Crazy Gun-Toting Insurrectionists

Exclusive: Just a few months after 20 first-graders were mowed down by a deranged killer wielding an assault rifle, the prospects of restraining this gun madness are fading. A major factor is the Right’s success in promulgating a bogus history of what the Framers were doing with the Second Amendment, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Tea Partiers and their Libertarian allies fancy themselves the true protectors of the Constitution, but they consistently demonstrate profound ignorance of what the Framers were doing and why. It’s as if they are all summa cum laude graduates of Glenn Beck’s unaccredited online university.

Their sloppy history might not be a matter of particular concern if the consequences weren’t so severe, such as how it has frustrated common-sense gun control by promoting a false interpretation of the Second Amendment that the Framers wrote it because they wanted individual Americans to be heavily armed so they could kill representatives of the U.S. government.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (Official Portrait, US Senate)

A common view on the Right and among a few on the Left is that the Framers, having emerged from a war against the British Crown, wanted to arm the American people so they could battle the “tyranny” of their own Republic. This wacky interpretation has fed an insurrectionist mood in some circles, where these modern extremists assert that the elected government of the United States must be resisted through violence and that no limits on gun ownership can be tolerated, that citizens must be armed to a level comparable to the government’s police and military.

It doesn’t seem to matter that George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and other key Framers considered the creation of a Republic led by elected leaders to be the best protection against “tyranny” and that the Constitution’s intricate system of checks and balances would further shield the country from the possibility of tyrannical leadership.

To the Framers, American liberty was not dependent on having a discontented minority of citizens shooting the representatives of a majority of the people, which has become today’s twisted view of the American Right. Liberty was dependent on the rule of law and the wisdom of the electorate, though the Framers’ idea of liberty was selective, excluding African-American slaves, Native Americans, women and other groups.

These Framers and the first Congresses enacted laws for arming white military-aged men in “well-regulated” militias not so they could fight the government but so they could defend the young nation’s security, including putting down armed insurrections. Yet, whenever anyone tries to explain this obvious history, there comes a flood of e-mails and comments citing some inflammatory remarks by Thomas Jefferson or some other cherry-picked quotes.

These constitutional “scholars” don’t seem to know that Jefferson did not write the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. He was the U.S. representative in Paris from August 1784 to September 1789. By the time Jefferson returned from Paris, the Constitution had been written and ratified and the Bill of Rights was moving through the first Congress.

While Jefferson was in Paris, the actual Framers of the Constitution, especially Washington and Madison, led the national effort to confront the failure of the Articles of Confederation, which governed the nation from 1777-1787. The Articles had made the 13 original states “sovereign” and “independent” and had marginalized the central government as not even a government but a “league of friendship.”

Pragmatic Nationalism

Washington and Madison were what you might call “pragmatic nationalists.” They were profoundly afraid that the hard-won independence of the United States and the dreams of having a free country governed by the people, not a king, were threatened by the nation’s fragmentation under the Articles of Confederation.

Those fears were both economic and military. Washington and Madison believed that a strong central government was necessary to build the young country that needed roads and canals to connect the states and permit the development of the interior. With Washington’s support, Madison had proposed an amendment to the Articles of Confederation that would have put national commerce under the control of federal authorities, but his amendment was blocked in the Virginia legislature. [See Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative.]

Washington and Madison also worried about violent disorders, such as the Shays Rebellion that rocked western Massachusetts in 1786 and early 1787. The weak central government was incapable of putting down the revolt or defending the nation’s security. Washington fretted that the British might be behind the uprising.

So, with Washington as the presiding officer and Madison serving as the chief architect, a new Constitution was drafted in Philadelphia in 1787 transferring sovereignty from the 13 original states to “We the People of the United States.” Among other expanded powers, the central government was given the authority to regulate national commerce and federal authorities took on the responsibility to protect the security of the country and the states. Federal law was made supreme.

The Framers also made clear what they thought should happen to people who took up arms against the Republic. Article IV, Section 4 committed the federal government to protect each state from not only invasion but “domestic Violence,” and treason is defined in the Constitution as “levying war against” the United States as well as giving “Aid and Comfort” to the enemy (Article III, Section 3).

However, the Constitution wasn’t embraced with enthusiasm by some prominent Americans, including important Revolutionary War leaders such as Virginia’s former Gov. Patrick Henry. These Anti-Federalists objected to the surrender of so much authority by the states. Others, such as northern Virginia’s George Mason, insisted on the inclusion of protections of individual rights.

So, as part of a compromise to win ratification of the Constitution, Madison promised to incorporate a Bill of Rights, which included specific protections for the states and for individual citizens. The Second Amendment was added primarily as a concession to the states, explaining its preamble. The amendment read: “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 reason for the right to “bear arms” was to have citizens who could fill the ranks of “a well-regulated Militia” for the purpose of maintaining “the security” of the states and country. Indeed, the key words for understanding the Framers’ intent are “militia” and “security.” This was never intended as a “libertarian” right to wield whatever weapon someone might wish to own for the purpose of insurrection. Instead, it was meant to support “a well-regulated Militia” responsible for ensuring the “security of a free State.”

Yet, the words of the preamble routinely disappear whenever Tea Partiers or Libertarians spout off about the Second Amendment. For instance, when Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz lectured Sen. Dianne Feinstein about the Second Amendment, he distorted the 26-word amendment by cutting off the first 12 words, all the better to confuse the true-believers in the Right’s faux history of the United States. The Texas Republican apparently couldn’t bring himself to say the words, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ”

Reinterpreting the Constitution

The struggle to distort the meaning of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights began almost as soon as the two documents were ratified. Though the Anti-Federalists lost the political battle to block the Constitution, they never relented on their determination to reestablish the lost “sovereignty” of the states.

Over the next two-plus centuries, forces that were pro-slavery, pro-corporate or pro-segregationist have sought to dial back the Constitution’s expansion of federal power every time the nation has moved toward a more progressive recognition of human rights. Over the last few decades, the Reagan Revolution succeeded in building a right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court and those five Republicans have essentially rewritten the Constitution in many ways, including changing the traditional interpretation of the Second Amendment.

In 2008, the five right-wing justices threw out the old view of a collective right for the states to maintain militias (or National Guards) and replaced it with a new interpretation asserting a limited individual right to possess a firearm outside the context of a militia. It’s true that even that radical change by the right-wing majority of the Supreme Court detected only a very limited right to own a gun for protection of one’s home while respecting the countervailing needs of a society to impose reasonable restrictions for public safety.

However, within today’s era of Tea Party madness, the narrow Supreme Court ruling has taken on a much-broader life of its own. It has encouraged new insurrectionist fantasies among some extremists to the detriment of the lives of thousands of Americans whose lives, whose liberties and whose pursuits of happiness have been cut horribly short by gun violence, including those 20 first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut.

[For more on this history, see’s “More Second Amendment Madness.”]

[For a limited time, you can purchase Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush family for only $34. For details, click here.]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

32 comments for “Crazy Gun-Toting Insurrectionists

  1. Mr. Winters
    April 8, 2013 at 05:31

    To the gun control advocates: Your argument is useless.
    Type up Defense Distributed, and you’ll know what I mean.
    We already have the Cuomo mag(30 round AR-15/M-16 mag), the Feinstein mag(ak-47 30 round magazine), a reenforced lower receiver, AND they now have a FFL to develop weapons.
    All of this on a 3d printer.
    Gun control is dead.

  2. MarkinLA
    April 3, 2013 at 10:46

    If the Second Amendment only applies to militia, why haven’t any of the federal and state legislatures of the past 230 years used the militia clause explicitly to ban guns. Surely, if firearms were only limited to members of a militia, some legislature would have proposed such a law, yet they never have. Even when Congress under FDR was trying to ban machine guns and the public was probably receptive they bypassed the Second Amendment and utilized a taxing scheme to regulate them because they feared going after an amendment change would take too long. When it was challenged in court in the Miller case, the Supreme Court did not dismiss for lack of standing since Miller was not a member of a militia, they ruled that no evidence showed that the weapon in the case could be used by a militia. This is a decision that is rather stupid since any weapon has a militia purpose but obviously the court did not want to strike down the NFA.

  3. Eddie
    April 2, 2013 at 19:56

    Another good article Mr Parry. The only problem with bothering to write about gun control is that the gun-nuts are immune to rational humanistic reasoning. To put it simply, they’re a lot of guys who like dicking-around with guns – – – like teenage boys who like playing with M80s – – – and they concoct tortured reasoning (and phony ‘statistics’ — see John Lott) to support it. I’m always bemused by how they adopt a purported overriding concern about ‘tyranny’ & ‘freedom’ and other high-minded concepts (ie; “bill o’rights” above is an extreme example, but is — as Lars points out — probably a ‘NRA hasbarat’ so he doesn’t count for anything but cynical money-making) but yet they’re inevitably the ones voting for the most repressive US leaders (ie; Nixon, Reagan, “W”) and candidates, which gives lie to their supposed concerns over freedom when you recall that so many of the current negative policies stem from conservative Republican origins.

  4. bill o'rights
    April 1, 2013 at 12:13

    What is tyranny?

    Tyranny is when the masses are led to ride an emotional wave, fueled by the questionable motives of an administration that obviously has little concern for the deaths of children by virtue of its illegal drone strikes, sales of weapons to terrorist splinter-groups in Syria and provision of arms to the Sinaloa cartel, either accidental or otherwise.

    Tyranny is when public opinion polls are used to call for legislative action, ignoring the fact that we live in a Republic, and do not legislate via plebiscite.

    Tyranny is when civil rights advocacy groups, such as the National Rifle Association, are relentlessly demonized and scapegoated by the administration and the mainstream media.

    Tyranny is when a presidential administration rigorously defends in court its right to indefinitely detain or even murder U.S. citizens on U.S. soil with drone attacks.

    Tyranny is when people are encouraged by their government to rush to dismantle any of our nation’s Bill of Rights–the core limitations of government power, based upon a leader who promises us it will make us safer.

    Tyranny is when the President tells us that ‘no one is going to take [our] guns away’, when in fact his own administration is recommending doing so:

    Tyranny is when armies of young ideologues, fueled on by the President’s own words, call for revision of the Bill of Rights because it has become ‘outdated’ when, clearly, these individuals have little understanding of the principles of the Bill of Rights and the mechanics of our representative democracy.

    Tyranny is when the mainstream media is pressured by the administration in order to join the propaganda campaign to scapegoat gun rights organizations, based upon erroneous assumptions.

    Tyranny is when an administration ramps up its domestic electronic surveillance, in true totalitarian fashion, creating ‘partnerships’ between NSA and Google, for example, to identify the ‘potential domestic terrorists’ among us.

    Tyranny is when an administration whose DHS and DOJ training materials characterize as ‘potential domestic terrorists’, Tea-Partiers, Libertarians, supporters of Ron Paul and ‘Defenders of the Constitution’–groups that just happen to reflect the administration’s political opposition–not unlike those, in large measure, who own firearms.

    Tyranny is when the President pushes a background check scheme that, in order to work, would create de facto national gun registration, yet he insists he isn’t advocating national gun registration.

    Tyranny is when the President conspicuously and inexplicably renews the call for an ‘assault weapons ban’, when in fact so-called ‘assault rifles’ are typicallly only responsible for the murder of 10 to 25 people per year, nationally, while handguns typically account for over 6,000. I question the motives for wanting to ban a firearm that hardly registers on the statistical radar, yet would pose the greatest threat not to individuals, but to a government intent on forcing an agenda upon the American people, against their will.

    Tyranny is when an administration’s Department of Homeland Security creates the largest stockpile of ammunition in world history, yet refuses to provide the legislature with a reasonable explanation–a stockpile equivalent to 24 times the total ammunition used by all branches of the U.S. military during the Gulf War, in 2003.

    Tyranny is when an administration, unlike any administration before it, employs tactics identical to revolutionary groups, such as obfuscation, scapegoating, projection and defamation, along with the use of and close coordination with activist groups in order to push its goals.

    Tyranny is when the mainstream media, beyond all accountability or journalistic integrity and professional ethics, provides political cover and spin for the administration. I question whether we still have a functional first amendment when the White House requires the media to submit articles for redaction, before publication, under the threat of journalists having their press passes revoked.

    Tyranny is when an administration blurs the distinct, Constitutionally-defined levels of government, by way of dispensing a half a billion dollars worth of military grade weaponry to local municipalities under its 1033 program and massively expands so-called DHS ‘partnerships’ with local law enforcement, effectively creating a nationwide ‘snitch’ network.

    Tyranny is when the leader of a nation makes clear that, should the legislative branch fail to act to his liking on a Constitutional issue, he will unilaterally take matters into his own hands via executive order.

    For all those jumping on the gun control bandwagon, I would say…

    Be careful what you wish for.”

    The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes.
    – Adolf Hitler

    How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.
    – Adolf Hitler

    By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell – and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.
    – Adolf Hitler

    The [Nazi party] should not become a constable of public opinion, but must dominate it. It must not become a servant of the masses, but their master!
    – Adolf Hitler

    The art of leadership. . . consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention. . . . The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.
    – Adolf Hitler

    • Lars Adaktusson
      April 1, 2013 at 18:12

      Bill, open the window, if there is one, in that cellar you live in at your parents home. Let in some fresh air to disperse the urine scent of your mattress, or that stale biscuit odor in your closet.
      Get yourself a job. A real job. Trolling internet sites run by your betters, scratching your stomach and pushing a spiked dildo deeper and deeper into your ass, doesn’t count as a job. Get out, see the world! The world will forgive you. It does not stand and fall with your preparedness to enact your masturbation fantasies of armed uprising to save the U.S. from tyranny. I dare you to – Go Galt!

      • Ethan Allen 1
        April 1, 2013 at 18:54

        Well said!

    • Ethan Allen 1
      April 1, 2013 at 18:16

      Serial ignorance is the greatest tyranny of all, and as Robert Parry has once again elucidated with factual and historical clarity, it also continues to fuel extremist paranoid notions of impending doom and gloom.
      Your Hitler quotes are, of course, not Hitler quotes; so much for your veracity?

      • F. G. Sanford
        April 1, 2013 at 20:43

        Actually, Ethan, those are Hitler quotes, and they are quite accurate. You can check with authors such as Sir Ian Kershaw, John Toland, William Shirer, H.R. Trevor-Roper, Laurence Rees, Otto Dietrich, Ernst Hanfstaengl, Kurt Ludecke and a host of others. I don’t really like to comment on gun control, because it’s a wedge issue intended to distract people from real problems. It usually instigates infantile commentary like you and Lars make, to which I submit that masturbation, dildos and urine stained mattresses are topics you and Lars probably have more first-hand experience with than Bill does.

        • Lars Adaktusson
          April 2, 2013 at 14:44


          I doubt your tactic of reasoning with emotionally troubled trolls like Bill pays any dividends. You do realize there are actual ideological trolling sweat shops flooding decent home pages with the kind of dreck Bill is producing, at 700 words a minute, right?

          For a primer, watch this segment from Taki Oldham’s documentary (Astro) Turf Wars, about the training of electronic right wing apparatchiks. Your haughty attitude of not getting down in the mud to fight these creeps mean they win, again, and again. . . Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, Iraq, Guantanamo. . . A small price to pay for you to be able to feel smugly superior, I’m sure.

    • Carl Stevenson
      April 2, 2013 at 17:22

      Thank you for the eloquent post.
      I have posted it to my FB page … it needs to be read widely to overcome the ignorance that our government indoctrination centers public schools have promulgated.

      • Lars Adaktusson
        April 3, 2013 at 08:33

        I don’t believe in a hell, except the myriads of our species’ own making. Being home-schooled by an ignorant hick Neanderthal such as yourself is an example of such a Hell. Good thing Government programs like the New Deal and Universal Schooling has gained at least a small foothold towards making our lives less brutal, nasty and short.

  5. bobmac31
    April 1, 2013 at 11:42

    What is often forgotten or ignored is that the 2nd Amendment was clarified in two important Acts: the Militia Act of 1792 and the Militia Act of 1793. Both defined, in detail, what the Militia is/was, armament, et al.

    Until the 1970s and the NRA push for gun rights, the 2nd was often called “the Militia Amendment.” It was often cited to justify conscription (draft) as well as cited in the 1903, 1920 and 1947 National Defense Acts.

    We have a Militia–it is the National Guard, as defined in the 1903 National Defense Act, and further clarified in the 1920 National Defense Act. The unorganized Militia no longer exists, and since 1903 the Organized Militia was absorbed into the National Guard. Effectively, all male citizens between 16 and 50 are in the “unorganized Militia” and are subject to conscription in a time of crisis.

    No where–in writings, in the Constitution or in laws–is there a “right” to armed rebelllion. The last time that theory was tested was 1861.

  6. rosemerry
    April 1, 2013 at 08:17

    “Even though we’ve been at war for over 10 years with
    enemies who would delight to destroy our country”
    Oh yeah?
    Why does the USA, like Israel, pretend to be in mortal danger? By constantly attacking others, it makes enemies, but honestly, can you claim that the nation with half the world’s arms is a target of genuine danger? The US people themselves are the danger. I have never felt in danger of being shot in all the lands I have lived in, and would hate the violent,militaristic, pugilistic, police state (stop and frisk, spread your legs/cheeks)country that seems to consider itself a model of democracy. I have just watched online “The House I Live In” by Eugene Janecki, showing what so many of the 99% have to put up with daily, for no good reason but profits of corporations.

  7. John Puma
    April 1, 2013 at 03:22

    The author and some commenters have made the virtually universal mistake of not consulting the constitution for other occurrences of the term “militia” in order to clarify its significance in the 2nd Amendment. From this it should be clear, especially to constitutional fundamentalists, that “the militia” was intended to be an armed force to defend the newly formed nation and not a built-in, facile method to overthrow what had just been achieved by “bloody war.”

    Article One (powers of congress), Section 8, paragraphs 15&16:

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,
    suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for
    governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United
    States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers,
    and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline
    prescribed by Congress;

    Article Two, Section 2, paragraph one:
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
    States, and of the Militia of the several States,

    And another mention in an amendment
    Amendment 5:
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime,
    unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising
    in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia,


    • Ethan Allen 1
      April 1, 2013 at 18:51

      Your erudite comment is a perfect compliment to Robert Parry’s excellent article. These self-proclaimed federalists, now wrapping themselves in ill-conceived notions of patriotic zeal, are the modern day anti-federalists seasoned with a dose of fascist nationalism. How could they be anything but diluted and confused by such a mixture of fictional delusion and rabid ideology?

  8. jim williams
    April 1, 2013 at 01:20

    Let’s start with the fact that it is the right and responsibility of the individual to protect themselves. Rulings have come down repeatedly that the responsibility of the police is to law enforcement and the safety of society as a whole. It has been determined that they are not responsible for individual safety. So, you are saying we should all be defenseless against those who have no respect for the law or society?

    I would disagree with your other arguments about the constitution as well. They points you attempt to make have been disproved. Not by Glen Beck and his online university, but by constitutional historians with documentation to back the statement that it is the right of the individual.

    • Lars Adaktusson
      April 1, 2013 at 07:05

      Constitutional historians sponsored by The Federalist Society, which in its turn is sponsored by a network of conservative foundations, tied to hereditary billions – The Mellon and Koch fortunes, to mention but two examples. For a scholarly overview of these networks, read a series of reports from The National Center for Responsible Philantrophy:

      For the narrative connecting the dots, read Robert Parry’s article The Right’s Power of Media Money:

      I’m sure you’ll read them. You’re a serious amateur academic who likes to hear both sides of the argument before deciding, I’m sure. Ideas, like accused individuals, deserve to be judged by a dispassionate jury of their peers, right?

      I hold people like you in much higher regards than professional trolls like “John” (if that is his real name!) above. Do some reading up and come back, mm’kay?

    • Sam
      April 1, 2013 at 11:28

      Unfortunately, your argument falls apart when you review the literature showing that the simple act of owning a gun increases the likelihood that someone in your household will die either by murder or suicide by between 4 and 5-fold. When you buy a gun, statistics suggest that you are doing something that is a lot more dangerous to you and your family than if you drink and drive. You may FEEL safer, but the facts suggest your gun is making you and your family a LOT less safe.

      • Carl Stevenson
        April 2, 2013 at 17:12

        It seems you got your firearms “education” at LSMB (the leftist school of mythology and bullcrap).
        That is such a crock of BS. For example, women who fight back with a handgun are 4-5 times LESS likely to be raped, mutilated, tortured, and/or murdered by their assailant than women who have no means of self-defense and passively submit.
        The federal government’s own crime data shows conclusively that guns, used by private citizens in self defense or the defense of other innocents, save AT LEAST 65 TIMES more lives than are taken each year by criminal use of guns.
        Did you know that, according to federal law enforcement data, you are about 6.5 times MORE likely to be accidentally/mistakenly shot by law enforcement personnel than by the “average citizen” using a gun to stop or prevent a crime? (DESPITE the fact that “average citizens” justifiably kill many times more bad guys than the police each year.)
        For example, NYPD officers, shooting at a gunman on the streets of NYC a few months ago, shot 9 innocent bystanders in their zeal to dispatch the bad guy. It happens far more frequently than most people imagine.
        Police training isn’t nearly what it’s cracked up to be (I know – I was a sworn police officer).
        MANY of us with concealed carry licenses have FAR more training and skill than most police officers. And concealed carry licensees commit virtually NO crimes … Less crimes than active duty law enforcement officers.
        Don’t drink the “only government should have guns” kool-aid … Law abiding people who legally carry guns are extraordinarily responsible, careful, and competent.
        VERY bad, evil, murderous things have ALWAYS happened when only the government and it’s agents had guns (other weapons like swords in past times).
        I saw a movie once where only the military and police had guns … What was the name? “SCHINDLER’S LIST”

        • Lars Adaktusson
          April 3, 2013 at 08:14

          Let’s be adults and try to hold an adult discussion. Give us statistical sources for your statements, or they’re mud. As it is now, the only thing you’re staking is your no doubt painstakingly built, but non-existent on-line credibility track record.
          The women of my family thank you for standing up, with your guns (both of them!) to save them from the coming Apocalypse. They want me to ask you if you’ll let them feel your biceps! Don’t be shy, lift that phone.

  9. John
    April 1, 2013 at 00:13

    Bill wrote:
    “… the only enumerated purpose in the 2nd amendment – of serving in the military to defend our free state…”

    Utter hogwash — especially when one considers that defending our free state most certainly in the context of the time included the concept of defending a free state against a federal government that many of the founders clearly feared could become tyrannical, just as had the one they fought a bloody war against.

    And yet, due to the odd construction that connects the clause that includes the word “militia” with the rest, many still like to argue that the Second Amendment only applies to the authorities, conveniently overlooking that the Bill of Rights was written to apply to individuals. Perhaps this will help:

    (1) What was the context of the time, i.e. what did the writers intend and, particularly, how was the term “militia” used in the era?

    (2) Have there been any Supreme Court rulings settling this question?

    Regarding (2): not one, but TWO US Supreme Court rulings have conclusively ruled that the Second Amendment applies to individuals, in 2008 and 2010.

    Regarding (1), here’s a start:

    “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” 
GEORGE MASON, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426.

    “Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia, is put in the hands of Congress?” 
PATRICK HENRY, 3 Elliot Debates at 48.

    “Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands? 
PATRICK HENRY, 3 Elliot Debates 168-169.

    “Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American… [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” 
TENCH COXE, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    • Lars Adaktusson
      April 1, 2013 at 06:58

      The recent two Supreme Court rulings you refer to fail to bolster your argument, since they were voted through by the 5-4 Scalia-led majority which owes their careers to the Federalist Society, and thus belong to the same history-distorting sect as yourself. This is like Protestants quoting Luther in an argument with a Catholic, taking for granted Luther is the universally accepted authority. As for your cherry-picked quotes, signature John Puma, below, does a better job than I can to debunk them.
      You’ve got to sweat a little more, earning your minimum wage trolling for the NRA, champ! Working hard is the American way.

    • Sam
      April 1, 2013 at 11:00

      So, there you have it. Your support of “gun freedom” is based on the notion that individual Americans have the right to engage in armed resistance against the democratically elected federal government. If you were to ever act on this sentiment, it would be treason — plain and simple. So, your support of an individual right to own a gun is built on a foundation of paranoia that you may at some point in the future have to engage in treasonous actions to bring down the government. This is why people like me call people like you gun nuts.

      • Carl Stevenson
        April 2, 2013 at 17:06

        The tyrants in the Obama administration and their accomplices in congress who vote to strip us of our Constitutional rights are the traitors, not people who speak out insisting that the Constitution be upheld.

        The tyrants are getting ready for the collapse that they’ve deliberately created as an excuse to try to grab total control. It won’t work. There is a growing push towards resistance, and it is not constrained to the fringes – the first mistake the tyrants in DC make is to assume that.

        Practically every militarily significant weapon made in the last 100 years has sold. 4.6 million weapon sales in 30 days and empty ammo shelves is not a panic – it’s battlespace preparation.

        The second mistake they make is to try to assert that this trend is about racism because Obama is half-black. That’s a cop-out used to demonize – It’s an easy excuse to ignore another person’s points, and justify doing bad things to them; it’s an attempt to convince people that those who oppose the regime’s policies and actions are evil or deranged.

        Their final mistake is to assume that the military and law enforcement agencies will follow orders to disarm their fellow Americans. The military and police are a sub-section of the total population, and will break along the same ideological lines.

        Some police and military members will follow orders. Many, probably most, will disobey, desert, and rebel against orders to attack, imprison, or murder their families, neighbors, and fellow patriots to prop up a corrupt and tyrannical regime.

        This has been played out time and time again in human history.

        Statist politicians should not assume an insurrection will end easily, nor that those they’ve demonized will go quietly into the dark night, nor that they personally will not suffer if it blows up.

        Never let your government disarm you and render you defenseless against their excesses.

        • Lars Adaktusson
          April 3, 2013 at 08:27

          “You know, I turn back to your ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon [the final conflict between good and evil], and I find myself wondering if – if we’re the generation that is going to see that come about. I don’t know if you’ve noted any of those prophecies lately, but, believe me, they certainly describe the times we’re going through.”

          – Ronald Reagan to AIPAC executive director Thomas Dine

          Roughly 20 years later, and here we are, still talking and breathing. Who would have thought? Ah, well, the Gipper is not with us anymore. He must have forgotten to set his watch right before that Alzheimer’s disease took his mind, and now we face the Apocalypse a generation later than previously thought.

          I like your strong, manly stance, Carl Stevenson – Would you like my daughter’s hand in marriage? She’s still a virgin, as far as I can tell, and as a bridal endowment my clan will present to you a brand new Surface-to-Air missile. Get them while they still last! My daughter’s maidenhead won’t stay intact forever.

          One caveat, though. As the father-in-law, I reserve the ancent patriarchal right of Prima Nocta, with a modern twist – this patriarch wants the bridegroom. Your weaponry and your manliness has my panties in a bunch, Champ! Please don’t go, consider our offer to join our clan as the Protector. I saw that film, yesterday, “Mad Max” I believe it’s called, and it scared me, I tell you, SCARED ME!!!

          • EthanAllen1
            April 3, 2013 at 16:35

            Well said “Lars”! Even though continuing “Carl’s” overwrought and paranoid digression from the context of Robert’s excellent article is probably adding fuel to the fires of cognitive dissonence, it may serve to provide the gun-slingers amongst us with the incentive, lo the virtual ammunition, to literally shoot themselves in their collective footsies; and thus be the victims of their own nefarious prophetic beliefs.
            In this gingoistic world of patriotic missles launched from remote controled drones, often targeting such dangerous activities as weddings and various other monotheistic cult events, should not we, as the acknowleged center of the capitalistic universe, offer humankind a state-of-the-art consumer product that could replace all the antiquated weaponry of the past (from rocks and spears to tanks and assault rifles) with a personal drone (preferable in kit form) complete with a selection of “war-heads” to suit each individuals purpose. Such a divise would not only provide the proverbial “level playing field” to one and all, but it could revive the weapons as toys industry, a revival that would bring several generations of our families together and bolster our economic and unemployment problems. Win, win, and win!

          • Lars Adaktusson
            April 3, 2013 at 18:58

            Actually, Ethan, mine and Carl’s “discussion” is not that wide off the mark. The piece’s title is, after all “Crazy, Gun-Toting Insurrectionists” – and Carl is an example of those, a prime specimen of the lunatic fringe which has shanghaied the Republican Party. One of modern conservatism’s dilemmas is how to defend entrenched privilege in a parliamentary democracy which has introduced the universal franchise. The trick is to find a way to make the great unwashed feel part of the elites – by introducing narratives where they are the center of something. Truth is, no one in a position to carry out a totalitarian take-over of the government even cares about Carl Stevenson. The people who really are competent in handling weaponry have learned their trade in the military, and are already known by the central powers. Carl Stevenson’s masturbation fantasies of being the star in his own third-rate action movie, I’m sure, play a role for his mental balance, but won’t ever influence the broad sweeps of what kind of government we’ll have. They’re not even original masturbation fantasies, but a mish-mash of warmed-over ’80s action movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Carl Stevenson. . . Don’t quit your day job, Carl!

  10. John
    March 31, 2013 at 23:44

    Once again Robert, you lost me with the very first sentence on this issue:

    “Just a few months after 20 first-graders were mowed down by a deranged killer wielding an assault rifle, the prospects of restraining this gun madness are fading. ”

    (1) I’d enjoy it if, regarding most of the knee-jerk, feel-good, unenforceable, nonsensical laws promulgated by Dianne Feinstein and other hypocritical political hacks with a much broader agenda, as well as Feinstein wannabes typically completely ignorant of firearms (the CO provision limiting magazines to 7 rounds that was based on such ignorance it had to be rescinded, for instance), just once, the gun-phobics could explain how going after the 100 million law-abiding US gun owners who have never shot a firearm at anyone and likely never will, will do anything to reduce these horrible, emotional crimes.

    (2) For those ignorant of firearms who are needlessly frightened by the term “semi-automatic”: about 4 million law-abiding US gun owners own an AR-15 or similar, which is simply a modern black rifle (i.e. with a PLASTIC stock) with — and extremely obvious to those who actually have any knowledge of these firearms — legitimate hunting, sporting, and self-defense uses; based on rate of fire, these firearms are no more lethal than most modern hunting rifles, 80% of which are also semi-automatic, as are, incidentally, Civil War era 6-shot revolvers.

    And incidentally, regarding the “high-capacity magazine” feel-good nonsense: repeated, controlled tests by professionals have determined that it typically requires less than three seconds to change a magazine; the horrific Sandy Hook crime was completed in about five minutes, ten to fifteen minutes prior to the authorities arriving at this “gun-free zone” ( < more idiotic feel-good nonsense). And so, the shooter would have required only about 30 additional seconds of the 600-900 additional seconds he would have had available to change smaller magazines prior to the arrival of the good guys with guns.

    "Assault rifle" has always been defined as fully-automatic; these have been banned since 1934, which I support. So anyone who refers to a modern rifle — because it has PLASTIC components, particularly the stock, and that thus happens to be all black in color — as an "assault rifle" or, even better, my favorite "military-style" (as if a firearm should be banned based of its appearance) is ignorant and is being used by hacks and hypocrites like Senator Feinstein, who is attempting to eliminate ALL firearms, with the exception of the rapidly metastasizing and militarizing DOMESTIC authorities and agencies armed to the teeth and increasingly brutally using these arms (40,000 SWAT raids annually now versus 500 in the 1980s) — an agenda which Feinstein has clearly and unequivocably stated more than once on live television.

    • Lars Adaktusson
      April 1, 2013 at 06:54

      John wrote: “[…] just once, the gun-phobics could explain how going after the 100 million law-abiding US gun owners who have never shot a firearm at anyone and likely never will, will do anything to reduce these horrible, emotional crimes.”

      John, I will do that, just once – but I doubt it will suffice, since you are a troll paid minimum wage for influencing the debate on all decent homepages not run by your handlers from the Federalist Society. By “going after the 100 million law-abiding US gun owners,” as you put it, or by implementing common-sense gun control laws similar to those in the rest of the civilized world, as a sober person would put it, there would have been fewer dead. Some guns are more effective at killing than others. Restricting their availability makes for less killing. Since you get paid for, or is otherwise heavily invested, for twisted emotional reasons, in denying common sense, I, as should be obvious, don’t expect what I write to come through to you.

  11. Bill
    March 31, 2013 at 21:35

    Every gun keeper and bearer should be required to register for service in the military.
    Sadly there is still no call to all our gun “keepers and bearers” to serve in
    our armed forces. Even though we’ve been at war for over 10 years with
    enemies who would delight to destroy our country, and the 2nd amendment.
    Our volunteer soldiers have been forced to bear all of the burden, while the NRA and other organizations of gun-huggers refuses to remind its registered membership of the only enumerated purpose in the 2nd amendment – of serving in the military to defend our free state.
    Instead they prattle on with their cult delusions of “good vs. bad guys” and “tyrannical government takeovers”.
    Require gun owners to serve in our armed forces. Having this vast pool of responsible, trained, and willing bearers of arms to defend our country – that’s the only reason the 2nd amendment exists.
    The right to own guns comes with the responsibility to bear arms in the military.

    It’s long past time to fulfill the founder’s purpose of the 2nd amendment.

    • db
      April 2, 2013 at 07:25


      Only objection was that the Militia of the time were all the free, white, males, of age. So rather than a volunteer organization, you were drafted.

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