I am guilty of saying it wrong. We have a right to keep and bear arms. It's not our Constitutional right. It is not our Second Amendment right. I have heard it said so many times, and I often repeat it. "It's our Constitutional right to own a gun." Well, that is just flat wrong.
Our rights don't come from the Constitution. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not give us any individual rights. But we do have each of those rights that are enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Our rights are inherent. They derive from a higher source than the Constitution. They are not Constitutional rights. They are OUR rights.
Yes, the Second Amendment does codify and enumerate that our right to own a gun shall not be infringed. But please note that "the right to keep and bear arms" is mentioned as a pre-existing condition. In fact, the very idea that we have to get permission for this, or any other right, is absurd.
So why all of the fuss? If our right to gun ownership is inherent in us, why should there be any question about legality? Well, I want to know that, also. I want to know just what gives someone the right to take my guns from me or to fine or imprison me for having one. Or for using it legally.
I understand that guns are dangerous. They are just as dangerous as cars, hammers and screw drivers. They are just as dangerous as chain saws, knives and baseball bats. Owning any of these things is legal. And your right to own them carries with it a responsibility to use them safely. And you have a right to use them in self defense. The same holds true for guns.
The difference is that politicians seek to control us. Those who govern by the true principles of Liberty would never seek to disarm us. But only by keeping a well armed police but then denying us arms can the despot or the tyrant wield the power to steal our property, By taking or restricting our right to gun ownership they give themselves power over the citizenry.
But our founding fathers gave us methods of protecting Liberty that strikes a balance in our favor. Those who wrote the Constitution feared a standing army. They knew that a permanent military was a constant threat to our rights. Consider this Congressional duty from Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution:
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
The limited two year term funding was designed to protect us from those that would use a standing army against us. A permanent army without a war is a potential threat to society.
In today's world, there is ample reason to be prepared for external threat. The ability of Liberty's enemies to strike quickly makes a standing army the best defense for our borders. It is better to keep Armed Forces ready for defense than to believe that we can close our eyes and tyranny will depart from this earth. But having that army in spite of the founding fathers' warning means we need to be ever vigilant to possible abuse.
The remedy that Madison, Jefferson and Hamilton all agreed on was a citizen militia, made up of all able body people, all of whom owned guns. This was the check on unrestrained power that a military puts in the hands of politicians. And this is the corollary responsibility that comes with the right to bear arms. We must exercise this right so that the vision of limited government we were given in the 18th century does not pass into oblivion.
If you ask me to sign a Concealed Carry law when it passes my desk, I will oblige. I would like even better an Open Carry law. But my position on that issue is that we already have that right. You don't need my permission. Unfortunately, politicians in Chicago, Springfield and points beyond do infringe on your right to gun ownership. They do so by confiscation of guns and imprisonment of gun owners. They use fear and force to stop you from exercising your responsibility and your right.
They also advertise fear facts to make you think that guns are a problem and that they, the politicians, are protecting us. Believe this at your own peril. They "protect" us by making us fear their punishments. Thomas Jefferson noted that when we fear our government, we have tyranny. It is time to take that fear away.
I am opposed to bans on any gun or rifle, and I am opposed to FOID cards.
I also encourage everyone to join the NRA, the ISRA, and check out www.gunssavelife.com. I also urge you to join me on March 10, 2010 when the ISRA sponsors Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day in Springfield. Last year IGOLD had 5,000 people to march on the Capitol. We want to get 10,000 in 2010.