To the Editor,
In light of the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colo., a debate over the second amendment and its extent has erupted across the nation. On the Sunday morning FOX news show the weekend of the shooting Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) took a middling position on the issue of gun control. In her remarks she demonstrated a lack of understanding shared by most, if not all, among those who advocate for stricter gun control. Herewith is a portion of what she said:
“We’ve got to sit down and really come to grips with what is sold to the average citizen in America. I have no problem with people being licensed and buying a firearm. But these are weapons that you are only going to be using to kill people in close combat. That’s the purpose of that weapon. ... You can fire semi-automatic very rapidly. This drum was huge. He had a hundred bullets in it, and he went out to kill a lot of people. I think that these weapons ought to be stopped.”
I give her credit for not advocating a complete ban on all weapons or in denying us the right to be armed for self-defense. The two specific points that indicate this lack of understanding are the references to semi-automatic weapons firing too rapidly and the magazines and drums that hold large amounts of ammunition not needed by civilians. It is true that these weapons are not necessarily needed for self-defense or hunting, but false in light of why our founders felt it necessary to add the second amendment to the Constitution.
Ayn Rand opined, “A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.” This is right on the mark as such was precisely the thinking of the founders behind the amendment.
Though they did write about the need to be armed for self-defense, there was a greater need they felt for the citizenry to be armed. Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, later wrote “[Tyranny cannot be safe] without a standing army, ... and a disarmed populace.” Jefferson concurred in a letter to Madison: “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
In other words, Senator Feinstein, the overriding reason we have the second amendment is not so much for personal protection against an individual assailant, but rather to protect our freedom and liberties from a tyrannical government. Given the firepower of those who would come to take our freedom and liberties from us, and given this administration’s move towards a Fascist state, yes, Senator, we do need semi-automatic weapons and magazines that can hold large amounts of ammunition. I pray to God that we will never have to use them to that end.