On December 14, 2012, an act of evil took 20 young children and six brave adults from this earth, away from their families and friends forever. Immediately, shock and sadness spread from Newtown Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary school throughout the nation and the world. Unfortunately, some politically motivated individuals chose to politicize this tragedy, simultaneously as the news was breaking. They did not allow the news to set in or a moment to grieve. Immediately, in the spirit of, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”, the debate of gun control began.
The proposed solution of gun control by some, to solve an ever-growing problem within America, may make some people feel good but will never solve the problem; it would only make it worse. With the rights of Americans to bear arms, guaranteed within the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution under attack, we must look to our Founding Father’s words and reasons for creating this amendment in order to fully understand why this amendment is such a big deal. The Founding Fathers being the very wise liberty loving people they were, had escaped tyranny and knew firsthand what a tyrannical government was like to live under. All we have to do is look to their words to see that they understood the importance of the right to bear arms by the citizens, and thus secured them in the Bill of Rights as the 2nd Amendment.
In the Federalist Papers (#46), James Madison stated, “Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms… the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors.”. Also, in Federalist #28, Alexander Hamilton spoke about the rights of the people to defend themselves against an oppressive government as needed, “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.”. Alexander Hamilton also made it very clear in Federalist #29 that the people have a right to defend their liberty and to be armed: “if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens.”. And Benjamin Franklin stated, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”. It is very clear from the Founding Fathers own words that the people should be allowed to be armed and ready to protect their liberties from anyone who threatens those liberties.
The Founding Fathers put in place many checks and balances to try and assist future generations with preserving liberty. The three separate but equal branches of government are well-known checks and balances. The 2nd Amendment is also another equally important check and balance put in place to deter tyranny from our government and leave self-governance in the hands of Americans. George Mason warned that throughout history there have been governments that have disarmed or threatened to disarm their citizens in an effort to gain power over the people: “[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.”.
It is not outside the realm of possibility that a government that disarms its citizens would increase tyranny once this occurs. Also, it is also not outside the realm of possibilities that if the citizens of a nation were disarmed their national security overall could be compromised and could possibly provide a foreign enemy an opportunity to invade that nation. We have seen both throughout history. Just recently, “Hugo Chávez — with the full support and assistance of the United Nations — has decided to wage all-out war on private firearm ownership”. We all know that Chávez was a tyrant to begin with but this surely will not help the Venezuelans find liberty. We can look to the actions prior to the enactment of disarming Venezuelans to see how the government is flexing its ever-growing muscle at the people. “Before the prohibition went into effect, the regime offered a sort of “amnesty” period for citizens to surrender their guns. Officials reportedly warned that failure to submit could result in house-to-house searches and arrests.”
As noted above, if citizens of a nation are disarmed, their national security overall could be compromised and could possibly provide a foreign enemy an opportunity to invade that nation. Switzerland faced a potential threat from Germany but was spared an invasion by the Nazis because of the gun policy in Switzerland. The “Nazi invasion plans themselves state that, because of the Swiss gun ownership and shooting skills, that country would be difficult to conquer and occupy”. In Switzerland, every man is “given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition which they are required to keep at home”. According to gun control advocates and their theories, Switzerland must have the highest gun violence in the world, right? Switzerland must be a horrible place to live with all these guns around, surely? Actually, the gun control advocates are very wrong – Switzerland was just named the #1 place to be born in 2013 and gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.
Another interesting aspect to the ownership of guns in Switzerland is the similarity between the Swiss and an earlier time period in America, when guns were not demonized. Today, many Americans teach their children that guns are bad. However, in the past most American children were taught to handle guns safely and taught the responsibility of gun ownership. This is also true for modern Switzerland where “firearms are strictly connected to a sense of collective responsibility. From an early age Swiss men and women associate weaponry with being called to defend their country.”. We have a society and culture problem in America – not a gun problem. When the education and respect for guns are instilled upon our youth – lives are saved. We can look to a recent example in Phoenix Arizona, where a father taught his children about guns. He instilled upon them the importance of gun safety and proper use of the weapon and because of this his children’s lives were saved.
What WE THE PEOPLE can learn from our own history here in America, including the wise words of the Founding Fathers, combined with the success of gun rights in other countries globally, is that the right to bear arms that led to the 2nd Amendment was an integral part of the fabric of America as she was created. The arguments from the gun control advocates, such as, the 2nd Amendment are for militia only and they could not foresee guns like the “assault rifles” can be disputed easily if we look to the words of multiple Founding Fathers, Supreme Court rulings and history. For those that point to muskets, and state that there were no guns able to fire more than a single shot before reloading during this time period, tell that to James Puckle, inventor of the Puckle Gun, invented in 1718 – the technology existed.
We must also think about the fact that if we have the rights to bear arms to protect ourselves from enemies – foreign and domestic; should we not be able to have weaponry that is comparable to those that may attack us? What defense would it be to have muskets like Piers Morgan wants us to have and yet our enemies have semi-automatic weapons? The last time I checked, gang members and armed robbers don’t follow the current gun laws on the books – what would change for them if law-abiding citizens were disarmed? WE THE PEOPLE would be in more danger than ever and crime rates would sky rocket. Just look to Chicago Illinois, where the gun laws are some of the strictest in the nation and in 2012 there were 506 homicides logged in Chicago. Also, the British have some of the toughest gun control laws in the world and yet a Harvard “study of American and European gun laws and violence rates” shows “as gun ownership increases, murder and suicide decreases”.
There are reasonable measures that should be put in place to help prevent to the extent possible a future mass murder like we saw in Newtown Connecticut but politicizing this tragedy with a hair-trigger reaction to achieve political objectives of gun control advocates and not addressing the real issues that led to this tragedy are unacceptable. Evil exists, and will never be fully stopped. Disarming citizens will only assist evil in finding ways to increase crime and destruction. And the irony of it all is the increased talk of gun control has resulted in many empty gun shelves at guns stores around the nation in the last month. Could the effort to enact gun control in America, actually cause more Americans to be armed than have been in many years? Many gun stores are reporting a large increase in purchases by first time gun owners.
I know many of you reading this already know this information, however, it is reasonable to think that most Americans don’t – unfortunately. We must never allow our 2nd Amendment rights or any of the other rights that are secured in the Bill of Rights, to be eroded. If we allow the 2nd Amendment to be ignored then we might as well forget the rest of the Bill of Rights because the 2nd Amendment is what makes the other rights possible. If we allow this to occur, then we will be the generation that is responsible for the death of America as she was founded and the creation of whatever replaces her! In other words – the 2nd Amendment is a BIG deal.