revolution had begun.

The British understood that a disarmed citizenry is a controlled citizenry. King George knew that he would have no chance of forcing his will upon the colonists if they could forcibly resist his tyranny. This loathsome memory, as well as a long and bloody war for freedom, was still fresh in our Founders minds when they wrote the U.S. Constitution and its subsequent ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment was the bulwark against future tyranny. They knew that the only way to resist the evil intentions of men was to have an armed citizenry. The King tried to take their arms once; they did not want anyone else, including their own government, to do the same.

It is sad what some human beings can do to each other for the sake of power, control, or just simple madness. The truth is, however, more people have died historically as a result of the actions of their governments than the actions of criminals or madmen. While the events at Sandy Hook were horrific, we must keep in perspective the greater damage that can happen if we continue to demonize those who wish to freely and peaceably bear arms in order to resist the actions of nefarious men:

  • In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians were rounded up and killed
  • In 1938, Germany established gun control making it illegal for Jews to possess weapons. From 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and killed
  • In 1935, China established gun control. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents were rounded up and killed
  • In 1956, Cambodia established gun control. From 1975 to 1977, one million “educated” people were rounded up and killed.
  • In 1964, Guatemala established gun control. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians were rounded up and killed
  • In 1970, Uganda established gun control. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians were rounded up and killed.

Tyrants and despots have killed more children than any madman in a school with an AR-15. Criminals and those bent on doing evil will always find ways around any weapon law, just to seek out the most vulnerable. Government is run by imperfect people as well, so neither is it immune to the desire for power and stuff. Like the criminals, they also know that a self-defended people cannot easily be controlled until they are made defenseless under the law. Our Founders understood this, and thus penned the 2nd Amendment, not to protect hunters or sports shooting (hunting was a basic necessity back then and sports shooting did not even exist), but to protect liberty. They wanted to ensure that their children would not only live free, but that they would live.

Gun control does not stop the evil intentions of men. It merely creates more victims from which to choose. To paraphrase Patrick Henry, it is a debasing, degrading, and humiliating thing to be told by our own government that responsible citizens cannot be trusted with arms for their own defense. Those who insist that we go hat in hand, asking for its permission to protect ourselves, reveal either the heart of a tyrant or the heart of a subject. Well, I give no quarter to tyrants and am no one’s subject. How about you?

“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment

“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms;” Samuel Adams, quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, in the article “Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State”

“Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” George Washington, 1st U.S. President

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” ~ from Jefferson’s Commonplace Book, 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

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