2008 CANDIDATES: CONSTITUENT GUN RIGHTS ACTUALLY MEAN ALL CITIZEN RIGHTS
John Longenecker and Howard Nemerov
April 23, 2008
We could say that we are discussing Gun Rights, but what we are really elaborating is the concept of all liberty in this country.
In various essays, co-author John Longenecker has written that the second amendment is an indicator of the health of all other rights in this country. In essays, co-author Howard Nemerov has discredited many claims of the gun control movement as misleading, wildly emotional, off-topic, or outright wrong. In general, in a time when the armed citizen is becoming a nationwide topic for guns on campus, newsbreaks of armed citizens interrupting a violent crime, and with a gun ban case now before the Supreme Court [D.C. v. Heller], the subject is conspicuous by its absence among the 2008 Presidential Candidates. In fact, among the remaining three Presidential candidates, only Barack Obama has spoken on the armed citizen, and he is for gun control. Of course, what the candidates are really ducking is many, many citizen rights married to the armed citizen, including personal safety, citizen oversight of officials, and specific citizen authority to refuse dependency on official agencies as gun control eliminates.
Brokered Dependency is the new commerce of the new millennium. Independence is its cure. Hiding citizen authority is essential to the growth of Dependency in America.
A refresher may be necessary for 2008 candidates in making the Liberty – Armed Citizen connection to the new millennium as a terribly important subject always. We remember that the Founding Fathers defeated abuse of powers in our War For Independence. To ensure abuses of power would never happen again in the new republic, the Founders declared the citizen as supreme authority and declared government to be servant of the citizenry, and never the other way around. Further, to ensure this would always be so, the Framing-era thinking declared that this citizen authority must be backed by lethal force, always, and that this force shall remain in the hands of the individual, always. It is for this reason that there can be no such thing as sensible gun laws. It would be purely to regulate (undermine) the force which backs citizen authority without ever touching crime: this is an exquisite example of the rhetoric and boondoggles foreseen by the founders. You can’t have the servants determining what force the supreme authority of the country has.
It must always be this way, or America would not be a just nation of laws, much less a nation of self-rule. Citizens, not government, then, have the monopoly on force, including concealed carry of handguns, open carry of handguns in several states, authority we grant to officials such as police and not the other way around, citizen oversight of officials, citizen authority for citizen arrest, and civilian control of the military.
Meanwhile, many officials running for office forget the nature of this relationship between servant and citizen, and many voters do not think of the subject in terms of personal authority, choice and oversight of officials. Too many officials believe that the topic of guns is forgotten, is ill-bred and in bad taste somehow, and forget that citizen authority is always important to a constituent who has oversight of them with genuine concerns of safe streets. Again, the topic is not guns, it is self-rule and the armed citizen is integral in fighting crime. Excluding the citizen is the formula for dependency on agencies.
Regardless of political persuasion, it would be unwise for any candidate to support gun control:
Hygens Labidou, a Black self-employed roofing contractor in Florida, certainly needed citizen authority when two white men, one of them out on Federal probation, initiated a racially-motivated attack, attempting to drag Mr. Labidou from his truck so that they could stab him with a knife. Mr. Labidou successfully defended himself with his licensed concealed carry handgun. The police were not, nor should they have been expected to be, immediately available to protect Mr. Labidou. Nor are they legally obligated to protect violent crime victims like Mr. Labidou, as the Supreme Court has consistently ruled. [As in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 2005 and before.] This case is even more interesting because it was not so long ago that southern state governments enacted Black Codes and Jim Crow laws to strip Blacks of their civil and political rights. Certainly, more gun control laws would not have helped Mr. Labidou save his own life, and to claim otherwise is disingenuous at best.
On safe streets, we have seen what doing nothing until police arrive can do. We have seen what dependency can do. Kids die. Adults die. Our kids die in schools, in shopping malls, nearly everywhere. All recent public mass murders, save one where an armed private citizen in church with her own handgun kept the body count amazingly low by herself disabling the shooter, took place where legally-concealed firearms were outlawed, making them a risk-free shooting gallery for criminals.
History shows that civilian disarmament is often a prelude to not only a government monopoly on lethal force, but also the use of that force against the very people government is supposed to protect. Here is a partial list of countries that, in the 20th century, disarmed their populace and proceeded with government-sponsored mass murder, alleging crimes and treason: the People’s Republic of China (76.7 million murdered); Soviet Union (61.9 million); Nazi Germany (21 million); Cambodia (2 million); and Turkey (1.9 million). All told, an estimated 262 million people were killed by their governments in the 20th Century alone. Gun control works…for the person holding the gun.
In this country, the armed citizen stands in the way of big government. Americans have seen what the armed citizen can do instead of waiting for police – namely stopping the slaughter by employing both superior force and one’s legal authority to act without getting permission. It also serves to interrupt and de-escalate lesser violence more than 2.5 million times a year.
The best-kept secret of the gun control movement has always been that the citizen doesn’t need permission to stop a crime in progress. It is this kind of information which is obfuscated by the anti-gun movement and which is being ignored by 2008 candidates as part of an otherwise serious-minded approach to fighting violence.
The armed citizen is a built-in safeguard in this republic, a safeguard which must be respected, it must be taught and protected if this nation is to remain a republic, and a free republic at that. Every candidate must want this. Every candidate must enunciate this before the election.
Both co-authors Longenecker and Nemerov encourage Libertarians and Conservatives to register to vote, to get out the Vote, and to get out and vote. Only then can the 2008 candidates appreciate this bloc as a constituency not of gun owners apart from other constituents, but of constituents with a reasonable expectation for the serious-minded approach to crime.
When 2008 candidates promise to reduce big government, opposing dependency on government is one of the best places to start, and when opposing dependency as a foe of American Liberty, opposing gun control and supporting citizen oversight is one of the best places to start. Gun control obfuscates the citizen’s authority to act when facing grave danger, it limits one’s choices, it punishes self-defense, and it compels dependency on officials by the exclusion of the citizen. Dependency in America is a whole industry now, and gun control’s formula of dependency is cloned into many other aspects of our society, including education, marriage, disaster management, workplace and elsewhere.
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The 2008 candidates need to make the connection of so-called gun rights to the totality of all rights and the public service loyalty they promise. For, without a respect for the authority of the citizen, their campaign promises actually mean nothing for lack of understanding. How they stand on the armed citizen gives the rest meaning or it does not; this is the truth every candidate must no longer ignore.
How long will 2008 candidates remain silent on the issue? And what will the new President-elect do once in office?