Second Amendment Absolutist - That's Me

by Colonel Dan


The Cowboy Chronicle

January 2003


Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.   ~ James Madison (1788) ~

A good cowboy shootin’ friend we call the Professor—a lawyer and first rate SBSS Media Bumfoozler—hung a label on me awhile back that I have since worn with some degree of pride.  He referred to me as a Second Amendment Absolutist.  Meaning that my position on gun rights could be accurately summarized with a simple question—What part of “…shall not be infringed” doesn’t the world understand?

I have always been a simple cavalryman and take things as I see them, not trying to read into much or engage in complex mental gymnastics where the concepts of right and wrong or my general philosophy of life is concerned.

The view from my saddle is that the founders were wonderfully insightful, brief, simple and to the point.  The most profound documents in history have been the simplest in my opinion. 

God saw fit to run the whole world with only Ten Commandments and our Constitution is divine in its simplicity and brevity.  No long drawn out legal language complexities anywhere in either of these two documents that I see.  So why should “…shall not be infringed” be subject to any lengthy and complex legal-babble?  The simple answer is plain, it shouldn’t.    

“…shall not be infringed.”  According to Webster’s Dictionary:

shall:  Determination or promise.  Inevitability. Command. A directive or requirement. To have to: MUST

not: “ In no way; to no degree. Used to express negation, denial, refusal or prohibition”

be:  “Make: cause to become”

infringed: “To encroach upon something.”

Another way then to state the concept of the Second Amendment would be:

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms must in no way or to no degree become encroached upon.”

The founders, many of whom were lawyers themselves, knew exactly what they wrote and what they wrote is exactly what they meant.  If you notice, the phrase does not say,  “…shall not be infringed except for” it says what it says.  Trying to read anything else into it those words is more than a stretch.

The founder’s intent was not about arming only a government controlled National Guard that didn’t even exist back then as some anti-gunners claim based on the prelude to the Amendment.  The intent is quite clear and evident not only in the Amendment itself but their concept is widely seeded throughout the Federalist Papers and other quotes from those men.

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

During Massachusetts' U.S. Constitution Ratification Convention, (1788.)

Thomas Jefferson: "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."

Proposed Virginia Constitution (1776,) Jefferson Papers 344, (J.Boyd, ed. 1950.)

John Adams: "Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion... in private self defence." A Defense of the U.S. Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787-88.)

James Madison: The Constitution preserves  The Federalist #46. "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

Alexander Hamilton: “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”  The Federalist Papers.

George Washington:   “A free people ought... to be armed” and “When firearms go, all goes - -we need them every hour"

The above should be basis enough for why I think the way I do about the Second Amendment, but I’ll gladly provide another reason-no politician should ever be completely trusted with the keys to our freedom.

Politicians, with few exceptions, have proven themselves untrustworthy and cannot be relied upon to faithfully uphold and defend the original letter or intent of the Constitution as they swore an oath to do. 

Incrementalism and obfuscation have always been the methods of choice to circumvent the Constitution and slide more government control into our lives by many big government social engineers.  The proof of this has been clearly apparent throughout history.  The most pertinent example is how we’ve gone from that wonderful concept of  “...shall not be infringed” to over 20,000 gun laws.  

When we allow government to impose one exception on us a hundred more will quickly follow—all designed to restrict, limit and increasingly infringe on American’s rights while expanding government control into every aspect of our lives until the precedent is slowly but surely set. 

I detest such devious behavior.  It is nothing but pure incrementalism and demonstrates the encroaching nature of government, yet modern day Americans now accept such intrusion as a legitimate fact of life.

Whether it’s smoking, the confederate flag, or guns, incrementalism can never be satisfied.  No matter what concessions or agreements you make today, it will never be enough tomorrow—not until society is totally dominated.

As Jefferson knew and cautiously warned,  “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”   

The other method used to usurp freedom is obfuscation—making the simple complex.

Why do many politicians always want to make the obviously simple inanely complex?  Answer: They fear simplicity but complexity is their ally.  They can’t hide behind simplicity because everyone can see through that.  However, the more complex and less understandable they can make anything, the more subject to their own interpretation it becomes—the income tax code is a perfect example.  Obfuscation allows government agencies to interpret questions most any way they want, most any time they want in order to serve their own ends.

These are not new fangled methods of modern political science; these are just old-fashioned political shenanigans.

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were right as rain.  More freedom has indeed been lost through incrementalism than any sudden usurpation of rights and as we’ve seen, that cancerous usurpation has proven to be the natural progress of all things government—and I would personally add obfuscation to that warning.  Therefore, I simply abide strictly by what is written in the original Constitution and I expect our leaders to live up to their sworn oath of office by protecting and defending that document and the inalienable human rights it recognizes and guarantees.

The Colonel’s personal conclusion:  “…shall not be infringed” means exactly what it says and anything beyond that is unconstitutional.  Americans have the right to keep and bear arms and the government shall not encroach upon that right in any way, shape or form—period, end of discussion.   

Now I’m sure some lawyers, including the good Professor for whom I have the highest respect, will tell me that this line of thinking would never hold up in a court of law and that wouldn’t surprise me.  But then many times, what I consider common sense and plain talk doesn’t hold up in a court of law these days anyway.

Just the absolute view from my simple saddle…


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