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After we won our independence from the British crown, the threat of tyranny was fresh in the minds of the Founding Fathers as they met in Philadelphia the summer of 1789. James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights to secure unalienable rights for the people not explicitly stated in the Constitution. In terms of the Second Amendment, he was securing a right of the people to bear arms, not a privilege.
Unfortunately, our current leaders interpret the Second Amendment as something that strictly can be regulated. They readily seek to add registration laws, ban specific firearms and magazines based on the premise that mass murderers have used these specific arms in the past.
They slap the hands of the American people based on the actions of these few individuals. They seek to infringe on our rights with blanket legislation.
This cannot happen.
When the Bill of Rights was written, the Founding Fathers knew how real tyranny was. In this nation today, we are relatively free of domestic threat, and we do not realize the ability of a corrupt government to take away its people’s rights.
We sit on an infallible pedestal; we readily forget the conflicts of the Spanish Civil War, the conflicts in Europe that led to World War II, the conflict between the Serbians and Albanians and the Mexican Revolution.
There have been perfectly healthy governments that have gone sour throughout history.
The world is not a perfect place. Our founding fathers knew this.
Drawing upon the English Bill of Rights (1689), the Founding Fathers sought to preserve a defense for the people to secure their rights when government fails.
“That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.”
The wording in our Second Amendment is fairly similar, “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.”
These ideas were both influenced by the thoughts of John Locke, who sought to protect rights for the people and prevent government infringement upon them.
The people, when unarmed, are utterly defenseless against a corrupt government.
The Founding Fathers drew upon these ideals and placed the Second Amendment as a last-ditch effort for the people to defend their rights and democracy.
For when all else failed, the people would at least be able to rebel and fight for their rights.
As the Obama administration seeks to react to the acts that have occurred in the past year, they are speaking of possibly adding laws requiring gun owners to register any and all firearms.
This is a gross infringement on our rights as a people.
The overreaction that these leaders and the media have concurrently spurred is nothing short of mistrust of the people. Approximately 50 percent of the nation legally, and peacefully, own guns in their household. The acts of Aurora and Sandy Hook were executed with guns acquired legally. The idiom, “bad people will find ways to do bad things,” fully stands in this debate.
This past month, 2.2 million Americans applied for criminal background checks, the first step to purchase guns legally.
With record numbers purchasing guns and some 100,000 Americans even joining the National Rifle Association within the same period, it is clear the people do not want further restriction on their right to bear arms.
The premise of introducing new laws on the basis of preventative measure is an explicit infringement on individual rights.
To limit the rights of nearly half of Americans in response to the actions of few and mentally unstable individuals is beyond the duty of government. It is not the solution now, or in the future.
Americans do not fear the possibility of corrupt government today. We hope that our democracy can survive until the end of days. But as history has taught us, all great civilizations have come to their end.
With the Second Amendment untouched, the American people can prolong the actions of a corrupt government, by deterrence and by fighting if one such government does come to power at some point in the future.
Leave our right to bear arms alone, and we will protect this great country by preserving democracy, liberty, justice and freedom for generations to come — the way James Madison intended.
Nick Bruewer is a guest columnist at The State News and a media and information sophomore. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.