Second Amendment reminds government not to get out of line

Published 9:02 am Friday, October 27, 2017


Guest columnist

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings, a New York Times editorial called for the repeal of our Second Amendment.

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Why is it when there’s a bombing, we blame the bomber; when there’s a drunk driving accident, we blame the drunk driver; but when there’s a shooting, we blame the gun?

• Since 1993, gun crime has gone down 49 percent while gun ownership has increased.

At Sandy Hook (a gun free zone) the shooter turned the gun on himself when he heard armed first responders. How many more would have died had the officer’s gun not arrived?

A shooter at a mall turned his gun on himself when a concealed carry person pointed a gun at the shooter. How many lives did this concealed carry gun save? Shouldn’t the gun get credit for these facts as well?

The death total in Las Vegas reached 60. About the same amount who die in Chicago every month where the strictest gun laws exist. Now calls for stricter laws and repealing the amendment that ensures safety of all other amendments.

To understand the historical significance the Second Amendment has on our freedom and Constitution, we must go back to the beginning.

When the colonies declared independence from Great Britain, our forefathers thought it appropriate to send a letter in the form of a declaration to the government of England that ruled over us. Why? They were decent people but also knew they were breaking English law. They were committing treason, so they gave reasons. We’d already been fighting the British for over a year at the time of our declaration. In the beginning, we weren’t sure separation would be permanent.

Where the war started is equally important as to how it started in understanding our Second Amendment.

The first shots were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts. Why? The British army had to march through Lexington to get to Concord. Why Concord? In Concord, there were weapons and powder being collected and stored to fight the British in case war broke out. The British wanted to disarm our ability to fight. In the process, they were going to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who they considered rabble-rousers.

The British were met by citizens of Lexington who blocked their way. No one knows who fired the first shot. However, it became known as “the shot heard around the world” because our revolution inspired other revolutions.

Had we not had these weapons of war and our people armed, we wouldn’t have been able to fight the British and win independence. That’s why our Second Amendment to our Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. Because it was the populace that fought the British army prior to building a standing army.

We won and eventually wrote a constitution. Remember, a government like ours hadn’t ever been created and it was called for years an “experiment in government.” The notable Patrick Henry who said, “give me liberty or give me death” left the Constitutional Convention declaring, “I smell a rat!” He was wary of what was being created.

This was government for the people, by the people, and the people insisted this Constitution not be ratified without a Bill of Rights. It wasn’t put in for hunting, but for protection. Not only personal protection, but protection from government — this experiment that Patrick Henry called a rat — In case another revolution had to be fought.

When Benjamin Franklin was asked by a lady outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, “Mr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?” He replied, “A Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Another critical point.

We are a republic, not a democracy. We don’t sing the Battle Hymn of the Democracy; we sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. We don’t pledge allegiance to the democracy, but to the republic. Why?

On one end of the government spectrum, you have communism and dictatorship. On the other end is a republic. Now, as you move left on the spectrum, next to a republic is a democracy. In a democracy, majority rules. Sounds good, but if majority rules, law today is simply thrown out the window tomorrow by a vote of the majority. Pure democracy is one step away from socialism. Socialism is one step away from communism and dictatorship.

However, in a representative republic, although there’s a democratic process where majority rules, the majority’s emotion is controlled within the parameters of the Constitution, which for us include the Bill of Rights.

The Second Amendment is important not for revolution and maybe not for hunting. But for a form of protection and a reminder to our government, which our forefathers intended, that if government gets out of line or a foreign enemy invades, the people can fight back.

Randy Graham is author of the children’s book series “Boomer’s Positive Lessons on Living.” He lives in Danville.