The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Anyone who knows me, would vouch for the fact that I am not one to be “gun happy.” In fact, I have never owned a gun. The only time I have ever shot a gun (.22 rifle) was one time when I was about 18 years of age, out in the ranges of the Pine Barrens in NJ, and then it was only to shoot at bottles laid out across a large gravel pit, and that was many, many years ago.

They would also know that my nickname, Bambi, is because of my love of nature and animals and is a carry over from my old CB Radio days when it was my CB handle.

If I had to shoot an animal (for food only), I would likely become a vegetarian — mind you, not because I hate meat — but because if I look at their eyes, I am not sure I could pull the trigger.

Even so, I believe in the Constitution of these United States.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution insures its citizens the right to keep and bear arms …. and whether I personally own one or not, or whether I even want to own one or not … that Right is granted in our Constitution. Not a privilege, but a Constitutional Right.

It doesn’t stipulate “if you have a permit,” or “if it’s not semi-automatic,” it just says we, as individual citizens of the United States of America, have the right to keep and bear arms, period.

Now why would a Constitution give that particular right to its people? I think that’s a valid question. Especially in light of the accidents that can happen with guns, and the old adage “live by the sword, die by the sword,” which “seems” to fly in the face of that Right.

And, it also “seems” to fly in the face of Gun Control statistics:

Statistics on total U.S. gun deaths (including suicides and unintentional shootings), as compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics, have only been collected since 1979. But between 1979 and 1997, 651,697 Americans lost their lives to gun violence, including 334,870 suicides, 278,865 homicides, 28,964 unintentional shootings, and 8,998 from unknown causes.

National statistics on gun homicides have been collected since 1933. Between 1933 and 1997, 591,528 Americans were murdered with firearms. Even the number of gun homicides since 1933, taken by itself, exceeds the total number of Americans killed on the battlefield during this century. In 1933, the first year for which national statistics are available, 7,863 Americans were murdered with guns. While we will never know the exact number of people murdered with firearms in this century, the total would likely approach 1.5 million.

But let’s look a little closer, shall we?

The numbers should be taken into some sort of context by comparing them with other statistics as was done in the Making Sense Of Highway Crash Data to give some sort of handle on highway fatalities.

Please, keep in mind that the following statistics (from the Highway Crash Data page) are for only one year and to properly compare it with the Gun violence fatalities statistics above which are inclusive of 18 years from 1979-1997, you would have to multiply the totals below by 18 (give or take, because statistics do tend to go up and down, or remain the same from year to year).

For just 1996 (USA)

Deaths from heart disease: 733,834
Deaths from cancer: 544,278
Deaths from strokes: 160,431
Deaths by automobile: 41,907

However, all these statistics do nothing to compare the real issues at hand.

The following statistics mention some more important statistics in history regarding “Gun Laws” and the dangerous lessons to be learned by them.

These are historical statistics and only noted noted here in a historical context to show a relationship between “Gun Laws,” the disarming of the citizens of a country, and the potential problems that have often accompanied these types of dangerous laws foisted on the citizens of a country.

Did you know…

Government: Ottoman Turkey
Dates: 1915-1917
Targets: Armenians (mostly Christians)
Civilians killed: 1-1.5 million
“Gun Control” Laws: Art. 166, Pen. Code, 1866 & 1911 Proclamation, 1915
Features of Overall “Gun Control” scheme: Permits required, Government list of owners, Ban on possession

Government: Soviet Union
Dates: 1929-1945
Targets: Political opponents; farming communities
Civilians killed: 20 million
“Gun Control” Laws: Resolutions, 1918 Decree, July 12, 1920 Art. 59 & 182, Pen. code, 1926
Features of Overall “Gun Control” scheme: Licensing of owners, Ban on possession, Severe penalties

Government: Nazi Germany & Occupied Europe
Dates: 1933-1945
Targets: Political opponents; Jews; Gypsies; critics; “examples”
Civilians killed: 20 million
“Gun Control” Laws: Law on Firearms & Ammunition, 1928 Weapon Law, March 18, 1938 Regulations against Jews, 1938
Features of Overal “Gun Control” scheme: Registration & Licensing, Stricter handgun laws, Ban on possession

Government: China, Nationalist
Dates: 1927-1949
Targets: Political opponents; army conscripts; others
Civilians Killed: 10 million
Gun Control Laws: Art. 205, Criminal Code, 1914 Art. 186-87, Crim. Code, 1935
Features of Overal “Gun Control” scheme: Government permit system, Ban on private ownership

Government: China, Red
Dates: 1949-1952, 1957-1960, 1966-1976
Targets: Political opponents; Rural populations; Enemies of the state
Civilians Killed: 20-35 million
“Gun Control” Laws: Act of Feb. 20, 1951; Act of Oct. 22, 1957
Features of Overall “Gun Control scheme: Prison or death to “counter-revolutionary criminals” and anyone resisting any government program; Death penalty for supply guns to such “criminals”

Government: Guatemala
Dates: 1960-1981
Targets: Mayans & other Indians; political enemies
Civilians Killed: 100,000-200,000
“Gun Control” Laws: Decree 36, Nov 25; Act of 1932; Decree 386, 1947
Features of Overall “Gun Control scheme: Register guns & owners, Licensing with high fees, Prohibit carrying guns, Bans on guns, sharp tools, Confiscation powers

Government: Uganda
Dates: 1971-1979
Targets: Christians; Political enemies
Civilians Killed: 300,000
“Gun Control” Laws: Firearms Ordinance, 1955; Firearms Act, 1970
Features of Overall “Gun Control scheme: Register all guns & owners, Licenses for transactions, Warrantless searches, Confiscation powers

Government: Cambodia (Khmer Rouge)
Dates: 1975-1979
Targets: Educated Persons; Political enemies
Civilians Killed: 2 million
“Gun Control” Laws: Art. 322-328, Penal Code; Royal Ordinance 55, 1938
Features of Overall “Gun Control scheme: Licenses for guns, owners, ammunition & transactions; Photo ID with fingerprints; License inspected quarterly

Government: Rwanda
Dates: 1994
Targets: Tutsi people
Civilians Killed: 800,000
“Gun Control” Laws: Decree-Law No. 12, 1979
Features of Overall “Gun Control scheme: Register guns, owners, ammunition; Owners must justify need; Concealable guns illegal; Confiscating powers

When the gun prohibitionists quote a statistic about how many people are killed by firearms misuse, the discussion sometimes bogs down into whose crime stats to believe and how to count crimes vs. the defensive firearm uses. Death by Gun Control works on a level that nobody can dispute: documented world history.

And there has always been a good reason for that. One stated by our Founding Fathers on many occasions.

Additional information on the various pages at the The International Gun Control Memorial.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms as notated by some of our Founding Fathers:

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” (Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.)

“The great object is that every man be armed . . . Everyone who is able may have a gun.” (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution.)

“The advantage of being armed . . . the Americans possess over the people of all other nations . . . Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in his Federalist Paper No. 46.)

“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.” (Second Amendment to the Constitution.)

Now lets look at some more recent statistics: September 11 by Numbers.

This was the first attack, save Pearl Harbor, I believe, that has taken place on our soil since the Revolutionary War.

Is this the time to be thinking about disarming our citizens?

Benjamin Franklin:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

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Comments on: "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms" (3)

  1. […] United States of America. Back in 2006, I posted an entry here on my blog about this very thing; The Right to Keep and Bear Arms talks about this. I hope everyone will take a few minutes to read that posting. It concerns not […]

  2. There are approximately 95 Million Americans that own 212 Million Lawful Firearms. If even 10% of them were to rise up the entire Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines would be outnumbered 10 to 1 (This figure includes a “general mobilization” of all military personnel.)

    The fear of an armed citizenry is one very good reason that a government should mind its steps in its relation with The People. This fear of an armed populace is a barrier to tyranny.

    As your quote of Richard Henry Lee states above: “To preserve Liberty …”

  3. Yes, it’s very important that our Constitutional rights are not infringed in order “To preserve Liberty…”

    This is the very thing that the Founding Fathers were trying to prevent.

    Sigh…

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