Democratic Socialism, Guns, and the Failure of the Constitution

By Darren Wolfe

Come and Take It
Come and Take It

“…whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” — Lysander Spooner, No Treason, NO. VI., The Constitution Of No Authority

Pennsylvania – -( This one was just too good to pass up. An acquaintance on the left sent me the Democratic Socialists of America article “There Is No Second Amendment Right To A Gun“. It reinforces everything the anti-federalists said about the Constitution back when and everything libertarians like Lysander Spooner have been warning us about since then.

Early in the article the author, Steve Max, states, “Today, progressives must claim the legitimacy of the Constitution in advocating gun control, and not let it be further hijacked by the Right.” He then goes on to tie the right to gun ownership to membership in a militia, “There have been no state militias since 1903, and there is no longer a constitutional right to gun ownership. It doesn’t exist! “ Brilliant! Destroy our right to organize to defend ourselves and then use the fact that they've destroyed one right to claim that they can legitimately destroy another one, namely the right to bear arms. Read for yourself how Mr. Max quotes the Second Amendment to justify gun control:

“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.”

Clearly, the right to bear arms was connected to militia service. There were not the votes in either house to pass a stand-alone right to gun ownership.

This is all very interesting but only makes sense if one ignores the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The Ninth Amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Obviously, not every right has to be listed to be valid. The right to own guns apart from membership in a militia clearly falls into this category.

The real issue is the question, does the government have the legal power to take people's guns? One searches the Constitution in vain trying to find a clause that empowers it to do so. However, the Tenth Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This should be a great restriction on governmental power. Since the Constitution nowhere grants the government the power to take our guns the Tenth Amendment should stop them from doing so.

Unfortunately, these amendments aren't working. The Constitution has failed just as the anti-federalists warned us it would. The dismal state of our rights today and Mr. Max's article attest to this failure. Patrick Henry spoke about the danger lurking in the document, “O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone…” He went on to explain how the Constitution takes the power to defend their liberty away from the people:

Let me here call your attention to that part which gives the Congress power “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.” By this, sir, you see that their control over our last and best defence is unlimited. If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless: the states can do neither — this power being exclusively given to Congress. The power of appointing officers over men not disciplined or armed is ridiculous; so that this pretended little remains of power left to the states may, at the pleasure of Congress, be rendered nugatory.

[From Patrick Henry's speech arguing against adoption of the Constitution titled “Shall Liberty or Empire Be Sought?“]

Another anti-federalist a issued similar warning which Mr. Max twists into this nonsense, “The Second Amendment was rooted in the then living memory of the militia-fought battles of Concord, Lexington and Bunker Hill. A modern day equivalent of those battles would turn America into Syria or worse.”

The idea that the people should be armed and organized to defend themselves is actually rooted in the fact that someone must have power. If the people have that power no one will try to attack or tyrannize them. If the people are disarmed a government will come to power that will tyrannize them. This has been extensively written about. That Mr. Max should pretend otherwise is inexcusable. For example, John Trenchard wrote:

…if a prince will rule us with a rod of iron, and invade our laws and liberties…we…must patiently submit to our bondage, or stand upon our own defense; which if we are enabled to do, we shall never be put upon it
Contrary to Mr. Max's ranting, arming the people, rather than the government, and organizing them to defend themselves leads to peace not civil war. Matter of fact, it was an anti-federalist who correctly predicted that adopting the Constitution would lead to civil war.
All of the above is secondary. More important than law is morality. As I wrote in “Progressivism’s Violent World”:
It is immoral to initiate the use of force or the threat of force against peaceful people. In other words, a person has to be actually engaging in aggression or credibly threatening to do so before it is morally justifiable to use force in retaliation. What does that have to do with guns? The mere possession of an inanimate object such a gun aggresses against no one. There is no moral justification for taking guns away from people who adhere to the non-aggression principle since this involves initiating the use of force to separate them from their weapons.
This alone destroys the morality of gun control.

In the end Mr. Max's ideas are a nightmare. When he writes, “We need to start saying loudly and strongly that if you want a military gun, go join the National Guard…” he shows himself to be an enemy of liberty and a friend of militarism by advocating that people join the institution that directly destroyed what militias we had. When he writes, “…government at all levels has the right to limit guns just as it does drugs, tobacco, gambling, alcohol, tainted meat and a host of other evils.” Mr. Max shows that he sees no part of our lives that can't be forcibly controlled by the government. Hiding this tyranny behind a smiling democratic facade that allegedly wants to protect us doesn't change its evil nature.

Mr. Max, we need to get out from under your failed Constitution and the tyrannical institutions it has created. Instead, we need to set up an institutional framework that will protect our lives and liberties. Guns and liberty are inseparable. It is past time to disarm and disband the government and set up independent militias and other private providers of security. We can only do that with military guns in civilian hands. ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

About Darren Wolfe
Darren Wolfe is the former Eastern Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. His articles have also appeared in American Juror,, the Libertarian Penn, and the News services such as the New York and Rational Review have published links to his work. Darren is the Philadelphia area contact for Come Home America (, a politically neutral peace movement. Follow me on Twitter:

  • 18 thoughts on “Democratic Socialism, Guns, and the Failure of the Constitution

    1. Back in those days of English phrasing, “well regulated” meant well trained and disciplined, it did not mean government regulations as to ownership. those ideas were not even thought of back then! Clocks were referred to as regulators back then because they were precision instruments. this is what they wanted the armed citizenry to be, a precision group of armed citizens to defend themselves and our country from marxists, socialists, and communists!

    2. In response to Darren from the 28th – On the failure of the Constitution – i would venture to say i believe its not that its failed – Its that we the stewards of it have failed – If – it were kept at the forefront of all political decisions – AND we the people made sure that it was being adhered to i don’t believe we’d be in the world of shi- we are in today – People have;nt changed one bit – technology has but people have’nt – The Founders were well aware of this and gave us the means to deal with this – Its the same with the current crap with all of the ILLEGAL ALIENS – Its not that the Immigration laws are bad – Its that they are’nt being enforced – Its the same with the Constitution.Have you taken any polls that ask you how many of the people in Congress and or the Senate – do you feel – actually have any idea whats in the Constitution? I think its pretty close to nill – Look into Hillsdale College – The place to start turning this around or one of them is with education for us and for the next generation of leaders making absolutely certain they have a well grounded understanding of whats in the Constitution – The Bill of Rights – and to make sure that they’re adhered to – The Constitution was never meant to run on auto-pilot we should’nt expect it too – One things for sure we need to kick the un THE HELL OUT OF THIS COUNTRY –

    3. OF COURSE if i WANT a MILITARY WEAPON – JOIN the military – THERE ARE – NO – MILITARY WEAPONS AVAILIBLE TO THE PUBLIC AT LARGE YOU FREAKING MORON – There are – SPORTING – rifles along with .45’s & 9mm’s that may RESEMBLE military weapons to someone like you – but they are’nt you idiot..

    4. No problem. Just have the governor of a state declare that all gun owners are members of an unorganized militia with no rights other than those already given to any gun owner.

    5. If 3% of we Americans stood up. We could kick their buts back to the hell they were spawned from. Then we could re-institute the Articles of Confederation and get rid of our pesky, oppressive, central government. One can only hope and pray.

    6. The current move to limit access to arms is the clue to what this administration has planned for the people of this nation. Socialism, fascism, outright control of every aspect of our lives.

      What they fail to realize, just as every socialist who has ever lived, is that the people have to be willing partners and participants in a socialist government. Those who are unwilling to participate have to be supported by those who do. The government prints greater and greater amounts of money to try to stay ahead of the losses. Those who are participants eventually succumb to the ravages of their working for nothing and become non-participants. The government eventually has to admit that the system is broken, and was never viable, and capitalism again starts to take hold. By that time, the country is in shambles, the damage has been done, the coin of the realm is worthless on the world market, and some other country becomes the strong one in world affairs and their currency becomes the reserve currency of the world.

      Welcome to Obama’s America.

    7. Maybe it’s the big turkey meal I just finished that’s making me sleepy, but I had a hard time following the article. It seemed like it was one quote in another quote, quoting a quote. Yep, it’s probably the turkey.
      The bottom line to this attack on our right to bear arms that seems to have been missed is that back in the days that the Constitution was drafted all able bodied men were considered to be in the militia, it was to a great extent considered an obligation for all men to be ready to take up arms. The militia did not need to be any fully organized military as the argument Max puts forth implies.

      Now it’s time for a nap before round 2 with the turkey.

      Just think, if they had made the turkey the official bird..would we now be eating bald eagles for Thanksgiving?

    8. 10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes

      (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

      (b) The classes of the militia are—
      (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
      (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    9. Let’s not forget those documents that pre-date the US Constitution, and what they say, you know, the State Constitutions. The provisions quoted below cannot be reconciled with the view that only the government militia has the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

      Connecticut Constitution Article I, Section 15

      Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.

      Delaware Constitution Article I, Section 20

      A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.

      Georgia Constitution Article I, Section 1, Paragraph VIII.

      The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.

      Maine Constitution Article 1, Section 16

      Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.

      New Hampshire Constitution Part First, Article 2-a

      All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.

      Pennsylvania Constitution Article I, Section 21

      The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

      Rhode Island Constitution Article I, Section 22

      The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

      Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

      That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State – and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.

    10. Totalitarians … Inside every socialist (“progressive”) is a totalitarian screaming to get out.
      They can couch it in lies about “it’s for everyone’s good,” but it’s really all about power and control.
      No matter what additional unconstitutional infringements of our gun rights are passed – bans, registration, and/or any/all other infringements of our rights, I will not comply. Millions more will not comply.
      To quote a few of their heroes, with explanatory comments in ( ):
      “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” – Mao
      (They revere Mao and the way he ruthlessly grabbed power in China. The fact that he murdered about 100 million Chinese to do it is, to them, a “feature,” not a “bug.”)
      “If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves. … The only real power comes out of a long rifle. … Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. … We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns? … The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” — Joseph Stalin
      “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.” — Adolf Hitler
      (These psychopathic sociopaths in our government – and THEY ARE PRECISELY THAT, never make the mistake of doubting it – believe that they are anointed to be our rulers and that we are the equivalent of Hitler’s “subject races.” And we know what they did to “them.”)
      Obama’s DHS Gestapo and other alphabet agencies have recently purchased over 1.8 BILLION rounds of hollow point ammo – enough to shoot every man, woman, and child in the country 5 times or more – enough for over 20 years of warfare here in the homeland at the intensity of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict – ammo that’s illegal for military use under international law, and have just ordered more and an additional 7,000 FULLY AUTOMATIC “personal defense” weapons. They have also recently purchased almost 3,000 armored fighting vehicles for use on the streets of America, in addition to the many already obtained from DoD. How does anyone with the capability of rational thought escape the conclusion that our government is preparing for a war on its own citizens?
      Feinstein, Schumer, Obama, Holder, Bloomberg, Cuomo, Durban, and their whole gang are tyrant wannabes. To them, anyone who does, or might, oppose their control over every aspect of our lives, is “a criminal” because they said so.
      Don’t tell me, “It can’t happen here in America.” To borrow a quote from Mike Vanderboegh,
      “Anyone who tells you that ‘It Can’t Happen Here’ is whistling past the graveyard of history. There is no ‘house rule’ that bars tyranny coming to America. History is replete with republics whose people grew complacent and descended into imperial butchery and chaos.”
      Hitler disarmed the Jews and others, then murdered millions
      Stalin disarmed the Russians, them murdered millions
      Mao disarmed the Chinese peasants, then murdered nearly 100 million.
      The Turks disarmed the Armenians, then murdered 1.5-2 million.
      Pol Pot disarmed the Cambodians and murdered millions.
      Rwanda disarmed its ethnic groups, then murdered millions.
      The list goes on … about 262 MILLION people were murdered BY THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS in the 20th century – AFTER they allowed those governments to disarm them. See:
      They ALL thought “It can’t happen here” – until they were disarmed and it started, then it was too late. Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t EVER let your government disarm you.
      The Founders knew that government, if not constrained at every step, will continue to accumulate power and control until it becomes tyranny. That’s why they feared standing armies and insisted that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The ruling class thinks they can ignore (and will quite enthusiastically gut) the Constitution. We have allow them to accumulate too much illegitimate power and organize their agencies too well to trust them with the Constitution. They must be forced, by any means required in the end, to obey it or be removed from power.
      “A tyrannical rule cannot in any reasonable construction be accounted lawful, and therefore the disturbance of such a government cannot be esteemed seditious, much less traitorous.” – Thomas Aquinas
      When Injustice becomes Law, Resistance becomes Duty – Thomas Jefferson

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