|Language of Liberty|
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Let’s Study The Constitution, Part 6 – 2nd Amendment
By Susan Frickey, Center for Self-Governance student
The Second Amendment states: “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.”
It is the much-maligned Second Amendment which secures and makes possible all of the other rights guaranteed in the Constitution. This undoubtedly explains why the Amendment is under constant attack by those who lust after power and control. It is also the only part of the Bill of Rights that defines a specific purpose in its introductory clause.
David Deming writes in the April 2016 issue of American Thinker that the Second Amendment was intended by the Founding Fathers to serve as a safeguard against tyranny. Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist Paper #29 that “ if the government ever tried to oppress the people with a standing army, that army would be countered by 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.”
Remember what kicked off the Revolutionary War? It was the British attempt to seize cannon and powder held by the militia at Concord. The rapid and deadly response by the American people made war inevitable.
During the early days of our nation, Americans came to fear and hate the British use of a standing army, which was a permanent force of professional soldiers. Americans favored the idea of part-time citizen soldiers; a militia whose members came from the communities in which they lived and served. It was believed that these militia members would be much less likely to oppress the very neighbors they knew on a more intimate basis in their day-to-day lives. But unfortunately, these same local militias would be too weak and divided to protect the nation should the need arise.
World history and their own recent colonial experiences had taught the Founders that governments often used their armies to oppress the people. But neither were local militias the answer, a fact demonstrated so convincingly during the War for Independence. The local militias were largely untrained and ill equipped. So the Framers realized the fledgling nation would need a professional army to protect itself and its interests. However, placing a standing army under the control of the Federal government created a threat to liberty through tyranny, as had happened all through history.
A famous quote attributed to John Basil Barnhill explains, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government.”
The massive proposed shift of power from state militias to the Federal government generated one of the most heated debates at the Convention of 1787 and was one of the chief objections to the proposed Constitution. Hence, the Second Amendment was established to keep Federal power of the army in check by guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms, making the American people almost impossible to subdue through military force. This advantage alone sets apart American citizens from most other nations of the world. That’s why it is so critically important that we not allow the infringement of this right.
Deming continues, “But to be effective, the members of a militia must be well armed. Thus the quintessential weaponry protected by the Second Amendment consists of the arms that would ordinarily be possessed by an individual soldier in an infantry unit – not weapons designed for defense from criminals or for shooting ducks. This means machine guns, mortars, and hand grenades.” In other words, everything our attackers would have access to.
Our Second Amendment has given America’s enemies pause over the course of time as well. During WWII, Japanese Admiral Yamamoto would not invade the U.S. mainland after Pearl Harbor. The following statement was attributed to him and interpreted from the Japanese, "You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
Today, statistics bear out the fact that the American communities with the highest crime rates (look at Chicago) are also the ones that ban guns. Go figure.
Conversely, in 1982, the Kennesaw, GA City Council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition, exempting those who conscientiously oppose, the physically and mentally disabled, paupers, and of course, those convicted of a felony.
Then-councilman J.O. Stephenson said after the ordinance was passed, “Everyone went crazy. People all over the country said there would be shootings in the street and violence in homes," he said. "Of course, that wasn't the case."
Kennesaw’s crime rate diminished and continues to be far below other metro Atlanta cities with similar populations, like Decatur. Kennesaw was selected by Family Circle magazine in 2007 as one of the nation’s “10 best towns for families”. It is true that ‘an armed society is a polite society’, and obviously, an effective deterrent for criminals.
Today, the United Nations continuously assaults America’s Second Amendment. Accompanied by many of our own liberal politicians, the UN hopes to more easily absorb the U.S. into a one-world government. The agenda is promoted under the control and auspices of the UN through several on-going campaigns, such as the Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to pass world-wide gun-control legislation. It would behoove all freedom-loving Americans to stay informed and engaged in this issue.
Leon Puissegur writes, ‘Without the Second Amendment, we lose the rest of the Constitution. This one Amendment to the Constitution supports the rest of the Constitution. And if the government can abolish this part, it will have no problem getting rid of the rest of it because then We, the People would have no means of fighting back against a growing and abusive Federal government or other world powers.”
Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003, put it this way: “When all else fails, the Second Amendment is the one right that prevails. It alone offers the absolute capacity to live free from fear. It is the one right that allows ‘rights’ to exist at all. This is why the Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms – is our first freedom as Americans.”
The Language of Liberty series is a collaborative effort of the Center for Self Governance (CSG) Administrative Team. CSG is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization, dedicated to training citizens in applied civics. The authors include administrative staff, selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and may not reflect the views of CSG. Learn more at CenterforSelfGovernance.com.
Let’s Study the Constitution: