Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Shall Not Be Infringed

Tyrants and Nannies have something in common. Neither one wants you to own a gun, because neither one wants you to be free of their power.

It seems to me that most governments in the West are trending toward Nannyism. They operate on the principle that it is the government's duty to protect the citizen (including those in the military) from harm, even self-induced harm. In the East, the trend is to tyranny (hey, it's a blog, I can overgeneralize if I want). By contrast, the American Founders believed that the people were to protect themselves, and must be free in order to do that.

That is why we have the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

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
Gun ownership is a check on the encroaching power of government, in at least two ways. First, it makes government less necessary by giving the police less work to do. Conversely, without the ability to defend one's person, family, and property, the ineffective protection of government is in greater demand. Secondly, gun ownership gives overzealous police another variable to consider before they abuse their authority.

If people misuse their guns, they should be punished accordingly. Using a gun in a crime should be a compounding factor in sentencing.

During the 2006 election cycle, one of the treats for me was the way Diana Irey put her beliefs into words. On the Second Amendment, she doesn't disappoint, reminding us of the duty we owe each other:
Freedom isn't free. Our country has a long and dignified history of personal responsibility and accountability. For generations, our ancestors have lived in a country where they were free, and able, and expected to defend themselves, their families, and their homes. I believe that it is important that we maintain these rights for ourselves, and for generations to come.
I don't care what gun ownership does for the crime rate. What does it do for the freedom rate?

I don't care what it does for hunting, except to tell me who I want at my back when the deer sign hits the fan.

There are those who say that the Militia is an antiquated concept, obviated by the modern Reserve system and standing army. They say, therefore, that since a well-regulated militia is no longer used, the right to keep and bear arms is no longer necessary.

In Parker v. District of Columbia (pdf), the Appeals Court noted that the Constitutional guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms applies every citizen, not to the hunter or the off-duty policeman alone, and not only to those registered in the Militia. That no one is registered in the Militia is immaterial; its Reserve successor occupies its place in the logic.

We are all responsible for our own defense, and that of our neighbor, and of our country. In this rapidly changing world, you never know when we'll be called upon to exercise the duty to which Mrs. Irey, and the Founders, have called us.

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