When the patriarchs of our young nation debated certain inalienable rights, one leading figure by the name of President George Washington eloquently stated the following: “Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” Again, those words were spoken by our first President, George Washington.
Those who question the original intent of the Second Amendment and want to place an undue burden on citizens’ rights to bear arms forget that criminals will always have the ability to find weapons that can injure and kill. The Second Amendment has been part of our constitutional fabric for centuries and remains in place to protect the innocent – not the criminals. There is no question that criminals prefer victims who are defenseless and unarmed. Our system of laws should not detrimentally impact the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.
The Second Amendment is not a political football; it is a cornerstone of our Bill of Rights. I firmly believe in the ability of our citizens to protect their lives and their property, and the right to bear arms is a critical component of this intrinsic value that we all cherish. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to imagine a scenario when local, state and federal law enforcement may be insufficient to protect against imminent danger, and when citizens must have the ability to defend themselves - with firearms if they so choose.
Regulation of guns and ammunition should be profoundly contemplated, extremely measured, and minimal; aimed at criminals, never directed toward law-abiding citizens. I oppose mandatory registration of guns for law-abiding citizens, but support increased penalties for use of guns in the commission of a crime, particularly for repeat offenders. I am in favor of concealed carry laws with appropriate qualifications and comprehensive training, and I would oppose laws that give unfettered discretion to the government to refuse concealed carry permits.
The Second Amendment belongs to us as individual citizens. It does not belong to a city or a state, and I believe that lawsuits against gun manufacturers by political bodies are frivolous and unwarranted. My long-held beliefs, and those of others who believe in the right to bear arms, have been justified by the recent ruling in Parker v. District of Columbia. That decision upheld a Second Amendment challenge to the District of Columbia’s ban on functional firearms, and the court’s ruling supports our Founding Fathers’ intent in crafting the Second Amendment.
Finally, we must always remember that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. While I support the rights of hunters, it is misleading for politicians to frame their Second Amendment arguments by voicing support for those who hunt game. The Second Amendment has a much broader purpose to it, and I will recognize that its original intent was to protect against tyranny and to ensure the rights of our citizens to safeguard their own lives and property.
In December 1775, "An American Guesser" anonymously wrote to the Pennsylvania Journal:
"I observed on one of the drums belonging to the marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this modest motto under it, 'Don't tread on me.' As I know it is the custom to have some device on the arms of every country, I supposed this may have been intended for the arms of America."
This "anonymous" writer, having "nothing to do with public affairs" and "in order to divert an idle hour," speculated on why a snake might be chosen as a symbol for America.
First, it occurred to him that "the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America."
The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and "may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance." Furthermore, "She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. She never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her."
Finally, "I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, 'till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers.
"Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living."
Many scholars now agree that this "American Guesser" was Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin, of course, is also known for opposing the use of an eagle -- "a bird of bad moral character" -- as a national symbol.
There are only two different kinds of people in this world; those that want to be left alone and those that won’t leave you alone. The 2nd Amendment stands as a last line of defense against those that would seek to harm you both…
Individually or Collectively!
Federal Cases Regarding the 2nd Amendment
U.S. Supreme Court Cases
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A Primer on the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms