Entirely too many Second Amendment advocates, including major “gun rights” organizations, are playing into the hands of those seeking to whittle away at the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. To paraphrase one commentator, while aspiring tyrants are moving at full throttle, most Second Amendment proponents are “driving the speed limit” on the road to serfdom. At best, they are mere speed bumps laying on path of subjugation and despotism set forth by the political caste.
The reason for this is that they are arguing for an individual right using Constitutional verbiage made for a federal union of states. Individuals have very little standing when compared to political entities. It’s a matter of relative power in the game of states and “the people” are just pawns for the real players. To win at this game you have to organize around the centers of power, the institutions. (The socialists figured this out and started their “long march”, the consequences of which we are witnessing in today’s highly contentious social atmosphere amid the rapid erosion of political and economic liberty)
Isolated individuals cannot watch their backs constantly and live a happy life. The division of labor and social cooperation is what multiplies human flourishing. This is also true of security and protection. In the Enlightenment tradition, this is the purpose for government and, presently, government is administered by states. It was the states that formed the general government of the United States, and it was also the states that insisted upon a Bill of Rights being included in the Constitution.
The right to keep and bear arms was included in the Bill of Rights because the people needed to be able to keep their states free from encroachment by the general government. They do this by serving in state-based institutions for executing the laws, repelling invasions, and suppressing insurrections within the federal system. These institutions are necessary to the security of a free state, and it was for this reason that the states wanted the right to keep and bear arms unhampered.
Arguing in state-based courts for an individual right that ignores significant components of this integrated structure is short-sighted and should be viewed as a feeble defensive retreat. States and the general government can pick apart the individual right to keep and bear arms piece by piece with various licensing schemes, qualification tests, and marginal restrictions.
Gun controllers want to isolate individuals from the Constitutional purpose for which the right to keep and bear arms exists, the security of a free state, so that they can attack from a thousand directions. Remember, individuals cannot constantly provide their own security. It is inevitably a group activity. Individuals have to eat, sleep, and earn a living. Alone, the
individual has no chance at protecting themselves, their property, or their rights.
Gun controllers will ask why you need certain types of arms or seek to restrict the places you can bear them. They try to put conditions on a fundamental right claiming that no one should have the weapons of war and, because most Second Amendment advocates argue using only portions of the Constitutional framework, the individual right to keep and bear arms has been severely curtailed.
All of this should change and, instead, turn the conversation toward how to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity through the robust exercise of individual rights within a decentralized, federated constitutional order. In other words, the fight for “gun rights” needs to be oriented on securing a free state.
The gun controllers can be stopped in their tracks, and liberty restored, using authorities already available in the US Constitution, if well-intentioned advocates would only change the narrative and adopt an unassailable legal position.
The real purpose of the Second Amendment is for the security of a free state, not merely individual self-defense. The greatest threat to a free state is the ambitions of the political caste who abuse their positions to pervert the administration of law into a vehicle for parasitism and plunder, and this is why they prefer the tax-paying public disarmed.
As stated earlier, individuals cannot defend themselves all the time. It requires social cooperation and the division of labor. That is the purpose of government.
We hold as self-evident truth that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed and the entire purpose for instituting these governments, in the first place, is to serve as a security provider.
The key difference initiated by the United States was the clear declaration that people have the right to alter or abolish government, at will yet not for light and transient causes, and organize new forms of government that are more likely to promote the safety and happiness of the people (as that provider’s customers).
At the heart of that operating model, called the Constitution of the United States, lays a dependence upon the people to execute the laws, repel invasions, and suppress insurrections. In other words, the general government was dependent upon the militia of the several states to actually carry out its security functions. This placed “the people” as the final, most important, step in the cycle of self-government.
Acting as the militia of the several states, the people serve as a check valve on the authority of the public office holders by being the primary enforcement arm of the legislation that gets passed. If the US Constitution was actually operating as designed, all federal gun control would be, rightly, null and void (because We The People would refuse to enforce it and any rogue officials that tried would be arrested).
Moreover, the several states would not have any authority to impose gun control legislation because every able-bodied citizen within each state of the union would have a civic obligation to be in possession, and skilled in the use, of arms suitable for executing the laws, repelling invasions, and suppressing insurrections as part of the federal charter.
Gone would be every question and legal test about a citizen’s right to access certain types of firearms, such as AR-15s and so-called assault rifles.
Every able-bodied citizen would be induced to always keep, bear, and regularly demonstrate proficiency with whatever arms could conceivably apply to militia service.
Anyone calling for “gun control” would be undermining, inciting insurrection against, constitutional order.
Changing the narrative, from just defending the right to keep and bear arms toward citizens actively engaged in securing a free state, seizes the initiative and asserts individual gun rights as an indispensable component of a well-functioning constitutional federal republic.