To President Obama: The 2nd Amendment Is About Fighting Tyranny, Not Hunting Deer
by Michael Scheuer
Soon after the Denver shootings, President Obama said it was time to put stricter gun-control measures in place. With the failure of Attorney General Holder’s “Fast and Furious” ploy to void the 2nd Amendment, it seems Obama thought he might capitalize on the Denver shootings to further damage the Constitution. The negative public reaction to his words, however, sent Obama backtracking, and senior Democrats like Senator Reid and Representative Pelosi quickly made public remarks to bury the issue – for now.
Before moving on, it is worth noting that Obama said gun laws must be changed but only in a way that protected Americans’ cherished tradition of hunting. Well, hunting game is not the central concern of the 2nd Amendment. What is central is that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of Americans to be armed in case they decide there is a need, in Jefferson’s words, “to alter or to abolish [the government]” and “to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
In creating the 2nd Amendment, the Founders – through James Madison‘s pen – took their cue from the British Bill of Rights (1689) which recognized that an unarmed populace could not protect its rights, liberty, and economic welfare against a king backed by a standing army, and so it allowed for an armed populace. The Founders also recalled that when London cracked down on New England’s resistance to the Crown, one of British General Thomas Gates’ first moves was to try to seize the munitions and ordnance the colonists had stockpiled around Boston. One reason for the British Army’s ill-fated expedition to Lexington and Concord in April, 1775, for example, was to capture the colonists’ stores of cannon, muskets, and munitions.
Even before Jefferson’s declaration, therefore, what in today’s parlance is called “gun control” was seen by Americans for what it was and is, a policy instituted by an oppressive government that fears its population and therefore aims at ensuring that citizens cannot arm to resist its will. The 2nd Amendment is meant, in part, to make sure that if the federal government created by the Constitution turns oppressive, Americans will have arms with which to defend their liberties and welfare.