“A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” — George Washington
The never ending gun policy debate. Wrought with fraud and declared upon the graves of dead children and teachers, the Newtown Massacre has been the new genesis for the current debate over citizens right to own and possess firearms. In the current political climate, the quotidian quips of vociferous faux Expositors of anti-gun rhetoric abound endlessly with claims made of whole cloth and cherry-picked facts that belie logic and truth.
In my January 13 Eagle Tribune Editorial, I provided hard facts and reliable, unbiased statistics supporting the thesis that while America, in a twenty-year period loosened its’ gun laws and expanded the rights of private citizens to possess, own and use firearms, crime plummeted by 50% and murder rates fell by 54%. Inversely, I provided hard data showing that European nations which greatly expanded gun control policy, going as far as taking guns from citizens manifested, so did violent crime.
Enter the liars. “Nobody want to take your guns away,” prevaricators of pablum who would tell us this, erstwhile, Diane Feinstein, Andrew Cuomo and other assorted cadre of gun grabbing openly trial-ballooned confiscation concepts.
And if the rhetoric wasn’t bad enough, Twitter became awash in hyperbolic, visceral posts calling for the mass killing of NRA members and their families. NRA President David A. Keene had threats made upon his life and of his family’s lives.
In my December 15, article, A Common Thread, I detailed the European experience of gun control’s effect on mass killings, citing several examples of mass killings that took place in spite of highly restrictive gun control cultures.
The hyperbole, irrational rhetoric and hatred heaped upon those who embrace and value the Second Amendment speaks not only to an utterly gross ignorance of history, but an utter disregard for why the founding fathers gave us a Constitution with a Second Amendment. We hear ad nauseum the need to change, disregard, diffuse or obliterate this constitution without regard to its original intent or purpose. We need only look to quotes from that era to decide if it were foreign and arbitrary tyrants that were the specter of concern for our founders.
Alexander Hamilton stated, “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed,” and, “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.” Hamilton clearly and unambiguously refers to “the representatives of the people” Our government!
James Madison in the Federalist Papers #44 stated, “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its 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 in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787. Taken from Jefferson, On Democracy 20, S. Padover ed., 1939)
Let us not kid ourselves. Let us not be dismissive of the governing progressives’ motives and intentions. Nelson Shileds, founder of Handgun Control, Inc., articulated this concept back in 1976, when he told the New Yorker Magazine:
“We’re going to have to take this one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily — given the political realities — going to be very modest. … Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. … The final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, police, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal”
The continual chipping away began in in 1934 with the nation’s first gun-control legislation, the National Firearms Act (NFA) relating to machine guns and short-barrel firearms, including sawed-off shotguns. did not ban either weapon, but imposed a prohibitive tax of the time on transfers of these firearms.
During the 1930s, the country faced heavily-publicized gangster violence, John Dillinger, Al Capone, Baby Face Nelson, and Bonnie and Clyde. U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings drafted legislation that would achieve the regulatory end, but avoided running afoul of the Second Amendment. The aim was to tax such such firearms out of circulation.
Originally, the NFA covered a broad array of firearms, but as when adopted by Congress, the scope was narrowed to “A shotgun or rifle having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length, or any other weapon, except a pistol or revolver, from which a shot is discharged by an explosive if such weapon is capable of being concealed on the person, or a machine gun.” This is where the emergence of the $200 transfer tax on each firearm originated, to be paid by the transferer.
Next, we saw the emergence of the Gun Control Act of 1968, a federal law signed by LBJ that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners. It primarily focuses on regulating firearms interstate commerce prohibiting interstate arms transfers except through manufacturers, dealers and importers. The Gun Control Act of 1968 found support by America’s, “old school” gun manufacturers such as Colt, Smith & Wesson and Mossberg in an effort to forestall even greater restrictions which were feared in response to recent violence in the country. This law was brought about in a time when the U.S. was experiencing great political and social turmoil.
One cannot look to the validity of the GCA of 1968 without viewing the larger societal context. and the fact that also passed in this same year was the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. In firearms socio-history circles, this period is often referred to as the Symbolism and Handwringing era.
May 1965 marked the first time that a majority of people responding to nationwide polls named crime as the most important problem facing the nation. Such fears can be tied to forces beyond crime itself. Civil disobedience and marches by Southern blacks were met by widespread violence in the form of beatings, bombings, and murders by or with the approval of local police and government, most famously during the Birmingham protests of 1963. Broadcast over the nation’s televisions, images of protests and police reaction gave many Americans the impression that lawlessness was epidemic. Urban riots only intensified such feelings.
Finally, The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 sought to address the abuses noted in the 1982 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee report. Among the reforms intended to loosen restrictions on gun ownership were the reopening of interstate sales of long guns on a limited basis, legalization of ammunition shipments through the U.S. Postal Service (a partial repeal of the Gun Control Act), removal of the requirement for record keeping on sales of non-armor-piercing ammunition, and federal protection of transportation of firearms through states where possession of those firearms would otherwise be illegal
However, Representative William J Hughes of New Jersey slipped in proposals that banned the sale of machine guns manufactured after the date of enactment to civilians, restricting sales of these weapons to the military and law enforcement. Consequently, the limited supply of these arms available to civilians has resulted in an enormous increase in their price. Most now cost in excess of $10,000.
1994 brought us the Assault Weapons Ban that sunset in 2004. After the passage of the ban, Congressmen who voted for the ban lost their seats in the election that followed. IN the last several elections even the most liberal gun-control advocating members of congress shied away from gun discussions because of the substantial risk to their seats. We now witness a full arrogance, the likes of which has never been seen before.
Currently, the country has over 20,000 gun laws. I would say we have enough gun control without making more laws. There will always be those charlatans who respond, “The second never meant for citizens to own nuclear weapons” and, “Why do you need to own a Bazooka?” And we will continue to hear such dumb, stupid idiotic rantings and ravings of liberals who are idiotic enough to think they are making some salient point.
So where are we today? Guns are flying off the shelves, and dealers are wringing their hands, desperately trying to keep up with the demand. Ammunition, firearms and instruction classes are experiencing unprecedented activity. Captain Nick Williard of the Manchester Police Department told WMUR TV recently, the department fields, on average twenty to twenty-five permit applications per week. Presently, the MPD is fielding nearly seventy, many of which are women.
In the face of strident rhetoric and never-ending advocacy for gun control in the lame stream media and by liberal politicians, Some in Congress have spoken out telling the media, “There is no way a ban will get thought congress.”
America is the only nation on the planet to uniquely have a Second Amendment and I firmly believe the founders got it right. It should be therefore, no surprise at all when Europeans pejoratively judge us for having guns. Piers Morgan comes to mind. No other nation has a constitutional provision providing for a right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The fact is we do, so forget about the other nations. Everybody gets the government they deserve.
“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244)