Let us not permit the Second Amendment issue to become whether or not any particular weapon may be classified as a permissible sporting device. My copy of The Bill Of Rights uses the word "arms". I understand arms to mean those devices which are intended specifically for mortal combat with other human beings, and bearing arms to mean taking up such devices for their intended purpose. A hunter does not bear arms against deer or ducks, even when shooting them for food or recreation. A museum curator does not bear arms, though he may possess an arsenal.

The Founding Fathers -- having just fought a revolution -- understood more clearly than we the importance of the Second Amendment. There are principally three situations in which a society might require arms.

One is foreign invasion, in which case government quickly supplies arms (and uniforms) to the citizens, making this is the least important.

The second is assault by crooks and terrorists. Even at best, police are necessarily a reaction force, with a primary mission which is punitive, rather than protective. For protection from hostile individuals or small groups, there is no effective substitute for personal arms (and the skill and right to use them).

Third, the one the generals dread to hear named, is defense against armed usurpation of civil power by those in government. When people must fight for freedom, it is most often against their own leaders. No form of government, monarchy, communism, or democracy is immune to the corruption of leaders by greed or ideological fanaticism. The seizure of power so engendered is made most easy by using "public safety" and "national security" as justification for monopolizing possession of arms in the hands of the usurper’s regime. I should like to say, "God forbid it could happen here in America," but I have seen God permit it in all too many other countries, so I know if it is to be forbidden here it must be we ourselves who forbid it.

Surely no responsible democracy need fear its own citizens. Where a loyal citizenry are highly armed, national defensive might is stored in the people like ground water in the earth. Surely no government which must arm itself against its own citizens may rightfully call itself a democracy. When I hear one side howl to strip the citizen of all but his toys, and the Drug Czar ilk on the other cry for more agents and troopers with bigger guns, I fear for the health of my country.

President John Adams declared, "Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at an individual's discretion for the defense of the country, the overthrow of tyranny, or private self-defense." Arguments about "well-regulated militia" acknowledge only the first of these three critical reasons to be personally armed. It may seem most important to the privileged, and to the government, but the other two matter more to the individual citizen.

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty, teeth, and keystone under independence. From the hour the pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrances and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms, everywhere restrains evil interference. They deserve a place of honor with all that is good." President George Washington said that.

Those who would ban private arms see the lawless shooting each other and the innocent, and warring against our police, so they cry for prohibition of guns. Prohibition of personal armament means only the lawless and the police have firepower. But that is the problem now, not the solution to the problem! If the lawless win, we have chaos; if the police win, we have oppression. Either way, the law-abiding good citizen loses his freedom. Right and responsibility go together. If the government does not protect our rights, and we do not accept our responsibilities, then we shall be subject to whoever has the guns.

James Nathan Post

Simple 'Siris wants to know!