U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The job of gun control falls upon gun owners,” Gary Cosby Jr., photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News, writes in a Friday opinion piece. “If you are a gun owner, gun control is all about what you do. Take it seriously and control your firearms.”
He makes some good points. Gun-grab edicts don’t work. It’s up to us to be responsible, to make sure our firearms are under our control or secured.
“Guns don’t shoot themselves,” Cosby asserts. “Guns are always fired by a human. If you are going to own a gun, be responsible enough to control that gun. The government can’t do that job. Gun control is total, one hundred percent, up to gun owners.”
Bravo. Right on. He gets it. Except when he doesn’t, and then he misses so widely it’s a forehead slapper. With a brick:
“Then there is the Bill of Rights, which grants Americans the right to have firearms…”
NO, IT DOES NOT!
Why are we still seeing otherwise sensible gun owners demonstrating such a profound misunderstanding of what rights are?
Let’s look at what the Supreme Court said in Heller:
“[I]t has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed.’ As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), ‘[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed…”
The Founding Fathers believed in “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and that men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” They believed “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
There is no section in the Constitution where the power to grant rights is delegated to any branch of government. Rather than bestowing rights, the first 10 Amendments in effect, establish guarantees and boundaries where government abridgments are prohibited.
The Second Amendment didn’t create a right to keep and bear arms — it acknowledged a right that was already assumed and accepted. The underlying principle, that natural rights are inherent to the condition of being human, remains unchanged. It is our job to understand this, and to never allow these rights to be construed as mere grants or privileges that, if they can be bestowed, can also be withheld or revoked.
Nobody in government gave us that right, so it’s not theirs to try and take away.
That’s why even if the Second Amendment were repealed, we would still have a right to keep and bear arms, no matter what that subversive old coot John Paul Stevens says. So if you hear someone talking about your rights being granted, correct them —gently if they’re well-intentioned, or scathingly if they’re not.
It’s also why the popular (among some gun owners) slogan “The Second Amendment is my gun permit” is a pet peeve of mine. That’s almost as irritatingly wrong-headed and self-defeating as “Enforce existing gun laws.”
Let’s hope Mr. Cosby sees such critiques, takes them well, and advises his readers with a new understanding.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.