Friday, February 23, 2007

That pesky little Second Amendment

(Via Kim du Toit)

Dave Kopel has an excellent National Review piece on "how to read the Second Amendment"--literally. It's probably the best short work on the subject I've read. I'd suggest bookmarking it against future need.

Kim also pointed the Kopel piece out because he's noticing that there are a number of people, apparently from the hunting end of the gun world, claiming that there was a rush to judgment in the Jim Zumbo affair.

Well, those people are wrong. In a post from the Daily Pundit (also noted in Kim's post), Bill Quick has this to say:

I know little or nothing about hunters, hunting magazines, or hunting columnists, but I have to say the level of ignorance displayed about the Second Amendment, its history, purpose, and role, as well as the arguments for and against it, and the history of recent efforts to ignore it and confiscate or otherwise limit the weapons we all have a right to keep and bear is, well, shocking.

If this ignorance is widespread, that is, and frankly, I don’t know. I know a hell of a lot about the Second and the issues and history surrounding it, but apparently that sort of knowledge isn’t considered valuable among hunters, not even among the opinion leaders who write about the issues of concern to hunters.

As I noted in one of my earlier posts on the Zimbo affair, I've met too many hunters who are perfectly willing to throw the owners of "those guns" to the wolves. They apparently have some notion that in doing so, they will appease the gun grabbers, who will then leave them alone with their hunting riffles.

If you're a hunter and you believe this, gun owners in Australia want to talk to you.

Some professional gun writers are not too happy with what happened to their brother of the keyboard. (I suspect it's a case of "There, but for the grace of God, go I.") While they're correct in noting that a lot of the invective directed toward him was over the top, and they're also correct in noting that he was a passionate defender of hunting rights, they're missing the point. Allow me to make it clear for you, professional gun writers:

The Second Amendment isn't about hunting.

Got that? Hunting, while fun, is a sideshow when it comes to the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment came about because our Founding Fathers has just completed a years-long war that had nearly bankrupted the country before it ever got off the ground. One of the first battles, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, was fought because the British troops were trying to confiscate the arms of the American militia.

The Red Coats were not taking the colonials' hunting guns--they were after their militia weapons and supplies. The colonists thought this was reason enough to take up those very arms to defend themselves.

Years later, after much blood was shed and treasure spent, the Second Amendment (along with 9 others) was added to the newly written Constitution. Acknowledgment of the right to keep and bear arms, along with freedom of speech, freedom of religion and all the rest, was deemed important enough by some of the former colonies that they would not sign onto the new Constitution unless those rights were specifically enumerated.

Those colonies weren't worried about hunting. Their concern was that, mere years after over-throwing an overbearing central government, a new central government was being created--and they wanted to make sure that if it tried any shenanigans, We the People could put a quick halt to them.

Now this view isn't popular, especially it seems, in the hunting community. They seem to believe that we have miraculously have improved the human race to the point that no central government would ever become over-bearing in its attempts to control the lives of its population.

The dead of Europe, Asia and Africa, quite a few million of them, are calling out from their graves. Listen carefully, and you can hear what they're saying:

Bullshit.

Bullshit.

BULLSHIT!

In the last century, we've seen the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda and a number of other countries severely restrict or completely outlaw the private possession of firearms. And after that, when those in power had nothing to fear from their unarmed populace, the genocides began.

In the United States, the Second Amendment is our way of saying "Not here. Not ever."

I also suspect that the gun writers are, like most of the old media, taken aback by the power of the Internet. David Petzal, a writer for Field and Stream, is quite uncomplimentary about the Internet and blogs:

For the last several days I’ve been visiting all manner of blogs and chatrooms, which has reminded me of when I used to deliver used clothing to the local mental hospital.

To give the man credit, he knows when to quit, and although he has drawn some fire for his statements, it's nothing approaching the tidal wave that Zumbo unleashed.

That tidal wave came from the fact that those of us who like our Evil Black Rifles, and who don't use them for hunting, are all too aware of how easily, even here in the good ol' U S of A, we could be fighting a battle to keep them. Even now, the gun grabbers, as we lovingly refer to them, are working on laws that will severely restrict our Second Amendment right to own these type of guns.

We have a fight on our hands, and we need hunters on board for it. Not only are we stronger with you standing beside us, but because if we lose ours, you'll be next in line to lose yours. Those of us who like the most politically incorrect guns have learned the hard way that we have to be activists, and that we have to react quickly to danger. Jim Zumbo was a danger, and we reacted to it. If we want to keep our guns, we can have no tolerance for those who should be standing with us when they instead stand against us.

Jim Zumbo did something stupid, and it cost him heavily. I'm sorry that had to happen, but we're fighting a big war here, and the odds are against us. Friends like Zumbo we don't need.

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