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The Liberal Fear of Guns

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Jacob Hornberger
Campaign For Liberty
Friday, August 28, 2009

Liberal columnist David Sirota is scared, and he believes that the First Amendment is intended to eliminate his fear. In a column entitled “Freedom from Fear — and the Second Amendment,” Sirota argues that because some people get scared when they see guns and think that the gun owner is going to shoot them if they say the wrong thing, the Second Amendment is a threat to the First Amendment.

The purpose of the Constitution was to call into existence the federal government and, at the same time, to protect us from that government through the grant of very limited powers to the government.

The original Constitution wasn’t good enough for the American people, however, who had severe reservations about calling into existence a federal government, one that they were sure would threaten their rights and liberties. Thus, they demanded passage of the Bill of Rights, which was intended to be another express safeguard, on top of the Constitution, against the federal government.

Take a look at the First Amendment. Read it carefully. Does it say anything about gun owners’ threat to free speech? About freedom from fear?

No. It says that Congress shall be prohibited from infringing free speech. Now, that’s quite clear, isn’t it? It’s Congress that the First Amendment protects us from. Our American ancestors understood that the federal government, especially Congress, was the threat to people’s right to exercise free speech.

And why Congress? Because our ancestors understood that historically government officials don’t like people criticizing what they’re doing. So, they enact laws to punish people for criticizing government officials.

Why did our American ancestors enact the Second Amendment? Because they understood that without the right to keep and bear arms, the First Amendment becomes worthless. Why? Because if government officials realize that people lack the means to resist tyranny with force, those government officials will simply ignore the constitutional prohibition against freedom of speech by enacting laws that criminalize the criticism of government.

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Don’t believe me? Take a look at what’s happening in Iran and China. Government officials are jailing people for criticizing the government knowing that the risk of violent revolution is virtually nonexistent.

But when the citizenry is armed, government officials have to factor that in to their deliberations when deciding whether to violate the restrictions in the First Amendment.

This is what liberals hate. They place their total trust in democracy. They won’t say so expressly but they absolutely hate the idea that people have the right of revolution, which is why they continue to pooh-pooh Jefferson’s quotation about watering the tree of liberty. If they were honest, they would just come out and denounce that part of the Declaration of Independence in which Jefferson stated that whenever any government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was formed, it is the right to the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government.

What about Sirota’s belief that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were intended to protect him from being scared. It’s just plain nonsense. The notion originated during the Great Depression, when liberal icon President Franklin Roosevelt used it to implement his socialist and facist program known as the New Deal. Running roughshod over the federal judiciary, which was declaring much of his program unconstitutional, FDR argued that he was just protecting people’s “freedom from fear.”

But the Constitution doesn’t say anything about protecting people from their own internal fears, anxieties, depressions, or other psychological ailments. Those are things that people must conquer on their own. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights protect us from the federal government.

Finally, Sirota makes a false and fallacious assumption about gun control that is common to liberals. He assumes that because a law is passed prohibiting people from carrying guns, prospective murderers will respect it and obey it.

But as libertarians have long pointed out, that’s just wishful nonsense. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, if a murderer isn’t going to obey a law against murder, then he isn’t going to obey a law against possessing a gun.

There is no better place for a murderer to do his dirty deed than in a place that he is sure is a gun-free zone. After all, compare the number of murders in public schools to those that are committed at gun shows.

The right to keep and bear arms protects us from both the federal government and private criminals. For the sake of our safety and our freedom, we can never permit those who live in fear to eviscerate this vitally important fundamental right.

This article was posted: Friday, August 28, 2009 at 4:08 am

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