The first four articles in this continuing series are:

A Gun Ownership Primer: The Philosophy Of Gun Ownership 

A Gun Ownership Primer, Part 2: Does Evil Exist?

A Gun Ownership Primer: Is Killing Morally Justified? Part 1 

A Gun Ownership Primer: Is Killing Morally Justified? Part 2 

The first four articles in this series dealt with issues of philosophy and morality, even theology. It is now time to delve into issues far less lofty and divine, issues often fought in the muddy and fetid fever swamps of Washington D.C., which was actually built on swampy ground. As we have already established that the right to self-defense is a fundamental, unalienable right, a right not granted by government and therefore, a right which may not be infringed or taken away by government, it may seem odd to have to deal with politics in regard to that right, but such is the nature of man.

It is not widely known that a substantial number of the Founding Fathers did not want a Bill of Rights at all, while others would not sign or assist in the ratification of the Constitution without a solemn understanding that the Bill of Rights would follow in short order.  They didn’t want a Bill of Rights because they were afraid future generations of politicians would claim that those rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were the only rights of citizens.  As it turns out, they were prescient in this and much else.

Gun control has always been an issue fraught with political intrigue, and reasonably so, for the truism that an armed society is a free society is undeniably true.  No dictatorship can allow its subjects the freedom to keep and bear arms, as they will inevitably be used against the dictator and his allies.  Dictators, in consolidating power and control over their populations, always deprive them of arms, commonly through the application of deadly force.  Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, all have followed this common pattern, as have all dictatorships before them.  Free men therefore look upon restrictions on firearm ownership and use with a jealous and wary eye, for they have millennia of history warning them of its inevitable dangers and depredations.

James Madison, writing as “Publius” in the Federalist #46,  clearly understood this political reality and the dark nature of human beings grasping for ultimate power over others:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.

In Madison’s conception, the militia were the people, individuals who would band together when necessary, bringing their own weapons, to abolish a tyrannical government. Madison obviously understood that the individual ownership of arms is a powerful deterrent to would-be tyrants. Notice that there is, in Madison’s prose, no mention of self-defense or hunting or sport shooting. The primary purpose of the Second Amendment is the deterrence and if necessary, the abolishment, of tyranny, and the maintenance of liberty.

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