Am I an incrediby stupid man?

publication by: Trevor Cartwright
Written on Feb 17, 2013

"You're an incredibly stupid man, aren't you?" Piers Morgan stated this infamous phrase when he derided the Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt on a live interview a few months ago. The two argued over the classic question: “Does an increase of guns increase or decrease violent crime?”

Whenever guns are brought up in American politics, people tend to argue over the wrong aspects of guns and gun control (e.g. gun crimes and dangers). Instead, one should examine exactly what the second amendment is and why we have it. It is always important to start at the root of the tree rather than the branches.

Here is the second amendment:

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.

Before we attempt to exegete this amendment, we need to study the origins and history of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

One should begin with the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote it, and he directly quoted from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government when he wrote, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” (Constitution). Jefferson mentions that it is the duty of the people to overthrow a tyrannical government. The American colonists exercised this duty when they rebelled against the British.

The Constitution of the United States of America was created almost two decades after the Declaration, but it in no way was meant to diminish the Constitution; it sets limits on the Federal government to ensure that the government never infringes on the natural, God-given rights of the people: life, liberty and property. As Abraham Lincoln put it, the Constitution is the golden apple (the treasure), and the Constitution is the silver frame that protects the apple; the frame was made for the apple, not vice versa. Hence, we must remember that the Constitution protects us from a government that might desire to trample on our natural rights.

The Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) was added before the Constitution was ratified.  Some states were worried that the Constitution would supersede state sovereignty. It is important to note that the Bill of Rights entirely pertains to Individual rights, not to state rights. The Bill of Rights, as with the Constitution, is grounded in Lockian philosophy. According to the Bill or Rights Institute, the Bill of Rights was written to grant greater constitutional protection for individual liberties; the Bill of Rights lists specific prohibitions on governmental power. (“Bill of Rights of the United States of America,” 2010). The Constitution was initially written to define governmental limits, not citizen limits.

So how does this influence one’s interpretation of the second amendment? If one believes that the second amendment refers to hunting, then one could make the case that citizens are only guaranteed the right to bear bolt action rifles and shotguns: these are appropriate guns for hunting. But is this what the Second Amendment refers to? Certainly not. It is absurd to believe that an 18th century nation that relied on hunting would even consider making hunting a right since hunting played such a pivotal role in their diet.

The second amendment is clearly about the citizen militia (not the so-called professional military). We all have the right to bear arms to preserve the security of a free state. We have the right to use our guns for self-defense and to prevent government tyranny. Remember, according to the Declaration, it is the duty of the people to overthrow a tyrannical government.

So from this premise, we know that the Second Amendment protects all weapons that citizens can use to defend themselves against the government. Remember, this is an individual right, so the weapons must be operable by one person. It seems logical to conclude that weapons such as handguns and all rifles should be legal. By rifles, I mean all rifles including automatic and semi-automatic. These weapons can be reasonable used to attack specific targets. Citizens should not be able to own weapons like killer viruses or nuclear bombs because such weapons are not discriminatory in nature; all people in the danger zone will be obliterated. I like how Thornwell Simmons put it, “It is clear that any tool of self defense you choose must be a tool you can direct to be capable of discriminating between an attacker and an innocent” (2002).

Admittedly, there are certain weapons that are more difficult to decide on (e.g. explosives and heavy artillery). State and Federal legislatures can debate controversial weapons. However, it is reasonable to conclude that all handguns and rifles, regardless of magazine capacity and rate of fire, are protected by the second amendment.

Remember, our founders used their guns (not sticks or stones) to gain freedom. It is not crazy or absurd to fear that government will someday try to usurp power and take over. Read a few history books if you do not think that governments tend to do that. We need to cherish and protect this right. May God help us never clamp on our own shackles by banning guns from ourselves. Hopefully there are more "incredibly stupid people" like me and Larry Pratt who care about freedom.

1. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

2. http://billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

3. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/668387/posts


 

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Rachel Cartwright commented:
The government needs to stop messing with the second amendment! It is there for a reason.
Brian Butcher commented:
As a Christian, do you agree or disagree with the following quote? “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to
peace jolayemi commented:
cool but is christainity all about stupidity
Rene Hernandez commented:
This is certainly a controversial subject. I am a mother of three boys. And as a mother, I can not even begin to imagine, the heartache the parents of the innocent children who have lost their lives to gun violence. My husband has wanted to buy a gun for many years, and I am completely against it. I don't know what the answer is, and I understand it is the right of Americans to "bear arms" however I have this image of those children being gunned down in school; somewhere they should feel safe, a place meant for learning and growing. God help those parents, who will live the rest of their lives heartbroken, and grieving over the lose of their children. When people talk about their right to "bear arms" that is what I think about. And I'm sure had those same people who express their "rights" had lost their children to gun violence, they would feel much differently. Can you imagine how they feel when they see the image of the very thing that took their children's lives? Its probably like looking the "murderer" of their child straight in the eye. Lets not forget to show our compassion for them.
Trevor Cartwright commented:
Rene, I can sympathize with your sentiment. We live in a fallen world where crimes like this run rampant. However, I think that it is erroneous to blame "guns" for the actions of a deranged kid. Did you know that a deranged 36 year old man stabbed 22 kids and an older woman in China...the same day as Sandy Hook(Liu, 2012: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/15/not-just-sandy-hook-china-s-terrifying-knife-attacks.html)? Or, did you hear about the Japanese man who killed 8 kids and wounded 15 others with a knife a few years ago (Sims, 2001):http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/09/world/knife-wielding-man-kills-8-children-at-japanese-school.html)? My point is that deranged people will use whatever weapons they can to commit these awful crimes. Law-abiding citizens like us should not lose our gun rights because of lunatics like Adam Lanza. He could have used a variety of weapons: knives, explosives, clubs, poison, etc. He could have detonated a pipe bomb-they are relatively easy to make- and killed ALL of the kids in that room. To conclude: did you know that hammers kill more people annually than rifles (including assault rifles) (Hawkins, 2013:http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/01/03/FBI-More-People-Killed-With-Hammers-and-Clubs-Each-Year-Than-With-Rifles?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BigGovernment+%28Big+Government%29)? Do we ban knives and clubs?
Trevor Cartwright commented:
Peace, I was not referring to Christianity as stupid. I am a Christian. I was playing off of Piers Morgan's ignorant words.
Karen MacEanruig commented:
I have lived, mostly on the coast, from Valdez, Alaska to Santa Barbara, California. Guns are safe as hell in Alaska. They scare the hell out of me in California. Where do I think I need the protection of a gun the most? Here in California, and now in 2013. I carried in Alaska in the late 1960's-it's probably the safest place I ever lived. Here and now it's a disaster. I'd feel more comfortable with a gun. Is it the government's business? Yeah, when they can guarantee protection=if ever. karenmaceanruig
Roxanne Dubarry commented:
Dear Trevor, Of course gun ownership is protected by law, but so is responsibility. I am in favor of criminal and/or mental health background checks. And you will agree that terrorits do not have the right to arm themselves in America. People have the right to protect themselves, their families, and their property. They do not have the right to use their neigbors for target practice in either gang or mob violence. If they have small children, their guns should not be easily available. Too many innocent children have died due to care less adult behavior. I am a Chrisitan. It is not the gun that commits the crime--it is the person behind the gun. For all of the above mentioned reasons above and many more: I do not like guns, period. violence.
Trevor Cartwright commented:
Roxanne, I agree with you say for the most part, but I think we may disagree on a few points. I do not believe that responsibility can be enforced by law. If somebody wants to be a drunk, then he has that right. If one wants to be a deadbeat, commit adultery, and neglect his family, then that is his right (as much as we may disagree with his decisions). The government's job is to protect life, liberty, and property. Period. Thus, you are right: it is wrong to shoot people for target practice because that infringes on another's liberty. Nobody is making a case in favor of that. It is our right to defend ourselves with guns is my point. You say you hate guns because you hate violence. Guns can be used for hunting, target practice, and hobby collecting; they are not only used to inflict damage on human beings. I do not know how broad your definition of violence is, but I do not classify self-defense as such. Guns provide an excellent check to the government and to criminals. However, you may choose to not have a gun; that is fine. I am standing up for the right to bear arms for those of us who would like to. BTW, read Luke 22:38 to see that self-defense is OK for Christians. Thanks for the comment.
suzanne williams commented:
hear hear! trevor i totally agree. I am a single mom of two and have owned a .38 snub since i was 18. My dad was in the military and gave it to me on my birthday when i started working late night hospital shifts. i have a permit to carry. my children are educated in how to handle a pistol and a shotgun and have been for several years. they are twelve and eighteen. I am not a foolish woman. I live outside of town with no immediate neighbors.Do people realize that guns are not only meant for protection and for the other reasons mentioned in the constitution,but also is a very real protection against possible invasion. It would perhaps be easy to take over a country that was so poor that only the soldiers had guns and knew how to use them.But the united states would not be that easy.As far as women who are single and mothers are concerned, or women period, there are predators out there ladies. Predators who have no compunctions against hurting you and your children. Take my advice, buy a gun, learn how to use it. It might save your life.
Frank J. Davis commented:
Too many debaters--especially "progressives"--continually and conveniently bypass recognizing a right already secured and bog their opposition down in the muck of "merits." It is as if a stranger were to enter your home and begin suggesting that your furniture arrangement is unattractive; could be more sensible. Wouldn't just about everyone tell that busybody, "Get the hell out of my house! You have no right to even comment on my personal decisions--let alone attempt to alter them!"In other words, mere assertion of a right should be more than enough. Incisive and eloquent work, patriot!
Trevor Cartwright commented:
Suzanne, Great point! Anti-gun activists fail to realize that women sufer the most from gun control laws. What else can level the playing field? Michael Moore, in his typical arrogant tone, once said that we do not need to buy guns since we can buy dogs! Wow, really Michael? As if a large dog at home is going to help a woman in the parking garage late at night. Oh, and let's not forget the costs (and potential liability risks) of owning a dog large enough to serve as an effective deterrent. I am glad to hear that you are awake, and that you understand your 2nd amendment right. Continue to exercise it sister! Let's ban together and not let these crazies take our rights away. Frank, Yeah, you are totally right. You used the word “busybody.” That reminds me of a quote by CS Lewis. He said that “moral busybodies are the worst because they torment us to no end with the approval of their own consciences!” I would add that progressives are ignorant as to what constitutional law even means. They are hyper “loose-constructionists;” they believe that they can alter the text and its meaning whenever they want. What chicanery! What tripe and utter nonsense! Why even write a constitution if one can change it on a whim without a supermajority vote? That renders a written, static document useless. Thanks for the comment fellow patriot!
Estes Dotani commented:
I think the right to bear arms directed towards an intrusive government. I personally believe the interpretation of this issue should be left to the States and even local communities.
mr. chap commented:
The guns aren't the problem, it's how they're distributed and how they're handled

 

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