Monday, February 28, 2005

"The Security of a Free State"

The Oregon State Legislature will soon be considering a bill that would outlaw semiautomatic "assault rifles" and large-capacity magazines and require registration of these items purchased before the bill's effective date. However, any attempt to prohibit an individual citizen's right to own a firearm represents a gross misunderstanding not only of U.S. Constitutional Law, but also of the basic principles of human nature that caused the Framers to specifically pronounce that right in the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Every constitutional scholar recognizes that the Framers composed the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as a reaction to the tyranny imposed on their longstanding fundamental inalienable rights, both as individual persons and as states. Much of the contemporaneous commentary regarding the second amendment involves the Framers' contention that the rights of the individual were above those of the State or of the United States.

Opponents of gun ownership would have us believe that the second amendment refers not to individual citizens, but to a militia, which, in present context, means each State's National Guard. Note, however, that Madison's original draft of the second amendment states "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country." Both the original and final texts of the second amendment are conspicuous in their lack of use of the word “state” when indicating who has the right to keep and bear those arms. In the order of rights, the Framers were clear: individual rights are primary, state’s rights are secondary, and the group of states (aka the United States) come last. Everything is permissible for individuals, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of other individuals. Everything is permissible for the State, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of individuals or other states, singly or as the United States.

Here are a few key quotes:

"What is the militia? It is the whole people . . ." "To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." George Mason, "Father of the Bill of Rights"

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson's Commonplace Book, 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment (1764) by criminologist Cesare Beccaria

"The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms has justly been considered the palladium of the liberties of the republic, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary powers of rulers, and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." - Joseph Story, 1833 - U.S. Supreme Court Justice

So let's put this in contemporary context. I'm quite sure that my local police will not be able to protect me in the most likely scenario that would threaten the lives of me and my family - an armed intruder. Therefore, I arm myself. As a law-abiding citizen, is it the state or federal government's role to determine how I should protect myself and my family? The State of Oregon has determined, thus far, that I am not permitted to own a fully-automatic firearm. I comply with that, not only because I am not a criminal, but also for practical reasons: full-auto wastes ammunition and limits accuracy.

But what are the other scenarios where I might need to protect the lives of me and my family? Maybe a group of armed intruders will break in to my home. Maybe several representatives of a governmental entity will want to unlawfully enter my home. Maybe a pack of wild dogs will invade the neighborhood. Who can tell, really? Deadly threats wouldn’t be so deadly if we could predict exactly what they were going to be. Any person that has been attacked by an armed assailant, or any person that was watching TV on September 11, 2001, should be aware of that. If, during an invasion of my home, I’m not that good of a shot (which is pretty likely in the middle of the night), I’ll go through a 10 shot magazine pretty quickly. And as I take 5 seconds to put in another magazine, or 1 minute to reload a magazine, three innocent people end up dead.

Such rhetoric might sound paranoid and unrealistic to some. However, there are certain givens about being human. Bad things happen. Bad people will do bad things, and it is incumbent upon good people to sometimes do bad things to bad people in order to prevent those bad people from doing bad things. I am absolutely convinced that criminals will find a way to acquire the most deadly weapons they can get. This goes for the local gang-banger as much as it goes for the local al Qaeda cell. Tyranny can happen on any level, from a single individual to an entire society.

We urban-dwellers have become too detached from the essence of our existence – self-determination. People live in groups because we provide mutual assistance and benefits to each other in many ways. But at our most basic level, as individuals, we have inalienable rights, including the right to exist, and live according to our own choosing. People living “in the middle of nowhere” typically own guns, and for a very good reason – they have an intimate understanding of the value of self-determination, self-reliance, and self-protection. Must those values lose relevance in the big city?

I guess it’s time for me to send in that NRA membership application. And begrudgingly obtain my concealed handgun permit.

It is also worthy to note that, as a citizen of Oregon, I feel it is my duty to make my feelings on this issue known to my State representatives. However, the current Leftist-ruled political and social climate causes me to think twice about making my real identity known. No matter how whacky it is, there are those around me that would suddenly think me to be some kind of "gun nut" for desiring to preserve my right to own a semi-automatic rifle. To those people, I pose this question: what stops a criminal from using, or continuing to use, a semi-automatic rifle? Answer: a law-abiding citizen with a semi-automatic rifle that knows how to use it well.

UPDATE:02.27.05:15:45 - Mr.Atos
This is a Comprehensive Weapons Ban for the State of Oregon. It includes a massive list of banned guns. It also outlaws magazines larger than ten rounds and requires a police issued "permit" to continue to possess the semi-auto rifles and shot guns you already own and bans "transfer" of the listed firearms even to your children. Others new anti- gun bills are listed below:

The Bill is designated
SB 927 and includes the comprehensive list of all items to be banned, listed by make and model in its text.

The Bill’s Sponsor is
State Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland)
Phone: 503-986-1718 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE., S-317, Salem, OR, 97301

For more Information, contact

Oregon Firearms Federation P.O. Box 556 Canby, OR 97013 Voice: (503) 263-5830

Or read their
latest Alert.

The tyrannical nature of fear is the objective of Minority rule. And despite what the Libs think, they are the popular minority in this State... yet with Majority power in government. They have no misgivings about using that power to implement their will and their agenda over the wishes of the population. That is the definition of despotism in my book. Is it any wonder that they want to disarm the electorate?!... and at a time when home invasion and burglary crimes are reaching epidemic proportions in Oregon's urban areas like Portland.

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