Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, when I was at a town hall meeting in Texas recently, a local man came up to me afterward to talk about his concerns over where our country was headed--something to do with a fiery inferno in a hand basket. Anyway, as he was talking to me, I noticed his T-shirt. Here's what it said: ``I love my Bible,'' and it had a photograph of the Bible, ``and I love my guns,'' with a photograph of two .45 Colt revolvers. Naturally they were in the right order. After all, he was a local preacher.
The most important right we have as Americans is the freedom of speech, and that includes the freedom of religion. It's first in the constitutional Bill of Rights because without it, none of the rest would be possible. The right to bear arms is the Second Amendment because without it, we could not protect the First Amendment.
The recent Supreme Court decision simply stated the obvious as it is written in the Bill of Rights: ``A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.'' Now I'm sure the halls of academia were all up in arms about the right to bear arms. The media immediately began spreading the shocking news: the Supreme Court actually upheld the Constitution. Oh, the hysteria they went through. They said, Murder rates will surely double upon the mere announcement of this. Never mind the fact that more gun control does not lower murder rates; it actually increases them. Look at this city, Washington, D.C., the toughest gun control in the country.
But let's don't let the facts get in the way of a political agenda. I wonder how the media and the antigun protesters would have felt about the First Amendment being ignored for political purposes. The Second Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, protects citizens from the power of government. People have rights. Government has no rights. Government has power. And when citizens give away their rights, like the Second Amendment, government increases its power and oppression over the people.
The Supreme Court ruled accurately and restored the rights of all Americans based on the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which commands that no State shall ``deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.'' To truly understand the meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment, we need to understand the men who actually wrote the Constitution and what they said when it was ratified.
The Founding Fathers were very concerned that a strong Federal Government would trample on individual freedom and individual rights because that's what happened to the colonists under the power of Great Britain. Governments historically do that to their people, trample on individual rights. That's historical. So after the ratification of the Constitution, the Framers knew that a declaration of rights had to be added to protect basic individual rights, rights that are inalienable, created by our Creator and not created or given to us by government.
The Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to prevent the government--that's the Federal Government--from disarming the public like the British Army did to American citizens. The right of the free people to defend freedom and protect themselves was so important that it was placed second in the Bill of Rights behind the First Amendment, freedom of speech and freedom of religion and the freedom of press and the right to peacefully assemble.
Currently, gun control advocates and their elitist allies wish to subject the people to more government oppression of freedom by denying individuals the right to arm themselves. Thomas Jefferson knew the importance of an armed citizenry. He said: ``No free man shall ever be debarred from the use of arms.'' Samuel Adams wrote: ``The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceful citizens from keeping their arms.'' And of course James Madison, who helped write the Bill of Rights, once wrote that the Americans had ``the advantage of being armed,'' and that other nations' governments were ``afraid to trust the people with such arms.''
So leave it to a Texas preacher to keep it all in perspective. You see, without the Second Amendment, you can't protect the First Amendment, the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of press and the freedom to peacefully assemble without the Second Amendment.
And that's just the way it is.