A Facebook friend of mine posted a comment on my wall saying that he wouldn't mind a ban on assault weapons. Why would you need one, he asked.
My response was that it wasn't the type of weapon being banned, but the fact that Congress was infringing upon a right to keep and bear arms in direct violation of the Constitution which forbids them to do so.
We do need to have a discussion on guns because, as inevitably happens following any tragedy in which guns are involved, those who would infringe upon our right are massing and getting ready to act.
They are using a crisis to further erode our ability not just to protect ourselves, but to determine what equipment is necessary in order to do so.
The Ludwig von Mises Institute sends out a daily email and today's was Tyranny and the Monopoly of Arms, an article by Stephen P. Halbrook that originally ran as "Gun Laws" on October 15, 1970 in The Libertarian Forum.
This article is 44 years old and its message is even more vital for being so.
It starts off talking about "the extreme shackles placed on actual or potential gun owners by the acts snowballing into the Gun Control Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-618)."
It details all the requirements for purchasing a weapon, the restrictions and monitoring that existed then as retailers were required to keep track of who purchased ammunition.
Local rules were no less onerous, including mandates for background checks and exorbitant fees in order to be granted a license - read "permission" - to own a weapon.
The ultimate goal of the power structure is the total abolition of private (non-ruling class) gun ownership. In mid-January 1969 the Illinois Academy of Criminology spoke favorably of this goal, and hundreds of other groups and individuals openly admit similar ambitions. The minimum they will settle for is complete police control of all firearms as is the case in Soviet Russia.
The masses are taught to believe the lie that such laws will reduce crime. Nothing could be further from the truth, because gun ownership by the general population simply does not cause crime.
Halbrook gives several examples to support this statement - and there are numerous others after 44 years. He then states a truth we all know, though some refuse to admit:
Since criminals will always have guns (no criminals would register their guns, and besides, zip guns are easy to make), it is necessary that potential victims be able to arm themselves to prevent crime.
So why do they want our guns?
What, then, is the real reason why the power elite wants to leave the people defenseless?
It has already been observed that guns are necessary for peaceful individuals to protect themselves from criminals. But who has been the most ferocious criminal in history? It is obvious: the State!
He details why regulation of the means to defend ourselves is necessary:
The U. S. Government, though they trust themselves with the largest arsenal the world has ever known, including everything from napalm and M-16’s to tanks and H-bombs, will not trust its thralls with .22-cal. revolvers. Why does this trust not exist? The people want to be free, a great number of blacks as well as many non-ruling class whites desire self-determination, and the Establishment must frustrate these movements. Laissez-faire gun ownership is feared for the same reason that Hitler would have been afraid of a gun-owning Jewish population or Stalin a bunch of pistol-packing Ukrainians. Well does the State know Mao’s dictum: political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” The rulers realize that the only way to retain their control over the people is to monopolize the firearms. The powers-that-be perceive that the people can never exercise their right to be free if they have no might to be free. Thus it is in part by gun control that Big Brother perpetuates his hegemony.
In 1995, Eric Holder, the man who would become the Attorney General of the United States, said we need to "just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."
Have we already reached that point? Have people come to think of guns as something only the government can control? Have people gotten to the point where they believe government shouldn't ban guns outright, but definitely should be allowed to place some restrictions - yes, infringements - on their ownership?
My Facebook friend believes this. He even makes the argument, used by many on left, that our Founding Fathers could not possibly have anticipated the types of weapons that are available today.
His implied position is this: had they imagined a gun that could hold hundreds of rounds which would also fire continuously, they would never have forbidden the government from passing "reasonable" laws restricting our right to keep and bear arms. Surely, our Founders (and the states and people who ratified the document) would have approved of some infringements - right?
The wording is clear "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In legalese, 'shall not' is a command.
In 1776, there were numerous types of weapons and arms. The ability of the government to confiscate the means of defense was the issue - not the type of weapon that was used to provide that defense.
Swords were more common than guns or rifles, and more individuals had those weapons than had cannons. Certainly if the founders thought that it would be okay for government to infringe upon the right to keep and bear any type of arms, they would have designated which arms they meant - right?
The Bill of Rights makes no distinction between the arms of that day.
It doesn't need to be 'adapted' to make that distinction today.
If we allow government to infringe in one way, what is to prevent them from infringing in others?
This is the proverbial slippery slope that leads us down the path of complete government control - not only of the arms we may keep (own) and bear (carry), but over our ability to decide what types of arms are necessary for our own defense.
If you live in a gang-infested section of a city and the gangs have handguns and semi-automatic weapons and you want to defend yourself from the criminals, will a knife really work? Why shouldn't you, rather than any government, be able to decide what tool is the appropriate one to protect yourself and your family?
But, as my Facebook friend also opined, the government has tanks - does that mean we should be able to have them too?
Yes - why not? If I want to spend the money to purchase a functioning tank, what constitutional authority does the government have to tell me I can't?
But then comes the argument that it might be okay for me to own such weapons, but what about other people who aren't okay? What about mentally ill people? Should they be allowed? Shouldn't we have 'reasonable' laws to prevent unstable people from getting access to tools that can kill? And who ends up deciding the definition of 'reasonable'?
Most people will say 'yes'. But a mentally ill person who wants to hurt others doesn't need a gun, or even a knife. We don't stop sick people from driving, do we? A person intent on doing harm will find a way and a tool, regardless of the laws we put into place to restrict access to the most obvious of methods.
"Laws do not curb the lawless. After all, that's why we call them 'lawless.'" ~ Joel Miller
Since we know this is a truth, why would we want to violate the Constitution and infringe upon everyone's ability/right in order to - doubtfully - stop one evil person from hurting others?
As my friend and fellow blogger Andrew Lawton wrote, There is no antidote for Evil:
A sane man does not look at a gun and become a murder. But a murderer looks at a gun and sees a weapon, just as he would were he to see a knife, an automobile or a lead pipe.
If individuals want to engage in a discussion about accessibility to firearms and regulations for firearm owners, that’s reasonable. But why does every one of those discussions need to take place in the days following a shooting? Such tragedies force people to beg for answers. For events like the shooting at Sandy Hook, where nothing can ever come close to answering the question of “Why?”, people will look for absolutely anything they can cling to. That is what we are programmed to do.
The notion that simply changing the laws will take away the pain and suffering of this tragedy or even prevent future ones from occurring is simply not true. And it’s a dangerous myth being purported by the mainstream media.
There are laws that exist that imprison individuals motivated by Evil, but it is impossible to rid the world of that motivator itself. The true source of it is a philosophical question that, to me, is not nearly as important as recognizing its presence. The fact is, Evil cannot be fixed, and even if it could, the government is not the body to do that.
Some will say now is not the time for a discussion on weapons as we have not yet buried all those killed in Sandy Hook.
But this is war and the enemies of freedom are not waiting for us to finish grieving.
It is up to those of us who are not intimately associated with the victims to follow Thomas Paine's words:
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it."