Why We Are All Wrong on Gun Rights

By Randy Wakeman

"When our ancestors forged a land "conceived in liberty", they did so with musket and rifle. When they reacted to attempts to dissolve their free institutions, and established their identity as a free nation, they did so as a nation of armed freemen. When they sought to record forever a guarantee of their rights, they devoted one full amendment out of ten to nothing but the protection of their right to keep and bear arms against governmental interference. Under my chairmanship the Subcommittee on the Constitution will concern itself with a proper recognition of, and respect for, this right most valued by free men."

    - Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman Subcommittee on the Constitution, January 20, 1982

Yes, we are all wrong on gun rights. This includes not only the general media, but the gun industry and the gun lobby as well. We have lost the concept of liberty and have lost what the Second Amendment was and is all about. It is shameful when the gun industry itself attacks and seeks to devour its own. This was recently the case when, of all groups, the NSSF chose to attack a pro-gun blogger merely because he disagreed with the NSSF's confusing, lamentable mischaracterizations of the Armalite rifle as the “Modern Sporting Rifle.” The NSSF is misguided.

 

The foundation of the Second Amendment has never been about anything sporting. It was never about any mythical right to hunt, it was never about preserving an ability to punch holes in paper, it was never about glorifying the breaking of a piece of clay with a shotgun. Nor was it ever about just guns or a class of guns. It has always been about the God-given right to defend yourself with weapons, and to protect yourself and your country from tyranny. It is cowardly and dishonest to try to relabel weapons as anything other than what they are: weapons, weapons that our Constitution guarantees that the government cannot seize from the American citizen.

 

Consider the well-known Dred Scott case. “It would give to persons of the negro race, who are recognized as citizens in any one state of the Union, the right to enter every other state, whenever they pleased. . . .and it would give them full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might meet; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”

--Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 691, 705.

 

“Federal involvement in firearms possession and transfer was not significant prior to 1934, when the National Firearms Act was adopted. The National Firearms Act as adopted covered only fully automatic weapons (machine guns and submachine guns) and rifles and shotguns whose barrel length or overall length fell below certain limits. Since the Act was adopted under the revenue power, sale of these firearms was not made subject to a ban or permit system. Instead, each transfer was made subject to a $200 excise tax, which must be paid prior to transfer; the identification of the parties to the transfer indirectly accomplished a registration purpose.


The 1934 Act was followed by the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, which placed some limitations upon sale of ordinary firearms. Persons engaged in the business of selling those firearms in interstate commerce were required to obtain a Federal Firearms License, at an annual cost of $1, and to maintain records of the name and address of persons to whom they sold firearms. Sales to persons convicted of violent felonies were prohibited, as were interstate shipments to persons who lacked the permits required by the law of their state.”

    - The Right to Keep and Bear Arms REPORT of the SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES SENATE NINETY-SEVENTH CONGRESS, Second Session, February, 1982.

There is no authority in the United States Constitution for registration or regulation of weapons by the United States citizen. The opposite is true: our Constitution guarantees that the government cannot seize weapons from the American citizen. Depriving American citizens of their rights is not a trivial matter. A basic stance such as “felons cannot own guns” is hardly the basis for the sprawling BATFE's egregious involvement. Felons are deprived of their constitutional rights with great enthusiasm so the notion that they are deprived of gun ownership is of not particular importance. The Gun Control Act of 1968 has failed. It does not have foundation in the United States Constitution and should be repealed.

 

We know that our government has failed us. We know that the “war on drugs” has been a costly failure. We sure know how to imprison people, though. We have the most expensive prison system in the world and imprison more of our citizens per capita than any other country in the world. Currently there are 2.2 million Americans behind bars. They cost the U.S. taxpayer $60 billion a year.

 

“Contrary to the public perception that the incarceration of violent offenders has driven America's prison growth, the [Justice Policy] Institute found that 77% of the growth in intake to America's state and federal prisons. between 1978 and 1996 was accounted for by nonviolent offenders. According to data collected by the United States Justice Department, from 1978 to 1996, the number of violent offenders entering our nation's prisons doubled (from 43,733 to 98,672 inmates); the number of nonviolent offenders tripled (from 83,721 to 261,796 inmates) and the number of drug offenders increased seven-fold (from 14,241 to 114,071 inmates). Justice Department surveys show that 52.7% of state prison inmates, 73.7% of jail inmates, and 87.6% of federal inmates were imprisoned for offenses which involved neither harm, nor the threat of harm, to a victim.”

 

We have lost our way, to make a great understatement. While we have become a nation of perpetual war, often fought in the name of “Liberty and Freedom,” liberty and freedom is what is continually stolen from the American Citizen.


The right to keep and bear arms implies and includes shooting ranges, ammunition, gun dealers, and a healthy American gun industry. You cannot infringe on any of these components without infringing, usurping, and destroying the fundamental right itself.
A self-defense weapon has no make, model, caliber, or ammunition capacity. It is all a matter of how it is used. Nothing in the 2nd Amendment allows you to infringe on the freedoms of others, nothing is present that allows you to commit a crime without punishment. Weapons are weapons, New York is currently prosecuting citizens for concealed carry of Exacto-knifes and pocket knives.

 

We really need to wake up. An “assault rifle” is equally an “anti-assault rifle.” A regular capacity magazine, sometimes arbitrarily called “high-capacity” merely has a better capacity for the American Citizen to defend himself. Young women, young men, women in general, senior citizens, all need the equal protection of the 2nd Amendment, perhaps more to be able to defend themselves when a larger, heavier assailant needs only a stick or a piece of rope. Or a fist.

 

The fight to reclaim God-Given rights is not for the benefit of ourselves. Today, I was at the Second Amendment Foundation's 2011 Gun Policy Conference. Well-attended and enthusiastic, yes. However, the room was filled in the greatest measure with white-haired men, those that have already lived a goodly portion of their lives. The struggle to regain the protections of the Constitution persist, but for the preservation of future generations. Future generations that need to be afforded the great promise of true Liberty and freedom, regardless of race, age, religion, or gender. The promise of a free America must be kept safe for those yet unborn.

 

Alan Gura was there, lead attorney for Dick Heller in the D.C. Case and lead counsel in McDonald v. Chicago, an United States Supreme Court decision released June 28, 2010 that incorporated the Second Amendment against state and local governments. Otis McDonald lead plaintiff, as there as well. Self-protection is a fundamental right, as citizens cannot depend on the government to protect them from criminals or tyrannical rulers. There can be no liberty or freedom without it. The flame of Liberty must be kept safe, burning brightly for the future of a free America: it must exist for the as yet unborn American Citizen to carry on the dream, along with free political speech and our fundamental right of self-determination.

 

Ignorance must be challenged and defeated wherever it is found. Where some want to call Armalite rifles “Modern Sporting Rifles,” I call them just one of many, many weapons that can be used as self-defense as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Ted Nugent has said a few people “can suck on his machine gun.” Uncle Ted has it more right than most. There are no reasonable restrictions on God-given rights. There are no “reasonable” restrictions that violate the concept of personal liberty or that violate what is guaranteed by the United States Constitution to the citizens of the United States.

 

Ron Paul has the best record among all the 2012 presidential candidates for his advocacy of the Second Amendment for individuals. In 2007, Paul introduced the H.R. 1096: Second Amendment Protection Act of 2007 in Congress. Ron Paul explained what his bill was about in a January 9, 2003 address to the House.


"Mr. Speaker, I rise to restore the right the founding fathers saw as the guarantee of every other right by introducing the Second Amendment Protection Act. This legislation reverses the steady erosion of the right to keep and bear arms by repealing unconstitutional laws that allow power-hungry federal bureaucrats to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

 

Specifically, my legislation repeals the five-day waiting period and the "instant" background check, which enables the federal government to compile a database of every gun owner in America. My legislation also repeals the misnamed ban on "semi-automatic" weapons, which bans entire class of firearms for no conceivable reason beside the desire of demagogic politicians to appear tough on crime.

 

Finally, my bill amends the Gun Control Act of 1968 by deleting the "sporting purposes" test, which allows the Treasury Secretary to infringe on second amendment rights by classifying a firearm (handgun, rifle, shotgun) as a "destructive device" simply because the Secretary believes the gun to be "non-sporting."

 

Newt Gingrich often expresses the sentiment well, as he did on April 29, 2011. "The right to bear arms is not about hunting. It's not about target practice . . . The right to bear arms is a political right designed to safeguard freedom so that no government can take away from you the rights that God has given you, and it was written by people who had spent their lifetime fighting the greatest empire in the world and they knew that if they had not had the right to bear arms, they would have been enslaved. And they did not want us to be enslaved. That is why they guaranteed us the right to protect ourselves. It is a political right of the deepest importance to the survival of freedom in America."




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Copyright 2011 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.


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