by Joe L. Martin
As a person who spent more than 40 years helping defend this nation and one who believes in the Constitution as it was written, I can no longer be silent and allow a very few people to take our rights away.
The Second Amendment of our great Constitution has been the subject of much discussion of late. It behooves us, therefore, to peruse the writings of our Founding Fathers to see what their intentions were concerning the meaning of that very important amendment.
Much has been said with regard to the predicate clause, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state ..." What did the Founders mean by "militia"?
George Mason of Virginia, one of those who helped draft the Constitution, said this: "To disarm the people is the best way to enslave them ... Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officers."
The National Guard was not considered the militia mentioned in the Second Amendment. There was a differentiation between militias. Richard Henry Lee spoke of a "genuine militia" and a "select militia." The genuine militia was composed of the citizenry from 16 to 60 years old. The select militia was organized by the government and under government auspices. The select militia was to be feared by the people as one that could subjugate the people. This is the type of militia that makes up the National Guard.
Next, we must examine the phrase, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Some would have us believe this refers only to the people collectively as the state or state authority. However, if we keep that phraseology consistent with the rest of the Bill of Rights, then we have a problem.
For example: In the First Amendment we have the statement, "the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." In the Fourth we have, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons."
If we use the same interpretation of the people's right in these other amendments, we destroy their meaning, especially in the minds of liberals. It is clear from any objective study that the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is an individual right -- one of those inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence.
I find it ironic that one of the most liberal icons of the 20th century said: "The right of the citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proved to be always possible." That was Hubert H. Humphrey.
I wonder what President Clinton, Sen. Charles Schumer and Vice President Gore would think about (that statement)? The problem is that the elite utopian-liberals think they know what is best for us.
I will repeat ad nauseum if necessary: If we lose the right to keep and bear arms, we will certainly lose the rest of our rights as well.
It won't happen all at once. But it will happen.
How important are your rights to you? If you cherish your rights the same way our Founding Fathers did, then it is time to make yourself heard, while you still have a right to do so.