When Barack Obama first announced his candidacy for President on February 10, 2007, most Americans seemed to think “constitution” only applied to a morning walk in the park and the word “socialist” referred just to European politicians and their Parties. Those few among us who talked or wrote about the Constitution and socialism were considered radicals and right-wing nuts. Attempts to warn the American people about the likely consequences of electing Obama as President were met with accusations of racism, “name calling”, or simply playing politics to divide the country. Politicians considered their Oath of Office to protect and defend the Constitution as merely a quaint ritual they were required to perform before being presented with the reins of power. Obama’s election to the Presidency changed all that.
More Americans today are reading and attempting to understand the Constitution than at any time since the founding era. A few politicians are even beginning to take their Oath of Office seriously. In addition, citizens, commentators, politicians and journalists are starting to understand the meaning of American style socialism, i.e., progressivism.
Sometime today, President Obama is scheduled to stage a press conference surrounded by the usual compliant, brainwashed members of his constituent group, in this case, “concerned kids” and their fearful parents. He is expected to suggest some nineteen actions he believes he can take through Executive Orders to control gun possession and use without the consent of Congress. After all, he cannot “allow a good crisis to go to waste” just because of Congress’ inaction.
As we evaluate the proposals made by the President, there are some things we should keep in mind. First, Executive Orders that attempt to restrain or regulate the personal actions of individual citizens are unconstitutional for two reasons; (1) they are in violation of the very first sentence of Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution, which vests “all legislative powers” in the Congress. This includes all bureaucratic “rule” making as well. (2) All legislative acts of the federal government that impinge on the freedoms of individual citizens are unconstitutional, as those powers are reserved to the states or to the people, through their local legislative bodies, by the Tenth Amendment.
Second, most gun control laws, in themselves, are unconstitutional and prohibited by the Second Amendment which says, “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.” Many advocates of gun control try to apply this Amendment to the arming of the Militia only. In doing so, they miss the main point of the Amendment. Many of the Framers had first hand experience of the danger of standing armies during the occupation of the city of Boston from October 1768 by troops under the command of British General Thomas Gage, until the militia drove them out, March 17, 1776, over seven years later. The eleven months siege of Boston that led to the withdrawal of British troops was manned by volunteers made up of minutemen and colonial militia, for the most part carrying the personal weapons they had brought from home.
Because of this experience the Framers were wary of standing armies preferring instead, when feasible, that defense of the states should be carried out by citizen militia, trained by the state and under the direction of the Governor as Commander in Chief. Article 1, Section 8 authorizes Congress, “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;” This insures that Congress will review the nation’s military needs every two years. The phrase, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” reveals the primary purpose of the second amendment, which is to provide for the defense of the states by an armed citizenry against the possible tyranny of the federal government.
The use of the word “people” in the phrase, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”, indicates that this right applies to all the people, not just to those who are members of the Militia. Nowhere is the word “people” used to identify the Militia, either in the Constitution or elsewhere. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines Militia as, “The body of soldiers in a state enrolled for discipline, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies; as distinguished from regular troops, whose sole occupation is war or military service. The militia of a country are the able bodied men organized into companies, regiments and brigades, with officers of all grades, and required by law to attend military exercises on certain days only, but at other times left to pursue their usual occupations.” The Militia is drawn from among the people, but the term is never synonymous with the people.
Last week, Governor Andrew Coumo of New York, made the remark, “you do not need ten bullets to kill a deer”, alluding to another common myth concerning the Second Amendment; that it applies only for the purpose of hunting or other gun related sports. That suggestion is ludicrous when you consider that hunting was a primary source of meat for the dinner table of the average citizen of that time. No Congress would even consider infringing on the right of the citizens to feed their families by hunting, therefore the thought that an amendment was necessary to protect that right would not occur to the Congress of 1789. The right to keep (possess) and bear (carry) arms for self-defense is a natural, God given and unalienable right possessed by all citizens. Laws attempting to restrict the amount and kind of ammunition a citizen may use are also unconstitutional because they infringe on the rights guaranteed by the amendment by limiting its efficacy.
Many practicing Christians are somewhat ambivalent about the issue of gun control, referring to the example of Jesus and his admonition to “turn the other cheek”. This ambivalence is not supported by Scriptures. The primary arms for personal defense in the Bible, before the invention of firearms, were swords. The word “sword” is used 93 times in the Old Testament and 10 times in the New. Nowhere in the Bible is a prohibition against the carrying of a sword (arms) for self-defense either stated or implied. In the twenty-second chapter of Numbers, we read the story of the Angel of the Lord, with his sword drawn, blocking the path of the disobedient Prophet Balaam.
Some of Jesus’ Apostles were armed with swords, and in his final instructions to the Apostles at the Lord’s Supper, Jesus advised, “he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one”. When the Jews came for Jesus, Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. Although Jesus restored the ear of the servant, he does not rebuke Peter or any of his disciples for bearing arms for self-defense. At his “trial” before Pilate Jesus replied to questioning with “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
In the spiritual sense, Christians are subjects of the Kingdom of God, but in the physical sense, while we live we are citizens of our country. In America, where we have enjoyed the blessings of God more than any other nation, partly because of the freedoms secured by our Constitution, it is our duty as citizens, whether as Ministers or laymen, in or out of our churches, to publicly and privately defend and promote the Constitution, the only earthly defense of our liberty. We owe it to our descendents who may have to live here for another thousand years.
For more on this subject, please read the excellent Article by Publius Huldah in the American Clarion.