It’s Our Birthright! Why the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is So Important

Each and every one one us has the right to keep and bear arms.*  It’s our birthright as an American.  We also have a corresponding obligation to know both our rights as well as what they mean to ourselves and others, if for no other reason than to avoid falling prey to the significant volumes of misinformation being spread by those who’re largely ignorant of our nation’s rights and freedoms.  More ominously, it is our duty to be knowledgeable, so we don’t fall pray to those who would undermine our liberties.

“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.” – Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Please enjoy the remaining quotes, from those who signed our Second Amendment into law:

James Madison: “As the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.”

Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: “What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.”

George Mason: “I ask you sir, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.”

George Washington: “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”

Patrick Henry: “The people have a right to keep and bear arms.”

Tenche Coxe: “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

*U.S. citizens who have not forfeited that right due to a qualifying offense (usually involving a felony or domestic violence conviction).

Join the discussion of this article on RYOC Forums!

Why Gun Control Laws and No Firearms Signs Do NOT Work

I’m writing this in the wake of this morning’s shootings at an after-midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Deranged gunman James Holmes entered the theater, shot 71 people, killing 12 of them, before police arrived just 90 seconds later.I’m also writing this as a graduate of Virginia Tech, where a similarly deranged gunman Seung-Hui Cho shot 49 people, killing 32 of them. The Virginia Tech massacre remains the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history, and occurred in the same halls in which I spent many hours myself.

The victims in both instances had something in common: They were unarmed. In the case of the theater, they have a no firearms policy. Cinemark’s official firearms policy is no OC/CC except for LEOs. If you want to watch a movie in their theater, you must forfeit your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, your right to protect yourself and your loved ones from harm. In the case of Virginia Tech, their “gun-free zone” was seen by Cho as a “free-fire zone,” for some simple reason: When you disarm honest, law-abiding citizens, you remove a powerful deterrent to crime — the most powerful deterrent, according to violent criminals.

Some people opinion if we were to get rid of all firearms, we wouldn’t have this problem, yet when England followed this course of action, their rate of violent crime soared by 77%.2 Why? Simple — because their victims were now unarmed. Apparently Australia thought they could do better than their former warden and enacted the same measures, with similarly dismal results. Put simply, gun control is a naive and idealistic attempt to lesson one’s fear of guns or gun-related crimes. The problem is, not only is gun control futile, it actually increases the likelihood of violent crime.

Our Founding Fathers knew this well. Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms is widely recognized throughout the annuls of American History. Thomas Jefferson said “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms.”3 In their 24-page 1982 Report on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, our U.S. Congress concluded, “The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.” (attached) Furthermore, “The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, … or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.”4
The laying down of arms in any manner, whether through gun control laws or frequenting establishments sporting “No Firearms” signs, is counterproductive to a peaceful society. Perhaps the most insightful treatise on why this is so was well-explained by Thomas Paine in his “Thoughts on Defensive War” in 1775:

[A]rms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.
The soundness of this wisdom has repeatedly been echoed throughout our nation’s history, even in recent times: “I cannot consider the Bill of Rights to be an outworn 18th Century ‘strait jacket’…Its provisions may be thought outdated abstractions by some. And it is true that they were designed to meet ancient evils. But they are the same kind of human evils that have emerged from century to century wherever excessive power is sought by the few at the expense of the many. In my judgement the people of no nation can lose their basic liberty so long as a Bill of Rights like ours survives and its basic purposes are conscientiously interpreted, enforced and respected so as to afford continuous protection against old, as well as new, devices and practices which might thwart those purposes.”5

In fact, our Supreme Court reaffirms this as well. In District of Columbia vs Heller, they held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for lawful purposes such as self-defense, even in federal enclaves. Later, in McDonald v. Chicago, the Court held that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.

Why then is Hollywood Theaters erecting “No Firearms” signs at all their theaters today? Are they merely ignorant of the fact that it’s not only a Constitutional right, but that the exercise of that right is actually a known, proven deterrent to violent crime, even in the case where the perpetrator is criminally insane? Do they not understand that the mere act of posting a “No Firearms” sign greatly increases the likelihood that their establishment will be targeted by criminals, mass shooters, and Islamic extremists?  Don’t know they that they are actually — and significantly — increasing the risks of loss of life, limb, and property for themselves, their employees, and their customers?

For that matter, why does any institution restrict or prohibit the ability of honest, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves against these events?

That’s just stupid!

I both open carry (OC) and concealed carry (CC). In recent years I’ve been waffling about whether or not I should carry at all when I’m at the movies. They’re so peaceful and safe, right? I mean no one would ever go on a rampage in a crowded theater…

As we learned today, we never know where these events will happen. They can and have happened at the movies. They can and have happened at public areas, college campuses, supermarkets, post offices, and public parks. Despite the fact that people can legally carry a firearm in most areas throughout 49 states, these events seem to happen most often where people are prohibited from carrying firearms, areas those who claim are “safe” call “no-gun zones.” Those of us who’re more knowledgeable about how and why criminals choose their targets refer to them as “free-fire zones,” and we do our best to avoid them!

Why is it, then, that the most common knee-jerk reaction to these incidents are to create more such zones, thereby increasing the likelihood of such an event? If a course of action continually proves to have the opposite outcome than the one that’s desired, it’s time to change the course of action. The relaxation of gun control laws over the last twenty years has had a tremendously positive impact on the reduction of crime! Criminals, even insane ones, don’t target a well-armed populace.

Hollywood Theaters and others who throw up knee-jerk “No Firearms” signs are doing their honest, law-abiding customers a grave disservice. What they should be doing is posting the following sign:

firearms welcome

References
1
Link to MSNBC article

2James Slack, “The most violent crime rate in Europe: Britain is also worst than South Africa and the U.S.,” Daily Mail U.K., July 2, 2009. Link.

3Draft Constitution for Virginia, 1776

4Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Major John Cartwright (5 June 1824).

5Justice Hugo Black, dissenting in Adamson v. California (1947)

Please join us in discussing this article on RYOC Forums!

What is RYOC? It is the answer to the question…

The answer begins with what RYOC is not. It is not about terrorism, revolution, or subversion. Here at RYOC, we work within the rules to effect change. Whether that’s change for the future or for the restoration of the way our country to its Constitutional basis is up to all citizens. Most people see these sides in conflict. I believe the two sides can collaborate, and in so doing accomplish more good for our country and humankind together than they could ever hope to achieve separately, or worse, as antagonists.  As Dr. Benjamin Carson mentioned during his recent keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, lawyers are all about winning, no matter what, and right now our government is full of lawyers.  That doesn’t work.  We need to knock that off and find real solutions to some very real problems facing America today.

We remain a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”1 WE are “the people.” If we leave everything up to our government, they will continue to distance themselves until they hold all the power and hold all the keys. Humanity has been down that road before, however, and we know where it leads. Our government cannot survive. We cannot survive.

It is up to us. No politician can or will restore our country. They are still a part of that system. They are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, they will fight to protect it. We’re better than this. We must not think we are — we must know we are. It is up to us to restore our country, one politician at a time. That process begins here. That process begins now.

RYOC is more than a blog or an Internet forum. It’s a collaborative matrix where we can work to improve current and proposed legislation, executive orders, court decisions, and other current issues. While it uses the best message forum software on the planet, running on one of the best hosting companies, RYOC has a unique structure and set of tools.  Here you’ll find the resources where you can collaborate on what’s real, what’s right for our country. Here you can organize specific efforts focusing on specific issues, in ways designed to wake others and our politicians up from their dream world, from the bondage into which they were born. RYOC is the answer to the question that drives you mad.

We are all here to do what we are all here to do. Just remember – there is no spoon.

Addendum:  I chose the user name “patriot” not out of vain or selfish ambition, but from a quote by George Washington:

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” – General Orders (2 May 1778); published in Writings of George Washington (1932), Vol.XI, pp. 342-343.

1U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776