Skip to comments.What Gun Control Proponents Have to Believe
Posted on 05/22/2002 7:51:46 AM PDT by Joe Brower
What Gun Control Proponents Have to Believe
by Jim Cammarano
CalNRA Contributing Editor
California Rifle & Pistol Director
President San Diego Rifle and Revolver Association
Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, (The Complete Jefferson, p322.) gave future generations his advice on interpreting the Constitution: "ON every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invent against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.".
In order to believe in gun control, you have to believe that history and the documents written by the founding fathers have little bearing on what they encoded into the Constitution. Gun control proponents believe that what liberal law school professors and judges say about the Constitution are more valid than what the founding fathers themselves said and wrote.
Proponents of gun control have to believe that near the beginning of the Bill of Rights, Amendments clearly designed to limit governmental power and to protect citizens, is a statement designed to enable the government to raise militias and to keep individuals from owning firearms. They have to believe this despite the fact that in Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution the Congress is given the power "To raise and support armies."
However, given their fear of standing armies to tyrannize the citizenry they limited this ability to "but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years...." To believe in gun control you would have to believe that the second clause of the Second Amendment is entirely dependent on the first. Despite the fact that many expert grammarians have weighed in to the contrary. You can see the folly of this plainly in a reworked version of the Second Amendment:
"A well educated citizenry, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear books, shall not be infringed". Does this mean that only libraries can own books? Does this mean only States can own books? Does this mean people can't own books or carry them?
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." In other words to believe in gun control, you have to believe that the only reason for a citizen to have arms is for militia duty. They have no individual right to own a firearm. The words "the people" would have to mean a group not individuals. This makes little sense. How can a group have rights that individuals don't? No one interprets the first Amendment and "the right of the people" therein to mean a group. That would mean individuals have no right to free speech only groups. * In 1990, the Supreme Court observed in U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, that the right to keep and bear arms, like rights protected by the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, is an individual right held by "the people," which the court defined as all "persons who are a part of a national community. The National Guard was established in 1903 and subject to federal control, could not have been the type of body envisioned by the framers, even if the goal were to protect only an organized state militia. Under federal law, the militia consists of all able-bodied males of an age to serve, and some females and older men. (10U.S.C. _311 and 32 U.S.C. _313). Even if Gun Control proponents believe that the only reason to have firearms is to serve in a militia, they clearly do not want unorganized militia members to have access to militia weapons like M-16's and hand grenades.
To believe in gun control, you also have to believe that the state versions of the Second Amendment adopted in the same time period, which were based on the Second Amendment also confer no individual rights to keep and bear arms.
Kentucky: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. (1792)
Vermont: [T]he people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State -- and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power (1777)
Pennsylvania: That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination, to, and governed by, the civil power (1776).
Perhaps the strongest phrase in the Bill of Rights admonishing the government not to tamper with the rights of "the people" appears in the Second Amendment with the people's right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed". Infringed means "to violate", "to encroach". It is even more restrictive than the First Amendment's "Congress shall make no law" since it also would apply to Local , State, and Federal laws. To believe in gun control, you have to believe that this phrase does not mean what it clearly states. You have to believe that banning firearms, not permitting citizens to own or carry firearms is not an encroachment of a constitutional right.
To believe in gun control, you have to posit that even though minutemen who provided their own personal firearms for battle, and defeated the most powerful military force in the world, that the founding fathers denied in law the right to keep and bear arms to future generations of Americans.
Gun controllers also have to be able to explain that if the Second Amendment confers only rights to groups, how come individuals have been able to legally purchase, possess, and use firearms in America for over 200 years? How come gun stores are federally licensed? Hasn't the government sanctioned individual purchases of firearms? The US Constitution is highest law in the land. If it explicitly prevents individuals from owning firearms, why has the government for centuries allowed the purchase of firearms by individuals? The Government itself continues to sell firearms to individuals. To believe in gun control, you have to believe that over 200 years of arms sales to individuals was due to an erroneous reading of the Constitution.
Gun controllers also have to believe that the founding father's did not view the firearm as a tool to provide food when no grocery stores existed on the frontier. That a firearm was unnecessary for self defense when homesteaders often came in contact with wild animals, bandits, Indian raiding parties and soldiers from other countries. In fact Thomas Jefferson wrote to the contrary: I learn with great concern that [one] portion of our frontier so interesting, so important, and so exposed, should be so entirely unprovided with common fire-arms. I did not suppose any part of the United States so destitute of what is considered as among the first necessaries of a farm-house." --Thomas Jefferson to Jacob J. Brown, 1808. ME 11:432
In order to believe in gun control, you have to believe that the Second Amendment is an archaic footnote that is not on the same order as the other Amendments. For example, the First Amendment is interpreted so broadly by some as to prevent a moment of silence in schools. These same individuals interpret the Second Amendment so narrowly as to give States the right to raise militias carrying muskets provided to them by the government and grant "the people" no rights at all. I have heard gun controllers say "OK you win. The Second Amendment does grant you the right to carry a musket". This argument is specious. Somehow, they grant the other Amendments the benefit of technology. They say "the founding fathers never envisioned fully automatic weapons." What they are essentially saying is that the founding fathers who perhaps were the most visionary group of individuals gathered in any time in history lacked forethought. Clearly, this cannot be correct. They believed that the citizenry needed the ability to fight a tyrannical government. This is well documented. Therefore, they would need arms of the same capabilities as a standing army. In their own time, they saw improvements in firearms. What would be more difficult for the founding fathers to conceive of fully automatic weapons, or the right to free speech promulgated by Radio, Television, Fully Automated Printing Presses, Satellites, the Internet, and Motion Pictures?
The courts have consistently ruled that police departments are not legally compelled to protect individuals only "society at large." Since it may be impossible for the police to be where they are needed at that particular critical moment this makes some sense. Even if the police are notified BEFORE a murder is committed, if they fail to respond there can be no legal remedy pursued. Notice that the police always seem to show up after the murder has been committed. If you believe in gun control, you believe that no one has the right to self-defense. They believe that if you are being raped you should just surrender yourself and hope that if you don't resist you will save your life. Gun controllers believe that you lack the capacity to protect yourself via arms. They believe that being a victim is better than being armed. Ironically, they believe that while you should not have a gun, when you are in trouble you should call men with guns (the police) to save you.
The founding fathers believed in freedom and they had gained their own through armed insurrection. Their militias composed of citizens carried arms owned by individuals not the State. Proponents of gun control also have to believe that despite voluminous documentation of the founding father's support for an individuals gun ownership, they did a complete about face and denied this right in the Constitution (The founders believed that the Second Amendment merely acknowledged a pre- existing right). Gun controllers believe this despite the fact that there is no known writings of a founding father that endorses gun control of any type. You would also have to believe that despite the fact that one reason for the Revolutionary War was England's attempt to confiscate individual's firearms the founding father's decided that gun control was the better course. Gun control proponents have to believe that the founding father's were the biggest bunch of liars in their time. They believe that when the founding fathers spoke the following words, they did not mean what they said:
"The said Constitution be never construed .to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." Samuel Adams, during Massachusetts's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788).
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8)
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks." --Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785. ME 5:85, Papers 8:407
"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." --Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. ME 16:45
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." --Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341 "None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important." --Thomas Jefferson to -----, 1803. ME 10:365
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater . confidence than an armed man." Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and punishment (1764).
"Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property . . . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them." Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War (1775).
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution (1776).
"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms .To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms . . . " Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53 (1788).
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." George Mason, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788).
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." Patrick Henry, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788)
"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." --James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46
"Suppose that we let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal: still it would not be going to far to say that the State governments with the people at their side would be able to repel the danger...half a million citizens with arms in their hands" --James Madison, The Federalist Papers
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."-- Benjamin Franklin Historical Review of Pennsylvania. [Note: This sentence was often quoted in the Revolutionary period. It occurs even so early as November, 1755, in an answer by the Assembly of Pennsylvania to the Governor, and forms the motto of Franklin's "Historical Review," 1759, appearing also in the body of the work.--Frothingham: Rise of the Republic of the United States, p. 413. ]
"False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crime."--Cesare Beccaria, quoted by Thomas Jefferson
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been recognized by the General Government; but the best security of that right after all is, the military spirit, that taste for martial exercises, which has always distinguished the free citizens of these States....Such men form the best barrier to the liberties of America" -- Gazette of the United States, October 14, 1789.
"The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..."--James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789.
"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of bearing arms." --Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Framer (1788) at p. 169
"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."--Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at p. 750, August 17, 1789.
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States"--Noah Webster in "An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution," 1787, in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, at p. 56 (New York, 1888).
"The great object is that every man be armed....Everyone who is able may have a gun." -- Patrick Henry, Elliot Debates
"THE POWERS OF THE SWORD ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE YEOMANRY OF AMERICA FROM SIXTEEN TO SIXTY....Who are the militia? are they not ourselves?...Congress have no power to disarm the militia....Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth right of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. --- Tench Coxe Pennsylvania Gazette February 20,1788
".....to disarm the people; that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them..." --- George Mason, Elliot Debates
"[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually.". . . I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers." -- George Mason, of Virginia: Virginia's U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788
"And what country can preserve it's liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." --- Thomas Jefferson
"...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, Letters from a Federal Farmer 1787-1788
"The constitution ought to secure a genuine militia and guard against a select militia. .... all regulations tending to render this general militia useless and defenceless, by establishing select corps of militia, or distinct bodies of military men, not having permanent interests and attachments to the community ought to be avoided." ---- Richard Henry Lee
"Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion...in private self-defense..." (John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the USA, 471 (1788))
"AS civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear arms". (Tench Coxe in "Remarks On The First Part Of The Amendments to The Federal Constitution". Under the pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian", in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 8, 1789, at 2 col.1.) "IT is asserted by most respectable writers upon our government, that a well-regulated militia, composed of the yeomanry of the country, have ever been considered as the bulwark of a free people. Tyrants have never placed any confidence on a militia composed of freemen" (John Dewitt)
"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. ...Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789)
"...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights..." (Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29.)
"The rights of conscience, of bearing arms, of changing the government, are declared to be inherent in the people." -- Fisher Ames, of Massachusetts, Letter to F.R. Minoe, June 12, 1789
Finally if you believe in gun control, you have to believe that two of most prominent Democrats in this century were entirely wrong in their assessment of the Second Amendment:
"The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against tyranny which now appears remote in America, that historically has proven to be always possible." Hubert H. Humphrey
"...By calling attention to a well-regulated militia for the security of the Nation, and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fear of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the Second Amendment, will ever be an important danger to our Nation, the Amendment remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationship, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important. --- President John F. Kennedy
It is my hope that this article touches off honest public debate among the gun control proponents and that pro-gun activists will renew their strength and do what is necessary to keep this generation and future generations armed. Alexander Hamilton saw the dangers ahead and stated "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." That is my hope too.
When the Day comes, however, you will be able to deal with them.
Concerned about the easy availability of guns in our society?
Alarmed about the "gun nuts" and other freedom wackos the government allows to run loose?
Wish the government would just repeal the Second Amendment and confiscate all the guns because you believe sensible people shouldn't suffer because of some idiotic notion about some antiquated right?
While we can't take the guns away from the people, we CAN take the people (or at least SOME of them) away from their guns.
At CAMP GUNFREE, we have created an atmosphere of near-total tranquility where you and your family will experience the benefits of a GUN FREE environment.
Each of our camps is a gated community designed to keep guns away from camp guests. Firmly enforced security measures ensure that these dangerous and destructive devices are kept outside. Each camp boasts 24 hour, 7 day a week sentries and state-of-the-art enclosure systems, guard dogs, trenches and surveillance equipment to absolutely GUARANTEE that no firearms enter the facility. Rigidly controlled access ensures that no guns can ever be smuggled in.
No cost has been spared to ensure that Camp GunFree remains gun free.
All camp members are given distinctive uniforms to distinguish them from any gun-toting barbarians who might attempt to evade our security measures. Each camp member is also assigned a distinctive ID number to ensure that only the right people are allowed within the camp.
The current headlines prompt us to remind you that there has NEVER been a shooting by a student in any of the camp schools and we can GUARANTEE that there never will be!!
For more information, call 1-800-GUNFREE
OR visit our new website at
(This idea from a pamphlet originally created by The Minnesota Center for Individual Liberty, PO Box 32170, Minneapolis, MN 55432-0170)
When terrorists start splattering teens at the mayhem mall, will these same proponents demand personal police escort or arm themselves to provide a chance of delf-defense? I can hardly wait to hear the outroar of gun controllers when they face the 15 day (Kali) waiting period as their schools, malls, condo's, and offices are exploded day after day. Parents need to consider that in terror bombings the injured outnumber the dead by about 6:1. The blinded, mutilated, and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome innocents will outnumber the dead. We each must face our own responsibilities to protect our families.
In nearly every case, cops are crime historians. In nearly every case, the police powers of the State serve to protect the State.
Will they then move to restrict the rights of all Americans to own such "high powered military style weapons", or will they allow wider open and concealed carry, Israeli style, to stop future attackers in their tracks?
Based on the current debacle with the disarmed airline pilots, I'd have to guess they will go for greater restrictions. They have just proven that the FedGov would rather blow an airliner out of the sky with a missile from a (government owned and operated) F-16 than permit a civilian pilot to have the chance to defend his cockpit and his passengers with a privately owned pistol.
That's why the antigun lobby can never accept any compromise on the gun issue - as it would make their lucrative careers irrelevant to the rich commies like George Soros and Andrew McKelvey and leftist foundations funding them. That's why their struggle must be perpetual. (What was the best thing careerwise that ever happened to Sarah Brady? Her "martyr" status when her husband got shot!)
Like Wayne LaPierre said of the Klintons, that's why the antigun lobby really does depend on a certain level of headline crime - no matter what gun control was in effect at the time.
I guess we know what she believes.
I fear you are correct.
Thanks for the ping, especially among such a distinguished group of freepers.
"Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe." ~~Senator Diane Feinstein, 1993
"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate ofthe United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them....'Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in', I would have done it." ~~Senator Feinstein, 1995
"Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA: ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the state." ~~Heinrich Himmler
"If someone is so fearful that they are going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, it makes me very nervous that these people have weapons at all." ~~Henry Waxman
"One of the basic conditions for the victory of socialism is the arming of the workers [read communist party] and the disarming of the bourgeoisie." ~~V.I. Lenin, Collected Works
"I don't think everybody has a right to a weapon which can be used to kill innocent people and maybe threaten the life of a president of the United States." ~~Henry Waxman
"Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms." ~~V.I. Lenin
"We are going to hammer guns on the anvil of relentless legislative strategy! We are going to beat guns into submission!" ~~Chuck Schumer
"If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves." ~~Stalin, 1927
"I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun. I also believe that every new handgun sale or or transfer should be listed in a national registry, such as Chuck [Senator Schumer] is proposing." ~~Hillary Clinton, 2000
I forget who said it (Jefferson? Franklin?) but..."When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Let's keep pignose Waxman peeing in his pants!
Funny how that works.
"History is a vast early warning system." -- Norman Cousins
There are just too many variables to take into account in a poker game when the card table is thrown over.
We've been there, done that, eh, Travis?