Resisting gun control

There is no “national dialog” on gun control, only an exchange of incompatible points of view. One must prevail. Photo: Goliad Flag

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co., January 13, 2013 ― The latest manufactured crisis from the left is shaping up to be the perfect storm. The fiscal cliff behind us, the next crisis being dished up to the public is gun control. In this country, the term “gun control” really is an oxymoron, but there are apparently a number of politicians and activists who have not yet learned that lesson.

The outlines of the debate are as clear as they are predictable. On the one side, the left is emboldened by their recent electoral success and are determined to exploit the tragedy at Sandy Hook to advance their agenda. Their argument to the American people is this: Mentally disturbed young men have used guns to commit mass murder; therefore, we need to disarm everyone, including law-abiding citizens.

The argument fails the logic test: The conclusion does not follow from the premise. But I would never, ever want to accuse the left of using a logical argument.

On the other side of the debate is the Constitutional argument that references the Second Amendment. Our limit on article length doesn’t allow me to rehash that argument here: Judge Andrew Napolitano made the case brilliantly this week in an article for The Washington Times titled, The right to shoot tyrants, not deer.

Napolitano understands the reason for the right to bear arms. There are many quotes from our founders, made during and even after the ratification debates on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Perhaps the best-known is by Thomas Jefferson:

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms … The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

The Founders believed that the ultimate safeguard of the people’s liberty was the right to bear arms. The Supreme Court agrees, most recently in the Heller and MacDonald cases. The Congress has given very little authority to the administration to regulate arms.

So while Constitutionalists—and shouldn’t we all be Constitutionalists?—understand the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment, the progressive left work overtime to dismantle it. They are choreographing a narrative that they hope will lead to as wide a ban on private ownership of firearms as possible. Failing that, there would be registration, fees, taxes, strong-arming of retail sellers, and other disincentives.

Apparently they don’t understand the meaning of “shall not be infringed.”

In response, people are buying arms and ammunition at record rates. Background checks in Colorado, which normally come back in fifteen minutes, are taking days. Ammunition in .223 caliber is nearly impossible to come by; magazines have tripled in price when they are even available.

Speculation is that people are stocking up in anticipation of not being able to buy such things later. The same sentiment motivated heavy purchases of incandescent light bulb a couple of years ago.

There is another and more serious reason as well.

People understand the implications of gun control, that it leads inevitably to confiscation. From George Mason: “to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

People understand this and many have drawn a line in the sand. That very phrase comes from The Battle of the Alamo, where Col. William Travis famously drew a line in the sand indicating that he would retreat no farther. The entire garrison joined him.

Today many are saying the same thing on the Internet. One of many similar sentiments:

“I do not want or seek war against my Government, but I will not be made a slave to them, and I will not forfeit my God-given right to defend myself and my family from tyranny.”

It might have been written by Jefferson, or Adams, or Paine or any one of the Founders.

The would-be rulers have been warned. If they persist in forcing this confrontation over the Second Amendment, the results are not predictable. They cannot count on significant numbers of people simply handing in their weapons and ammunition. Another blog comment: “I don’t think everyone is buying firearms and ammo right now so they can just let Feinstein & Co confiscate them.”

Those who seek to disarm the American people cannot know that the police, sheriff departments, National Guard or military will follow their orders to confiscate firearms. A sheriff in Kentucky has already said that he will not. Others will follow.

Standing up for the constitutional restraints placed upon the federal government puts resistors squarely on the side of right. It is obedient resistance to the civil disobedience of the government. We are within constitutional bounds, the feds are out-of-bounds. Or as Thomas Jefferson put it, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

The Declaration of Independence makes it clear that our natural rights belong to us inherently as human beings and governments are instituted to protect those rights, not take them away. When they try, they break the social contract that gives them their power and they become illegitimate.

When that happens, the people have the right to resist – even revolt.

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Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.

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