Charles M. Blow wants to reframe the debate on the right to bear arms following the latest mass shooting, in Newtown Connecticut. He writes:
This time, something can and must be done….
So, as we move into this season of change on gun policy, let’s take a moment to better frame the debate.
First, let’s fix some of the terminology: stop calling groups like the National Rifle Association a “gun rights” group. These are anti-regulation, pro-proliferation groups. They prey on public fears — of the “bad guys with guns,” of a Second Amendment rollback, of an ever imminent apocalypse — while helping gun makers line their pockets.
Let’s reframe the debate, indeed. Stop calling people like Charles M. Blow “gun control” advocates. These are anti-Liberty, anti-self-defense, anti-Second Amendment people. They prey on public fears — of the “bad guys with guns,” of an ever imminent gun apocalypse — while helping criminals to disarm their victims and the mass-murdering federal government to infringe on more of Americans’ rights and further shred the Constitution.
No one is talking about forbidding law-abiding, mentally sound citizens to purchase nonmilitary-style weapons that don’t hold more bullets than we have digits.
No, all they are talking about is forbidding law-abiding, mentally sound citizens from purchasing firearms with which they might actually be capable of defending themselves. Take the example I commented on recently of the mother in Georgia who protected her children from an intruder with a revolver. She emptied more bullets than a hand has digits from her .38 revolver into the thug threatening her babies, but he still got up and walked away. She was just lucky the thug decided to flee the scene instead of attacking her since she was out of bullets, which the intruder probably didn’t know, or things might have turned out differently. What if the invader himself had been armed with a gun? What if there had been two or more intruders? Blow would have this mother and others like her as defenseless as possible.
In his conclusion, Blow writes:
According to The Associated Press, a small Utah town is making a “gun in every home a priority.” The A.P. reported:
“Spring City Councilman Neil Sorensen first proposed an ordinance requiring a gun in every household in the town of 1,000. The rest of the council scoffed at making it a requirement, but they unanimously agreed to move forward with an ordinance ‘recommending’ the idea. The council also approved funding to offer concealed firearms training Friday to the 20 teachers and administrators at the local elementary school.”
That is not where we want to be as a country.
A gun in every home “is not where we want to be as a country”, according to Charles M. Blow. Let’s compare his attitude to that of the Founding Fathers:
“The militia, sir, is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it…. The great object is, that every man be armed.” — Patrick Henry
“[T]o preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them….” — Richard Henry Lee
“The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….” — Noah Webster
“A free people ought…to be armed….” — George Washington
“No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” — Thomas Jefferson
“The thoughtful reader may wonder, why wasn’t Jefferson’s proposal of ‘No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms’ adopted by the Virginia legislature? They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin
“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.” — James Madison
“[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.” — Alexander Hamilton
“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.” — Thomas Jefferson, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment by criminologist Cesare Beccaria
“[A]rms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.” — Thomas Paine
Sounds like exactly where we want to be as a country.
Rights are not granted by the government to the people. They are endowed upon individuals by their Creator, and inalienable. Privileges are rather granted by the people to the government, and those authorities not explicitly authorized to the government in the Constitution are reserved by the people. The 2nd Amendment was not established merely so people could go hunting. It was not written merely so that people could defend their households. It was written specifically in order to explicitly forbid the federal government from making laws to disarm the people, precisely in order that the people may have the means to defend their Liberty from tyrannical government.
“We are told, we are afraid to trust ourselves; that our own representatives — Congress — will not exercise their powers oppressively; that we shall not enslave ourselves; that the militia cannot enslave themselves, &c. Who has enslaved France, Spain, Germany, Turkey, and other countries which groan under tyranny? They have been enslaved by the hands of their own people. If it will be so in America, it will be only as it has been every where else.” –– Patrick Henry
“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…. [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” — Tench Coxe
“Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.” — George Mason
“The Constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” — Sam Adams
“The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition…. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops…” — James Madison
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense … against the usurpations of the national rulers…. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms….” — Alexander Hamilton
“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” — Tench Coxe
“The whole of the Bill [of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals…. It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.” — Albert Gallatin
“What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty…. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.” — Elbridge Gerry
So if we’re going to frame the debate, frame it within the language of Liberty and the Constitution, within natural rights and the spirit of the law, and within the principle of self-defense and the purpose of the Second Amendment. And if people like Charles M. Blow can’t do that, then there’s just no point in trying to have a conversation with them about it. We will keep our Liberties, thank you very much.