Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Misunderstood and Deliberately Misinterpreted Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights

If you wish to copy or repost any parts of this article, please go to the original source, and be sure to credit Rich Mason and his web site: Tennesseefirearms dot com. He grants that it may be reprinted, retransmitted, and broadcast on a not-for-profit basis. I continue with the price of liberty, and conclusion of his lengthy article.

Part 4
The Price of Liberty
Our founding fathers, legislators and justices have spoken eloquently upon the subject of liberty, the need to be prepared to defend our liberty; particularly from our own government.

"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams 1776

"They that give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." -- Daniel Webster

"...for it is a truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of ensuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion." -- Alexander Hamilton

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent . . . the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." -- Justice Louis Brandeis -- Olmstead vs. United States, United States Supreme Court, 1928

Supporting Quotes

The founders of our country, quoted below, make it quite clear that Americans possess an inherent right to keep and bear arms and that their main fear for our liberties came not from external forces, but from the very government they were in the process of founding. Any citizen who does not understand this need read no further to begin to gain the knowledge necessary to know why it is not only our right, but our responsibility, to be armed.

"A free people be armed..." -- George Washington, speech of Jan. 7, 1790 in the Boston Independent Chronicle, Jan. 14, 1790

"Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would." -- John Adams, Boston Gazette, Sept. 5, 1763,reprinted in 3 The Works of John Adams 438 (Charles F. Adams ed., 1851)

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." -- Alexander Hamilton, the Federalist Papers at 1848

"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the people, trained to arms is the best and most natural defense of a free country..." -- James Madison, 1 Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789)

"Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" -- Patrick Henry, 3 Elliot Debates 168-169

"The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by rule of construction be conceived to give Congress the power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both." -- William Rawle, 1825; considered academically to be an expert commentator on the Constitution. He was offered the position of the first Attorney General of the United States, by President Washington,

From the words of the founders of this country it is clear that the gun control laws enacted in this country are unconstitutional infringements upon our liberties and it is our right and responsibility to oppose, by arms if necessary, the tyranny of our own government. How great a folly it would be if we were to allow the very instrument of tyranny, government, to control whether we have the right to the means to resist tyranny! This is the folly, and danger, of gun control. If we will not put our press under the control of the government, why should we be willing to put the control of our arms, the means to defend the press and our liberties, under the control of the government? The answer is clear, we should not!

When the government attempts to limit the freedom of the free press through censorship, the press, the people, and the courts properly repulse it. When the government limits the right of the people to keep and bear arms, it is engaging in another form of censorship, referred to the by the euphemism of "gun control". Let us call gun control what it is, an infringement of one of our natural and enumerated rights. Just as we correctly withstand government censorship of the press, so should we also resist the government’s attempt to control the right to keep and bear arms. Examples of such governmental tyranny on our right to keep and bear arms abound. We should not accept any limitation on any of our rights. One lesson we have learned from history is that when one right is infringed it emboldens the tyrant to attempt to infringe upon other rights as well.

The great men who founded this country trusted us to be the arbiter of our own fate by giving us a Constitution designed to limit the power of government. These great men trusted us to live our lives responsibly, free from the tyranny of government. Why don’t we trust ourselves, indeed demand of ourselves, to continue to do so? Upon such choices as face us today are our liberties, and that of our posterity, poised in the balance.

Two final thoughts:

"One man with courage is a majority." -- Thomas Jefferson

"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." -- Charles A. Beard

Be that courageous citizen.

Selected quotes of interest:

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." -- William Pitt in the House of Commons November 18, 1783

"...Arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace." --Thomas Paine

"However controversial the meaning of the Second Amendment is today, it was clear enough to the generation of 1789. The amendment assured to the people "...their private arms, ..." said and article which received James Madison's approval and was the only analysis available to Congress when it voted. Subsequent contemporaneous analysis is epitomized by the first American commentary on the writings of William Blackstone. Where Blackstone described arms for personal defense as among the "...absolute rights of individuals..." at common law, his eighteenth century American editor commented that this right had been constitutionalized by the Second Amendment. Early constitutional commentators, including Joseph Story, William Rawle and Thomas M. Cooley, described the amendment in terms of a republican philosophical tradition stemming from Aristotle's observation that basic to tyrants is a "...mistrust of the people; hense they deprive them of arms." Political theorists from Cicero to John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rouseau also held arms possession to be symbolic of personal freedom and vital to the virtuous, self reliant citizenry (defending itself from encroachment by outlaws, tyrants and foreign invaders alike) that they deemed indispensable to poplar government.." -- Don B. Kates, Jr., Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, MacMillan Publishing Co, NY, 1986

"Disperse, you rebels -- Damn you, throw down your arms and disperse!" -- Maj. John Pitcairn, Lexington, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775

"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all the world would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside...Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived the use of them..." -- Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 (1894)

"...for it is a truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of ensuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion." -- Alexander Hamilton

"An armed republic submits less easily to the rule of one of its citizens than a republic armed by foreign forces. Rome and Sparta were for many centuries well-armed and free. The Swiss are well-armed and enjoy great freedom. Among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible. It is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe among armed servants." -- Machiavelli -- The Prince; Chapter 17

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation's." -- James Madison

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of people are armed and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States..." -- Noah Webster

We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; -- Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. Memorial Edition 16:45, Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

Selected quotes of interest from the enemies of liberty:

"One man with a gun can control 100 without one. ... Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms," --V.I. Lenin.

"If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves," -- Joseph Stalin

...We're going to hammer guns on the anvil of relentless legislative strategy. We're going to beat guns into submission!" -- Rep. (now Sen.) Charles Schumer

"Banning guns is an idea whose time has come." -- U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden

"Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe." -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein

"We're going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily given the political realities-going to be very modest...So then we'll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law, and maybe again and again...Our ultimate goal-total control of handguns in the US-is going to take time....the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors -- totally illegal." -- Pete Shields, Chairman Emeritus, Handgun Control, Inc. ("The New Yorker", July 26, 1976)

If it was up to me, no one but law enforcement officers would own hand guns... -- Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Federal Gun Legislation Press Conference in Washington, D.C., November 13, 1998

In fact, the assault weapons ban will have no significant effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea . . . . Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation. -- Charles Krauthammer, Disarm the Citizenry. But Not Yet, Washington Post, Apr. 5, 1996

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