Scott Dragland is a For Britain member based in the USA. We hear a lot about gun ownership and the ‘right to bear arms’ in the USA; here Scott talks us through what this could mean in the era of Joe Biden.
You have heard before “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But have you ever paused to wonder what the word unalienable means? The Oxford English Dictionary defines alienable as “capable of being transferred to the ownership of another;” whereas inalienable and unalienable are defined as “not alienable; that cannot be alienated or transferred from its present ownership.”
God made man in his own image, and man has certain God-given rights. Because your rights are God-given, no one can take them away from you; hence, they are unalienable. In the words of John Adams,
“Rights are antecedent to all earthly governments; rights cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights are derived from the great Legislator of the universe.”
At the time of the American Revolution, the right of self-defense was commonly referred to as “the first law of nature.” It is your birthright as a human being. That is why you should not use the phrase “second amendment rights,” for you do not derive your rights from the US Constitution. It is why you should never say “the government is going to take away our rights,” for no one can take away what God himself has given. They can threaten you, or arrest you, or imprison you, so that you will not exercise your right, but they cannot take it away from you any more than they can take away your DNA. For as long as you live, it will be yours, whether people in positions of power like it or not. However, if you allow incremental infringements upon your right, you will find one day that you can no longer exercise it without suffering unpleasant consequences.
Gun ownership and carrying are necessary to actual self-defense. Without these things, you are not able to defend yourself in the real world. They are integral parts of the free exercise of your right. For this reason, the English common law guaranteed the individual right to bear arms long before the US Constitution was ratified. Sir Edward Coke, who the American colonists regarded as the foremost authority on the common law, wrote in 1604 that
“The house of everyone is to him as his castle and fortress . . . If thieves come to a man’s house to rob him, or murder, and the owner kills any of those thieves in defense of himself and his house, it is not a felony, and he shall lose nothing . . . One is allowed to repel force with force. The laws permit the taking of arms against armed persons.”
The English Bill of Rights of 1689 confirmed this principle by declaring that English subjects “may have Arms for their Defense.” This is the primary document upon which the Founders based the US Bill of Rights. Later, between 1765 and 1769, Sir William Blackstone wrote the Commentaries on the Laws of England, which profoundly influenced both the American Revolution and the formation of the US Constitution. In his commentaries, he wrote that
“The right of having arms for their defense is the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression . . . We have seen that the rights [of Englishmen] consist in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty, and of private property. To vindicate these rights when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense.”
The Constitution guarantees not only the right of the people to own weapons, but also to carry them—with no mention made of licenses. Indeed, it is self-evident that requiring a license is an infringement on the right to bear arms. If you held this right at the government’s pleasure, then the government could withhold it from you. But you do not hold it at the government’s pleasure.
A lawful government that confines itself to its constitutionally prescribed boundaries has nothing to fear from an armed populace. However, when a government assumes powers that the people have not ceded to it in their constitution, the government may have reason to fear. It will never be sure of its ability to enforce its unlawful decrees. There may be a point at which the people say, “thus far have we allowed you to abuse us, but no further.” A good example of this is the time when the Massachusetts Minute Men stopped the British Army from seizing their weapons, and in so doing sparked the American Revolution. An armed populace provides the most effective safeguard against their government becoming the instrument of oppression. This is the larger purpose of the Second Amendment—it is not to deter thieves, but to deter tyrants.
You may wonder how much historic evidence there is to prove the truth of this argument. The answer is “a lot,” but here is a sample from three of the leading lights around the time the Bill of Rights was ratified:
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed—as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of the people are armed.” —Noah Webster, Revolutionary War veteran, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
“I consider and fear the natural propensity of rulers to oppress the people. I wish only to prevent them from doing evil . . . Divine providence has given to every individual the means of self-defense.” —George Mason, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, known as “the Father of the Bill of Rights.”
“Wherever the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.” —St. George Tucker, Revolutionary War veteran, Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.
In The Second Amendment: Preserving the Inalienable Right of Self-Protection, historian David Barton sums up the comments of the Founders with the statement that the “Founders confirm that every citizen not only has the right to life, liberty, and property, but also the natural right to use force to preserve and defend those rights.” Without the use of force to defend them, your life, liberty, and property won’t last very long—whether you realize it or not. The private ownership of firearms is indispensable to the preservation of a free and civil society.
Unfortunately, the federal government and its media cronies are not interested in your right to self-defense. They are interested in maximizing their control over all aspects of your life. This is why they view your ability to defend yourself as a threat. In their war on private gun ownership, they will capitalize on mass shootings for propaganda purposes. Do they not realize that they are giving fame and notoriety to the shooters, and thereby encouraging other deranged people to commit the same crime? Maybe they realize it, but view it as necessary to advance their agenda. The reality is that violent crime does not happen because of guns, but because of evil in the human heart. Before guns were invented, humans committed violent crime with whatever was available—whether it was knives, spears, sticks, or rocks. The UK, which nowadays strictly regulates firearms, has had a 91% increase in knife crime in the past seven years. How can anyone think that confiscating guns will eliminate or even reduce violent crime? The act of declaring firearms “illegal” (though it is null and void) merely makes peaceable citizens defenseless, and empowers predators. Consider the following statement, written by the political philosopher Cesare Beccaria in 1764, which Thomas Jefferson copied into his own journal a few months before writing the Declaration of Independence:
“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity will respect the arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty, and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts.”
If a store, or a school, or a church wants to prevent a shooting on its premises, then employees and volunteers should be given the option to carry. In cases where the statutes prevent this, the statutes need to be changed. Will the mass shooter choose the school where some of the teachers are armed, or where none of them are armed?
This is all plain enough, but again, your safety is not what motivates the federal government. They will keep repeating the lie that banning modern firearms is necessary to end gun violence, and the gullible will keep believing them. In the words of William Pitt the Younger,
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
Though necessity is their argument, total control is their goal. In 1938, the infamous tyrant Adolf Hitler summed it up with the statement that
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the people to carry arms.”
Let’s take a quick look at the position of the current administration. The following quotes are straight from the White House website’s page on “initial actions to address the gun violence public health epidemic.”
“Congress should ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and repeal gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability . . . The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model ‘red flag’ legislation for states. Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms. The President urges Congress to pass an appropriate national ‘red flag’ law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass ‘red flag’ laws of their own.”
In his remarks, Biden said that
“We’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis . . . I want to see a national red flag law and legislation to incentivize states to enact their own red flag laws . . . We should also ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country . . . Everything that’s being proposed today is totally consistent with the Second Amendment.”
A majority of our Supreme Court justices might disagree with Biden on the legality of his proposals, but Biden is not worried about that. On April 9th he signed an executive order establishing a commission to explore the possibility of Supreme Court “reform” (i.e., expansion). This commission has six months to submit its recommendations to the President. If you are pinning your hopes for the preservation of your most fundamental freedoms on the Supreme Court of the United States, you are building your house on the sand. The rain will descend, the floods will come, the winds will blow, and your house will fall.
Bear in mind that this administration’s recent actions are just the tip of the iceberg. In the next few years, you can expect all kinds of policies designed to make gun ownership as restricted, difficult, and expensive as possible. If the Democrats succeed in giving citizenship to the 14.5 million illegal aliens in the United States, including the 2 million in Texas, they will turn nearly every State blue, including Texas. At that point, it will be too late to stop them. Our golden window of opportunity, in which we might have saved ourselves, will be gone forever.
The only security that the Texan people can realistically hope for is in political separation from the Union. The Founders intended the Union to be one of mutual affection and loyalty, not one of coercion. It is abundantly clear that the federal government is both abusing the powers that the States have vested in it, and pretending to possess powers which the States never vested in it. Texans have been in this situation before when Santa Ana’s regime proved unfaithful and abusive. That generation of Texans had the fortitude to make a stand for their freedoms, their families, and their futures. May this generation of Texans prove worthy of their mighty forebears.
- The Second Amendment: Preserving the Inalienable Right of Individual Self-Protection, by David Barton
- The Second Amendment Primer: A Citizen’s Guidebook to the History, Sources, and Authorities for the Constitutional Guarantee of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, by Les Adams
- Inglorious Revolution, by Gerard Batten & Pavel Stroilov
- Oxford English Dictionary.
- William Pitt quote accessed through goodreads.com
- Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initial Actions to Address the Gun Violence Public Health Epidemic. Whitehouse.gov
- Remarks by President Biden on Gun Violence Prevention. Whitehouse.gov
- Executive Order on the Establishment of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. whitehouse.gov
- 2020 Update: How Many Illegal Aliens Live in the United States? Fairus.org
- Knife Crime Statistics. Commonslibrary.parliament.uk