We seem to forget that as Americans we are children of a revolution. Our proud founders, having had enough of the heavy yoke of an oppressive government, bravely grabbed their muskets and took to the field of battle against the most powerful and well trained army in the world.
After a long hard fought war that led to America’s independence, our founders began work on establishing their own federal government. These men had the foresight to realize that they had as much to fear from their own central government as they did from the King of England — perhaps even more.
As Lord Acton warned: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” At the time of the revolution a royalist clergyman rhetorically asked the revolutionaries “Which is better — to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?” That makes a good point. Tyranny is tyranny. It does not matter under what flag it marches. So, to protect American citizens from its own central government, the Constitution was born. Patrick Henry told us: “The Constitution is not a instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These rights guarantee the most basic, fundamental, and personal freedoms against governmental encroachment. The second of these amendments states: “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.” So what do those words mean? Are the rights enshrined in the second amendment about hunting deer or shooting at clay pigeons? Of course not, the second amendment is about one thing — the most basic right of self-defense. And, a citizen’s right to self-defense applies to unlawful government encroachment just as well as it does to the right to repel an attack from an armed criminal.
John Locke, who had a great influence on our founders, stated: “whosoever uses force without Right . . . puts himself into a state of War with those, against whom he so uses it, and in that state all former Ties are cancelled, all other rights cease, and everyone has a Right to defend himself, and to resist the Aggressor. Self-defence is a part of the law of nature; nor can it be denied the community, even against the king himself.”
The gun control lobby has tried to fool Americans into the false belief that the second amendment is safe as long as deer rifles and duck guns remain legal, while they seek to outlaw handguns and assault rifles. Sarah Brady, like many of her ilk, believe that: “the only reason for guns in civilian hands is for sporting purposes.”
But, Walter Williams has correctly noted: “The framers gave us the second amendment not so we could go deer or duck hunting but to give us a modicum of protection against congressional tyranny.”
So, the next time your hear some corrupt Congressman in the gun control debate tell you that he or she has no desire to take away your hunting rifle or sporting guns, don’t be comforted by their assurances. It is nothing but a red herring. Instead, hear the words of Thomas Jefferson. “No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” “[W]hat country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms, the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Never forget that the second amendment has nothing to do with hunting.
By Bryan Perkins, Attorney at Law