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Tyranny and the Right to Bear Arms

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Not surprisingly, the gun-control crowd is using the supposed conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to advance their agenda. The idea is that if the American people are disarmed, then the chances of some group overthrowing a state government or even the federal government diminish to slim and none.

That would be fine with the gun-control crowd because in their minds, it is impossible for the federal government to become so tyrannical that it would need overthrowing. Oh sure, such things might happen in places like Germany, the Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam. But certainly not here in the United States.

And yet, that was one of the principal reasons for the enactment of the Second Amendment — to ensure that the American people had the means — i.e., guns — to violently overthrow the federal government should it ever become overly tyrannical.

We also shouldn’t forget the Declaration of Independence, a document that even the gun-control crowd celebrates every Fourth of July. It holds that it is the right — even the duty — of the people to violently overthrow a tyrannical government. Our ancestor clearly understood that gun ownership was essential to doing that, which is why they resisted efforts by their government officials to seize their guns at Lexington and Concord.

Ironically, at the very same time that the gun-control crowd is poo-pooing the idea of the federal government needing to be overthrown, they are expressing concerns over the possibility that President Trump will refuses to relinquish the presidency if he loses the election, a possibility that he himself has alluded to.

Yet, none in the gun-control crowd addresses what will happen if that situation develops. Maybe they just don’t want to think about it.

I suppose one assumption is that the national-security branch of the government will violently oust Trump from office, much like the Chilean armed forces did to Chilean President Salvador Allende. The Pentagon would order fighter jets to fire missiles into Trump’s position in the White House, the CIA would deploy its assassination teams, and the 82nd Airborne Division would surround the White House. There is no way that Trump could win that battle.

The Constitution, however, does not provide the national-security establishment with that authority. Indeed, the Constitution doesn’t even authorize a national-national state form of government. Anyway, who would issue such an order to the military and the CIA? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Or would the Pentagon and the CIA simply act on their own initiative, like in banana republics?

Oh, but here’s another scenario. What happens if the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA join up with Trump? What if they conclude that Joe Biden is a socialist who is going to destroy America with his economic policies? What if they conclude that Biden is going to make nice with the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Cubans, and Venezuelans and, therefore, be a grave threat to “national security”?

What if Trump refuses to step down as president, declares a national emergency, and orders the military and the CIA to round up critics and dissidents? What happens if the military begins Abu Ghraibing the people it is rounding up? What happens if they turn America into a gigantic Gitmo? What then?

The gun-crowd crowd would say, “Tough luck. Suck it up. Wait until the next election.”

But what good would waiting for the next election do, given that the recent election has been ignored or nullified? And are people expected to just be tortured, raped, sexually abused, and denied fundamental rights indefinitely?

It seems to me that under those type of circumstances, people have the right to resort to violence to overthrow the federal government. What other recourse do they have if they refuse to abide by the tyranny? And the only way they can do that is with guns — by resorting to force, even deadly force, against those who have destroyed their lives, liberty, and well-being.

No guns means that they have to succumb to the tyranny or die. Guns give them the chance of fighting back and also winning.

Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski made this point in his dissenting opinion in the case of Silveira vs. Lockyer. He wrote:

My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

Fortunately, the Framers were wise enough to entrench the right of the people to keep and bear arms within our constitutional structure. The purpose and importance of that right was still fresh in their minds, and they spelled it out clearly so it would not be forgotten. Despite the panel’s mighty struggle to erase these words, they remain, and the people themselves can read what they say plainly enough: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The post Tyranny and the Right to Bear Arms appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.


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About The Author

Jacob G. Hornberger

The Future of Freedom Foundation was founded in 1989 by FFF president Jacob Hornberger with the aim of establishing an educational foundation that would advance an uncompromising case for libertarianism in the context of both foreign and domestic policy. The mission of The Future of Freedom Foundation is to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government. Visit https://www.fff.org

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