A Brief History of the Right to Self-Defense
For the first 150-years of the existence of the U.S.A., the right of citizens to carry arms was so fundamental it was not considered worthy of debate. The Founders considered their right to keep and bear arms the ultimate and most fundamental guarantee of life and free-dom against crime, foreign invasion, and as a last resort, a despotic government. No knowledgeable American–from the founding of the United States through the mid-1950’s–would have questioned that the Second Amendment to the Constitution meant exactly what it says, "… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This was not a right of a Militia. The "Militia" was–and under current law still is–all able-bodied adults, who are expected to keep their privately-owned arms similar to what is used by the military at the time.
Nineteenth-century U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story, called the American right to bear arms "the palladium of the liberties of the republic." Our Founders believed that in a free society good citizens must always be prepared to defend themselves and their country. Thomas Jefferson said, "The God who gave us life, gave us freedom to defend life." Being armed was more than a right. It was a moral obligation of citizenship. Twentieth-century history proves the wisdom of this philosophy:
In 1911, Turkey established gun-control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5-million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun-control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20-million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1938, Germany established gun-control. From 1939 to 1945, a total of 13-million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1935, China established gun-control. From 1948 to 1952, 20-million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1956, Cambodia established gun-control. From 1975 to 1977, 1.5-million ‘educated’ people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1964, Guatemala established gun-control. From 1964 to 1981, over 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1970, Uganda established gun-control. From 1971 to 1979 over 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Australia: In the 21st Century, gun owners in Australia were forced to surrender 640,381 personal firearms –which were then destroyed by their own government. This program cost Australian taxpayers more than $500-million. Results the first year:
1. Australia-wide: Homicides up 3.2-percent.
2. Australia-wide: Assaults up 8.6-percent.
3. Australia-wide: Armed robberies up 44-percent – yes, 44-percent!
4. In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms went up 300-percent. One doesn’t have to be a rocket-scientist to understand this. While the law-abiding citizens turned their guns in, the criminals did not. The illegal-gun trade thrives!
5. Australian criminal-data over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms. This has drastically changed upward, since criminals now are guaranteed their prey is unarmed.
6. There has also been a dramatic increase in home break-ins and assaults on the elderly.
7. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental efforts and expense were expended in successfully ridding Australian society–but not the criminals–of guns.
8. The Australian experience and the other historical facts leave no reasonable doubt. So called "gun-control" is harmful to freedom and public-safety.
Great Britain: At the beginning of the 20th Century, Great Britain had few "gun-control" laws as we now know them. Although there were different class-restrictions, guns were freely available to nearly anyone. While the American militia originated from traditional British rights, the British Crown was aware that the very existence of a civilian-militia denied the monarchy a monopoly of force. Over the decades, Britain used various threats of revolution, Irish-separatism, and two world wars, as a pretext to enact ever-increasing restrictions and controls of guns in private hands. Currently, legal acquisition of a gun is nearly impossible for law-abiding British subjects. Despite this, the British government and British police have been unable to show these restrictions have reduced crime. Today, there are far more illegal guns in Britain, and far more violent crime. "Hot burglaries" — that is burglaries in which the criminal knows the home-owners are home — are eight times more likely in Britain than in the U.S.. Tourists and natives alike are five times more likely to be victims of a violent crime in London than in New York.
United States: In all but two states of the U.S., law-abiding civilians who apply, submit to a police-check, and demonstrate reasonable firearms-proficiency and knowledge of the law, may receive a license to carry a concealed firearm. Contrary to threats by gun-control advocates, this has not resulted in "blood in the streets" or any increase of crime or gun-violence. In all U.S. jurisdictions where lawful concealed carry is possible, violence and violent crime has decreased significantly. Multiple criminological studies have demonstrated that in the U.S. each year over 2.5-million crimes are stopped or deterred by armed American civilians; most with no one being shot or harmed. On the other hand, in jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C., or Chicago, Illinois, where handguns are banned and long-guns must be disassembled and/or locked up, the homicide rate skyrocketed to eight times the national average.
Worldwide: The concept that free people have the right to defend themselves is as old as civilization. Under ancient Greek, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon law, the ceremony of freeing a slave included placing a weapon in his hands "as a symbol of his new rank." Aristotle wrote in Politics 68 that "true citizenship included the right to possess arms, and that armed tyrants disarmed the oppressed." So what results from our "more advanced" thinking of the 20th Century? Conservatively, in excess of 100-million defenseless unarmed-civilians were rounded up and exterminated by various governments. (See data.)
You won’t see this data on the American evening news or hear our President, governors or other politicians disseminating this information. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property. Guns in the hands of honest citizens preserve freedom and dignity — from both criminal and government predators. And, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens. The gun-control party is now in the majority in Congress. Take note before it’s too late. The next time a politician talks in favor of gun-control, please remind all who are listening of the lesson of history. All credible scholarship indicates so-called "gun-control" laws never work, are dangerous to the rights of the law-abiding, and are inconsistent with the values on which the United States were founded. The Founders of America had it right. With guns, we are "citizens." Without them, we are "subjects." Please spread this civil-rights message — the right to life — to all of your friends, and especially all your government servants. You don’t work for them. They work for you.
This article is courtesy of the United States Concealed Carry Association. To get your free copy of the Armed American newsletter click here.