Progressivism has always depended on the destruction of American traditions and culture to advance its agenda. It has to, because it’s American individualism that stands in the way of the collectivist worldview.
As such, one of the highest priority targets for the Left is gun rights.
The number of laws, regulations and roadblocks covering an individual’s right to bear arms is well-known, as is the ineffectiveness of gun control at stopping crime. As preventing criminal violence is the primary justification for having gun control in the first place, it undercuts the entire argument to note that nearly all the famous mass shootings have taken place in “gun-free zones” where the victims were unarmed.
Parallel to the passing of laws that harass gun owners and anyone who might want to become a gun owner is the effort to rewrite the real story of the right to bear arms in this country.
Just this week, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed that claimed the meaning of the Second Amendment was disputed for more than 200 years, with “unarmed America” implied as being the norm. This is the imaginary America in which most citizens hate guns except in the hands of the police and federal law enforcement agents, and in which the Second Amendment’s reference to a well-regulated militia means that in addition to law enforcement, guns are to only be held by a standing army.
In this version of history, the individual right to bear arms was essentially created by the Supreme Court in 2008, in the Heller decision, which found that the Second Amendment does indeed protect the individual right to bear arms for lawful purposes.
Relying on the general ignorance of American history, the Sun posits that the individual right to guns is a recent invention. It’s a position also held in recent years by the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, so it may safely be taken as a general view of this country’s liberals.
But that view of Heller distorts the case, which didn’t invent the right to bear arms individually, but merely reaffirmed it in light of constant attacks in the media and in government.
More importantly, the Left’s view distorts history itself, something that is easy to do when the average modern high school or college graduate knows little or nothing about the founding of his own country.
But the right to bear arms was always individual. The notion that it wasn’t really is only possible under another Progressive distortion, the idea that the Constitution grants rights.
It doesn’t, and obviously so. What it does is acknowledge existing rights inherent in an individual and then bars the federal government from restricting them.
The mention of a well-regulated militia was never meant to restrict gun ownership or use to a state’s National Guard unit, but was intended to convey that every member of society old enough to hold a gun had a duty to keep one and know how to use it.
That fact is clear from any honest reading of the Founding Fathers’ writings, and to suggest otherwise is simply not an opinion that would be taken seriously if it were not for the many decades of concerted effort by Progressives to undermine America’s ability to defend its citizens’ freedoms.
“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country,” wrote James Madison.
“The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed,” said Thomas Jefferson.
The rest of the Founding Fathers expressed similar understandings. The reason is obvious: Being armed is the surest guarantee of remaining free. Throughout history, the first tactic of tyrants and dictators has always been to disarm the populace in order to prevent resistance.
As Jefferson noted, “An unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
That’s the goal of Progressive gun control efforts, leaving Americans defenseless against whatever depredations the state can dream up. In the end, it’s only a well-armed individual who can stand against the collectivist utopia Progressives dream of.