American patriots and guns
By Mark Alexander
On the most recent "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, which has become the biggest commercial sales day of the year, despite the continuing economic decline, there were record sales in one notable product category: Guns.
According to Stephen Fischer, director of the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, "NICS experienced its highest number of transactions processed since system inception [in 1998], with 154,873, which is nearly 20 percent over the 129,166 processed on Black Friday 2011." This year's total checks will undoubtedly beat last year's record of 16.4 million.
In fact, the top 10 record gun sales days have occurred since Barack Obama's election in 2008, and gun ownership has skyrocketed over the last four years. According to a worldwide survey conducted the year before Obama's election, though the United States had only 5% of the world's population, Americans owned 50% of the world's guns. Of course, unlike virtually every other nation, Americans are ensured the incontrovertible right to arm themselves.
The current estimate of legally and privately held guns in the U.S. is more than 250 million (the average gun-owning household having three guns).
With that as a backdrop, I was asked this week if Patriots have an obligation to arm themselves -- to be gun owners, and be proficient at the use of arms. I thought at first the question was rhetorical, but after some consideration, I realize that there are millions of grassroots Patriots who are not among the 60 million plus Patriots who are already law-abiding gun owners.
Apparently, the question needs to be addressed, as the answer may not be as obvious to some folks as it should be. By way of responding to this question, let me first briefly reiterate the historical and enduring case for gun ownership, which is as relevant today and tomorrow as it was at the dawn of our national founding.
First, it is "self-evident" that Liberty is an "unalienable right," innately assured as "endowed by our Creator." In other words, it is not awarded by men or government; it is the birthright of all people.
Second, as history records countless examples of men using the power of government to arbitrarily revoke Liberty and invoke tyranny, our Founders understood that, in the words of John Adams, "liberty must at all hazards be supported." Adams continued, "We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
Thus, all American Patriots today, those imbued with the spirit of Liberty that has motivated Patriots since 1776, must be prepared to defend both individual and corporate Liberty, to defend the Rule of Law over the rule of men.
Of the ability to defend Liberty, James Madison wrote, "The ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone. ... The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition." (Federalist No. 46)
To ensure that advantage, our Founders enumerated a constitutional prohibition on government interference with that barrier, the Second Amendment, affirming, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."
In his exhaustive "Commentaries on the Constitution," Madison's Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story, wrote, "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
In other words, gun ownership is not about "the tradition of hunting" as Barack Obama claimed recently, unless he was referring to hunting those who infringe on the inalienable rights of man. Of course, Liberty is the antithesis of statism, which is why Obama and his socialist Democrat cadres are endeavoring to undermine the Second Amendment.
Obama has asserted erroneously, "The vast majority of Americans would like to see serious gun control, [but] it doesn't pass because there is this huge disconnect between what people think and what legislators think and are willing to act upon." His disdain for grassroots gun owners was summed up in his unguarded remarks to campaign donors in 2008, when he said that they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Thus, I expect to see new second term Obama administration proposals endeavoring to implement incremental encroachments on the Second Amendment. However, Obama's most coveted gun control objective would be to rally two-thirds of the Senate next year for passage of the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty regulating small arms. The ATT is a Trojan Horse. While it ostensibly exempts domestic gun sales and ownership in the U.S., with the stroke of a pen, it could implement severe gun restrictions and even confiscations -- an end run on the Second Amendment that would provide political cover for gun-grabbing Leftists in the Senate and House.
Indeed, as summed up by Sen. Rand Paul, "The day after his re-election, Obama's UN delegation voted for a renewed effort to pass the Small Arms Treaty. This effort by globalists to undermine our Constitution is set to reconvene March 18th-28th in order to pass the final version of the treaty that will be sent to the Senate for ratification. Make no mistake, they will ultimately register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens. Not long ago, Obama told Sarah Brady from the anti-gun Brady Campaign, 'I just want you to know that we are working on [gun control]. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.'"
In regard to gun confiscation, I recommend that Obama pick up an American History text, one that has not been "revised" by teacher or librarian unions, and read about the first American Revolution. He will find that it commenced with "the shot heard round the world," as immortalized by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson -- a shot fired by Patriots at the Massachusetts governor's enforcers, who were sent to Concord with orders to confiscate and destroy militia arms. There is a subtle lesson there...
Clearly the surge in gun sales and ownership over the last four years has been driven by Obama's agenda to implement new "gun control" measures, which are, of course, not about guns but about control, as tragically demonstrated by the appalling record of genocide meted out by tyrants toward those who had no means of self defense.
According to gun-rights expert, Professor Raymond Kessler, J.D., "In truth, attempts to regulate the civilian possession of firearms have five political functions. They increase citizen reliance on government and tolerance of increased police powers and abuse; help prevent opposition to the government; facilitate repressive action by government and its allies; lessen the pressure for major or radical reform; and can be selectively enforced against those perceived to be a threat to government."
So, given that Liberty must be supported and defended at all hazards, and given the current assault on gun ownership, consider again the question, "Do Patriots have an obligation to arm themselves -- to be gun owners, and be proficient at the use of arms?"
The answer is, emphatically and absolutely, yes. Moreover, I would argue that it is the responsibility of all gun-owning Patriots to educate their like-minded family and friends about the overarching rationale for gun ownership -- the ability to defend Liberty -- and to encourage them to become responsible gun owners.
I know many Patriots who, since Obama's election, have become first-time gun owners. The fact that 49 states authorize carry permits, 41 of those being "shall issue" states providing on-demand concealed-carry permits to law-abiding citizens, has encouraged that trend. The lone state denying the right to carry is, naturally, Obama's state of residence, Illinois.
In recent years, I've proudly encouraged and assisted dozens of Patriot friends to become responsible gun owners. One of those "new" gun owners was my wife, who, along with six other women friends, took the required training and now has her carry permit. Each of my children is also a gun owner. (My oldest son, an Air Force Cadet, is an outstanding shooter. The weapons of my two minor children only come out under strict supervision, but my 13-year-old already shoots a very tight pattern at 100 meters with his M-4.)
One of my wife's friends said that when some of her liberal family members came to visit recently (one of those tragic "mixed families"), they got wind that she now owns not one, but three guns. Her brother inquired, "Why would anyone own three guns?" Without missing a beat, she replied, "Because I can!" (That has got to rank first among the most cutting and concise rebuttals I have ever heard.)
And on that note, three other friends, who grew up in former Soviet satellite states, told me that after becoming U.S. citizens (the old fashioned way -- legally), the first thing they did was obtain their right-to-carry permits. They each have a fuller appreciation for that right.
So, how do dedicated Patriots who are not familiar with firearms make the leap to gun ownership and proficiency?
I received a letter this week from a reader among our Patriot ranks, who included a brief history of how his whole family made the transition from non-gun owners to never leaving home without one. I have included a brief excerpt of his story in order that it might help others make that transition.
He writes, "Growing up in Chicago, where guns were outlawed and only outlaws had guns, when the topic of guns came up, my parents replied, 'Only gangsters and hunters carry guns -- and we are neither.'" Given this prohibitive backdrop, I invite you to read the rest of his Second Amendment testimony.
For the record, when it comes to Liberty, I would much prefer constitutional restoration over insurrection -- if the former is achievable. (I've been around a few revolutions in Africa and the Middle East, so I'm well aware of the violence that accompanies the latter course.) But as current day American Patriots, we all have an obligation to not only stand ready to defend our family and property, but moreover to defend Liberty.
I'll leave you, then, with these words from Thomas Jefferson on both the individual right of self-defense, and the corporate responsibility to uphold Liberty.
Quoting 18th-century Italian jurist and philosopher Cesare Beccaria in his "Commonplace Book," Jefferson wrote, "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Regarding our corporate obligation in defense of Liberty, Jefferson wrote, "What country can preserve its liberties, if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.