John Locke wrote that the preservation of mankind is the most basic law of human nature. Although he probably had the most significant influence on the framers of the Constitution of the United States of all those who wrote previously about natural rights, the concept of natural law did not originate with him. Natural law has been discussed in literature for over 2300 years.
Today, we live in a society where the preservation of mankind is being seriously threatened from several sides. The side I am addressing today is the right of self-preservation, embodied in the right to own and use firearms.
There is a powerful, very vocal, and growing movement in the United States today, led by the United Nations and others, which seeks to remove the right to own and use firearms from all citizens. Most of the time, in public, they speak only of banning certain types of firearms and keeping firearms out of the hands of those most likely to misuse them – terrorists, felons, mental ill, perpetrators of domestic violence, etc. Occasionally, one of them slips up and publically states that their REAL quest is total and complete disarmament of the US population.
They clamor for background checks on all gun purchases, licensing requirements, limits on the types of guns and accessories a citizen can purchase or own (because after all, citizens are protected by the police and military therefore they do not need military grade weapons), etc. all the while ignoring a couple of basic facts, one of those being that most gun violence in the United States stems from an element of society that ALREADY ignores the law.
Then there are the claims that no one intends to mess with an individual’s right to hunt, and they laughably refer to this imagined right as being “Constitutional” when, in fact, they either don’t know or don’t care what really is Constitutional.
At the risk of alienating many of those who favor leaving gun ownership alone, I’m going to state as emphatically as I possibly can that we need to STOP referring to the RIGHT TO DEFEND our lives, our liberties, our property (which is necessary to maintain our lives), and our right to speak and worship according to our individual consciences as a CONSTITUTIONAL right.
Why? Isn’t the right to own firearms an integral part of the second Amendment?
Yes, it is.
But that begs the real question because, as an astute radio commentator pointed out this morning, the Constitution can be changed.
In fact, during times of martial law, the Constitution – and all of the rights we think and hope it protects – can be suspended.
Need a recent example?
You have only to look back to Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans when citizens, including the elderly, were forcibly stripped of their ability to protect and defend themselves by none other than the very police and military that were ostensibly there to protect them!
When is martial law declared?
Martial law is declared when society breaks down so badly, for whatever reason, that local law enforcement is overwhelmed and unable to perform their normal duties.
Isn’t that one of the times when we most need to be able to defend ourselves?
And just exactly whom do we need to be able to defend ourselves against?
Certainly we need to be able to defend ourselves against home invaders and violent criminals – both at home and out in public – but does our right to defend our lives, our liberties, and our property stop with these violent criminals and gangs?
“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.”
Most of us recognize this famous sentence from the Declaration of Independence for the United States of America, but how often have we thought IN DEPTH about what it means?
Those who founded the United States understood the answer to the question of whom we need to be able to defend against very clearly, which is why the second amendment was added to the US Constitution.
James Madison wrote in the Federalist papers, #51:
“It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.”
Did you catch what his FIRST concern was?
“…to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers…”
That’s right. The first concern of those who founded this nation was oppression of the citizens by their rulers, not defense against the criminal element, although that was a very close second concern.
And nowhere in either the second amendment or the Constitution is the right to hunt for sport or food mentioned.
In 1788, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Edward Carrington in which he astutely observed:
“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” (27 May 1788)
And how, Mr. Jefferson, is liberty lost to overgrown government to be regained?
Mr. Jefferson famously answered that question in his letter to William Stephens Smith, Nov. 13, 1787.
No my friends, the right of self-defense – from either criminals or overgrown government is NOT a Constitutional right. The Constitution merely reaffirms that which is a NATURAL RIGHT.
Even the beasts know their natural right to do all in their power to preserve their lives, the lives of the family/community/pack…, and their territory, i.e. their property, their homes and their food supply.
Tooth and claw,
Hoof and horn,
With their defenses
Even the beasts are born!
Every Scotsman, and many others who have learned from history, ought to be familiar with the sentiments put forth in the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath:
“…as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under [tyranny]. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Laws, including the US Constitution, CAN be (and often are) changed and abrogated thus depriving us of the liberty of self-defense.
As a NATURAL RIGHT, the right of self-defense cannot be legitimately abridged or curtailed, thus depriving us of the liberty to defend ourselves.
Stop calling it a Constitutional right!