DeVos: Embrace the Second Amendment |

DeVos: Embrace the Second Amendment

Jon DeVos
Staff Photo |

George Washington, America’s first president was only two years into his term when he faced The Whiskey Rebellion. America incurred great debt fighting the Revolutionary War. Struggling to repay, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton oversaw America’s first tax in 1791. It was a tax on alcohol but corn whiskey was where it hurt because whiskey was the coin of the frontier.

Whiskey was so popular in colonial times that it was used as an exchange for goods and services and considered a household necessity. A tax on this essential was outrageous. War veterans were stunned to again be confronted with taxation without representation. Every farm had a still and every farmer had a gun, determined to live a life free of the British oppression they had just thrown off. No new taxes? Uh-uh, no taxes at all!

Western Pennsylvania was a hotbed of protest. Tax agents were routinely roughed up and beaten. In July of 1794, five-hundred armed men attacked and burned the home and farm buildings of a federal tax agent. It was too much for President Washington to endure. He organized neighboring governors and sent 13,000 militiamen to quell the insurrection. The rebelling citizens fled before the militia got there and the protest died away. By 1800, almost 200 moonshine stills in Kentucky alone had been shut down for tax violations.

The Whiskey Rebellion is an example of the founding father’s real intent buried in the bare 26 words of the Second Amendment. It means today exactly what they said it meant then: “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.”

In the Whiskey Rebellion, citizens felt the law was wrong and took up arms against the government. In response, the government enforced the Second Amendment by gathering a well-regulated militia to protect the security of the Free State.

The Constitution does not side with those who focus on the last 14 words, ignoring the ones that precede them. Actions do speak louder than words and it’s impossible to drown out the message of the Whiskey Rebellion with 30-round clips in military assault rifles. They have no place among an armed citizenry. If for no other reason than they become laughable toys against a drone strike or in the face of a Super Cobra attack helicopter.

So if the plan is to shoot your senator when they pass laws you don’t like, think about the Whiskey Rebellion and the likely result of your actions. It probably won’t be any New Order.

Robert Heinlein wrote shoot-‘em-up Westerns set in outer space. He’s also a hero among gun rights for the T-shirt slogan “An armed society is a polite society.” But it’s not so, Heinlein got it backwards. A society has to be polite before it arms itself. Otherwise Somalia and Syria would be cool vacation spots.

More guns don’t equate to more safe. There are enough guns in this country to strap every man, woman and child down to the age of two. You’d think that’d be enough to make women curtsy and men tip the hat, but instead, this year up to October 1st, there were 294 mass shootings, 45 school shootings, 9,956 people killed by gunfire and over 20,000 people wounded.

Should we really be packing heat on the off-chance of heroically winging a shoplifter? Take a closer look at the Second Amendment. Nothing in it precludes sensible gun laws.

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