Saturday, January 12, 2013

2nd Amendment debate

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself....From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure 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--George Washington

[Apologies for the long post, I've got a lot to say this week]

Here we go again.  Under the Rahm Emanuel political doctrine, "Never let a crisis go to waste.", Obama/Biden, along with prominent Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, with the enthusiastic (rabid?) support of the gun control lobby, seem to be on the verge of severely limiting the 2nd Amendment rights of American gun owners.

The basis of the argument seems to be that because of the recent spate of violent attacks involving firearms, government needs to "do something" to protect us from such ever happening again.  Forget the fact that there is no gun law written or imagined that would prevent an evil or mentally unstable person from committing murder; in the case of the Newtown, CT shooting, the murderer was already barred by law from purchasing or possessing even rifles or shotguns, much less semi-automatic pistols.  Tell me, what additional law would have prevented him from doing what he did?

Liberals will say that if the guns weren't in the home to begin with, then there would've been no massacre.  Perhaps.  On the other hand, he may have ambushed people with a butcher knife.  Or maybe he would have gone online to The Anarchist's Cookbook and built an IED, ala Oklahoma City?  As I said in my post following the shooting, evil will always find a way.  Clamping down on law-abiding Americans' Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms and to determine their own best self-defense will have no effect on whether or not the bad guys have access to guns.

"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" is only a cliche' because it's true.  It is a statistical fact that the percentage of legal gun owners involved in violent or gun-related crimes is vanishingly small.  We legal gun owners are, by definition, abiding by the law.  Criminals and the criminally insane, also by definition, do not.  Any additional restriction on legal ownership of firearms will be similarly ignored.

Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins. – Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti

The left argues that the scope of the 2nd Amendment needs to be restricted because the founders who wrote, and later amended, the Constitution could never have envisioned the sophistication and deadly proficiency of modern weapons and that no one "needs" weapons capable of delivering multiple rounds at a rapid rate of fire.  Only police and the military need "assault weapons".

The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -Thomas Jefferson

When you actually read the full text of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers, which lay out the arguments for and against the establishment of the Constitution as well as the various Amendments, you begin to gain an appreciation of the context surrounding the creation of the founding documents of what was once the greatest, most free country in history.  The 2nd Amendment had nothing at all to do with hunting or "shooting sports".  The 2nd Amendment is a confirmation of Man's natural right to self defense and protection of his family and property against any and all aggressors, including the possibility of a future tyrannical form of government.

Has anyone stopped to consider why the framers found it necessary to create an Amendment confirming the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms?  After all, firearms were as ubiquitous in their society as cell phones are today.  There was certainly no controversy over the so-called "proliferation" of handguns.  It was because they had just come through a violent struggle with an oppressive government and, being well educated men, they knew that historically the imposition of tyranny often followed the disarming of the populace.

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest. – Mahatma Gandhi, in Gandhi, An Autobiography, p. 446

 Armed people are free. No state can control those who have the machinery and the will to resist, no mob can take their liberty and property. And no 220-pound thug can threaten the well-being or dignity of a 110-pound woman who has two pounds of iron to even things out … People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically right. Guns ended that, and a social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work. – L. Neil Smith (from The Probability Broach)

Liberal Progressives like to argue that if we just enacted "sensible gun legislation" we'd be safer.  That new laws such as bans on so-called "assault weapons" and "high capacity magazines" will eliminate their existence.  They ignore the inconvenient fact that criminals are violating the laws already on the books.  Somehow, they have convinced themselves that these new laws would be obeyed.  Show me one society where that has worked.

Australia, the U.K.?  They enacted bans on privately owned guns and liberals point to them as examples for us to follow.  Yes, murder rates did go down.  The relationship to the bans is tenuous, at best.  Murder and gun crime rates were already in decline at the time the bans were enacted.  However, the rates of violent crime and home invasions in each country have gone way up.  In fact, the rate of violent crimes committed per 100,000 residents in the U.K. is much greater than in the U.S.  Good luck getting the gun control advocates to look at these data.

Areas of the country that have the strictest anti-gun measures (Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, etc.) all have the highest rates of murder and violent crime, while areas that have less restrictive gun control measures (or none at all) have much lower crime rates.  In fact, my home state of Vermont has nearly no restrictions on private gun ownership, provided only that you aren't a felon or under indictment for a violent crime or criminal domestic assault; yet, we have among the lowest incidence of violent and gun crime in the nation.  All you do by restricting private citizens' rights to gun ownership is open the field up for the criminal element, reducing their risk and increasing the danger to the law-abiding citizen.

Consider the following:

The police can't stop an intruder, mugger, or stalker from hurting you. They can pursue him only after he has hurt or killed you. Protecting yourself from harm is your responsibility, and you are far less likely to be hurt in a neighborhood of gun owners than in one of disarmed citizens – even if you don't own a gun yourself. – Harry Browne    

 Switzerland is a land where crime is virtually unknown, yet most Swiss males are required by law to keep in their homes what amounts to a portable, personal machine gun. –Tom Clancy

An armed society is a polite society. – Robert A. Heinlein    

Gun bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans attract them. – Walter Mondale    

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. - Thomas Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists. - Patrick Henry

This is just a very short list of quotes by founders and scholars concerning the traditional right of the American citizen to keep and bear arms.  I could have easily found dozens more.  The bottom line, though, is that it doesn't matter.  The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right, not one dependent upon the beneficence of government.  All living beings share this right.  Would you sign on to legislation limiting the length of a tiger's claws?  Or the number of wolves or lions allowed in a pack?  How about the amount and virulence of venom allowed to a cobra?  Ridiculous, of course.  Yet politicians, and those with a similar agenda of control want to impose such limits on us. 

Apples and oranges, you say?  The only thing that differentiates man from the animals mentioned above is the ability to use their mind to facilitate the use of tools for defense, in the face of the fact that humans, as noted by Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute, make miserable animals.  Our teeth and claws are pitifully inadequate to the job of defense.  The ability to use and invent tools is our "natural defense" against predators.  Take away our ability to make and use these tools, and we are left defenseless to the world.

Our society is dependent upon the rule of law for peaceable coexistence.  The first law of the land is the Constitution of the United States of America.  All other laws are based upon the powers and privileges granted to the State by the consent of the governed.  Otherwise, all rights and privileges are reserved to the people, through their individual states.  The federal government, through the Constitution, is constrained to it's primary function:  the protection and security of the rights of the individual.  If it acts outside those boundaries, it is initiating the very tyranny the 2nd Amendment was meant to address.

To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. – George Mason

The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. -Samuel Adams


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