I’m continually amazed at how so many people in this country are willing to go along with an ever increasing number of gun control laws which can only lead to the complete loss of our right to keep and bear arms. How I wish that people had an internal switch that they could flip to turn off their emotions and examine the facts without them getting in the way. But unfortunately, Samuel Adams was correct when he said that “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” Regrettably any argument based on logic is doomed to failure when it is arguing against irrational emotions and the people’s overwhelming desire for the government protect them.
Does that mean I should simply stop trying to force people to think? That is not in my nature.
I know most people hate when I recite history…I can understand that because as a youth I hated history as much as they do. But I have come to realize that history provides us with a reference by which we can observe patterns that are taking place in a country. As the philosopher George Santayana so famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” And right now, at this very moment, the past is repeating itself.
In the period leading up to the American Revolution Boston was the center of attention for the British authorities. It was Boston patriots who dumped the tea in the harbor, and it was Boston patriots who harassed British tax collectors. So it was logical for the Brits to send troops to Boston to try and settle things down.
As tensions grew between the Bostonians and the Redcoats that had been sent to restore the peace, an effort was made on the part of the British to confiscate their arms. Arms were smuggled in and out of Boston and the Redcoats found it difficult, at best, to do so. When they found that they could not eliminate the guns, they went after the next best thing, the ammunition.
At the time although America could produce its own gunpowder, it was of poor quality and therefore the colonies relied heavily upon imported gunpowder for use in their firearms. To a lesser extent they also relied upon imports for the lead to make the balls, [the projectiles which were fired from their weapons.] So instead of trying to control the flow of guns in and out of Boston the Redcoats focused their attention upon the ammo, figuring if they couldn’t get the guns, they could dry the ammo supplies up and render the guns themselves useless. It was when the Redcoats marched upon Lexington and Concord to confiscate the ammo stored there that the ‘shot heard round the world’ was fired and the war began.
So how is history repeating itself?
Going back as long as I can remember the government has banned certain guns when it was believed that those guns were commonly used in the commission of crimes. Think back to the roaring 20’s in Chicago and the government’s ban of Tommy Guns. Then there was the push to ban Saturday Night Specials; inexpensive pistols that are easily concealed. The current push is for a complete ban on what the government has classified as assault weapons. These are not fully automatic rifles like those used by action stars in the movies, as those are already strictly banned and regulated by the government. No, these are semi automatic weapons that are not capable of firing numerous rounds with a single pull of the trigger. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, an assault rifle is defined as “any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use.”
Anyone who has served in the military and had to qualify on the firing range can tell you that the weapons used by the military in combat have a selector switch that goes from safe to single shot, to 3 round burst, to full automatic. Those weapons are not available for purchase by civilians. The only type weapon we can purchase is a semi automatic, which means that you must squeeze the trigger for each bullet you wish to fire. The government’s reasoning is that due to the fact that many of these weapons are capable of holding magazines that carry multiple rounds they are more deadly than single shot rifles, or six shot revolvers.
Many laws have been enacted both at the federal level, and various state levels banning certain types of weapons, and the capacity of the magazines they use. Yet it is the federal government, the BATF in particular, which is the agency which enforces most of the gun laws of the country. For years there has been a push to ban all so-called assault rifles, especially in the months following a public shooting where there have been multiple casualties. So far they have been ineffective in banning these weapons as the outcry from gun owners has proven to Congress that any measure banning them might result in their being voted out of office the next time they come up for re-election. If there is one thing these people want, it is to stay in office. So when the public outcry is sufficient against a measure they will listen…sometimes.
This does not mean that they are giving up on their desire to prevent us from having these type weapons, they have simply switched tactics. Learning from history the government has decided that if it can’t get the guns, go after the ammunition these guns use.
So the BATF has announced plans to reclassify M855 ammo as being armor piercing, making it illegal to own. M855 ammo is a more commonly used ammo for those who own AR-15’s, one of the weapons the government has been trying to ban all these years. In doing so the government has shifted from trying to get the guns to drying up the supply of ammo. The Obama administration has already banned the importation of certain ammo from both China and Russia, now they are reclassifying the ammo already here, making it a crime to own it. They are using the same tactics used by the Redcoats in that they cannot control the guns, so they are controlling the ammunition. It is an end run designed to deprive us of our right of self defense. And that is the purpose for which the Second Amendment was written, but not in the way you would traditionally think.
Who do the BATF think they are? Do they believe they have the authority to say what type guns and ammo we can possess? Maybe we ought to examine the history of this agency and see what purpose it was originally created for.
The history of the BATF goes back all the way to Revolutionary America when after the war the government needed to repay its war debt, so Congress imposed a small tax upon imported spirits. The first incarnation of the BATF was as a tax collector for this revenue.
During the Prohibition year they were part of the Justice Department who went after the producers of moonshine. After prohibition was repealed they were moved to the Dept of Internal Revenue where it was known as the Alcohol Tax Unit. In 1968 when Congress passed the Gun Control Act, they became the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division of the IRS. When Congress passed the Homeland Security Act the agency was moved again to the Justice Department where it remains to this day.
For the longest time the purpose of the BATF was to collect revenue upon taxed items for the government. As the website Allgov states, “The oldest tax-collecting Treasury agency, the ATF traces its roots back nearly 200 years…” The initial purpose then was as a revenue collecting agency for the government, to collect fees for the licensing and sales of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Not it has become a quasi military unit which believes its job is to enforce an ever increasing number of laws which restrict our right to own the firearm of our choice.
There are so many laws on the books regarding guns that soon it will become impossible for someone to even own a gun without being guilty of violating one of them. When that happens it will be the day that what James Madison said in Federalist 62 becomes reality, “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what is will be tomorrow.”
I know it is hard to get past some people’s emotional blockade regarding rights, but it is essential that I try. Rights are not subject to votes, to public opinion, or political expediency. They are unalienable, that is they cannot be touched…at all!
In the case of Bell v Hood the court ruled that “History is clear that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted to secure certain common law rights of the people, against invasion by the Federal Government.”
In West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, Justice Robert Jackson ruled, “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”
The fact is that most Americans have no idea what the Second Amendment is all about. If you use hunting, self-defense, target shooting, and the Second Amendment in the same sentence there is a good chance you are one of those people. It may also be true that there are many in government who don’t understand the reason the Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. Then again they may understand it fully, and that is why they want to deprive us of that right.
On June 6, 2000 Senator Larry Craig, (R-Idaho), stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and said, “Of course, we know that our Founding Fathers in their effort to ratify the Constitution could not convince the citizens to accept it until the Bill of Rights was established to assure the citizenry that we were protecting the citizens from Government instead of government from the citizens.” You see there is a word there that people just glance over without really giving it much thought. That word being government. When Senator Craig says that the Founders were assuring people that they were being protected from government most people assume he means the people in Congress and the President. Not so. Government is an all inclusive word that includes all those who enforce the laws enacted by our lawmakers…to include agencies such as the BATF, and yes, police officers as well.
When you have a right to do something, and your government passes a law saying it is no longer legal to exercise that right, it is clear that the government has overstepped its authority. The Sixteenth American Jurisprudence is a legal encyclopedia which defines legal terms and legal principles. In the Second Edition they state, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it.”
Yet when government passes a law which deprives us of a Constitutionally protected right, they have multiple agencies at their disposal to enforce these laws. One must therefore ask, who is the worst offender here, the government agency which passes unconstitutional laws, or the agencies which enforce them? I believe that when Senator Craig said the Second Amendment was written to protect us from government he meant it was those who enforce the law as well.
You see, in that same speech Senator Craig would also say, “In fact, the Second Amendment does not merely protect sport shooting and hunting, though it certainly does that. Nor does the second amendment exist to protect the government’s right to bear arms. The framers of our Constitution wrote the Second Amendment with a greater purpose.
They made the Second Amendment the law of the land because it has something very particular to say about the rights of every man and every woman, and about the relationship of every man and every woman to his or her Government. That is: The first right of every human being, the right of self-defense.”
Right there is the crux of the Second Amendment, our right to defend ourselves. People assume that self-defense means the right to defend ourselves from criminals who may do us harm. That is only partially true. My father used to always ask me if I knew what happens when you assume something. He would then write out the word assume as follows; ass/u/me and then say that when you assume something you make an ass out of you and me.
The BATF is using the claim that this M855 ammunition can penetrate the armor of those who enforce the laws upon the people. Yet at the same time this same government is banning the possession of body armor among the civilian populace. If you don’t believe me, do a web search for House Resolution 5344, the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act. So essentially Congress is attempting to ban body armor amongst civilians that is capable of stopping the ammunition government may use against us while at the same time banning ammo that we may own that might penetrate the armor worn by them.
That fact alone should concern you.
You see, there is an underlying principle upon which our entire nation was built, and it is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. In that document Jefferson wrote, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…” This is what the government fears, that we may one day grow tired of them and seek to shake them off. They are taking all the measures they possibly can to tilt any conflict in their favor, including the ability we might have to fight them should the time come that we decide to exercise that most essential of rights.
You may find it inconceivable that tyranny could happen in America, but you should consider something Jefferson once said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” Would you have us give up our ability to fight it? As Patrick Henry once said in his speech, Shall Liberty or Empire Be Sought, “Oh, sir! we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”
One final quote from Senator Craig’s address to Congress and then I’ll wrap this up. The good Senator from Idaho would also declare, “Let me repeat that: The first right of every human being is the right of self-defense. Without that right, all other rights are meaningless. The right of self-defense is not something the government bestows upon its citizens. It is an inalienable right, older than the Constitution itself. It existed prior to government and prior to the social contract of our Constitution.
It is the right that government did not create and therefore it is a right that under our Constitution the government simply cannot take away. The framers of our Constitution understood this clearly. Therefore, they did not merely acknowledge that the right exists. They denied Congress the power to infringe upon that right.
Under the social contract that is the Constitution of the United States, the American people have told Congress explicitly that we do not have the authority to abolish the American people’s right to defend themselves. Further, the framers said not only does the Congress not have the power to abolish that right, but Congress may not even infringe upon that right. That is what our Constitution says. That is what the Second Amendment clearly lays out. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment to tell us that a free state cannot exist if the people are denied the right or the means to defend themselves.”
The right to self-defense is more than just a right, it is a duty placed upon each of us. It is our job, our responsibility to provide for it. Some people say that they do not like guns, that they will rely upon the police for their protection. In numerous cases the courts have ruled that it is not the duty of the police to provide individual protection to the people. Yet the criminal justice system is such, at least in some states, where you have to prove beyond a doubt that your life was in danger before you are justified in using deadly force to defend it.
The right of self-defense does not simply cover your right to life, it also covers your right to the enjoyment of the fruits of your labor, i.e. your possessions. Therefore if someone breaks into your home with the intent to take from you what is not rightfully theirs to take, you may defend it. This is a fundamental principle which is best explained in Locke’s Second Treatise, “This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.”
The Second Amendment protects our right to self defense. It does not do so by saying that we may defend ourselves, it merely provides us the means to the end. By limiting the Second Amendment in any manner, be it by the type weapon, or the type ammunition we may own, they are infringing upon that right.
When your rights are being infringed you can do one of two things, and this may sound vulgar to some, so be forewarned. First you can fight every incursion upon your rights, or you can bend over and take it up the ass like a coward.
We, those of us who understand the purpose for which the Second Amendment was written, refuse to surrender any more of our rights. We will not comply with laws that restrict that right. If that makes us criminals in your eyes, and in the eyes of our government, so be it. As they said in the Russell Crowe version of Robin Hood, “In times of tyranny and injustice, when law oppresses the people, the outlaw takes his place in history.”
Our Founding Fathers were outlaws in that they stood up for their rights against the mightiest empire in existence at the time. They feared the loss of their liberty more than they feared the loss of their lives. There still exists that same spirit among some in this country, I just wish it were in more abundance than it is. But we do have a line in the sand, a point where if crossed we will take up arms to defend our rights. That line in the sand is our right to defend ourselves and our liberty. Cross that line and you will have unleashed our wrath against you. And believe, or disbelieve this at your own risk, you are drawing perilously close to that line.