WASHINGTON, April 16, 2013 ― The Bill of Rights has grown increasingly, surprisingly controversial:
“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.”
The Constitution of the United States of America, including the Bill of Rights, is our country’s bedrock founding document. It clearly limits the powers of government. To illustrate how relevant and resilient the Constitution is, just look back at one of the darkest hours in American political history: the resignation of Richard M. Nixon. Immediately after he was sworn in on August 9, 1974, President Gerald R. Ford said, “Our Constitution works. Our government is one of laws and not of men. Here, the people rule.”
Elected officials take a solemn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Until the Constitution is amended, the version we have stands as the law of the land. Yet today, unbelievably, we have U.S. senators and representatives proposing new laws that would actually circumvent the Constitution and infringe on the citizenry’s right to bear arms.
If you think that the government’s promise of a “safer environment” is what is actually delivered, consider how the people of Great Britain relinquished their right to bear arms because their government promised that it would make everyone safer. It started with licenses and registration, and step-by-step more restrictions came into play. As a result, today the only people in Great Britain who possess guns are the bad guys; the law-abiding citizens must now live a perpetual nightmare. That’s where our lawmakers in D.C. are moving us.
Why don’t our lawmakers live up to the oath they swore instead of trying to circumvent it?
There have been numerous articles written on the Second Amendment, which has become a shuttlecock being hit back and forth from opposing sides of the issue. There have been many recent articles on the subject, as well as lively debates. One of the best articles has been “The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles” (Hillsdale College Imprimis magazine, Vol. 42, #3, March 2013, by E. J. Erler, PhD). There we read:
“most gun crimes are committed with stolen or illegally obtained weapons, and the formula to decrease crime is clear: Increase the number of responsible gun owners and prosecute to the greatest extent possible under the law those who commit gun-related crimes or possess weapons illegally.”
“The shooters in Arizona, Colorado, and Newtown were mentally ill persons who, by all accounts, should have been incarcerated. Even the Los Angeles Times admits that ‘there is a connection between mental illness and mass murder.’
But the same progressives who advocate gun control also oppose the involuntary incarceration of mentally ill people who, in the case of these mass shootings, posed obvious dangers to society before they committed their horrendous acts of violence. From the point of view of the progressives who oppose involuntary incarceration of the mentally ill — you can thank the ACLU and like-minded organizations — it is better to disarm the entire population, and deprive them of their constitutional freedoms, than to incarcerate a few mentally ill persons who are prone to engage in violent crimes.”
The Second Amendment was not written to give citizens the right to bear arms for hunting, or merely protecting his/her home or property. If you diligently check the history, the main reason for the Second Amendment was to ensure that citizens are protected from tyrannical and/or overreaching government. The Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to make sure that citizens are not put under duress to submit to federal rule. It was not designed to promote anarchy or contempt for the federal government. Rather, the right of citizens to bear arms ensures that the people of the land remain in control without being forced to succumb to compliance at the end of a gun barrel.
In that dark political period in August 1974, our nearly 200 year-old founding document withstood the political shock of Watergate, and our nation forged ahead. But let us not forget that it was because we respected and followed the Constitution that the transition of government under adverse circumstances was one that maintained our nation’s stability.
The Second Amendment is not a privilege that government bestows on the people; the Second Amendment is a right of the people. If in the year 2013 we wish to ensure that, as President Lincoln said at Gettysburg, “the government of the People, by the People, and for the People shall not perish from the earth,” then all who take the solemn oath of office must do their utmost to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.” Chipping away at the Second Amendment with surreptitious laws rammed-through under the guise of protecting the people is the antithesis of their sworn oath.
It is high time that our elected officials dust off their copies of the Constitution and remember that they are in danger of infringing the rights of We, the People. If those we put in office do not awaken from their apparent stupor, there will be a grassroots uprising to make sure they get a rude awakening at the polls in November 2014.
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