Happy Gun Appreciation Day!
Yesterday was Gun Appreciation Day, with huge rallies at state capitols across the nation to remind officials that millions of Americans are determined to protect their right to keep and bear arms, a right with roots in the English Common Law long before the passage of the 2nd Amendment that enshrines it. (Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ.)
Did you know that Martin Luther King, Jr., applied for a concealed carry permit? Did you know that white officials in Alabama abused their discretion to deny him that permit? King and his team owned "an arsenal" of weapons to protect him against the forces that sought to harm him.
An interesting related quote from King about tyrants and oppressors:
Martin Luther King Jr. once said of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred World War II pastor, "if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer."
Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, theologian, and pacifist, joined a conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler, but was captured and executed when the plot failed.
WikiQuote has a long list of quotations from America's Founding Fathers and others regarding the right to keep and bear arms. George Mason, in 1788, in Virginia's debate on ratifying the Constitution of the United States:
Forty years ago, when 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, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.
Patrick Henry, during the same debates, arguing against adopting the Constitution in the absence of a bill of rights:
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined....
Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism! Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition; and those nations who have gone in search of grandeur, power, and splendor, have also fallen a sacrifice, and been the victims of their own folly. While they acquired those visionary blessings, they lost their freedom. My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants. It is urged by some gentlemen, that this new plan will bring us an acquisition of strength--an army, and the militia of the states. This is an idea extremely ridiculous: gentlemen cannot be earnest. This acquisition will trample on our fallen liberty. Let my beloved Americans guard against that fatal lethargy that has pervaded the universe. Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia, is put into the hands of Congress?
Noah Webster, arguing in support of the Constitution in the pamphlet An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (1787):
But what is tyranny? Or how can a free people be deprived of their liberties? Tyranny is the exercise of some power over a man, which is not warranted by law, or necessary for the public safety. A people can never be deprived of their liberties, whlie they retain in their own hands a power superior to any other power in the state....
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. A military force at the command of Congress can execute no laws but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive. In spite of all the nominal powers vested in Congress by the constitution. were the system once adopted in its fullest latitude, still the actual exercise of them would be frequently interrupted by popular jealousy. I am bold to say that ten just and constitutional measures would be resisted, where one unjust or oppressive law would be enforced. The powers vested in Congress are little more than nominal; nay real power cannot be vested in them nor in any body but in the people. The source of power is in the people of this country and cannot for ages, and probably never will, be removed.
Meanwhile, at the New York State Legislature, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin was asked not to share a list of gun control measures floated by Democrats in the legislature as "it really has the capacity to dampen the enthusiasm to compromise." (Video at the link.) The list included a statewide database for all guns, a seemingly reasonable measure that has been used in other countries to lay the groundwork for later confiscation.
MORE: Susanna Gratia Hupp, a survivor of the Luby's massacre, explains why the number of bullets in a clip doesn't matter, and how the rules that discourage keeping a gun on your person at all times cost her parents their lives.
STILL MORE: Newly elected Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm has authored three bills to protect the rights of Oklahomans to keep and bear arms. One bill would treat our vehicles as an extension of our homes, allowing a firearm to be in the car without the need of a special license to carry.
Maggie's Notebook quotes extensively a column by Larry Elder, a Chicago native. It's not the gun culture that results in hundreds of murders every year in places like Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia; it's the fatherless culture.
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