The Patriot Post® · American Patriots and Guns
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic.” –Joseph Story
On the most recent “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, which has become the biggest commercial sales day of the year, despite the continuing economic decline, there were record sales in one notable product category: Guns – 154,873 to be precise. However, after Barack Hussein Obama disgracefully politicized the murders of children in Newtown, Connecticut in mid-December, using that tragedy as fodder to call for new gun restrictions, the Black Friday record was broken again.
The top 10 record gun sales days have occurred since Barack Obama’s election in 2008, and gun ownership has skyrocketed over the last four years. (Perhaps if Obama is really opposed to gun ownership, he should resign!) According to a worldwide survey conducted the year before Obama’s election, though the United States had only 5% of the world’s population, Americans owned 50% of the world’s guns. Of course, unlike virtually every other nation, Americans are ensured the incontrovertible right to arm themselves.
The current estimate of legally and privately held guns in the U.S. is more than 250 million (the average gun-owning household having three guns).
With that as a backdrop, I was asked this week if Patriots have an obligation to arm themselves – to be gun owners, and be proficient at the use of arms. I thought at first the question was rhetorical, but after some consideration, I realize that there are millions of grassroots Patriots who are NOT among the 60 million plus Patriots who are already law-abiding gun owners.
Apparently, the question needs to be addressed, as the answer may not be as obvious to some folks as it should be. By way of responding to this question, let me first briefly reiterate the historical and enduring case for gun ownership, which is as relevant today and tomorrow as it was at the dawn of our national founding.
First, it is “self-evident” that Liberty is an “unalienable right,” innately assured as “endowed by our Creator.” In other words, it is not awarded by men or government; it is the birthright of all people.
Second, as history records countless examples of men using the power of government to arbitrarily revoke Liberty and invoke tyranny, our Founders understood that, in the words of John Adams, “liberty must at all hazards be supported.” Adams continued, “We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.”
Thus, all American Patriots today, those imbued with the spirit of Liberty that has motivated Patriots since 1776, must be prepared to support and defend both individual and corporate Liberty, to secure the Rule of Law over the rule of men.
Of the ability to defend Liberty, James Madison wrote, “The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. … The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition.” (Federalist No. 46)
To ensure that advantage, our Founders enumerated a constitutional prohibition on government interference with that barrier, the Second Amendment, affirming, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
In his exhaustive “Commentaries on the Constitution,” Madison’s Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story, wrote, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
In other words, the Second Amendment is not about “the tradition of hunting” as Barack Obama claimed recently, unless he was referring to hunting those who infringe on the inalienable rights of man. Of course, Liberty is the antithesis of statism, which is why Obama and his socialist Democrat cadres are endeavoring to undermine the Second Amendment. (Obama’s failed “Fast and Furious” gun control is a fine example of that endeavor.)
Obama has asserted erroneously, “The vast majority of Americans would like to see serious gun control, [but] it doesn’t pass because there is this huge disconnect between what people think and what legislators think and are willing to act upon.” His disdain for grassroots gun owners was summed up in his unguarded remarks to campaign donors in 2008, when he said that they “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Endeavoring to close that gap, every time there is tragic mass murder where the assailant used a gun, Democrats offer the disingenuous rationale that violence is a “gun problem” rather than a cultural problem. Of course it’s easier to blame guns than culture, and that serves the Left’s political agenda.
The tragic attack on young students, teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown is a case in point.
Before the bodies of murdered children had been removed from Sandy Hook Elementary, Barack Obama was, shamefully, stacking up the coffins of innocent kids to use as a platform for his disarmament agenda, which he and his socialist cadres will conceal behind a thin façade of “concern for public safety.”
Just one paragraph into his brief remarks about the murders in Newtown, Obama tearfully exclaimed, “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. … We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
New York Demo Rep. Jerrold Nadler was less discreet in his insistence that Obama use the deaths of these children to advance the Left’s gun prohibition agenda: “I think we will be there if the president exploits it.” Sen. Charles Schumer added, “I think we could be at a tipping point … where we might get something done.”
Within hours of the deaths, Sen. Dianne Feinstein promised, “I’m going to introduce in the Senate – and the same bill will be introduced in the House – a bill to get … weapons of war off the streets.” Of course, Feinstein, et al., know that the use of so-called “weapons of war” as murder instruments is exceedingly rare – less than 2/10ths of one percent of all homicides in America occur on school grounds, and less than three percent of all homicides are committed with “assault weapons.” So what is their real agenda?
At a vigil in Newtown two days after the attack, Obama again politicized the attack, framing his remarks around his gun-prohibition agenda. He asked rhetorically, “Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. And we will have to change. What choice do we have? Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”
The day after that speech, in my daily email from the White House came a link from Obama’s “senior advisor,” David Axelrod, with a video link to Obama’s vigil remarks posted on his “Forward” campaign Web site (and we thought the election was over). Astoundingly, the video was framed inside a page seeking donations to Obama’s campaign fund.
For the record, Connecticut already has a ban on “assault weapons,” and the Newtown school was already a “gun-free zone,” but that didn’t prevent the murders of these precious children and six adults. In fact, the assailant violated more than 20 laws in the commission of this horrific crime. Also for the record, since the “assault rifle ban” of 1994 expired in 2004, gun ownership has increased and crime has decrease.
Any honest American should be deeply offended by politicians who are so calloused that they would use the deaths of innocents as political fodder for their agenda. Could Obama not exercise the most basic decency and allow time for genuine grief to pass before exploiting the blood of innocents? Obviously not, according to the first chapter in his political playbook: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
It is no small irony that the political party that has made killing children prior to birth a pillar of their platform expresses such indignation when a sociopath places so little value on life that he murders children. Of course, it’s easier to kill children who are faceless – and I am certain that in the eyes of the sociopathic killer in Newtown, his victims also had no faces.
Further, acknowledging that the majority of murders and other violent crimes in our country are the direct result of social and cultural degradation on urban welfare plantations would be, first and foremost, an indictment of the socialist welfare state advocated by Democrats. Thus, they call for more gun control – on top of the 20,000 gun control laws now on the books.
Fact is, on average almost 50 people are murdered every day, two-thirds of them with guns. It is statistically notable that about one-third of murders are not committed with guns, and moreover, blacks and Latinos commit a grossly disproportionate number of all murders and the victims are predominantly blacks and Latinos.
For example, the very weekend that Obama and his race hustlers attempted to politicize the shooting of Trayvon Martin by “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman earlier this year, the Chicago Sun-Times (Obama’s hometown paper) reported that in just 48 hours, 10 people were murdered and at least 40 others were seriously wounded. Most of the assailants and victims were black or Latino, but not a word from Obama about those murders.
Moreover, as of this date in 2012, 62 young people between the age of 6 and 18 have been murdered in Chicago this year, a city with the toughest gun restrictions in America. Not a word from Obama about any of those deaths because they reflect the aforementioned cultural problems created by Leftist social policies, not a “gun problem.”
Even Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, commented on the commercialization of the Newtown tragedy: “There might have been a time where ‘politicizing’ tragic events, especially mass shootings, was thought to be in poor taste. That has changed with the 24/7 news cycle that continues to focus far too much time and energy on the perpetrator of the massacre than that of our precious victims.”
Lewis said Obama’s education policies “kill and disenfranchise children.” “We in Chicago have been the victims of their experiments on our children since the current secretary of Education [Arne Duncan] ‘ran’ the Chicago Public School system.”
Notwithstanding the fact that violence is not a “gun problem,” given Obama’s disgraceful exploitation of the Newtown deaths, expect to see aggressive second term proposals endeavoring to implement bold encroachments on the Second Amendment.
Additionally, watch Obama’s effort to spin the Newtown attack in order to rally two-thirds of the Senate for passage of the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty regulating small arms. The ATT is a Trojan Horse. While it ostensibly exempts domestic gun sales and ownership in the U.S., with the stroke of a pen, it could implement severe gun restrictions and even confiscations – an end run on the Second Amendment that would provide political cover for gun-grabbing Leftists in the Senate and House.
Indeed, as summed up by Sen. Rand Paul, “The day after his re-election, Obama’s UN delegation voted for a renewed effort to pass the Small Arms Treaty. This effort by globalists to undermine our Constitution is set to reconvene March 18th-28th in order to pass the final version of the treaty that will be sent to the Senate for ratification. Make no mistake, they will ultimately register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens. Not long ago, Obama told Sarah Brady from the anti-gun Brady Campaign, ‘I just want you to know that we are working on [gun control]. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.’”
In regard to gun confiscation, I recommend that Obama pick up an American History text, one that has not been “revised” by teacher or librarian unions, and read about the first American Revolution. He will find that it commenced with “the shot heard round the world,” as immortalized by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson – a shot fired by Patriots at the Massachusetts governor’s enforcers, who were sent to Concord with orders to confiscate and destroy militia arms. There is a subtle lesson there…
(Sidebar: On the subject of revisions, next week Obama’s UN delegation will meet with the UN agency overseeing global telecommunications, the International Telecommunications Union, to revise Internet regulations.)
Clearly the surge in gun sales and ownership over the last four years has been driven by Obama’s agenda to implement new “gun control” measures, which are, of course, not about guns but about control, as tragically demonstrated by the appalling record of genocide meted out by tyrants toward those who had no means of self defense.
According to gun-rights expert, Professor Raymond Kessler, J.D., “In truth, attempts to regulate the civilian possession of firearms have five political functions. They increase citizen reliance on government and tolerance of increased police powers and abuse; help prevent opposition to the government; facilitate repressive action by government and its allies; lessen the pressure for major or radical reform; and can be selectively enforced against those perceived to be a threat to government.”
So, given that Liberty must be supported and defended at all hazards, and given the current assault on gun ownership, consider again the question, “Do Patriots have an obligation to arm themselves – to be gun owners, and be proficient at the use of arms?”
The answer is, emphatically and absolutely, YES. Moreover, I would argue that it is the responsibility of all gun-owning Patriots to educate their like-minded family and friends about the overarching rationale for gun ownership – the ability to defend Liberty – and to encourage them to become responsible gun owners.
I know many Patriots who, since Obama’s election, have become first-time gun owners. The fact that 49 states authorize carry permits, 41 of those being “shall issue” states providing on-demand concealed-carry permits to law-abiding citizens, has encouraged that trend. The lone state denying the right to carry is, naturally, Obama’s state of residence, Illinois.
In recent years, I’ve proudly encouraged and assisted dozens of Patriot friends to become responsible gun owners. One of those “new” gun owners was my wife, who, along with six other women friends, took the required training and now has her carry permit. Each of my children is also a gun owner. (My oldest son, an Air Force Cadet, is an outstanding shooter. The weapons my two minor children use only come out under strict supervision, but my 13-year-old already shoots a very tight pattern at 100 meters with his LMT M4.)
One of my wife’s friends said that when some of her liberal family members came to visit recently (one of those tragic “mixed families”), they got wind that she now owns not one, but three guns. Her brother inquired, “Why would anyone own three guns?” Without missing a beat, she replied, “Because I can!” (That has got to rank first among the most cutting and concise rebuttals I have ever heard.)
And on that note, three other friends, who grew up in former Soviet satellite states, told me that after becoming U.S. citizens (the old fashioned way – legally), the first thing they did was obtain their right-to-carry permits. They each have a fuller appreciation for that right.
So, how do dedicated Patriots who are not familiar with firearms make the leap to gun ownership and proficiency?
I received a letter this week from a reader among our Patriot ranks, who included a brief history of how his whole family made the transition from non-gun owners to never leaving home without one. I have included a brief excerpt of his story in order that it might help others make that transition.
He writes, “Growing up in Chicago, where guns were outlawed and only outlaws had guns, when the topic of guns came up, my parents replied, ‘Only gangsters and hunters carry guns – and we are neither.’” Given this prohibitive backdrop, I invite you to read the rest of his Second Amendment testimony.
For the record, when it comes to Liberty, I would much prefer constitutional restoration over insurrection – if the former is achievable. (I’ve been around a few revolutions in Africa and the Middle East, so I’m well aware of the violence that accompanies the latter course.) But as current day American Patriots, we all have an obligation to not only stand ready to defend our family and property, but moreover to defend Liberty.
I’ll leave you, then, with these words of wisdom on both the individual right of self-defense, and the corporate responsibility to uphold Liberty.
Benjamin Franklin warned, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In the case of those who would give up Essential Liberty for nothing more than the perception of a little temporary safety with more gun prohibitions, indeed they deserve neither Liberty nor safety and, ultimately, will lose both.
Quoting 18th-century Italian jurist and philosopher Cesare Beccaria in his “Commonplace Book,” Jefferson wrote, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
Regarding our corporate obligation in defense of Liberty, Jefferson wrote, “What 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.”
And ponder this from a man whose name is synonymous with peace: “Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” –Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi from his autobiography.
The bottom line: When debating the Second Amendment, there are three points that are often neglected.
First, possession of firearms is a deterrent against countless millions of crimes, as made clear in studies of convicted felons, who tell researchers that they choose victims who are least likely to be able to defend themselves. Second, there are more than a million crimes thwarted every year by those who defend themselves with a firearm.
And finally, the Second Amendment is, first and foremost, about protection of our Constitution and the Liberty it enshrines. As I have oft noted, handguns are for personal and home defense. But semi-automatic rifles, mislabeled by Socialist Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists as “assault rifles,” are for protection of those who would infringe on the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” If you find that notion unsettling, then you need to learn more about the history the constant assault of statist tyranny on Liberty.