My thanks to David Codrea for drawing my attention to this essay. It was written some time ago, but is still fresh and compelling.
Memorandum on Arms and Freedom
By Brian Puckett
It is time to speak plainly for the good citizens and patriots of this nation who believe unbendingly in the Constitution of the United States of America.
Though foreign governments may disarm their subjects, we will not go down that road. We will not disarm and see our freedoms stripped away. The lessons of history are numerous, clear and bloody. A disarmed population inevitably becomes an enslaved population. A disarmed population is without power, reduced to childlike obedience to--and dependence upon--the organs of a parental state. A disarmed population will lose--either piecemeal or in one sweeping act--those basic rights for which the citizens of America risked their lives and fortunes over two hundred years ago.
WE WILL NOT DISARM. The right to self-protection--the internal directive of every living creature, be it mouse or man--is the most fundamental right of all. It is a right that must be exercised against all predators of the streets, against the predators hidden within agencies of law enforcement, and against the most dangerous predators of all--those to be found in government, whose insidious grasping for power is relentless and never-ending.
WE WILL NOT DISARM. Not in the face of robbers, rapists, and murderers who prey upon our families and friends. Nor in the face of police and bureau agents who would turn a blind eye to the Constitution, who would betray the birthright of their countrymen; nor in the face of politicians of the lowest order--those who pander to the ignorant, the weak, the fearful, the naive; those indebted to a virulent strain of the rich who insulate themselves from the dangers imposed upon other Americans and then preach disarmament.
We will not surrender our handguns. We will not surrender our hunting arms. And we will not surrender our firearms of military pattern or military utility, nor their proper furnishings, nor the right to buy, to sell, or to manufacture such items.
Firearms of military utility, which serve well and nobly in times of social disturbance as tools of defense for the law-abiding, serve also in the quiet role of prevention, against both the criminal and the tyrannical. An ARMED CITIZENRY--the well-regulated MILITIA of the Second Amendment, properly armed with military firearms--is a powerful deterrent, on both conscious and subconscious levels, to those inclined toward governmental usurpations. An armed citizenry stands as a constant reminder to those in power that, though they may violate our rights temporarily, they will not do so endlessly and without consequence. And should Americans again be confronted with the necessity of--may God forbid it--throwing off the chains of a tyrannical and suffocating regime, firearms designed to answer the particular demands of warfare will provide the swiftest and most decisive means to this end. Any law which prohibits or limits a citizen's possession of firearms of military utility or their proper furnishings provides an OPEN WINDOW through which a corrupt government will crawl to steal away the remainder of our firearms and our liberties. Any law which prohibits or limits a citizen's possession of firearms of military utility or their proper furnishings, being directly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Second Amendment, is inimical to the Constitution, to the United States of America, and to its citizens.
Now--today--we are witnessing the perilous times foreseen by the architects of the Constitution. These are times when our government is demanding--in the guise of measures for the common good--the relinquishment of several rights guaranteed to Americans in the Constitution, foremost among which is the right to keep and bear arms for our own defense. These are times when our government has abdicated its primary responsibility--to provide for the security of its citizens. Swift and sure punishment of outlaws is absent, and in its place is offered the false remedy of disarming the law-abiding. Where this unconstitutional action has been given the force of law, it has failed to provide relief and has produced greater social discord. This discord in turn now serves as the false basis for the demand that we give up other rights, and for the demand for more police, more agents of bureaucratic control to enforce the revocation of these rights.
Legislators, justices, and law officers must bear in mind that the foundation of their duties is to uphold the fundamental law of the land--the Constitution. They must bear in mind that the unconstitutional act of disarming one's fellow citizens will also disarm one's parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, children, and children's children. There are good citizens who--taking heed of Benjamin Franklin's admonition that those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety--will surrender not one of their rights.
Those who eat away at our right to own and use firearms are feeding on the roots of a plant over two centuries old, a plant whose blossom is the most free, most powerful nation ever to exist on this planet. The right to keep and bear arms is the taproot of this plant. All other rights were won at the point of a gun and will endure only at the point of a gun. Could they speak, millions upon millions of this world's dead souls would testify to this truth. Millions upon
millions of the living can so testify today.
Now--today--is a critical moment in our history. Will we Americans passively lie down before a government grown disdainful of its best citizens? Or will we again declare: WE are the government, government functions at OUR behest, government MAY NOT rescind our sacred rights. Will we place our faith in public servants who behave as though they are our masters? Or will we place our faith in the words and deeds of the daring, farseeing men and women whose blood, sweat and tears brought forth this great nation?
Will we believe those who assure us that the police officer will shield us from the criminal? Or will we believe our eyes and ears, presented every day with news of our unarmed neighbors falling prey in their homes, on our streets, in our places of work and play?
Will we bow our heads to cowards and fools who will not learn and do not understand the lessons of human history? Or will we stand straight and assume the daily tasks and risks that liberty entails?
Will we ignore even the lessons of this present era--which has seen the cruel oppression of millions on the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America--and believe that the continent of North America is immune to such political disease? Or will we wisely accept the realities of this world, wisely listen to and make use of the precautions provided by our ancestors?
Will we deceived by shameless liars who say that disarmament equals safety, helplessness equals strength, patriotism equals criminality? Or will we mark the word of our forefathers, who wrote in plain language: THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED?
Let us make known: We will choose the latter option in every case.
LEGISLATORS: Do your duty to your country. Uphold the Constitution as you swore to do. Do not shame yourselves by knocking loose the mighty keystone of this great republic--the right to keep and bear arms. Read and study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution you swore to support.
JUSTICES: Do your duty to your country. Examine the origins of our right to weaponry, and uphold the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Read and study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution you swore to support.
LAWMEN: Do your duty to your country. Do not be misguided and misused. Your task is to serve and to protect--not to oppress, disarm, and to make helpless your countrymen.
To the blind, the ignorant, the apathetic, the safe and sheltered, these may seem to be concerns of another age. They are not. They are as vital as they have ever been throughout history. For times may change but human nature does not. And it is to protect forever against the evil in human nature that the Founding Fathers set aside certain rights as inviolable. For these reasons we must now make known: We will not passively take the path that leads to tyranny. We will not go down that road. WE WILL NOT DISARM.
Hello. I would be interested in hearing discussion and opinions on ways to avoid any potential firearms seizures and/or turn-ins such as what happened to the Brits and the Aussies. For example here in MN, one could perhaps report the loss of his handgun while fishing. "It went overboard" or "It went down the ice hole into 57 feet of water." The strategy being to get the firearm off the books. The other two scenarios one could imagine would be avoiding penalties if some mandatory turn them in laws came about,and, horror of horrors, avoiding and/or frustrating searchers if the weapon in question still on the books was not handed in. These situations are easy to imagine and relatively easy to imagine tactics to avoid them. But the ease with which I can imagine them argues against rather than in favor of their practicability. (My total knowledge of the facts and events regarding the Brits and Aussies was exhausted above. I am no authority.) The scenario which most concerns me is civil unrest, either weather, WMD/terrorist or economically triggered. Anyone else? Thanks. Broadsword
Those Legislators, Justices, and Lawmen should also remember that any legislation, any laws, any attempt to reduce our right to bear arms is directly against the Constitution. Do they not understand that means by doing any of these things they are committing an act of treason?
Would it be trivial for me to complain that that essay is not dated? (Or... if it is, then it's well-hidden.)
This sort of thing drives me crazy. I suppose it's my passion for history, but it's almost as bad -- to me -- as attributing a quote without proper citation.
I cannot understand how anyone could compose something like that and then neglect the element of respect that it is necessarily due as a matter of locating it properly in history.
Sometimes, the ways that some peoples' minds work are a scathing mystery to me.
Alea iacta est.III.
Long Live Republic of USA!
Broadsword: Use it, or lose it. What goes for guns, goes for your freedom too.
Sorry, Billy, if I had the date I would have posted it with it. Sometime during the Clintonista period is all I know at the moment,
"Sorry, Billy, if I had the date I would have posted it with it."
Oh, I know. It's not you, Mike. It's the responsibility of the author and publisher to see to that.
It's a part of a big problem. A lot of people really don't seem to understand what's going on out there online. Another example: all the time, I see media -- TV and newspaper -- websites who'll splash all their "NEWS ALIVE!" graphics at you, and never let you know where they are in physical space. I'll see a dateline like "Moose Lake" in some local coverage, and it looks for all the world as if some hick-moron editor out there thinks that everybody from coast-to-coast and Australia too should know where bloody Moose Lake is.
"I see StoopidPeeple," Mike. They're everywhere, all the time.
KABA published this and a number of other essays by Puckett on April 28, 2000, according to this list: http://www.keepandbeararms.com/Information/XcInfoBase.asp?CatID=79
The Citizens of America website, where Puckett was conducting his "media blitz" at the time, no longer exists and access to its Wayback archive has been blocked. But KABA seems to have been publishing the stuff more or less contemporaneously.
My earliest written reference I can find is from "2nd Amendment West"
Vol. 5, No.4
September/October 1996, a journal I self-published on behalf of the Westside LA NRA Members Council, but the document was already in existence then.
That is what began my collaboration and friendship over the years with the author, which led to efforts like GunTruths and Citizens of America.
The MC provided funding for him to print copies make a trip to Washington DC, where he hand-delivered them to every senator and congressman's office.
The posting on KABA took place years later.
I'll see if I can establish a more fixed date.
But by the way--how about that writing and sentiment, eh? I think it deserves its place among the great Liberty treatises of our time.
Per Brian Puckett:
It was written as a response to the "assault weapon" ban, which was September 1994. I believe Patty and I went to Washington the next summer, which was 1995. Not absolutely sure...could have been '96 -- I'd have to dig into photographs for a date.
It was not dated on purpose -- it was intended as a standing notice to politicians and law enforcement.
Mike already covered the only real option that matters. Not a theoretical discussion, either, confiscations have already been ordered in several jurisdictions. With a notable lack of success, it is worth noting.
I believe I am recalling correctly that the author of this fine polemic made a rather direct challenge of the California prohibition on... SKS rifles, was it? I never heard the end of the story, got rather distracted by events for a while there.
Anyway, I've seen figures cited that in those jurisdictions where one firearm or another was declared illegal and ordered turned in, the compliance rate has never been higher than 2%. In every instance I've ever heard about, the population just "shrugs" and gets on with life. So far, the "Men Who Would be Kings" have displayed a lot more survival instinct than I'd credit them with and not pushed the issue.
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