By Mark Swarbrick
I was asked the other day why I bought an AR-15. I answered, “for hunting and protection, and because it is a very cool firearm,” which is correct, however as I thought about it I realized there is another reason, one that is fundamental to our American heritage, so much so that owning such a weapon is part and parcel of being a good citizen.
To explain why requires a bit of history review. The founding fathers were determined to found a new form of government that would not degenerate into tyranny, a sad state of affairs that has been a blight upon the history of man. As Christians our founders had a Biblical understanding that man has a fallen nature, that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that man’s fallen nature must somehow be kept in check for those entrusted with authority.
Three Checks and Balances to Control Government
Our founding fathers came up with three essential elements that they felt would help to insure that America’s government would not go awry. These essential and important maxims have served us well for over two hundred years. Unfortunately, due to a failing of our educational system to continue to properly teach the founding principles of our government, the majority of young people today don’t have a clue what these three essential protections are or why they are so vital.
- Separate but Equal Branches
The first of these three protections was a government constructed of three separate but equal branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial, thus not placing absolute power in any one person or in one group. Thus each branch provides a check upon the other, so for example if a president over-stepped his authority, the other two branches can reign him in.
- A Free Press
Secondly there was to be a free press. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” The idea that the press was to be a watchdog that monitored the government and report any transgressions or irregularities to the people is evidenced by the words of John Adams when he wrote, “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth.” And in 1964 the Supreme Court elaborated on the important function of the press, “In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”
- An Armed Citizenry
The third protection against tyranny is to have an armed citizenry. As Ben Franklin so aptly put it, “Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn’t.” And as Thomas Jefferson said, “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” I believe George Washington said it best: “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” Even Jesus said, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36) This was the thinking that went into the Second Amendment, which stipulated that the right to bear arms was an inalienable right granted by our creator and that therefore “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The idea of being armed was so much a part of “being American” that they considered it a matter of civic responsibility, just as important as voting. Indeed, the Second Militia Act of 1792 required every citizen of the United States between the ages of 18 and 54 to arm themselves by purchasing a musket, bayonet, belt, two spare flints, and a cartridge box with 24 bullets. Men who already owned a musket where required to buy a quarter pound of gunpowder, 20 musket balls, and a shooting pouch. This was not a wartime legislative action. This was a peacetime law that was considered essential to proper governance, freedom and safety. It is one of the checks and balances and is as important as any of the others. Thus George Mason, one of our founders, wrote, “To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them.”
As a point of fact, all tyrants, from Stalin, to Hitler, to Obama have endeavored to disarm their citizenry. A quote from Adolf Hitler is telling: “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.”
It is a sad state of affairs today, for these maxims are forgotten and ignored. First of all, the delicate balance of power between the three branches of government has been violated by Obama as he makes his own laws and refuses to enforce laws passed by Congress. The Congress has been lax in controlling an out of control president.
Secondly, the press has stayed silent, ignoring their important role in government. Much of the press has become nothing more than a lap-dog for the president, refusing to expose the illegal and tyrannical acts of the executive office and ignoring blatant lies and deception by governmental leaders. The press is supposed to be the watchdog for society and that dog is sound asleep.
Thirdly, Americans no longer realize the importance of an armed Citizenry. The populace is not armed as it should be and have tolerated the gradual erosion of our God given right to bear arms. The three important principles – Separation of Powers, a Free Press, and an Armed Citizenry – are being allowed to slip away, and with them goes America.
Back to my original question – why do I own an AR-15? The intent of the founders was that the citizenry be armed to help provide one of the checks and balances of our government. Today we would not arm ourselves with a musket, for that lacks sufficient firepower to provide a balance of power. The average government soldier carries the equivalent of an AR-15. (the M-16 is basically an AR-15 that can run full-auto). Thus by owning an AR-15 (which is capable of full-auto with easy modification) provides the required firepower. Whatever the average foot-soldier carries is what every citizen should have.
Lest someone think I am advocating violence, let me point out that an armed populace is necessary to avoid violence. The greatest killer of man is not armed citizens, automobiles or wild animals. The greatest killer throughout the history of man has been government. Governments have killed by the millions and if we think that we are now so very civilized; so evolved and highly advanced that our government would never become so evil, then think again. Human nature has not changed and when a government legalizes the murder of millions of innocent unborn babies, that government is capable of anything. God forbid that I should ever have to take up arms against anyone. I do not expect to ever have to, but the greatest assurance against that is an armed America.
So that is why I have an AR-15. It is the American thing to do. It is the responsible thing to do. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson encouraged it. It is a civic responsibility in line with the guidelines set forth through the wisdom of our founding fathers. The Bible says to obey our government and pray for our leaders. Our wisest government leaders of yesteryear admonished us to be armed. Let us heed their advice.
The president, those taking political office, soldiers, policemen, and various local government officials are typically required to take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Our constitution is under assault by a domestic threat: Liberal know-nothings who would disarm America in violation of the intent of our founding fathers. And we have foreign enemies who would do away with our constitution and replace it with Sharia law. Our country has been infiltrated with sleeper cells of Islamic Terrorist groups. It is now more important than ever that every American citizen be so equipped that he is sufficiently armed to protect not only our government, but our families and our way of life. That is why I own an AR-15. It is a political statement. It is a God given right. It is in defense of the Constitution, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is the American thing to do.
And in the final analysis, it’s also an awesome coyote hunting gun!