Letter: The 2nd Amendment gives us power in face of tyranny
July 4, 2013
The 2nd Amendment gives us power in face of tyranny
To the Editor:
Several recent letters to the editor have taken the 2nd Amendment completely out of context. Please read our history. Every amendment in the Bill of Rights, which is the first ten amendments to our Constitution, was written as one bill and all of the amendments have to do with limiting the power of the federal government and guarantees certain inherent freedoms to the people. The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 and in part similarly limits the power of state governments.
Tench Coxe, a Pennsylvania delegate, put it very plainly when on June 18, 1789, he wrote this about the 2nd Amendment, "As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."
The meaning is very clear. The people have the right to keep and bear arms against their own government if it ever becomes necessary. One letter writer asked why do we even need a militia anymore since we have police and military, etc., to keep us safe. Those protections are protections against other people and other governments. Our Founding Fathers foresaw a possibility, based on world history, when our own government might one day become tyrannical and use those forces against its own people as many of the framers of the Constitution have written about. Those writings are easily found on the internet. History tells us one early step leading to tyranny is the lack of arms to its citizens. Therefore, the 2nd Amendment was included as a protection of the people against their own government as were the other nine amendments. It's no accident the 2nd Amendment is second after the free exercise of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and to petition the government. It's no accident there's an order to that one also.
Our country is a "Constitutional Republic" that guarantees inherent rights to individuals and to states but one which also limits the powers of the federal and state government. The 2nd Amendment guarantees, and the Declaration of Independence actually encourages, the right of the people to stand, in arms, against tyranny. Thus, a "well regulated" militia is an organization of trained citizens as numerous Founding Fathers have described it and has nothing to do with legislation. So when our government wants to legislate the reduction of any of the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, our freedom is being jeopardized. This endeth the history lesson.
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