People who bear firearms have a legal, moral, and financial responsibility for the terminal resting place of every projectile that is fired. Our rights come with real responsibilities. As a firearms instructor, I am well aware of the flagrant and common ignorance regarding firearm ownership. Often people who keep firearms for self defense do not bother undergoing the training and practice sessions required for proficiency. Firearms education is on a dangerous decline in large part due to the disinformation published by the media and Hollywood. The problem is compounded by the elimination of firearms education in the schools. With today’s “no tolerance” policies you cannot so much as wear a T-shirt depicting a firearm, let alone teach firearm safety in our schools. It may be difficult for many to believe but marksmanship was a sport for which you could earn a letter in high school. It would be irresponsible to abandon our means of self defense because of accidents. Automobile accidents cause far more death and injury than firearm accidents, yet no one is rallying for “car control.”
Your editorial, entitled “Guns Make Murder Too Easy,” suggests a course of corrective action that is ill-advised to those who wish to preserve liberty and freedom. It is this sort of feel-good, sentimental thinking that can unleash the worst sort of unintended consequences. Gun control is foolhardy at best and down right sinister at worst.
The Second Amendment…America’s Original Homeland Security
The Founding Fathers of this great union fully understood the dangers that a standing army posed to the citizens this nation. They fully understood that if the people were to remain free, they had to be armed. So important was this concept that they enshrined it in Amendment II of the Bill of Rights:
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.
With the adoption of the Militia Act of 1792, every “free able-bodied white male citizen” between the ages of 18 and 45 was required to enroll in the militia. The important key here is that the militia was not the army. The militia consisted of the able-bodied voting citizens of the United States. In a word, the militia consisted of the People.
Let’s fast forward to the 20th century. During that century alone 170 million people were murdered at the hands of their own governments. In all cases, draconian gun control measures were instituted prior to the fleecing of the populaces. The people willingly disarmed themselves (in the name of safety/security), placing full faith in the governments that would later come to slaughter them. These people learned the lesson … at the wrong end of the barrel.
Where do we stand today? Self proclaimed “liberal” legislators, commentators, and organizations have been engaged in a long standing campaign to persuade the American people that they would be better off leaving the responsibility of using lethal force to the “authorities.” Most of us, fortunate enough to have been raised here, have no true understanding of what it is like to be under the heel of an oppressive government. Such restrictions on these lethal instruments seem reasonable to average couch potato. After all, when was the last time anybody needed an AR-15 to fend of Federal troops from raping and pillaging their home town?
In 1932, the U.S. Army (led by MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton under the direct orders of President Hoover) cleared out and burned the encampments in Washington D.C. of 15,000 destitute World War I veterans and their families, injuring hundreds and killing several. From 1942 to 1945 120,000 Japanese Americans were involuntarily incarcerated in concentration camps “for their own protection.” In 1970, a contingent of 28 Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire, on students of Kent State University who were conducting a peaceful protest of the Vietnam War, injuring several, and killing four. In Philadelphia during 1985, 11 people, including five children, were killed by the U.S. police, when a bomb was dropped on the house containing members of MOVE. In April of 1993, 74 men, women, and children were shot and/or incinerated in Waco at the hands of federal agents who were attempting to infringe on their constitutional rights.
One has to wonder where the guardians of freedom are after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the developer in Kelo v. The City of New London. In that 5-4 ruling, the court ruled that local governments have the authority to declare eminent domain on a private property and award it to different private property for development. They completely redefined “public use” in the last clause of the Fifth Amendment in a way that renders it meaningless. On top of that, the legislative branch, Congress, has been too busy reauthorizing the Patriot Act (a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment) to bother keeping the judicial branch in check. Congress has exercised its constitutional powers of impeachment against a Supreme Court justice only once in our 231 year history (1805, associate Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Chase). Folks, our Founding Fathers’ legislature would have had those five justices impeached and summarily shot on grounds of treason.
Let me be clear. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We must keep a close eye and tight reign on our legislatures (both state and federal). For it is they who wield considerable clout to either preserve or harm our constitutional republic. Those who would usurp our freedom and liberty will walk amongst us as wolves disguised as sheep. Necessarily, they will attempt to persuade us to relinquish our arms in the name of greater security and safety. Our Founding Fathers’ message is clear. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision. It is the People’s ultimate life insurance policy. To do away with it, is to invite oppression and genocide.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Alec Dawson is an NRA-certified firearms instructor in Orange, Calif.