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December 4, 2015

The Second Amendment

Joe Charlebois

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”


As scholars have shown, there was great debate over the role of the centralized government when proposing, writing, debating, promoting and ratifying the U.S. Constitution and the first 10 amendments – the Bill of Rights. Where there was little disagreement was the need for an armed citizenry.


The Framers were aware that history was full of examples of the unarmed against the despotic and tyrannical governments of Europe. They wanted to provide a way for Americans to rise up if necessary and respond to tyranny.


Anti-Federalists such as George Mason – the man credited as father of the Bill of Rights – said that: “…to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” He went further to describe the militia. “It is the whole people, except for few public officials.”


Another anti-Federalist, Richard Henry Lee, believed that all citizens should always possess arms, be taught how to use them properly especially when they are young.


The Federalists – those more comfortable with a centralized government – were also weary of the possibility that the federal or state government would become too powerful. Alexander Hamilton believed that a fully armed citizenry would guarantee protection from a federal or state usurpation of popular rights.


Both sides believed that preserving liberty and preventing tyranny were directly correlated with the armed citizenry’s ability to protect itself from both domestic and foreign threats.


A well-regulated militia, according to the Framers of the Constitution, had nothing to do with what we think of a militia today – the National Guard. The Framers wanted nothing to do with a standing army. They were very skeptical of a professional military. They believed that all men should be armed and ready for service when called upon. The men of the United States were the militia, they were at the ready if called upon. The Framers believed that anything less than full participation of the citizenry would fail to preserve liberty.


The constant calls for the further restriction of arms ownership in America are being made by those who side with tyranny – unwittingly or not. Gun laws already exist. There are waiting periods and there are background checks.


Those who call for an end to gun violence dismiss facts. They believe that if we limit the number of guns available to law abiding citizens, there will be less crime.


Please show me the percentage of gun related deaths that are at the hands of an NRA member. Please show me the number of gun related deaths that happen in cities and states that allow concealed carry permits.


I can tell you that the cities in the United States with the strictest gun laws lead the list for most gun related deaths. I can tell you that the tragic shootings that have taken place over the last decade have occurred in gun-free zones.


Those who will tell you that guns belong only in the hands of the government, or a National Guard, are too blind to see what the Framers fought so hard to defend.


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