By Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Curry, US Army Ret.
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
On April 19, 1775, a British Expeditionary Force set out to capture and destroy guns and ammunition believed stored by American Colonists at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. To counter the British action the American Colonists mobilized their militias and, using guns kept in their houses, defeated the British forces and forced them to retreat back to Boston.
The British believed it was perfectly acceptable for the government to be armed, but that private citizens should not be armed because they might challenge the actions of the British Government. They thought it reasonable for the British to confiscate the colonist’s guns and ammunition. The colonists believed that private citizens should have access to firearms to defend themselves and in case the government became too tyrannical.
It seems we have forgotten the lesson that the colonists fought the Battles of Lexington and Concord to prevent the British Government from disarming the American Colonists. The colonists’ intent was that never again would only the government have access to guns and ammunition and the American people be stripped naked of the right to own and bear arms and left without the means to protect themselves and their interests. Now that same specter rises once again to threaten the freedom of the American people and once more the government is making an all-out effort to seize the guns and ammunition of America’s private citizens.
The British attempt to disarm the colonists is one of the actions that led to the Revolutionary War and, later on, to the adoption of the Second Amendment which reads, “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.” Are the Congress and the President now fomenting another revolution? They seem to have forgotten that the clear purpose of the Second Amendment is not to restrict the private citizen’s ownership of guns and ammunition, but to restrict the possible tyranny of the central government.
The subject of discussion today in Washington and throughout the nation is, “Shall the American people have the right to bear arms and protect their interests, or will the government be able to circumvent or abrogate the constitution and force the government’s will upon the American people in violation of our founding documents and principles?”
Of course this is all done under the subterfuge of being helpful and protective of our citizens. Those politicians in charge of finding a way to reduce gun violence speak of the efficacy of curbing it, of making video games less violent, closing loop holes that allow unqualified gun and ammunition purchasers to make purchases, eliminating high-capacity rifles and magazines, keeping guns away from the mentally disturbed, more use of metal detectors, and on and on it goes.
But we citizens aren’t so easily fooled. We recognize that we are again fighting the battle of Lexington and Concord all over again. It is not a question of a culture of violence taking over our society, or of whether or not a single-shot rifle is more violent than a semi-automatic firearm. They are equally violent.
It is a constitutional issue, not just one of gun violence, or of semi-automatic versus fully automatic, or small versus long magazines of ammunition. Gun and ammunition ownership rights, among others, are what our Founding Fathers fought and died for at Lexington and Concord; they fought for the constitutional right to bear arms and to limit the paternalism of government. Do Americans today have the constitutional right to own and store guns and ammunition? The answer today is the same as it was back in colonial days.
Actions by political leaders in the Congress and the White House indicate that they do not trust the people of America with guns, so restricting private gun ownership must be good and restricting the government’s fire arms ownership is bad. That is, the people of America cannot be trusted to own and handle guns and ammo. However, the government that shamelessly forced American Indians along the Trail of Tears, and rejoiced over the Dred Scott Decision supposedly can be trusted to regulate guns and ammunition.
Someone suggested that school teachers should have the right to be armed and licensed if they so choose. This makes sense in spite of all the derogatory comments made about the idea. Ask the teachers and see how they feel about it. And we wouldn’t need a separate governmental agency to implement the arming of school teachers. Their training and arming could be done voluntarily, at the local level.
Today the Second Amendment means exactly what our Founding Fathers intended it to mean in colonial times, “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.”
Image: The First Blow for Liberty. Battle of Lexington, April 1775; copy of print by A. H. Ritchie after F.O.C. Darley, 1870 – 1900; National Archives and Records Administration, College Park; Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration; public domain
General Jerry Ralph Curry (D.Min.) is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper and Ranger. He enlisted in the Army as a Private and retired a Major General. For nearly forty years he and his wife Charlene have served this country both in the military and while he was a Presidential political appointee.