Our founding fathers met in Philadelphia in May 1787 for the first Convention with the intention of “fixing” the Articles of Confederation. Instead, they drafted and signed the Constitution of the United States in September of that same year. Federalists would concede to the demands of Anti-Federalists in 1791 during the 1st Congressional assembly, when the First through Tenth Amendments were adopted, thereby creating what is known as the Bill of Rights. So what does all this have to do with today’s right to bear arms?
In 1791, the framers of the Constitution and their successors were concerned about the raising of an army, especially an army which could be used against the people in an act of tyranny. Matters were further complicated by the establishment of an unpaid militia, which trained on a part-time basis. The framers knew that militias didn’t fight that well against an organized army, so they were not very keen on the idea of a militia. However, this was the Convention, and the only two options for national defense were the establishment of individual state militias or a militia system under federal control. In the end, I believe that the Convention attendees knew that any attempt to cohesively and rapidly deploy multiple states’ militias in the event of a national emergency would present its own set of challenges. Therefore, the Convention chose a federally-controlled militia system with the caveat that it would be regulated by Congress. However, this option did not satisfy the Anti-Federalists.
Anti-Federalists feared that American citizens would suffer the same fate as their European forebears if a federal militia was created. James Madison explained that, unlike the unarmed citizens of European nations, the people of America were armed, and therefore any governmental use of military force against the people would fail. But a question remained: Could an armed citizenry effectively protect liberty? That question still faces us today.
A lot has changed militarily and socially since the adoption of the Second Amendment. In this amendment, the framers made a conscious effort to separate it into two distinct parts, that is: 1) “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”; and 2) “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The right of the people to keep and bear arms was never a contentious issue among the framers. Let us put that to rest. They believed that the individual’s right to bear arms was akin to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. The framers were concerned with the management of the militia under federal control, and what checks and balances needed to be put in place to prevent the use of a federal militia against the people.
Since the eighteenth century, our military has been consolidated at the federal level. It morphed into a “joint service” power projection platform which is still regulated by Congress. The former state militias have also transformed into what we know today as the National Guard, under the command of each state’s respective governor, unless ordered into federal service by the President. Up until the last two decades, most Americans believed that the threat of the government using the military to tyrannize and police the people had faded into the past. However, in the years leading up to and following the attacks of September 11, 2001, an overwhelming number of citizens came to believe that governmental use of the military against the people is a real and emerging threat. Recent actions taken by the Bureau of Land Management, the Internal Revenue Service, and militarized local and state law enforcement agencies reflect a new threat to the people, and that threat has greatly expanded beyond that of the military. I believe both the Federalists and Anti-Federalists would agree that our government has gotten too big for itself and for the people, creating ideal conditions for large-scale abuse of individual liberties.
Today, every citizen has the right under the Constitution to bear arms, and that right shall not be infringed. With the Constitution being the “supreme” law of the land, no law can be enacted by any governmental body to disarm the citizenry. I believe wholeheartedly in the right to bear arms. I am a responsible gun owner and a proud member of the National Rifle Association. I also believe that with rights come responsibility, both to yourself and to the community.
Given the mobile threats that can strike us domestically, we cannot rely solely upon law enforcement professionals to ensure our safety and the safety of our families. We should not only be sounding the alarm but also preparing ourselves to defend against any threat we encounter. In the last year alone, the Department of Justice (DoJ) released thousands of illegals convicted of murder and rape back into communities. According to the DoJ, the law does not allow these illegals to be held beyond a certain time period and they “had” to be released. As a husband, father, and parent, I believe it is my duty to protect my family and keep them safe. As we live in our communities, pray in our places of worship, and travel to and from our workplaces, the world has become a much more dangerous place. People under the spell of extremist ideologies are trying to make a name for themselves and their adopted cause. Additionally, the crisis at the southern border has allowed gang members like MI-13 and 18th Street to blend in with other illegals while the federal government turns a blind eye.
There is no doubt that political intimidation and organized attempts to silence citizens who want their voices to be heard is active in America. Besides the use of the military, the federal government now has agencies like the National Security Agency, which actively spies on American citizens under the guise of national security. My fear is that much of this effort is actually designed to locate and identify armed citizens. Consider Germany in 1938, Cambodia in 1956, Guatemala in 1964 and Uganda in 1970. All of these countries have two things in common: First, they disarmed their citizens, and then they systematically slaughtered the unarmed masses. In America, the organized effort by the Progressive Left to aggressively disarm their neighbors and fellow citizens is nothing short of Orwellian.
Further, the idea that American citizens are willing to relinquish their inalienable rights or support the taking of rights granted to them through natural law is much more frightening to me than facing a hostile government eye to eye. We are facing a hostile progressive movement that is hell-bent on controlling those who are not willing to surrender. While we have the upper hand for the time being, the progressive’s fear who we are because we stand as our founders did over two hundred years ago—we stand for principle and we stand for basic human rights.
It is my pledge, therefore, to never surrender or relinquish my inalienable right to bear arms. Finally, when those who are blinded by ignorance ask us whether we still need an armed citizenry today, all armed citizens should raise their weapons and yell, “Hell, yeah!”