Benjamin Franklin

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Why the Second Amendment?

The Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War

The Declaration of Independence says our Creator gave us certain unalienable rights and that government exists primarily to secure for every individual the exercise of those rights. One of these rights is the right to “keep and bear Arms.” The Second Amendment is the constitutional embodiment of the Biblical right of self-defense (See Exodus 22; Judges 5:8; 1 Samuel 13:19-13; 25:13; 2 Chronicles 17; Nehemiah 4:17-18, 21, 23; Esther 8:11; 9:1-5; Psalm 18:34; 82:4; 144:11; Proverbs 24:11; 25:26; Luke 22:36-38; 1 Timothy 5:8) – this is just one of many self-evident, human rights rooted in Scripture.

The Second Amendment states that “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.”

“Well regulated” refers to a well-trained, prepared and disciplined citizen’s militia. This term, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary of the time period of 1791 (when the Bill of Rights was ratified), speaks of “something calibrated correctly, functioning as expected.” The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use in 1791 and for more than a century afterwards. It never referred, from the Framer’s perspective, to the right of the government to attach all kinds of regulations to gun ownership. As stated, the Founder’s used this phrase to mean well trained and prepared.

In defining the “Militia”, George Mason said that it consists “…of the whole people, except for a few public officers.” Richard Henry Lee echoed this when he wrote that “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.” So, “Militia” has nothing to do with a state national guard. “We the People” are, by necessity, responsible for protecting liberty. As the Declaration of Independence states, whenever any form of government fails to secure the God-given right of men, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, 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… when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them [the People] 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.” So, ladies and gentleman, it is our duty and divine right to protect ourselves, our property, and our freedom, and this right shall not be “infringed”, violated, encroached upon, transgressed, limited or broken.

As U.S. Air Force veteran Kevin Tully said, the Second Amendment is in the Constitution “…to give the people the power to keep tyranny at bay. [Tyranny is] not a wolf that dies. It’s a wolf that breeds, and it may not always be in your backyard, but it’s always looming on the horizon… and that’s why the Founding Fathers wrote it the way they did… The threat of tyranny is no less than at the turn of the century in the 1900s or 1800s or 1700s.” (Note: Tully served in Desert Shield, three tours for Operation Southern Watch, and a tour in Panama)

As Franklin County Sheriff Jerry W. Jones recently said, “The 2nd Amendment was not intended to secure the citizenry the right to hunt wild game; it was intended to assure the continuation of a Free State.”

Consider these other quotes:

“Homicide is required when it’s necessary for the defense of one’s person or one’s house and property. It is the great natural law of self-preservation that, as we have seen, cannot be repealed or superseded by any human institution. This law, however, is expressly recognized in the Constitution. Every man’s house is deemed by the law to be his castle, and the law, while it invests him with the power, it places on him the duty of commanding officer of his house (every man’s house in his castle) and if he is robbed in it, it will be esteemed his own default and negligence.” James Wilson, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

“Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas

“Because no king, civil power can take away nature’s birthright of self-defense from any man, or a community of men.” From Protestant theologian Samual Rutherford’s 1644 publication “Lex Rex”

“…To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms…” Richard Henry Lee

“…Arms… discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were (the law-abiding) deprived the use of them.” Thomas Paine

“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” Patrick Henry

The Constitution must never be “construed to authorize Congress to infringe… the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” Samuel Adams

“To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” George Mason

“We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists.” Patrick Henry

“Never trust a government that doesn’t trust its own citizens with guns.” Benjamin Franklin

“One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms.” Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1840

“The ultimate authority resides in the people, and that if the federal government got too powerful and overstepped its authority, then the people would develop plans of resistance and resort to arms… Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, from his Federalist Paper No. 46.

“When a government betrays the people by amassing too much power and becoming tyrannical, the people have no choice but to exercise the original rights of self defense — to fight the government.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers No. 28

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.Patrick Henry

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.Thomas Jefferson

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.Thomas Jefferson

“What country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” Thomas Jefferson

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.” Abraham Lincoln

In 1942, Adolf Hitler said, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”

Written/Compiled by: Joel M. Killion
Joel M. Killion


Prayer at the Constitutional Convention

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