So many brave Americans have fought and died for our freedom. What would they think of the country we’ve become? Would they lament what some have done with that freedom? Would they still think it was worth their last breath or drop of blood, or would they shed tears for the liberties we gave away without even a shot having to have been fired to take them? Would they weep at the sight of groups like Antifa rioting and destroying property seeking to deny people their freedom of speech? Would those who died in the American Revolution shudder at how many people would forfeit their rights to keep and bear arms, to be free from unwarranted search and seizure for the illusion of safety and security? Would all those hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers cut down in battle throw their hands up dismay at how racially divided we’ve become? What would those who died on foreign soil in WWII think of a Europe, the continent they freed of one form of malignant socialism opt for a more palatable one? How would those who died in the War of 1812 react to football players not honoring the Star Spangled Banner, a song written about the flag some of them literally died to defend? Remember this Memorial Day, those heroes died for more than a piece of land, they died for an idea, an idea that freedom is worth fighting and dying for. They died so that those they left behind could be safe from tyranny and oppression. Let’s not surrender easily what they paid the ultimate price for, that idea of that “shining city on a hill”, of American Exceptionalism.
After the tragic shooting in Orlando, the issue of gun control has come to the fore of American politics. Unfortunately, one popular solution is the proposed ‘no fly, no buy’ law whereby if you can’t fly due to the fact you’re on the government’s no fly list, you would not be able to purchase a firearm. It sounds completely rational, it even has some Republican support. The problem is, many of the people on the no fly or terrorist watch lists are not terrorists. If the gun control lobby were to have their way, anyone on that list would have to prove their innocence before they could be taken off the list and purchase a gun. There’s just one problem with that plan, it’s called the fifth amendment.
Congressman Trey Gowdy, (R, SC) more than aptly defined the problem with ‘no fly, no buy’ during Congressional hearings last year on Capitol Hill when he took DHS official Kelli Ann Burriesci to school on the topic of due process. You cannot deprive a citizen of their rights without a fair hearing. Here apparent ignorance regarding the idea of due process unfortunately is representative of that of the general populace. The anti-gun Left counts on this ignorance to get measures like the proposed gun legislation though. The average person on the street knows no more about civics that the hapless DHS official in that hearing.
The problem still remains: How do you keep guns out of the hands of would-be terrorists? If there is an active FBI investigation, and the subject attempts to buy a gun and is denied because he or she is flagged, does that not alert the subject to the fact they are being investigated? What if the person is innocent? Would they have to prove their innocence in order to regain their second amendment rights? That’s not how our system works. In out system, you are innocent until proven guilty.
One way, aside from rescinding the fifth and or second amendments, would be to insist that the government either bring charges, or close the case any individual denied sale of a firearm as a result of being on the watch list. After a brief waiting period, the person would be allowed to complete the sale of their firearm or be in police custody. Law enforcement would in some cases be made to show their hand, so it’s probably not a solution that the FBI would put forth. It would though force the burden of proof be placed upon the accuser as it should be.
Better for our rights would be to deal with the root cause of the problem, in this case terrorism. If we could show that ISIS as the inevitable loser in this war, destroy their capital, their mystique would fade, recruitment numbers would dry up. They would be forced into deciding whether to be a state, or just another terror group with a cool acronym . At any rate, they would be too busy defending their territory to cause much mischief elsewhere. Fewer terrorists here mean fewer shootings, bombings, and stabbings to contend with, less call for sacrificing our Constitutional rights by those who don’t even know what they are.
Inevitably, after a mass-shooting incident like the one recently in Oregon, debate ignites anew over our country’s gun laws. The gun control side calls for “common sense gun laws”. Most on that side are in earnest, they see the easy availability of guns as the problem. Many Americans will agree, even gun owners, that guns should be kept out of the hands of the criminally insane. They work out the math as: maniacs + guns = mass killings. On the left, the main variable, perhaps even the only variable in this equation is the guns. Those on the political right see the ‘maniacs’ variable as being equally, if not more important. That is a debate that reasonable people can and should have.
There is another equation that those on the far left are focused on, one that does not embody the altruistic reasoning as the one mentioned above. For them, maniacs + guns = mass killings is but a façade, the one that really matters to them is: citizens – guns = control. They know that under the current state of affairs, to suddenly enact their agenda would be met by strong, perhaps even violent resistance. They fear that their extreme vision for America cannot be achieved through Constitutional means. Indeed, they are already testing those boundaries. For these people on the far, socialist, fringes the second amendment to the Constitution poses an inconvenient truth. A truth that they dare not speak of, nor wish to be understood by the average American.
America’s Founding Fathers could not have foreseen the pervasive social sickness that is driving the current rash of mass shootings. If they had, maybe they would have crafted the second amendment a little differently. We will never know. We do know that they did have experience with a tyrannical government and thus wrote the Bill of Rights as insulation from such tyranny. Most of those rights were to counter specific situations that they themselves were victims or potential victims of. These include the right to be secure in one’s possessions and not be subject to warrantless searches as laid out in the fourth amendment. Most of the other amendments as well such as the rights of free speech and religion were meant to be protected by the government in the form of interventions by either law enforcement or by the courts. The citizenry exercises these rights and the government is expected to enforce them. The second amendment is different, the second amendment addresses the possibility of a rogue government that cannot or will not enforce certain of these rights. In this extreme case, the onus is on the citizenry itself to both exercise and enforce the right to bear arms as a means of preserving the others. Just to be clear here, the abridgment of rights must be severe and every other recourse must have been exhausted before anyone can claim to be acting as the amendment intends. For the Founders, the equation was: responsible citizens + guns = the assurance of liberty. That’s the inconvenient truth about the second amendment for the radical left.
Many Progressives have accepted the fact that the second amendment will not be repealed. Some will note that they are gun owners themselves. Democratic candidates often go out of their way to state that they and their family are hunters, or enjoy target shooting. They wish to frame the argument over gun control in such terms. They hope that average Americans will associate their right to bear arms with such sporting pursuits.
Many politicians are fine with only minor changes to our gun laws in the name of public safety, but there are others who understand exactly why the second amendment exists and for them gun ownership is a problem. The difficulty for the average American is distinguishing between the two. How then do we know? Telltale signs that a politician does not support the second amendment are:
- Support for a ban on assault rifles. The wording of the second amendment includes: “A well regulated militia…” Militia by their very nature require military grade firearms. This goes too for ammunition.
- They make frequent statements such as: “You don’t need twenty rounds to kill a deer.” The Founders did not write the second amendment to ensure your right to hunt or target shoot.
- They claim the second amendment only applies to military and law enforcement and that ordinary citizens don’t need guns. The Founders deliberately used inclusive language in the amendment: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Who are “the people”? Me and you, providing we are responsible citizens.
If you want to discuss how we can reduce gun violence, that is a discussion worth having. If you want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable, that’s reasonable. We might decide to address the problem of the dangerously mentally ill and see how that works. If on the other hand, you want to take away the right of average law-abiding citizens to own a gun, then the question you owe America an answer to is: What exactly do you have planned for us that you think can only be achieved by disarming the population first?
Shortly after the tragic on-air double murder of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, (D) was calling for stricter gun control measures. Even before the shooter was caught he used the incident as an opportunity to ask Congress to pass “common sense” gun control legislation, specifically universal background checks. At the time, he had no way of knowing if the assailant had been subjected to a background check or not or if even was in legal possession of the firearm. On that and subsequent interviews regarding the murders, he’s mentioned that he himself is a hunter and gun owner, has submitted to background checks in order to purchase his firearms.
Such a response is typical of gun-control advocates, calling for gun control after a tragic mass shooting before even knowing all of the facts of the incident. Almost invariably, the measures they espouse either would not have prevented the tragedy they are referring to, or the shooter had obtained the guns illegally. In the case of the Virginia reporter shootings, the gunman had undergone and passed a background check. He had no criminal record, and was never found psychologically unfit to possess a firearm. Governor McAuliffe was forced to admit that the legislation he is advocating would not have prevented the deaths of the two news crew members. In virtually all of these shootings, the perpetrator was suffering from mental illness. Anti-gun politicians always call for guns to be taken off the street, but never though, do they call for the dangerously mentally ill to be taken off the street. They never decry the dysfunctional state of our mental health institutions.
Many gun control advocates will state as Governor McAuliffe did, that they themselves are hunters and own firearms. That is to assure us that they don’t want to take the guns away from law-abiding sportsmen. They ask “why do you need twenty rounds to kill a deer?” It seems a good and reasonable question, but the rights of sportsmen are not what the drafters of the Second Amendment had in mind. The Second Amendment is not just about the right to bear arms, but the right to bear them in the roll of militia, citizen-protectors of life and liberty.
The free world recently celebrated the actions of four brave Americans and an Englishman in precisely that roll of citizen-protector. They saved the lives and liberty of hundreds of people and did it, at least partially with the aid of a firearm. The firearm was obtained the hard way, from the bad guy himself, but nonetheless they used it to help put the terrorist out of commission. America, and evidently the world needs more such people ready and able to use firearms as a tool for preserving and protecting innocent life. Now’s not the time to be taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens; criminals, and the mentally unfit yes, but not from the vast number of Americans who own and can use them responsibly.