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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

            The history of gun control actually goes back in time long before guns were invented. The Bible tells of a time in Israel’s history when weapons and the means of making weapons were banned. God had allowed the Israelites to come under the oppressive control of the Philistines and the Philistines had banned all blacksmiths in Israel. In I Samuel 13:19 the reason for the ban was given: Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!”

            The banning of weapons within societies has been common throughout history and the purpose behind such bans has always been the same—to bring a society under the submission of an oppressive government. Our founders were well aware of the use of arms control by tyrannical governments throughout history and in the nations of Europe during the time of our nation’s birth. Our founders perceived the owning and bearing of arms as a basic right and duty of a free people. They perceived the right of all citizens to bear arms as a safeguard to liberty and they included that right in our constitution. Consider a few quotes from our founders:

"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."- George Washington

"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Thomas Jefferson (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria)

"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." - Samuel Adams

            "To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them."- George Mason - (father of the United States Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, — who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia. George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1778

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."- Richard Henry Lee (signer of the Declaration of Independence)

            The history of the world throughout the twentieth century has demonstrated the wisdom of our founders. Gun control was established in Turkey in 1911, in the Soviet Union in 1929, in China in 1935, in Nazi Germany in 1938, in Cambodia in 1956, in Guatemala in 1964 and in Uganda in 1970. One thing all these nations had in common was they were all controlled by tyrannical governments which oppressed their people and exterminated millions of their citizens. In every case this was made possible because the citizens of these nations had been rendered defenseless.

            There are political powers in our own nation that for decades have been advocating gun control and the debate over gun control escalates every time there is an incident of senseless gun violence such as the recent school shootings in Newtown, CN. These incidents of mass murder stir everyone’s emotions and leave us all looking for solutions to the problem of violence in our nation. As citizens of a free nation, we must not allow the emotions that are stirred by these terrible incidents of violence to overcome our common sense and good judgment. We must not forget the words of our founders or the overwhelming evidence of history. We must not forget that gun control laws only disarm law abiding citizens. We must remember that gun control does not stop violence. We must remember that, historically, gun control has only served to promote the rise of tyrannical and oppressive governments.

Let us not discard the principles on which our nation was founded—the principles that have produced the most free and prosperous nation in history.

Wendell Ingram