Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Hamilton’

Practical Gun Control (complete)

PracticalGunControl_complete   <== PDF version

Dear readers:

This post contains the full 8-part series on gun control.  Due to its length (33 pages), it is available only as a PDF.

Thanks for reading,

EDD

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Alexander Hamilton, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, gun control, James Madison, Second Amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Practical Gun Control, Part 8 (end of series)

PracticalGunControlPart8   <== PDF version

We have seen thus far that gun control does not have any positive benefits: it certainly does not reduce crime, nor affect suicide rates.  It is a well-known fact that the places in America with the strictest gun control suffer from the highest crime rates.  So why do so many politicians continue to introduce and vote for legislation that restricts the keeping and bearing of arms by the citizens?  Note that I singled out, as they do, the citizens; there are exactly zero gun-control laws on the books that negatively affect the arms possessed by government and its employees.  I believe there are two classes of gun-control advocates at the political level.  First is the wishful thinker who actually believes that regulation of liberty and property will lead to a “safe and just” society.  The second is the more obvious: these are the ones who seek absolute power over the people.  Both agree that more government is the solution to man’s problems in modern society, conveniently forgetting that governments are staffed by men with the same inclinations, faults, ambitions, and criminal tendencies in about the same proportion as society in general.

The first category of gun control advocates are an odd lot to be sure.  These are the one who believe out of blind confidence in their fellow man (for there is no evidence to support it) that the death rates from accidents, crimes, and suicides can be made arbitrarily low if only the rate of gun ownership can be made arbitrarily low.  They believe without reason or facts that the primary cause of untimely death and injury is you, the citizen, exercising your rights.  They believe that with suitably strict regulation, the evil within men that leads to crimes will be suddenly expunged, and we will, by simple rule of law, enter into a period of peace, harmony, and happiness; primarily because they have confidence that everyone else (including the current gun-owning future/potential criminals) are just as benevolent deep down as they are; the problem is not the evil motivation of men, only the hardware they possess.  I do not need to point out that this type of thinker is divorced from reality, and even worse, is willing to reject all the contrary evidence in order to maintain their self-imposed fictions.  The British have been disarmed within the past twenty years; but the streets of that nation are not safer than before.  A British soldier was recently fatally stabbed and nearly beheaded on a London street in broad daylight by two fanatics who were happy to explain it all to the camera while holding the bloody axes and knives in their hands.  The people of Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angele shave been disarmed within living memory, but those places are likewise more dangerous than they were prior to the 1960′s.  I am doubtful that anything can be done about this first class of gun control advocates; with contrary facts in plain view, they persist in seeking to “educate” the people about the virtues of disarmament.  They are wildly successful because most members of the popular media and most famous celebrities agree with this basic (false) notion about the inherent goodness of men; hence the ubiquity of their propaganda campaigns.  Repeat a big enough lie often enough and pretty soon it becomes part of the mechanical subconscious, especially among the young.

Now before we get to the second type of advocate, it is important to understand the common attributes of all gun control laws [1].  The common characteristics are:

a.  Manufacturing, sale, and importation of firearms and ammunition, or parts thereof, to be performed only by enterprise or individuals licensed by the government

b.  The principal components of all firearms must be labeled with a serial number.

c.  Only persons of a certain age, who are of sound mind, and have not been convicted of crimes are eligible to own firearms

d.  Records of all sales and transfers are to be maintained by the licensed dealers and manufacturers, including name and address of recipient and serial number of firearm

e.  Government organizations at all levels are exempt from all provisions.

It is not necessary to analyze them any further, for all the desired power and ultimate disarmament flows from these few provisions.  Once these general conditions are in place, it is a simple matter to further alter the regulations to impose taxes on possession, requiring licenses for ownership of guns and ammunition (not only manufacturers), make people liable for the actions of others, make them liable to surprise inspections, restrict the nature and type that may be possessed, regulate ammunition, restrict the types of persons who may buy and sell, and even cancel licenses as necessary to make gun and ammunition ownership impossible.  Then the government has all the power.

But what is the underlying motive for governments to enhance their arbitrary power by obtaining a monopoly on personal arms?  There are probably three general reasons, given, as shown previously, that gun control leads if anything to more dangerous conditions for the people.  First is the desire or belief that regulation of every aspect of everyone’s lives will lead to a perfect society; in this respect the politicians are infected with the same delusions as the first class, which also infected Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.  But it also means that the government would have both the means and the motive to purge the nation of “undesirables”, same as Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia, the military dictators in Guatemala, the Ottomans in Turkey, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and the temporary internment of American citizens of Japanese descent by Franklin Roosevelt in the U. S.  A second possible reason is that governments want power for the sake of power such that their jobs are made easier and less dangerous, as they will have nothing to fear from the people.  This would allow the government to have a monopoly on the commission of crimes with no possibility of retribution or prosecution.  It also makes life easier for the criminal element, who would become the natural allies of the government.

Licensing leads invariably to registration, and registration leads to confiscation as soon as the political conditions are right. Once the government knows who has what types of firearms and ammunition, it is a simple matter to target those people for taxation, restriction, and eventual confiscation (or as U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder put it, “mandatory gun buy-backs”).  In America, the politicians are proud to point out that the federal gun control laws prohibit the establishment of a registry of gun owners.  But there is a fallacy to this argument, namely, that although it is technically prohibited, there is no penalty associated with violating it, and, lacking specific definitions and penalties, no one can be prosecuted.  If a secret federal registration of gun owners exists in America and is uncovered, the worst that can happen to the government employees is a month-long taxpayer-paid administrative leave/vacation during the “investigation” followed by raises and promotions.  The goal of all gun control, historically considered, is the disarmament of the people; the most efficient path to disarmament is registration and confiscation under the rubric of “public safety”.  History has shown that it takes only a few sensational crimes, as in Great Britain, Australia, and the U. S.to get the politicians babbling about “public safety”.

The politicians in America are likely to use the recent United Nations “Arms Trade Treaty” to implement a de facto registration of gun owners in America.  They can claim deniability by saying they did not realize the treaty could be used as an excuse by the bureaucracy to supersede the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  This treaty protects and defends the same entities that have been responsible for at least 100 million mass murders by governments; but restricts you, the individual, from possessing tools necessary to defend yourself.  The U. N. accuses you, the individual, of being the cause of worldwide mass murder.

If the police chiefs, mayors, governors, members of Congress, and the President wish to claim that public safety demands that your Second Amendment rights be restricted, let them first swear under penalty of perjury that they have permanently disarmed the ethnic mafias, the Cripps, the Bloods, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the Hell’s Angels and all the other professional criminal gangs, and further let them swear under penalty of perjury they have disarmed all non-affiliated criminals. Let them swear under penalty of perjury that no criminal will ever acquire arms. Let them swear that no officer of the law will ever commit a crime.  Let them swear that all their bodyguards are disarmed.  They will never do any of these, since they know it is impossible, and will accuse you of making unreasonable demands.  Secondly, they will not do it because if all the aforementioned persons were disarmed (an impossibility, but for sake of argument), the only guns left would be in the hands of normal citizens, which are not a threat to public peace or safety.  Their refusal only proves that they respect the criminals more than they respect your rights.

It would be wise to recall the basic principles of the U. S. Constitution and its allocation of legitimate powers, as explained by Hamilton and Madison.  First, no legitimate government can exempt itself from the laws [The Federalist No. 57]:

I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass o society.  This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together.  It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathies of sentiments of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.  If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of society?  I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant, manly spirit which actuates the people of America– a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.

Secondly, the American people have a legitimate right to resist tyranny [The Federalist No. 28]:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success against those of the rulers of an individual State….

The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.  The natural strength of the people in a large community, in proportion to the artificial strength of the government, is greater than in a small, and of course more competent to a struggle with the attempts of the government to establish a tyranny….

 I think I have shown that there is no practical formula for “gun control”, as it magnifies the powers of the criminal element the government alike at the expense of the people.

References

[1]  Jay Simkin, Aaron Zelman, “Gun Control”: Gateway to Tyranny, Milwaukee, WI: Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, 1993, pp. 84 – 93

[2]  http://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Alexander Hamilton, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, gun control, James Madison, Second Amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Practical Aspects of Gun Control, Part 4

PracticalGunControlPart4  <==  PDF version

Having reviewed the cultural and historical aspects of gun control, we turn now in this edition to the moral aspect.

3          The Moral Aspect

In considering the moral aspect of citizen disarmament, commonly called “gun control”, it is helpful to return once again to English jurist William Blackstone [1]:

In these several articles consist the rights, or, as they are frequently termed, the liberties of Englishmen: liberties, more generally talked of than thoroughly understood; and yet highly necessary to be perfectly known and considered by every man of rank or property, lest his ignorance of the points whereon they are founded should hurry him into faction and licentiousness on the one hand, or a pusillanimous indifference and criminal submission on the other.  And we have seen that these rights consist, primarily, in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty, and of private property.  So long as these remain inviolate, the subject is perfectly free; for every species of compulsive tyranny and oppression must act in opposition to one or the other of these rights, having no other object upon which it can possibly be employed.  To preserve them from violation, it is necessary that the constitution of parliament be supported in its full vigor; and limits, certainly known, be set to the royal prerogative.  And, lastly, to vindicate these rights when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next, to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense.  And all these rights and liberties it is our birthright to enjoy entire; unless where the laws of our country have laid them under necessary restraints.  Restraints in themselves so gentle and moderate, as will appear upon further inquiry, that no man of sense of probity would wish to see them slackened.  For all of us have in our choice to do every good thing that a good man would desire to do; and are restrained from nothing, but what would be pernicious either to ourselves or to our fellow-citizens.

So it is that every citizen is to be aware of his rights to life, liberty, and property, and at the risk of being both a coward and traitor to freedom and posterity, be prepared with arms to defend those freedoms should the government fail to perform its duties to preserve them.  But what about those “necessary restraints” that Mr. Blackstone refers to — doesn’t “gun control” fall under the category of “gentle and moderate” restrictions conducive to the happiness of the people?  No.  Gun control is quite the opposite: it is the means by which you, the citizen, are turned into a helpless dependent subject because it removes the ultimate restraint upon the power of governments and criminals alike. It is the means by which you, the citizen, are convinced that your life, liberty, and property are not worth fighting for; and you should leave that to the professionals, since you might get hurt and not be able to pay taxes.  It is the means by which your moral compass is forced to always point toward the government, begging them to save you; or maybe worse, subordinate yourself to the whims of some gang of professional criminals.

Is it moral to leave people in situations where the police are not available or cannot be of use, such as Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy, the LA riots after the O. J. Simpson verdict, or the many riots that took place in the 1960′s, including most major cities?  The police have not signed up to protect you from everything.  The police generally do a fine job, but their task is to investigate crimes after they have occurred, make arrests in accordance with the evidence, and thus bring the suspect into the justice system.  The judicial system may limit the future actions of criminals, but have no effect on the crime that is about to happen.  You, as a moral agent, are responsible for your own safety.  In fact, the police are not legally obligated to protect you from anything, or even to show up when they are called, especially in those unusual times when the number of calls greatly exceeds the capacity of the system to respond.  Is it moral on your part to demand that the police risk their lives to defend yours?  The police do not sign up for responding to large-scale civil breakdown.  Many of the police in New Orleans fled to Baton Rouge during Katrina; many LAPD members fled to San Bernardino during the LA riots.  Rightfully so — they have families to look out for, which supersedes your needs and demands.  What if 9/11 had been a larger, more general attack in which the normal governance had broken down?  The criminals would have gone berserk, as they are always looking for an excuse.  History shows that you will be on your own. The National Guard troops were in their barracks by sundown during the LA riots; during Katrina they actually disarmed the citizens, leaving them easy prey for the gangs.

Politicians are always protected by bodyguards with high-capacity weapons — this is more than hypocrisy; it is immorality of the highest order: no moral government would permit its employees to arrogate an exemption for themselves while requiring the common people to go about unarmed.  Recall that all legislative authority is vested in the Congress; consider now the words of James Madison in The Federalist Papers #57:

I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as the great mass of society.  This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and people together.  It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.  If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society?  I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws, and the manly spirit which actuates the people of America– a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

The same principle applies at the state and local government levels.  How can a just government exempt itself from its own laws?  But yet it is evident that “We the People” have failed to enforce this dictum upon our politicians; we see at every turn numerous exemptions to the laws created for the benefit of politicians, bureaucrats and their associates.  It is especially evident in the gun laws: our (allegedly) morally-superior government employees parade the streets with taxpayer-paid (supposedly) morally-superior bodyguards, while the people are forced by law to remain defenseless at all times and in all places.

Vice President Joe Biden took the time recently to look down his nose and lecture us lowlifes that we only need a double-barrel shotgun for self-defense, even at home.  I wonder what type of weapons, containing how many rounds, and of what type, his Secret Service detail carries with them when protecting him, even in his home.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) recently released a video claiming “that no one is going to take my guns away”.  He’s right — no one is going to take his guns away because he is a member of the (allegedly) morally-superior ruling elite.  He will have access to all the guns and ammunition he wants for the rest of his life, and so will all his friends and family for all of their lives.  It will be interesting to see what Senator Manchin thinks of you and your rights in the upcoming disarmament votes in Congress.

When the government is armed and the people are not, one has tyranny; when the people are armed and the government is not, one has anarchy; in America, both are armed, wary of each other, and each side is able to suppress the worst instincts of the other.  But our modern politicians do not like the idea of any challenges to their quest for arbitrary power.

Criminals know two things: a) they will always be able to get a gun, no matter what the law is; and b) they are likely to get shot by their intended victims if those intended victims have guns.  It is evident that criminals always favor gun control for the same reasons the politicians do: it has no effect upon their livelihood and makes their job easier.  Conversely, armed people don’t have to take any crap from criminals or from governments.  It is immoral to be afraid of criminals, but yet that is what our government demands.  The reason they demand it is simple: the government needs the existence of large criminal networks to justify part of its existence, and it also helps keep the people in fear.

We commonly hear arguments that “one doesn’t need a semi-automatic rifle” since the Second Amendment was written during a time when only muzzle-loading muskets were available.  But exactly the same argument could be made about radio, TV talk shows, and internet sites, since only newspapers existed when the First Amendment was written.  I would be curious to know, given their self-appointed superior moral righteousness, what part of the First Amendment is the mainstream media willing to give up in order to reduce the incidence of libel, defamation of character, and slander?

“We the People” would do well to recall the words of Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist #78:

There is no position which depends on clearer principles that that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void.  No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution can be valid.  To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.

The U. S. Constitution clearly states that the right the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and every state and local officer swears an oath to also uphold the federal Constitution.  Under what pretended morality do they claim power to do what is prohibited by their oath?  Or carve out exemptions to the laws for themselves?  Or tell us that we are not morally suitable to possess the tools necessary to take care of ourselves should the need arise?

[1]        William Blackstone, Commentary on the Laws of England, 1765, Book 1, Chap. 1, pp. 144, 145

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Alexander Hamilton, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, gun control, James Madison, Second Amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Practical Aspects of Gun Control, Part 3

PracticalGunControlPart3    <== PDF version

Dear readers:

This post is available only as a pdf owing to its considerable length.  It continues the examination of the historical aspect of gun control, focusing on the true extent and meaning of the Second Amendment.

Thanks for reading.

EDD

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Alexander Hamilton, Bill of Rights, Early American history, Federalist Papers, gun control, James Madison, Second Amendment | No Comments »