Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a fascinating man. He learned the art and the trade of goldsmithing from his father, spent some time in a university, and was known to have joined the Strasbourg militia, but none of that made him famous. No, the name of Gutenberg is synonymous with his great invention, movable type printing, around 1439.
His advances in press technology, inks, and typography meant that texts could now be printed rapidly and economically, instead of painstakingly copied by hand. Gutenberg’s inventions were the greatest leap in human communication since the invention of language and the alphabet, and because of his efforts, the mass production of portable information became affordable for the first time.
His work was so groundbreaking that that printing technology he created had changed little when Benjamin Franklin joined the printing trade as an apprentice to his brother James in 1718, and it was this same basic technology that was used to report the battles of our Revolutionary War.
Things changed quite a bit more over the next 230 years.
Communications revolutions are now continuous and instantaneous, fickle and every changing, but always expanding. We still have printed news, but it is transmitted digitally first, and digital seems to be our future. Television, telephone, Facebook, Twitter, web sites, and RSS feeds are no longer passive. We can push or pull data around the world instantly, watch it go viral, or disappear into the void. If a printing press were a musket, the Internet is Gutenberg’s nuclear weapon.
The Founding Fathers had no possible way of predicting the breadth, depth, speed, or noise of modern communications when they wrote the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but they made it last by enshrining principles over technology or technique.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Freedom of speech and of the press is a beautiful thing, and despite the unforeseen developments in high speed printing and instantaneous global dissemination of both the beautiful and the perverse, the individual right of the freedom of speech has never been seriously questioned in this nation, because of the principles we hold dear. We’ve maintained that for people to remain free, information must remain free, and we’ve been the most prosperous nation in human history largely as a result of honoring these first principles.
Why is it then, that the following constitutional amendment, though again directed towards crucial individual rights, less complex in structure, and straightforward in design, is now under attack?
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Grown men, who present themselves educated beings, attempt to claim that they have the right to infringe up the individual right to bear weapons in clear defiance of the Amendment, even though we seek to exercise our rights merely with evolutionary arms (modern small arms), not revolutionary arms (stealth fighters, rail guns, laser weapons, ICBMs).
Are our principles so fickle and flighty that they change from one Amendment to the next?
They do not.
In demanding our constitutional right to arms, we do so not for sport or entertainment, though sporting applications and entertainment can be had from those arms. We demand that our pre-existing natural rights of defense, boldly supported in the Second Amendment, be respected so that we can use it for its specific purpose of arming the citizenry in their own best defense against tyrants both foreign and domestic.
The 20th Century nearly drown in rivers of blood created by tyrants, with more than
100 262 million souls exterminated by their own governments as a matter of political convenience, to rid their cultures of dissenting thought and ideas.
They accomplished this, in each and every instance, by passing gun control laws for “public safety” first.
They began with restrictions, then registration, and finally confiscation. Once that occurred, and the government had the unquestioned monopoly of violence and no chance to revolt, then mass graves were dug, and bodies of undesirables filled the earth.
We demand for defense to keep the weapons the Founders meant us to have, the same level of arms that the soldiers of our day have, from the rifles, to pistols, to shotguns and other weapons of contemporary military utility.
Quite frankly, 20th Century Americans gave up far too much by allowing the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. All of these laws fly in the face of “original intent” and should be struck down accordingly.
As long as military units have access to pistols, assault rifles, and machine guns, so should law-abiding American citizens.
Perhaps it is time to push back, and reclaim what is ours.