Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Do American Citizens Have a Right to Own a Gun?

John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute has written a commentary on Parker v District of Columbia that started out well, then confused me with his conclusions. As many of you know, I can be easily confused. Maybe one of you can connect the dots for me.

By John W. Whitehead

Mr. Whitehead opens his commentary with a brief history of the D.C. gun ban:

For the past 30 years, residents of the District of Columbia have been threatened with conviction and imprisonment simply for having a gun in their homes.

In keeping with a District-wide law, all handguns were prohibited, unless they were registered before 1976. Even pistols registered prior to the ban could not be carried from room to room within a home without a license. Furthermore, licensed guns had to be kept locked up or disassembled.
The draconian and repressive anti gun laws of D.C. are well documented and known to those who are interested in Second Amendment issues. These are the very same laws that many legislatures and the anti gun groups would like to see established nation wide.

Next Mr. Whitehead describes the case of Parker v District of Columbia. It is a quick and informative description that should be read if you are not familiar with that case.

Now to the heart of the matter. Mr. Whitehead does an excellent job of explaining why the Second Amendment is an individual right, and why it is included in the Bill of Rights:

History is on Tribe’s side. With the despotism of a tyrannical king fresh in their minds, the Framers knew they had to provide a means for the people to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. They believed the right to keep and bear arms enabled a citizen to stand up to the government. If the government got out of hand, you could defend yourself—you could rebel. After all, that’s what happened in 1776.

The Framers wanted to ensure that if the government had control of the military, as it does today—including the National Guard—citizens would have a means of protecting themselves. Thus, they specifically added the Second Amendment to the Constitution to ensure that individuals—ordinary Americans—had a means of protecting themselves not only against their own government but against intruders. Furthermore, early Americans relied on ordinary weapons for many things, often keeping them in their homes.

There is nothing more solidly embedded in the Constitution than the right to bear arms. As Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has said, “Can anyone seriously contend that the Founders, who had just expelled their British rulers mostly by use of light arms, did not want the individual farmer, blacksmith, or merchant to be armed? Those individuals would have been killed or imprisoned by the King’s soldiers if they had relied on a federal armed force to protect them.”

“Our Founders, having just expelled the British army, knew that the right to bear arms serves as the guardian of every other right,” continued Paul. “This is the principle so often ignored by both sides in the gun control debate. Only armed citizens can resist tyrannical government.”
There it is, in black and white. "Only armed citizens can resist tyrannical government". At this point in the commentary I am really liking what Mr. Whitehead has to say and thinking that this is a nice bit of light in this day full of anti gun propaganda. Then the confusion begins.

While it must be conceded that the individual citizen could not hope to defend him or herself against local and federal law enforcement dressed in military gear, armed to the teeth with armored vehicles and weapons of mass destruction, shouldn’t Americans at least be able to protect themselves, their families and their homes against criminals?
One armed citizen would have a hard time defending against our militarized police, but a community would not. Unless of course they were disarmed.

As George Mason declared, “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” While Congress can, of course, reasonably regulate certain types of weapons such as assault rifles, banning law-abiding citizens from having handguns in their own homes for self-defense or owning hunting rifles goes far beyond anything the Framers contemplated.
"While Congress can, of course, reasonably regulate certain types of weapons such as assault rifles" This one sentence ruins the entire article. Mr. Whitehead.. John, did you not read what you wrote in regards as to why we even have a Second Amendment? When you wrote "Thus, they specifically added the Second Amendment to the Constitution to ensure that individuals—ordinary Americans—had a means of protecting themselves not only against their own government..." didn't it cross your mind that it was so called assault weapons that were protected by the Second Amendment, not just handguns? By allowing for the "reasonable regulation" of the very weapons that can provide adequate protection for "the people" from the government, you nullify the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.

Yes, the people have the right (some would say the responsibility) to protect themselves from criminals and intruders into their homes, they also have the right to protect themselves from a criminal government. The Second Amendment affirms this right. Take that last small step John, consider what the founders intended, look at the world of today, and try to take a peek into the future. Do you honestly think that there will not become a time when "the people" will need to take up arms to protect themselves? If you can not imagine this happening in our future, then look to the past. It was not that long ago that the Deacons for Defense had to take up arms against the police to protect civil rights workers. If you can see the potential need for free citizens to take up arms against the government, you have to concede that those arms must be adequate to the task at hand.


JR said...

Great minds think alike, I to was shocked, baffled, pissed when I read "the sentence that ruins the entire article". We have the right to bear arms, Daisy BB gun to a M107 .50 cal. When choosing a weapon to protect me, my family, my neighbor...I'd like to be able to choose, if someone says I can have the Daisy but not the HiCap .45 I really can't choose, if you limit my choice you infringe on my right.


Fits said...

The fact that WE outnumber THEM and were allowed to keep and bear arms just in case THEM got too big for their military-dressed britches, seems to escape the new intelligencia.

But not us :)