Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Should We Keep the Second Amendment?

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms. The new nation of United States of America had recently fought an eight-year-war against Great Britain when the Second Amendment to the Constitution was written. They understood the value in citizens owning and knowing how to use guns as well as being prepared to defend the nation.

The framers of the Constitution may have turned over in their graves at this comment from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a recent press conference: “Other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives.”

I can assure Trudeau that the framers of the U.S. Constitution were not concerned about sport shooting or hunting. They wanted citizens who were prepared to defend their nation from foreigners and the citizenry from the government. Today, they would recognize that citizens should be prepared to defend themselves, their families, and their homes from invaders. Jarrett Stepman, a contributor at The Daily Signal, wrote the following: 

The Canadian measure, if passed, would prevent the importing, buying, or selling of handguns, with only a few exceptions. The Canadian government also announced it will begin a mandatory buyback of “assault-style weapons” by the end of the year. [Emphasis added.]

How quickly “commonsense” gun control in Canada has progressed from restricting the sale of “assault-style” weapons in 2020 to confiscations and a proposed prohibition on the sale of handguns in 2022.

It’s clear that many Western leaders are using societal crises to justify trampling on the rights of their citizens. What’s at stake is something deeper about how society and governments should be ordered.

In Canada, Trudeau said, there is effectively no right to own a gun. Firearms are only for sport, he said, a privilege.

            Trudeau was supported Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of emergency preparedness. “In Canada, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right.” He continued,

This is a principle that differentiates ourselves from many other countries in the world, notably our colleagues and friends to the south. In Canada, guns are only intended to be used for hunting and sport purposes.

            American gun owners should be grateful that they live in the United States instead of Canada. Stepman wrote that “Canada has gone much further in banning guns than has the United States. Gun confiscation isn’t far off.” He stated that such action is “the logical conclusion of the idea that all deaths attributable to guns are preventable, and any law or right preventing it is illegitimate.”

            According to Stepman, Trudeau and Blair are wrong about their statement that gun ownership is a “privilege and not a right.” Stepman continued, “It is a right, just not one protected by the Canadian government. That’s an important distinction.”

            The separate amendments in the Bill of Rights did not create rights. According to Stepman, the “10 amendments were intended as an additional, explicit layer of protection – a set of boundaries – around rights that were known to exist.” He continued by stating that the Ninth Amendment was written to make this fact absolutely clear. The “enumeration of rights in the Constitution is not intended to suggest that any other right is subject to be taken away by the government on a whim.”

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” the amendment reads.

In other words, the Framers created the Bill of Rights to make additional guarantees for rights that exist whether or not there was a government. If a right wasn’t enumerated in the Constitution, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and shouldn’t be protected.

The Bill of Rights proved to be a hotly contested issue among the Founding Fathers. Some insisted the 10 amendments were necessary, and some believed they would be detrimental.

The structure of the new government, detractors argued, would be the better guarantee of rights than an enumerated list.

Regardless, few would have denied that certain unalienable rights existed.

            The Second Amendment is in the Bill of Rights to protect “an individual’s right to protect himself and the larger community,” according to Stepman. “In addition, it was created to ensure that the federal government wouldn’t have the ability to disarm citizens en masse.” He concluded, “Without private firearm ownership, the United States as we know it today wouldn’t have existed.”

            Other countries have taken the same path that Canadians are currently treading with the most recent one being Australia. Officials in such countries “seek to implement mass gun control alongside other vast curtailments of liberty” such as existed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadians have already seen their freedom of speech assaulted with the ruling elite deciding what type of speech is acceptable.

            The freedoms of Americans are also being threatened, so we should understand that the United States could find itself on the same path as Canada and Australia. Americans should decide NOW whether they want to live in the type of nation outlined by the Constitution, or in the type of nation where God-given rights are destroyed by government. If we lose our Second Amendment rights, we will not be able to defend any of our other rights.


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