When I teach about the Second Amendment (2A) I always ask, “What the actual event that started our Revolution as a shooting war?” Answers range from taxes, trade restrictions and an unfair balance of trade with England, lack of representation in Parliament, to dictatorial Royal Governors, but all are wrong.
The British act that started the shooting was their attempt to seize the guns and ammunition the Minutemen had stored in Lexington and Concord. In all the other oppressive acts by the Crown, Americans protested through official channels and suffered many years, but when the King tried to take away their “right to keep and bear arms”, the War was on!
The crux of the 2A is the phrase, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” “Right” means a “Natural right”, the legally-recognized, inherent ability of each person to self-defense. It is granted by God and the Law of Nature He created. Government can neither give this right nor take it away. As the Declaration of Independence says, government’s only role is to secure these rights and affirm them for each person. “People”, means “individual citizens of the USA.” In each Amendment of the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court has held that “people” or “person” (Amendments 1,2,4,5,6,9 & 10) refers to the rights of individuals.
“Keep and bear” recognizes each person’s right to possess and carry arms where and when he deems necessary. “Arms” means the kinds of weapons currently carried by the military (and yes, that means machine guns). “Shall not be infringed” has two parts. “Shall” in a law, means MUST. The government has no discretion in the matter; the 2A must be obeyed to the letter. “Infringed” means government has NO right to encroach upon, prohibit, or block the right in the slightest degree.
Yet, to this day, both the Federal and State governments restrict the 2A rights of Americans. From the New York City draft riots of 1863 to the Rodney King riots of 1992, we see Americans use their guns to provide order and safety when the police can’t. Politicians cannot expand their power when citizens are self-sufficient. Once they do take control over any part of our lives, they rarely give it back.
One of the most common ways they take our rights is by declaring “Emergencies”, whereby they use cops and the National Guard to take Natural rights under the excuse of Necessity and public order. Unfortunately, in such times many in law enforcement fail to stop and think whether such orders are constitutional. In 2005, when Katrina hit New Orleans, the mayor ordered the seizure of all personal guns. Just recently, the Governor of the Virgin Islands ordered the confiscation of guns and ammo in the face of Hurricane Irma. Some will ask, “But after all, don’t they have our best interests in mind?” Let’s see.
As soon as Katrina hit, one-third of the New Orleans cops disappeared. Instead of having his thinned-out cops concentrating on rescuing stranded people, the corrupt mayor, Ray Nagin (now in prison) ordered the police and National Guard to seize guns. We saw grandmothers living alone forced to give up their pistols at gunpoint, but somehow nobody got around to the gangs, who descended on unarmed citizens as soon as the cops moved on. It took three years of litigation to get the guns back, and most (tossed in barrels in damp storerooms) were rusted or damaged beyond repair. In a city that perennially has some of the top murder/violent crime rates in normal times, how did gun confiscation help anyone but criminals during Katrina?
A few weeks ago, Governor Mapp of the US Virgin Islands issued an order to the Adjutant General of the territory to use the national Guard and police to take WHATEVER ACTIONS SHE DEEMS NECESSARY, and ordered her to seize citizens’ “arms, ammunition, explosives, incendiary material [including gas for generators], AND ANY OTHER PROPERTY that MAY be required by the military forces for the performance of this emergency mission.” [capitals added]. So claiming an “Emergency”, Mapp just decrees that his armed employees can take whatever they want from citizens, a violation of the 4th and 5th amendments as well as the 2A. How many rights do you have now, Virgin islanders? Some might say, “But we can trust the authorities!” Can we? Let’s flash back to 1989.
Hurricane Hugo hit the Virgin Islands then. President Bush was forced to send the Coast guard and 1,100 Army MP’s to St. Croix because of widespread looting. The prison lost a wall in the storm, and many prisoners escaped. Armed with machetes and some guns, the felons robbed, raped, and murdered. However, the MAIN perpetrators of the looting were the St. Croix police and the National Guardsmen! They loaded military trucks with stolen goods at gunpoint, stealing guns, ammo, food, fuel, appliances, cars, etc. Knowing that, if you lived there today, would YOU trust Gov. Mapp’s people to disarm you and keep you and your family safe? Besides, what do the cops and National Guard need with your weapons and supplies? Don’t they have M16’s, machine guns, and all the supplies they need ISSUED to them by the US military? So what is the REAL reason behind Gov. Mapp’s unconstitutional seizure order? We may never know.
King George tried the same thing in October, 1774, by banning importation of all arms ammo, cannon, or components to make them to the colonies. His troops in Boston seized all private arms in the city during the winter of 1774-75. Finally, on the night of April 18, 1775, 700 Redcoats moved out to seize the arms, ammo, and cannon the Minutemen had stored at Lexington and Concord. The next morning at Concord Bridge, Captain John Parker and a hundred Minutemen faced 400 Redcoats. Parker cried, “Stand your ground, men! Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!” Parker and seven others were killed in the fight, but by day’s end, 5,000 Minutemen with their personal arms dogged the British back to Boston, killing and wounding over 300 Redcoats. The Revolution was on!
Citizens, our Founders have given us the blueprint for personal security in the 2A. As long as we have the vote and the courts are open to us, then we can resist the government by peaceable, political, means. But if and when the government comes to seize our guns and destroy our inalienable right to self-defense and resistance to tyranny by force, then there is only one answer. “Sure, you can have my gun; bullets first!”
Gov. Mapp’s order can be found at: http://dailycaller.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/NATL-GUARD.pdf
The hurricane Hugo, Virgin Islands story is found at: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/21/us/bush-dispatches-troops-to-island-in-storm-s-wake.html?pagewanted=all
Image: Screen shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6gSuGWFR_s