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Why is the Second Amendment So Important?

September 23rd, 2012

If you Google the term “repeal Second Amendment”, more than two million results pop up.  You’ll find articles blaming the Second Amendment for the July mass-shooting in a Colorado movie theater, for the Arizona shooting that wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, and even for arming the Mexican drug cartels.

There’s no doubt that guns can do horrible things, but does that mean we should change the Bill of Rights?

The 27 words that make up the Second Amendment are clear:

“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.”

Back in 1791, there was no National Guard.  Instead, Americans had militias that could be called upon when things got rough.  In fact, Colonists had been relying on these militias ever since they first arrived at Jamestown in 1607.  Without them, America may not have been able to break free of England in the first place.

Back in those days, you weren’t just ALLOWED to have a gun.  You were EXPECTED to have gun.

But Thomas Jefferson took it one step further.

Remember, the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that the government works for the people — not vice versa.  In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson talked about what would happen if the government failed to protect its citizens.  What if the government actually became the enemy of the people?

In that case, Jefferson said, the people were allowed to overthrow the government.

But doing so wouldn’t be possible without weapons.  Therefore, Jefferson reasoned, the federal government could never forbid its citizens from bearing arms.  If it did, the people had no way to prevent the government from running right over the top of them.

Don’t we face the same threat today?

If we repeal the Second Amendment, does it give the government an opportunity to stop working FOR us and start working AGAINST us?

The Debate Over the Constitution

September 4th, 2012

As much as our forefathers loved the thought of starting a brand new country, there sure was a lot of debate about how to actually do it.

Rewind to 1787…

The Articles of Confederation were holding America together, but they were never meant to be a permanent blueprint for the country.  Instead, our forefathers knew they had to come up with a new document that protected our liberties.  Remember, the Declaration of Independence turned colonial politics upside down (http://ourvoicecounts.com/2012/08/29/the-radical-declaration-of-independence/).  Now, it was time to come up with a way to make the Declaration of Independence’s statements feasible.

To do it, delegates created a system of checks and balances and called it the Constitution.  It explained how the three branches of government were all designed to keep each other in line, and how the states were allowed to reign in the federal government if necessary.   That way, America’s government could never grow to be too big or too oppressive.

But before it could be ratified, the Constitution created quite the debate!

There were two types of people back then — the Federalists (who thought there were enough safeguards in place to protect the people from an overreaching government) and the Anti-Federalists (who thought the Constitution didn’t go far enough to protect the people).   They argued back and forth for months, and eventually ratified it.

Now, fast forward to today…

The first 10 amendments haven’t been touched since 1791.  Among other things, the Bill of Rights has protected our speech, our right to bear arms, our right against unlawful search and seizure, and our right to a fair trial for more than 220 years.

But now, many of these rights are in danger.  There’s talk of abolishing the 2nd Amendment altogether.  A proposed law called SOPA threatened the 1st Amendment.  At the end of 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act seemingly violated the 6th amendment.

The debate over the Constitution continues today.  But, now, it seems like we’re trying to get rid of it!

Why?

Whatever happened to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?

The “Radical” Declaration of Independence

August 29th, 2012

If you were around in 1776 and liked what the Declaration of Independence had to say, lots of people would have labeled you a “radical”.

After all, back then, people believed that the government created all of man’s rights — and, as a result, was allowed to take those rights away whenever it felt like it.  There was no voting; rulers had absolute power.  When a King made a decision, no one was allowed to question it.  Heck, no one would have even dreamed of questioning it!  Instead, commoners agreed that the King was being “nice” by letting them have a couple of liberties.

Then, the “radical” Declaration of Independence changed everything.

It said that men were born with certain rights — and that those rights had nothing to do with whoever happened to be in power at the time.  Instead, it was the people who were being “nice” by letting the government have any power at all.  Our Forefathers believed that the people were allowed to set rules for the government anytime they wanted, not vice versa.  People were encouraged to challenge the government and speak their minds.  That’s because the government existed to serve the people, instead of the other way around.

In some circles, you’re still a “radical” if you agree with them.  If you believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, you’ve got it all wrong.

Wonder what our Forefathers would say if they knew their views were still unpopular to some people all these years later?

 

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