Gun control advocates will never stop, and it’s easy to understand why. After all, if they really believe guns are a problem, why would they? I honestly believe that 200 years from now, we’ll have people arguing over how the Constitution was never intended to cover plasma rifles in the 40-watt range for just that reason.
One reason why we’ll continue to have gun control advocates may also be that so many of them are either ignorant of history or they just flat out lie about it. Take this op-ed from The Houstonian, the student paper at Sam Houston State University, where it starts off with just absolute nonsense to support its anti-gun agenda.
The Second Amendment states, “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.” The debate over this is whether this clause was intended for only the militia or regular citizens as well. Gun right advocates prefer to focus on the second part “right of the people” and ignore the first “well-regulated militia.” The “well-regulated militia” was added for a reason, and I think it was not just a suggestion.
To understand what the amendment meant to convey, we need to look at the historical context that in which it was written. The founding fathers believed that freedom without regulation could only lead to anarchy. They thought if a group of citizens were given guns then they could quickly become a mob and that was not what is considered a well-regulated militia. A law in 1786 even prohibited the storage of any loaded gun in any building in Boston.
Until the 1980s, there was no such thing as the “individual rights” theory of the Second Amendment. This changed when right-wing think-tanks started an effort to rewrite the amendment’s history. This was not initially well received; former Supreme Court chief justice Warren Burger called the idea that an individual should be allowed to bear arms “one of the greatest pieces of fraud on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” The revisionism did win in 2008 when the Supreme Court broke away from 70 years of established jurisprudence and stated that the Second Amendment does protect an individual’s right to have guns in their home for self-defense.
In other words, the writer of this screed, one Tasneem Baqir, tries to set the stage that absolutely no one in the history of this country believed in an individual right to own guns before recent history, that it’s all about national defense and all that.
It seems a safe position to take, though, because it’s not like we can go and ask our Founding Fathers what they thought. After all, they’re dead.
But you know what we can do? We can look at the things they said about the ownership of firearms. Luckily, the good people at ConcealedCarry.com have a handy list we can draw from. Let’s just snag a handful, shall we?
“That no man should scruple, or hesitate a moment, to use arms in defence of so valuable a blessing, on which all the good and evil of life depends, is clearly my opinion.”
-George Washington, letter to George Mason April 5th 1769
Hmmm…no mention of the militia there.
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776
Wow. Pretty straightforward.
“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. 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.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776
You know, that sounds like something that I’ve written a few thousand times in my life.
Baqir takes up the beginning clause of the Second Amendment, holding it up as a talisman, proof that the amendment had nothing to do with the common man. Yet what is never touched on is just who makes up the “well-regulated militia.” Luckily George Mason did.
“I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.”
– George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788
We can take this further, though. Baqir fails to address the simple fact that the amendment is very clear in its instructions, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That is the instruction it gives the government. It’s not that handguns should be restricted, or that “assault weapons” are too dangerous for civilians. It’s that the government has no place restricting our access to guns.
Apparently, they don’t really teach much about this stuff at Houston State University. If they do, the Miss Baqir needs to see her advisor and enroll as quickly as possible so she doesn’t make a further fool of herself. After all, her entire argument is based on something that could be debunked in a 20-second Google search.