Recently former supreme court justice Stevens demonstrated his lack of historical understanding with this statement: “Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides 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.’ Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.”
A relic of the 1700s… really! Perhaps Justice Stevens needs a law history refresher class.
The British tried to force Colonists in America to pay for the French and Indian War by passing heavy taxes (starting with a tax on tea, The Quartering Act lodging British soldiers in private homes – forbidden by the Third Amendment, the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and others grouped together as the Intolerable Acts).
In fear, colonists began amassing weapons and ammunition in violation of English law. Government troops attempting to locate and confiscate these weapons resulted in the Battles of Lexington and Concord – the beginnings of the American War for Independence.
The Posse Comitatus Act is a law signed in 1878 by President Hayes. “The purpose of the act is to limit the powers of the federal government in using its military personnel to act as domestic law enforcement personnel.” This act resulted from martial law abuses the northern army inflicted on the southern states under martial law after the Civil War. In other words, big government oppressing its citizens much as Britain oppressed the colonies in the 1700s.
But that was a long time ago! Well, take a look at 2007 Defense Authorization Bill where changes were made permitting presidential authority “to deploy troops within the United States to enforce the laws. Under this act, the President may also deploy troops as a police force…” In other words, government sought to legitimize the use of force to control citizens.
While the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill undid some of the changes made the previous year, the evidence adequately demonstrates that even today government desires to exert its will over the people, rather than the people exerting their collective will over government.
When liberals talk about repealing the Second Amendment for public safety, do not be fooled. These same progressives favor continued expansion of government into a bigger and bigger mechanism for controlling every facet of our lives.
One of the blocks to an oppressive government is the availability of citizen weapons. While there hasn’t been wide-scale armed government opposition since 1861, the mere fact that weapons are “out there” helps insure our freedom. The fact that some weapons are used in crimes should not sway our resolve. Cars, knives, fertilizer, even antifreeze have been used to harm others. Should these be banned, too?
The lesson is clear: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We cannot permit (liberals, progressives, Democrats, the Left) via government to take away our freedoms. The Bill of Rights evolved from government abuse and remain as valid today as they were in 1776.