Friday, December 16, 2011

On the Second Amendment

( Republished from Thunder out of Boston by Chuck Morse – Writers Club Press, 2000 -edited)

 On Tuesday, September 21, 1999, the day after the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur, the American Jewish Congress (AJC) launched a media campaign in Boston to stop “handgun violence” as if a handgun, an inanimate object, could be violent. A powerful photo was published in The Boston Globe showing a young man blowing a shofar on the steps of the Massachusetts State House while he stood next to an enlarged signature card calling for the banning of privately owned guns. The photo and the campaign stirred emotions in light of several recent violent anti-Semitic incidences. 

Yet cooler heads must prevail. We must not be manipulated by a legitimate fear of violence in such a way as to convince us to surrender our constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Reason should instruct us that the problem is a breakdown in law and order, not guns owned by law-abiding private citizens. “Gun violence” represents a breakdown in our system of justice where violent criminals are either let off or let loose early. The increase in violence is due to criminals getting the message that there will be little or no consequences to their lawlessness. 

The AJC claims that guns have become too readily available but is this really the case?  Americans have always been gun owners and up until recent decades guns were available over the counter in Woolworths or Sears. The AJC focus is on the utopian idea that banning guns will reduce or end violence but their focus is misplaced. Rather than going after guns, the AJC ought to go after violent criminals by advocating a system of justice that punishes the violent offender and protects the safety of the citizen.

Appropriate gun control laws are already in place in Massachusetts. The Bartley-Fox law, for example, mandates a one year prison sentence for anyone convicted of a crime involving the use of a hand gun. This law has never been enforced. The AJC and their gun control friends should advocate for the enforcement of existing laws instead of going after the rights of law abiding citizens.

Buford Furrow, who shot at Jewish children in Los Angeles, was a convicted felon who somehow fell through the cracks of our justice system and ended up on the street. Where did the system go wrong? The question of how, exactly, Buford Furrow got out of jail is a question that is not likely to find an answer. Instead, the AJC asks innocent people to turn over their means of self-defense and surrender their constitutional rights. 

While most opponents of strict gun control recognize the need for regulation, they suspect the motives of those who seek total disarmament. They wonder whether the proponents of gun control are actually motivated by concern over reducing violent crime or whether they support a social engineering scheme devoid of the realities on the street. We should recount certain unpleasant indisputable facts of history when examining this question. For example, the disarming of the population by government has preceded the enthronement of every totalitarian regime and genocide in the 20th Century from the Armenian holocaust to the recent genocide in Rwanda.  

The German Weimar Republic registered all privately owned firearms in 1928 under the guise of fighting crime urging citizens to turn their guns into the authorities. The Nazis continued the program when they came to power in 1933 and the result was a disarmed population with a monopoly of guns in the hands of a national police force known as the Gestapo. Communist China is an example of a disarmed society where the government can and does take people away who are deemed to be enemies of the state. 

The founders of the American Republic rightfully recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is a natural part of the system of checks and balances, one that would keep in check the possibility of a police state. Today, with the emergence of greater national policing powers and the proliferation of armed national agencies, this principle is more relevant than ever.


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