Author's note: America experienced a terrible tragedy on April 16, when a deranged monster bent on murder massacred 32 students and faculty members at Virgina Tech. There will be plenty of time to discuss the policy implications of this horrific event, but for now, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and to the entire Virginia Tech community. This week I resume my initial series with WorldNetDaily, with my previously scheduled column on the Second Amendment.
People are often surprised when I tell them that the National Rifle Association is a civil rights organization. It's true. The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is a civil right. And what's more, it's the right that protects all the others.
We've let the left hijack the term "civil rights," and it's time we fixed that. Your civil rights are your constitutional rights. That's what the term "civil rights" means. They are your rights as a citizen. All the rights you enjoy as an American, whether the express rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights, or the implied rights of the Ninth and 14th Amendments, are your civil rights. It's a term that belongs to each and every one of us, regardless of race or creed.
The NRA regularly brings lawsuits to protect free speech and other constitutional rights. But it is the NRA's defense of the Second Amendment that does the most to protect all of your liberties.
The Second Amendment guarantees the individual right of every peaceable, law-abiding American to keep and bear arms. You have the right to have firearms for any lawful purpose, whether self-protection, recreation, competition, hunting or collecting. And this right extends to handguns as well as to long guns such as shotguns and rifles.
Most people understand this because current polls show that over 70 percent of Americans believe that the Second Amendment secures an individual right.
But many people don't know why the Constitution includes the right to bear arms. The reasons are not considered politically correct, and those on the left who dominate public education and the big media conglomerates don't want to talk about them.
There are many reasons the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment, but the three most important ones are of vital concern to you, regardless of where you live, what you do or what your interests are. Let's start with the third reason and work up to the first and most important.
The third most important reason the framers of the Constitution wrote the Second Amendment is for safety against criminal elements. I respect and admire our law enforcement officers. They have a tough job to do, and most of the time they do it well. My late husband was a career police officer, so I know the sacrifice our good police officers make to protect all of us. But the reality is there are usually only two people present when a crime is committed: the criminal and the victim. You are almost never sitting next to a police officer when you're attacked, right? Criminals prey on people under circumstances that benefit the criminal, and they prefer a victim who is alone and unarmed.
The Second Amendment allows you to level the playing field against your would-be attacker. No matter your age or size or gender, or even your disability status, with a firearm at the ready you are a match for the biggest, meanest robber or rapist who might try to break in through your door or window. You need not fear for your safety, or the safety of your spouse or children, if you are proficient in the use of a firearm in the comfort of your home. And as for protection outside the home – well, I'll discuss that in a future column.
This is all the more true for people who live in the suburbs or rural areas, where it might take the police a long time to respond. Even in the city where response times tend to be quicker, a few minutes is an eternity when a thug is trying to break down your door. That was my experience years ago that led to my purchasing my first firearm, as I'll tell you in a future column.
The second most important reason for the Second Amendment is national security. The Founding Fathers did not trust standing armies, meaning armies that are kept equipped during peacetime. In their experience, standing armies were often used by dictatorial rulers to keep the common people subjugated. The Founding Fathers were fearful as to what a future national government might do domestically with a powerful military, and therefore wanted our standing military to be small.
So their idea was that the people should all be armed. That way, if America was attacked by foreigners, the people would be able to defend themselves and our country while the government equipped and marshaled a professional army to fight the invaders. And if our armies should be defeated on the battlefield, every citizen could defend his family and his freedom against the invaders. If the invaders had to fight for every inch of ground against an armed citizenry, and people were desperately fighting for their lives and homes, the invaders would eventually lose the will to fight and retreat, and America would still be free.
And, finally, the single most important reason for the Second Amendment was as an insurance policy against our own government. I don't mean to sound alarmist, but that's the historical truth. I will write a column explaining more of these details. For now, suffice it to say that the Founding Fathers considered the greatest threat to liberty to be a national government that has acquired too much power. While America for more than two centuries has been the freest nation on earth, the Founding Fathers did not know what the future would hold. So, in keeping with the teachings of political philosophers such as John Locke, they decided that the people should all be armed. That, they claimed, was the ultimate insurance policy to keep the government in check and keep the people free.
These reasons are why the Second Amendment protects all of your rights. Whether freedom of religion, free speech, free press, free association, the right to protest the government, or our other rights, the Second Amendment allows you to protect those freedoms for yourselves and your loved ones.
The NRA is dedicated to protecting all of your rights under the Constitution. And by focusing on securing and advancing the Second Amendment, our mission is to make sure that your children and grandchildren enjoy the blessings of liberty, just as you and I do today.