Gun control – the wrong discussion

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, 1781

A Connecticut man murdered 20 children and 6 adults, gun control proponents again advocating that disarming law-abiding citizens will solve the problem. And though I believe their logic is folly, we still need a reasoned debate on the issue.

But, lest we forget, gun ownership is still a constitutional right; it is not a constitutional privilege; it is not a governmental privilege; it is not a presidential privilege. The Constitution does not allow the federal government to “evolve” the Constitution to address perceived changing times and needs. It must have the permission of “We the People” in the form of an amendment for change to occur.

The Founding Fathers believed the right “to keep and bear arms” was as critical as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. Why? Because many came from societies whose rulers granted and rescinded people’s rights as they chose. The people were subservient to the rulers; the people were dependent on the rulers. And the Founding Fathers knew this could not happen with an armed citizenry.

So, what do we do? Maybe we are asking the wrong people the wrong question. Instead of trying to convince the government to set aside the Constitution, shouldn’t we try to convince “We the People” to amend the Constitution? Gun ownership is not a question for the government; it is a question for the people. Those favoring gun control need to propose a constitutional amendment, convincing their friends and neighbors that gun control is correct. This amendment process is the greatness of our republic, reminding us that the government does not rule the people; the people rule the government.

So, why haven’t gun control advocates done this? Quite simply, because it takes too much effort, it takes too much time, and it might not pass. These are the same sentiments President Franklin Roosevelt expressed when the Supreme Court repeatedly ruled his massive welfare spending programs unconstitutional.

What did he do? He briefly entertained the possibility of amending the Constitution to give him the powers he demanded, but quickly realized he did not want to spend the time or effort to persuade “We the People” to amend the Constitution, nor was he willing to risk not getting his way.

Instead, he subverted the United States Constitution for expediency and personal power, harassing the Supreme Court until it “interpreted” the Constitution with a more enlightened view. What a brief time earlier had been unconstitutional was now constitutional without the annoying irritation of asking the permission of “We the People.”

More than 150 years earlier, Thomas Jefferson warned us of this risk to our republic and Constitution, saying, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” Are we listening? Can we maintain our republic, the greatest experiment in history, if we treat our Constitution with such disdain?

Do we really want the federal government to amend the Constitution for us? Instead, shouldn’t we demand our government work within its constitutional confines? Shouldn’t we demand our states hold the federal government accountable?

The Constitution is supposed to be seemingly impossible to change. It is supposed to take years of unending effort to change. And that is exactly as it should be, negating the ability to change it trivially.

Those asking the federal government to undermine the United States Constitution will lead us down the predicted path of Sir John Glubb in the Fate of Empires, to our inevitable demise following the many empires that have gone before us.

“We the People” are a republic. “We the People” own our nation. “We the People” have the power to prove Sir John Glubb wrong. Our republic and our Constitution must take precedence over personal agendas. Are you willing to cede your freedoms to the government to get your way, because the government will gladly accept that trade? It’s worth some thought.

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