Why did the American colonies fight The Revolutionary War? We were all taught phrases like “taxation without representation” as the driving cause of The Revolution. When I was a child, we were also taught with animation and song that “The shot heard ’round the world was the start of The Revolution.”
What they didn’t spend a lot of time explaining is why the shot heard ’round the world was fired. It was fired at a colonial militiaman defending a fundamental right, and it had nothing at all whatsoever to do with taxation. British forces were marching to seize weapons in an armory. Not a government armory, but an armory filled with weapons owned in common by the people, in other words, privately owned weapons. That’s right, King George was the original “gun grabber” and it was resistance to this affront, not taxation or the Intolerable Acts, that pushed the colonists from resistance and protest to taking up arms in revolution against the Crown and a country to which they had always been fiercely loyal.
The right to Keep and Bear Arms is unique in constitutional law. A weapon is the only item of property to which we have an explicit constitutional right. In Griswold, the U.S. Supreme Court created a right to contraceptives. Modern liberals love to say that health care, a mixture of goods and services, is a fundamental right because it is allegedly necessary to sustain life. Food, water, and shelter are far more critical to preserve life, yet not even those true necessities of life are mentioned in the Constitution. This fact alone should be enough to prove that the right to Keep and Bear Arms was viewed by the Framers as a fundamental right.
In Wisconsin, the legislature is debating competing provisions legalizing carrying concealed weapons. I’m optimistic because it appears that some kind of concealed-carry protection seems guaranteed to pass. However, I’m disappointed at the weak knees and backbones of many legislators who should be stronger.
As discussed in my last post, the Chicken Littles are shrieking about the waves of violence and death that will follow in the wake of any such law–despite the unquestionable fact that laws of this type have reduced crime and violence in every time and place they are enacted. This is to be expected, and deserves only to be ignored. Unfortunately, too many legislators who should know better are seeking ways to water down the fundamental right to bear arms in self-defense against violent aggressors of all kinds. If We the People have the right to Keep and Bear Arms, attempts to effectively limit that right with a plethora of administrative hurdles and artificially imposed expenses are blatantly unconstitutional.
Our Republican legislators are agreeing to impose these burdens for two reasons. The first is the foolish belief that doing so will appease the liberal anti-gun activists and their media allies. You’d think that they would have learned by now that appeasing liberals isn’t going to get them any further than appeasing Hitler did for Chamberlain. The second reason is the persistent belief of the political class, whether Republican or Democrat, that the rest of us are incapable of reasonable, intelligent behavior without their benevolent instruction and direction. I don’t need a politician to tell me what skills I need to acquire before exercising my rights and I have even less need for a bureaucrat to judge the adequacy of those skills. It is the only right that government still attempts to subject to any conditions. Training requirements for a gun permit are no different from requiring literacy tests before voting. License fees for gun owners are no different that poll taxes.
It is time to stop treating law-abiding gun owners like criminals and start giving them the gun ownership rights that criminals have long enjoyed in all but name. Criminals aren’t subjected to background checks, waiting periods, training mandates, or other restrictions. They don’t pay taxes or license fees. Criminals are the only people with an unfettered right to Keep and Bear Arms when the exercise of the right to Keep and Bear Arms is criminal!