Project 21 New Visions

Christopher Arps

A Change in Culture Doesn't Mean Changing the Constitution


by Christopher Arps (bio)

 

It's obvious that President Obama wants to curtail our Second Amendment freedoms. It's now completely believable that Americans' constitutional right to own and use firearms might even be diminished with the stroke of Obama's autopen signature.

American democracy is called a "grand experiment." It is not called this out of some romanticized fascination with ourselves, but from the understanding that the natural condition of mankind throughout history has been for man to govern himself in a non-democratic fashion.

Physics teaches us that nature abhors a vacuum. Where there is empty space, something will always quickly enter that space to fill it.

Herein lies the problem.

From biblical times up until today, too many nations have been brutally ruled either by a king, warlord, despot or small cabal with the tendencies of all three. Of the approximately seven billion people on this planet, researchers with the Economist magazine determined that only 12.3 percent of them lived under democratic governments such as (and including) ours in 2010. In the book of Ecclesiastes (New Living Translation), it is written: "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new."

It is the height of arrogance to think that America will always somehow be allowed to go against the grain of history and that despotism could never be foisted upon our nation.

The framers of the Constitution understood this peril. This is the main reason the Second Amendment was added to our Constitution.

An armed citizenry protects us from kings, warlords and despots. I worry that we are forgetting this, as so many people indicate their willingness to trade our freedoms to support an overall agenda offering the false security of government benefits.

I understand the knee-jerk reactions and the demands by some that guns be so heavily-regulated that many may no longer be allowed to own them. I especially understand this emotional panic in light of the recent schoolhouse tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. But we cannot forget that criminals don't follow laws. That is why they are criminals.

Heavy-handed gun control will disarm law-abiding citizens, leaving open the potential of eventually making good people prisoners in their own homes should criminals run amok in their communities.

The Obama Administration, nonetheless, seeks to rush efforts to weaken the Bill of Rights and specifically our right to keep and bear arms. Should there be a challenge from the democratically-elected lawmakers in Congress, the White House seems to feel comfortable with issuing unilateral executive orders to hinder lawful gun ownership.

Our culture has changed. The reasons for this change are debatable. We should have that debate, and we should have it before diving into rash decisions that can affect our liberty.

It would have been unthinkable to allow teachers and school employees to have a firearm on school grounds 20 or 30 years ago. It was also unthinkable that a tragedy such as Newtown could have ever occurred. We must change with the times.

Just as it was once unthinkable that terrorists could hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings, we understood the times we are living in and changed our security measures accordingly. Unfortunately, we must also change our security measures accordingly where guns are allowed — especially when it comes to the safety of our children and our families.

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Christopher Arps is member of the Project 21 black leadership network and a co-founder of Move-On-Up.org. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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