Founder Of Liberal Site: Right To Own Guns Was Made Up

The right to keep and bear arms longs predates the invention of guns. Originally, it encompassed spears, bows, swords, and so on. It was long held that a man had a right to defend himself from attack and, as such, had the right to have whatever tools he could afford to use in that effort.

Hence, the right to keep and bear arms.

However, not everyone agrees. Some people think the right to keep and bear arms is really about states despite the Second Amendment’s use of the term “people’s right.” It seems people only mean people and not states when it’s convenient. Some people think the right is entirely fictional.

One such person, though, is Josh Marshall, the founder of the liberal website Talking Point Memo, who tweeted this on Wednesday.

Wow.

Just…wow.

How completely uneducated do you have to be to imagine this was made up by NRA activism. First, the Second Amendment’s plain text says “the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” What on Earth could that mean other than the right to own guns? If you couldn’t own the gun, who were you keeping it for? Someone had to own it, for crying out loud.

Further, we have the Founding Fathers’ own words to tell us how they envisioned gun ownership.

In his draft of the Virginia Constitution, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” He also said, “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms,” in a letter to James Madison.

George Mason wrote, “To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them.” Sounds to me like he wanted people to own guns.

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in 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 band of regular troops,” wrote Noah Webster, noting that an armed population cannot be effectively subjected to tyranny.

Oh, but how about Samuel Adams. Before his name was plastered on a beer, he said, “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

I guess Marshall would say Adams was nothing more than an NRA activist, huh?

Now, between when the Founders said all of this and today, there was a time when people decided the Second Amendment wasn’t that big of a deal. They advocated for gun control and didn’t really worry about civil liberties. Then, a while back, people woke up and started fighting back. They no longer had a “go along to get along” approach, an approach that never did anything but put a rubber stamp on the erosion of our Second Amendment rights.

But that void in the middle there isn’t license to pretend what happened before it never happened. That’s simply not how any of this works.

Addressing Marshall’s claims on Twitter, The Reload‘s Stephen Gutowski had some interesting comments.

Gutowski is right. This is lazy and nothing but an appeal to all those who agree with him. However, it’s also something that will keep popping up. There are people who will take this at face value because Marshal has over 360,000 followers.

It’s a shame, but that’s how things seem to work. Marshall will make things up and people will swallow it whole.