My Photo
Location: United States

I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gun Control is Not about Guns, but about Control

“Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed

If it is true that Americans cherish what the First Amendment says about the freedom of speech,[1] it remains a mystery why there is so much confusion and misinformation regarding the Second Amendment. Our Constitution begins with the words, “We the People of the United States.” “The people” are mentioned in amendments 1, 4, 9, 10, and, of course, 2. Elsewhere, “the people” are referred to as “persons” or “citizens.” Throughout the Constitution it is hammered home that “the people” have rights, but the government does not. It has power that is granted to it by the people, but its citizens have rights. You can check it out for yourself. For whatever reason, a number of social engineers want to limit the scope of “the people” in the Second Amendment, but are fine with it referring to individual rights in the rest of the Constitution.

Stephen P. Halbrook has written a fascinating new book entitled The Founders’ Second Amendment. Origins of the Right to Bear Arms,[2] in which he chronicles in well over 300 pages what the Second Amendment intends. In other words, he’s not telling us what he thinks off the top of his head, which is what happens in a number of cases today when the discussion centers on the possession of firearms and the right of citizens to have them and use them.

Historically, it is interesting that the debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists about the Second Amendment found these two opposing factions sharing two assumptions: “first, that the proposed new constitution gave the federal government almost total legal authority over the army and the militia; and second, that the federal government should not have any authority at all to disarm the citizenry.”[3]

As I write this installment, there is currently a landmark case regarding Second Amendment rights before the Supreme Court (Washington, D.C. v. Heller) and a decision should be handed down sometime in July. The case concerns the right of the citizens of Washington, D.C. to possess a firearm for personal protection. In addition to affecting the D.C. populace, this decision will have far-reaching implications—whichever way it shakes out—for all of us for years and decades to come. Part of the debate deals with whether the Second Amendment provides an individual the right to bear (not bare!) arms, or whether the Amendment applies solely to the National Guard and other such organizations that would qualify as a “militia.” In other words, the Second Amendment is not an argument about short-sleeved shirts, even the Rick Warren aloha variety.

One might think that the argument over individual as opposed to collective rights should be a slam dunk, since it is clear, for example, that the First Amendment clearly applies to individual rights. In fact, those who are most vociferous about First Amendment rights are emphatic that these are individual rights—except for those, of course, who disagree with them. When these staunch defenders of the First Amendment shout down a visiting speaker with whom they, the enlightened bleeding heart liberals, disagree, they are merely saving the country from having to listen to a raving, rightwing nut case. You do see the difference, don’t you? It never ceases to amaze me that the liberals who hypocritically enjoin First Amendment rights are the first ones on college and university campuses (or campi) to shout down guest speakers and lecturers and refuse to allow them to speak. Of course, that is fair because the liberals are right and those who oppose their views are wrong and not worthy to be heard. But on the individual rights note, when was the last time you heard a discussion about whether the First Amendment applies just to the National Guard or to individuals as well? Or, when was the last time you heard someone questioning whether eminent domain only applied to a select few?

The propagandists have done their ideological, activist, and politically correct work well and have become the masters of misinformation dissemination. They have, in fact, done their work so well that every time a person who fully supports the Second Amendment speaks up on his or her own behalf, they will find themselves on the business end of a flurry of accusations that are almost 100% false, especially with regard to “gun control,” but which accusations form part and parcel of what is commonly called “conventional wisdom.” Few ever take the time to question if conventional wisdom is true. It is, after all, consensus wisdom. But is it really? That is to say, is the conventional wisdom regarding gun control based on irrefutable fact, or is it, like much in our modern society, an emotional, knee-jerk reaction?

I ask these questions because I am convinced that America is rapidly morphing from a nation of sheep into a nation of mind-numbed non-thinkers, and the transformation is, in many cases, almost complete. Mottos and mantras are the reaction d’jour. Guns kill! Why doesn’t someone cry out, “Pencils and pens misspell!”? Or, “Matches cause arson!” Why, for example, don’t we scream, “Water drowns!”? Why isn’t there a concerted effort to shut down privately-owned swimming pools or to banish swimming or surfing in the ocean? We know that cars in and of themselves don’t kill, but rather that people behind the wheel do. Over 6,000 teenagers go out for a drive yearly and never return home. Why are we far more concerned about that than we are guns? We should all take great comfort in the fact that almost every day of the year 66,999,987 firearms owners, give or take a few, kill no one.

Apart from illogical thinking, here is the chilling part: Our clueless, effeminate, politically correct society (and many of our politicians are worse!) has no historical understanding of gun control, even though they clamor for more of it constantly, as if more laws would be beneficial. There is already law upon law, in excessu, on the books already. We do not need more gun laws. In point of fact, we could and should make do with substantially fewer. Moreover, an inordinately high number of those laws are directly in contradiction to the Second Amendment and actually do “infringe” on our rights to own and carry a gun. The granting of the individual right does not mean that each and every citizen is obliged to own and carry a gun, but that if they choose to do so, they may. I would add that it seems clear that free men and women may choose to carry those weapons openly or concealed.

The propagandists have done their job, however, so that when I write words like I did above, some people go apoplectic. They envision people running around shooting any one and every one at the drop of a hat. Remember: Yesterday over 66 million gun owners killed no one. That also holds true for the day before yesterday and so on for a long, long time. You see, if you listen to the propagandists’ lies—and many have—then you will not understand that an armed society is, in fact, a very polite society. An armed man is a free citizen. An unarmed man is a subject. According to the Second Amendment, free men, who have never committed a felony, are granted the right of possessing and carrying a firearm. If, on the other hand, you don’t know your rights, you might as well not be granted any. The screeds and propaganda about guns and gun control are, de facto, the precise opposite of what the anti-gun lobby portrays the right granted by the Second Amendment to be. Allow me to give you an example of how happily inconsistent we are on this ethical issue.

The New Orleans case during hurricane Katrina is a recent example that demonstrates how thoroughly the anti-gun lobbyists have done their work. The leftists clamor vigorously and rigorously about the rights taken away from U.S. citizens by the Patriot Act. They are equally vociferous about not wiretapping phone calls from potential terrorists. That, to their way of thinking, is a violation of rights. Leftists are also ultimately concerned about the rights of terrorists at Club Gitmo in Cuba and how America is violating the Geneva Convention by keeping them there. Their protests are clear indications that they have never read or understood the Geneva Convention, but are merely mouthing the talking points and toeing the party line.

I preface my remarks about New Orleans and Katrina as I have done for a reason. No bleeding heart do-gooder raised any qualms when citizens of New Orleans had their guns confiscated during Katrina and the aftermath. When we take the time to lay the propaganda aside and begin to think and read for ourselves we come to understand that many despots employed the strategy of disarming the citizenry in order to defang them of any resistance. Names like Hitler, Stalin, Amin, Hussein, and Castro come to mind immediately. Our Founding Fathers understood this completely. Some of the citizens of New Orleans still have not had their legally possessed firearms given back to them. Some Americans are so foolish, so leftwing, and so inconsistent that they see no problem with the government acting in an unauthorized manner and seizing a freeman’s firearm and violating his Second Amendment right. For those who are gleeful about the confiscation of guns just remember this: If you grant the government the power to take your firearm, you are also giving them the implicit power to take whatever they want to take from you whenever they want to take it. Be careful what you wish for, because what might please you in the confiscation of guns one day might very well come around and bite you tomorrow. Many still fail to realize that less government involvement in life is far better than more involvement. Sadly, ironically there are those pitiful souls who still believe the lie: I’m from the government and I’m here to help you!

The “Wild West” Fallacy

But who wants to live in a society where citizens openly carry loaded weapons or carry them in a concealed fashion? That’s a good question and it needs to be answered realistically. Far too often, that question is answered emotionally, in terms of having listened to propaganda, or from a predisposed fear of guns. Rationally, this is a misplaced fear. Let me ask you this: Who do you think will intentionally harm you with a gun? Would it be a law-abiding citizen, who has gone through a FBI background check and had no criminal record and had never been committed to a hospital for mental problems or a criminal, who bought his or her gun illegally? The answer is simple for those still in possession of a modicum of commonsense.

What leftists, ideologues, and other uninformed people fail to understand is that an armed society is a polite society. Unfortunately, many have fallen prey to what I’ll call the “Wild West” fallacy. That is to say, they have bought into the lie that everyone in the “Wild West” went around shooting each other for no reason. We need to realize that there was not a lot of “trail rage” back then because the trails weren’t all that crowded. In actuality, many of the shooting deaths resulted from outlaws getting drunk in saloons, cheating at cards in saloon poker games, or arguing over a prostitute and stepping out in the street to settle the argument with a gun. In other words, much of what passes for the “Wild West” mentality was outlaws and drunks killing other outlaws and other drunks. Moreover, more than once, honest, hard-working citizens protected themselves and their families against an outlaw because they too were armed. Today, the restrictions are ludicrous, favoring the criminal time after time. He can buy an illegal gun from the trunk of a car, but the law-abiding citizen in many states not only has to undergo a background check, but he or she must also wait a period of about ten days before he can actually pick that gun up.

A couple more silly examples will suffice. In some states, if a burglar breaks into your home you have to announce, “I have a gun!” This will, ostensibly, scare the intruder away. But what if it doesn’t? What if there is more than one burglar and they are both armed? By announcing that you have a gun, the criminals can follow the sound of your voice and they know exactly where you are. Why isn’t there a law that the burglar has to announce to you that he has a gun? The short answer is that since they are criminals they wouldn’t play by the “home invasion” rules. Precisely. And they don’t play by the rules when they get their guns either. If our politicians, social engineers, and anti-gun lobbyists spent more time and effort in ridding our communities of drug dealers, illegal immigrants, and thugs, they would be placing their efforts in the proper direction.

We have such a distorted view of what the “Wild West” really was like, but even so, why don’t we hear anything today about “Wild Memphis,” “Wild Washington, D.C.,” “Wild Detroit,” “Wild Miami,” or “Wild Los Angeles”? Criminals murder innocent citizens in those and other cities on a regular, daily basis. Why don’t we hear about “Wild Philadelphia,” which like LA, is losing police officers frequently because criminals are allowed back out on the streets by liberal judges before they serve their sentences and murder again? Why, pray tell, are thugs getting weapons, when many citizens (like Washington, D.C., which has one of the highest murder rates in the country) cannot have them or the process of getting a firearm is like trying to get into the gold vault at Ft. Knox?

These and other aspects of the Second AmenThese and otdment must be addressed. Before we spend time on that, however, I want to return to what Scripture says about possessing weapons. There is a great deal of imagery in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments about soldiering, warfare, and being trained for battle. While there is surely a spiritual dimension to this, did you ever stop to consider that men in Israel kept their sword in their tent? If there were a war or another need, the Israelite simply went home and got his sword and he was ready to do battle. It would seem, too, that he was somewhat trained to use it.

[1] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition Government for a redress of grievances.

[2] Stephen P. Halbrook, The Founders’ Second Amendment. Origins of the Right to Bear Arms, (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2008).

[3] Edwin Meese III, David Forte, & Matthew Spalding (eds.), The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, (Washington, D.C., Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005), p. 320. Emphasis added.



Blogger Solameanie said...

Excellent, Ron! Well done.

I wish Justice Anthony Kennedy and at least four of his cohorts would read this. Kennedy is a little too fond of European and international "law" for my liking, and seemingly less interested in the American constitution and its original intent. I could say the same for Breyer, Stevens, Ginsburg and Souter.

3:12 PM  
Blogger lee n. field said...

Yeah and amen.

I do want to see what you have to say about scripture and KABA. I see a lot of fairly uninformed talk on this.

Just waiting for Heller to come down.....

7:59 PM  
Blogger Kamilla said...


Have you ever read Dan Flynn's excellent book, "Intellectual Morons"? (I think that's the title) It's about this sort of thing, where ideology trumps everything else.

I wonder when the liberals will notice that those jurisdictions with the most concealed-carry laws also have the most handgun violence?


3:27 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Did I misread what you wrote? No, I haven't read the book. Did you mean to say that states with concealed carry permits have more gun violence? Have you read the material on Florida?

11:13 PM  
Blogger Kamilla said...

No, you didn't misread it and I didn't mistype. I think the particular case that was highlighted in the article was Washington DC, but it did mention other jurisdictions. It was a bit ago so I am afraid I no longer have it.

It was proving the old adage, "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns".

11:48 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

So are you advocating that states that have concealed (or open) carry policies actually have higher rates of handgun violence? If so, this would militate against almost everything I've read.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Kamilla said...


Let's try this again:

"I wonder when the liberals will notice that those jurisdictions with the most RESTRICTIVE concealed-carry laws also have the most handgun violence?"

Does that make more sense?

(who has never claimed she was a good typist,just fast)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Got it! Thanks for the clarification.

10:49 PM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

Looks like it's a step in the right direction, though it also looks like there's plenty of kicking and screaming about it, too.

1:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home