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 – -(Ammoland.com)- 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, OpEdNews.com, the Libertarian Penn, and the Nolanchart.com. News services such as the New York Post.com and Rational Review have published links to his work. Darren is the Philadelphia area contact for Come Home America (http://comehomeamerica.us/), a politically neutral peace movement. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/IntLibertarian

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Ted B
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Ted B

Two words: riots and looters. During which time police are not coming.

Ted B
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Ted B

I took an oath, during enlistment in the USAF, to defend the constitution. To my knowledge, no one has released me from that oath.

Aware
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Aware

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!

Ted B
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Ted B

Sorry to let you in on a secret: There were no marxists, socialists, and communists back then. Bring your arguement up to date, okay?

volksnut
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volksnut

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… Read more »

volksnut
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volksnut

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..

Darren
Guest

Thank you all for the numerous comments on my first Ammoland published article. Would any of you like to comment on my contention that the constitution has failed?

VLandry
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VLandry

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.

John
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John

I think we’re all in agreement here. Now we have to go beyond “preaching to the choir” who regularly checks the postings here!

hippybiker
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hippybiker

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.

jimpeel
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jimpeel

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… Read more »

Kenn Dillon
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Kenn Dillon

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… Read more »

RogueRat
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RogueRat

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… Read more »

Doug
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Doug

Mr. Max also manages to totally ignore 10 USC 311, which defines the unorganized milita in current U.S. law.

xqqme
Guest
xqqme

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,… Read more »

Diamondback
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Diamondback

LE has become the standing army the founders feared for us.

Buck Crosby
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Buck Crosby

SEE MY LAST SHOUTING COMMENT !!!

Carl Stevenson
Guest

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… Read more »