Gun Control in the United States
In 1994, a confidential memo sent from Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), one of the most active and successful anti-gun organizations in the nation, to selected lobbyists and public officials, came to the attention of concerned Americans. It contained, in part, the following scenario for total gun control in the United States within a period of about ten years:
Step 1: “.begin at a relatively low cost (for handgun licensing fees) to discourage non-compliance.”
Step 2: “Fees would be raised to reflect the cost of enforcement and discourage new ownership.”
Step 3: “If private ownership has not been prohibited by this time then fees can be gradually increased to discourage private ownership.”
Step 4: “Failure to re-new license or notify issuing authority of change of status would be considered a felony. Such firearms owned would then be considered contraband and could then be confiscated.”
Step 5: The last step is contained within the following paragraph in the letter:
“The federal government estimates that around 65-75 million Americans own guns. These fees and the licensing requirements would allow us to take guns out of the hands of an estimated 30 million unsuitable or ineligible individuals. The fees for the remaining qualifying individuals would additionally reduce the number to about 14 million gun owners. The estimated federal and state revenues from such fee schedules would constitute a minimum of $21.812 billion dollars (Worst Case) to an estimated $48.622 (Best Case) annually. Our eventual goal is to reduce the number of licensees to zero. The revenue itself can be utilized to achieve this goal..” (Richard Mack and Timothy Walters, From My Cold Dead Fingers: Why America Needs Guns , Rawhide Western Publishing, 1994, Safford, Arizona, pp.184-189)
Gun Controllers Have the White House and the Media On Their Side
President Clinton told USA Today : “We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans to legitimately own handguns and rifles.that we are unable to think about reality.” (quoted in Mack, p.53)
NBC News President Michael Gartner told USA Today , “There is no reason for anyone in this country–anyone except a police officer or a military person–to buy, to own, to have, to use, a handgun. The only way to control handgun use in this country is to prohibit the guns. And the only way to do that is to change the Constitution.” (quoted in Mack, p. 53)
If You Want to Possess Liberty, You Must Have the Means to Defend
If You Want to Conquer, You Must Destroy the Means to Defend
It does no good to possess the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and property unless there is also an accompanying means to secure, protect and enforce those rights. He who holds the rights must also hold the ability to defend. The moment one relies on someone else to provide complete protection for one’s rights, he is in danger of loosing them. Those who wish to interfere with and destroy the three great unalienable rights of others must first destroy the person’s ability to resist that destruction.
It is not by coincidence that Americans, who are the freest people on earth, are also the best-armed people. The number of private citizens owning arms is estimated to be around 70 million. The number of firearms is estimated to be between 150 and 200 million weapons.
“It is a historical fact that in nations where the political leaders want to curtail the rights of the people and take away their property and freedom, they always begin by trying to disarm them. This is usually done by first requiring them to register their firearms and imposing a heavy penalty on those who do not. It has been determined that in many instances the next step is to deliberately provoke widespread rioting and violence. The government can then use this as an excuse to confiscate all firearms in the possession of private citizens and do it on the grounds that ‘we have to somehow stop all this killing.'” (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America, pp. 294-295)
Does Gun Control Curb Crime?
The purpose of this writing is not to regurgitate all the facts and statistics that prove more anti-gun laws do not work. There are plenty of statistics available to show this. In fact, an exhaustive study was made of this subject by the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution entitled The Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Its chairman, Senator Orrin Hatch said:
“If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples of crime rates reduced by such legislation. That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying — that they must sweep under the rug the southern attempts at gun control in the 1870-1910 period, the northeastern attempts in the 1920-1939 period, and the attempts at both Federal and State levels in 1965-1976 — establishes the repeated, complete, and inevitable failure of gun laws to control serious crime.” (quoted in The Making of America, p.695)
The fact that proponents of anti-gun laws have not been able to show a decrease in crime in any major degree suggests that perhaps that is not the major reason behind gun legislation.
Once again, the Founders Knew All of This Already
Those who wrote and approved the Constitution knew well that the only way to preserve freedom was to have all citizens, not just the military, armed and knowledgeable in the use of firearms. Listen to their counsel:
Richard Henry Lee: “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
Samuel Adams : “The said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to … prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
Patrick Henry : “The great object is that every man be armed…. Everyone who is able may have a gun.”
The Founders knew the danger of standing armies :
Zacharia Johnson : “[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them. The Virginia delegation’s recommended bill of rights included the following: That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” (Virginia Ratifying Convention)
The Founders knew the schemes rulers use to disarm the people :
George Mason : [W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually…I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor… (Virginia Ratifying Convention)
The Founders asked who is to be trusted more–the people or the Congress?
Patrick Henry : “Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own self defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defence be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” … (Virginia Ratifying Convention)
Does the Word “Militia” in the Second Amendment Mean
That only Organized Military Units Should Have Weapons?
Dr. Skousen explains the militia actually refers to a huge body of citizens:
“Many Americans do not even realize that they belong to the militia of their state. They confuse their state militia with the National Guard, which is a specialized reserve corps in each state trained at federal expense for immediate service.
“Under Title 10, section 31 of the U.S. Code, the militia of each state includes ‘all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and under 45 years of age who are or have [made] a declaration of intent to become citizens.'” (The Making of America, p.694)
Hence, the prohibition in the Second Amendment that the Federal Government not infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms applies directly to the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms, leaving the largest body of armed and prepared men as a bulwark against tyranny. James Madison admonished us to remember “that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics–that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe…” ( First Inaugural Address, Saturday, March 4, 1809.)
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Necessary
to Fight Off Tyranny at Home and Abroad
Noah Webster: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops.” -, “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution” (1787) in Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States.
Joseph Story: “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”, (Dane Professor of Law in Harvard University, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States , 1833, Book III at 746, § 1858.)
Beware the Deceptive Tactics of Rulers
“This [Second Amendment] may be considered as the true palladium of liberty…. The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction. In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorise the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty.” Saint George Tucker, Blackstone’s Commentaries (1803), Volume 1, Appendix, Note D [Section 12 – Restraints on Powers of Congress.]
Special NCCS Activity Notes!
A special Making of America seminar will be held at Philadelphia to celebrate Constitution Week and in Hyder, Arizona and Elko, Nevada in coming weeks. If you’re in those areas, call us for details. Also, see the announcement in this mailing of a special weeklong Citizenship Conference in Arizona in January. Thanks to all of you who help make these and many other events possible.