A Question of Liberty

By Jason Barrett, NPRI Executive Director


The most basic and inalienable human right is self defense. All people, regardless of race, creed or gender, stand in general agreement on the expediency and desirability of protecting their lives and property from the molestation and misuse of others. In fact, this right is so basic and indisputable that even liberal politicians and academics, with their widely-publicized penchant for wishful -thinking, are hesitant—at least publicly—to deny it.

Despite man’s natural inclination for self-preservation and the Second Amendment to our Constitution, it has become increasingly popular in recent years to place ever tighter restrictions on law-abiding citizens’ access to firearms, the most proven tools available for self defense. But before Brady Bill supporters reading this piece allow their eyes to glaze over and their ears to fill with their tired mantra, "guns kill, guns kill," I would urge them to control their revulsion and finish reading.

You see, I have no intention of extolling the virtues of the National Rifle Association’s crusade to protect traditional rights. Furthermore, I have no desire to argue the constitutionality of the Second Amendment, or whether it pertains to individual citizens or to the National Guard. Instead, I want to simply repeat some of the public statements of prominent historical figures who supported gun control agendas. I am sure that the following ideological "friends" of Sarah Brady will discredit gun-grabber reasoning far more eloquently than anything I could say.

Let’s start with one by an old favorite:

"Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA—ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the state." (Heinrich Himmler)

See? The Nazis came up with the idea that gun ownership is a "collective"—or state—right as opposed to an "individual" right years before American gun-control advocates began furthering that same reasoning. Maybe our own activist set should exercise their creativity and get their own material.

Here’s another:

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so." (Adolph Hitler)

This quote is a favorite with federal law enforcement, and seems to have made it into their standard operating procedures, especially in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. If you don’t agree, maybe you should talk to Vicki Weaver or David Koresh’s Branch Dividians. Sorry, too late. You can’t, because they’re all dead!

And another:

"All military type firearms are to be handed in immediately … The SS, SA and Stahlhelm give every responsible opportunity of campaigning with them. Therefore anyone who does not belong to one of the above-named organizations and who unjustifiably nevertheless keeps his weapon … must be regarded as an enemy of the national government." (SA Oberfuhrer of Bad Tolz)

Sound familiar? Not only is it reminiscent of the federal "assault weapons" ban, but didn’t Mr. Clinton also equate peaceful protestation of government policy with treason? It was hard not to hear him, in fact: he was on every major TV network for days during the "right-wing militia" witch-hunt immediately following the tragedy at Oklahoma City.

I am sure that some of you will find this last one, taken from a speech in which President Clinton defended the vastly expanded federal police powers outlined in his "antiterrorism" bill, to be the most horrifying of the lot:

"We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans …" (US President Bill Clinton [USA Today, 1993])

By this simple statement, Mr. Clinton exposes his true colors. He not only places himself in lockstep with the famous gentlemen quoted above, but shows his casual disregard for the very principles on which our nation was founded. Shouldn’t it outrage all Americans that our own president can share so many ideals with the most evil men of our time? I would suggest that the true problem lies with the reasoning itself—the surrendering of personal liberty to government fiat. What’s truly frightening, however, is the fact that nobody seems to care.

As Benjamin Franklin, a man of profound insight and a true American patriot, once noted: "They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Today, with minds programmed by the repetitive half-truths of an elitist, agenda-pushing media, we stand in jeopardy of proving Mr. Franklin right. We have lost our sense of the Founding Fathers’ republican idealism, and we sell our votes as cheaply for handouts and tax cuts as our president sells himself and our national pride for foreign cash.

We must stop the erosion of our essential rights now, or else be content to live in a "brave new world" where basic concepts like self defense, individual dignity and liberty are subordinated forever to the enlightened edicts of our benign liberal masters in Washington.

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