"...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Constitution, Amendment Article II
The Founding Fathers never used the word "people" when they meant government. Just as the phrase "the people" is used in the 1st, 4th, 9th and 10th Amendments to guarantee individual rights, so it does in the 2nd. It is foolish to claim the second amendment was written to protect the right of government to bear arms. So, even liberals now admit that the Supreme Court analysis that guns were limited to state militias in US v. Miller, (307 US 174, 1939), was defective. The word militia was in a subordinate clause. Militia consists of those persons who are liable to perform military duty. The father of the Bill of Rights, George Mason, wrote that the whole people were the militia. And the logic of Miller is completely self-contradictory since Miller would not have standing to make his argument that he had right to guns unless that right was an individual right (Miller was not a militia). Since Miller had standing as an individual, the Court analysis was wrong on its face. The context of the Bill of Rights is that the Founding Fathers were opposed to a standing army and the alternative was that everyone would have guns so they could form militias as necessary for self-defense.
"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference -- they deserve a place of honor with all that is good."
"The great object is that every man be armed ... Everyone who is able may have a gun."
"To 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, initiator of the Declaration of Independence
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
"To disarm the people, that is the best and most effective way
to enslave them . . ."
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
(A variation of this is "Those who give up liberty for security will soon have neither")
The Founding Fathers knew better than anyone the importance of arms because they had lived the importance of arms to secure freedom from tyranny. Without arms, they would have been crushed under the boots of a mad tyrant. This immediate experience is the reason that the right to bear arms holds such a prominent position in the Bill of Rights.
The importance of preserving freedom trumps every other concern. Obviously, if every Jew had killed a Nazi then the Holocaust could not have happened. The world would have run out of Nazis. If the religionists at Waco, Texas, had been adequately armed, they and the innocent women and children could not have been slaughtered by jack-booted government thugs. Bill Clinton does not enforce the gun laws because he wants the issue to demand more gun laws. There are already more than 22,000 restrictive gun laws on the books in the United States. Liberals always want to take away guns because they are the only obstacle preventing the taking all rights from the people.
People who cannot distinguish rights from entitlements, freedom from slavery, or truth from demagoguery are selling out our birthright. We are at the hinge of history. We can reaffirm the Constitution and our rights or we can degenerate into a nation of neutered serfs, of defenseless sheep, depending on the good intentions of central authorities who by the nature of their process of selection are, far from angels, actually the worst among us.
The next amendment is, "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." One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia. The friends of a free government cannot be too watchful, to overcome the dangerous tendency of the public mind to sacrifice, for the sake of mere private convenience, this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men.
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
While arrest or conviction rates and the death penalty reduce "normal" murder rates, our results find that the only policy factor to influence multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws which reduce both the number of shootings as well as their severity.
See his paper Multiple Victum Public Shootings
See his book More Guns, Less Crime : Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws (Studies in Law and Economics), 1998, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226493636.
Second Amendment Foundation
Gun Owners Alliance for a No-Compromise NRA
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E-mail Mark Willey: [email protected].