By Henry S. Kramer, Tompkins County, New York
How do liberties get lost? Does a nation-state slip into dictatorship and totalitarianism all at once? Experience says that it is a slow process in which, bit by bit, we lose our freedoms.
Unlike many of the readers here, I am not particularly a fan of guns. I live in a fairly safe area and don’t believe that I need to be armed. But I realize that many of my fellow citizens do live where they feel a need for protection and they don’t feel they can rely on law enforcement alone. So, why am I a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and keeping it robust and in place?
First, because it is an amendment to our Constitution and I believe our Constitution must be upheld. As soon as we lose any of our constitutional rights, all the others become endangered. And consider this, of all the types of property that we have, guns are about the only property that is specifically constitutionally protected (yet we can’t carry them easily from state to state).
On a practical level, the statistics show that restrictive gun laws just do not work. Faced with restrictive legislation, criminals do not give up their guns and no law is likely to make them do so. Areas like Chicago with strict gun laws do not have lower crime rates, they have high ones. Conversely, areas like Texas which allow concealed carry have much lower crime rates. I do support strong controls on fully automatic weapons, but they have been highly regulated since the 1930’s so that is not an issue any more.
Pastor Niemoller said of the Nazi regime that when they came for the Jews, he didn’t care as he wasn’t a Jew. When they came for the gypsies, he didn’t care, he wasn’t a gypsy. When they came for him there was no one left to stand up for him. That was an important lesson and an important reason why I stand for all of the Constitution and do not want to see it dismantled bit by bit.
Admiral Yamamoto, who was the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack by Japan in 1941, told the Japanese leaders that they could never invade and occupy the United States. The reason he gave - too many guns in too many hands.
Now our constitutional republic is under attack. Free speech, gun rights, and even our ability to elect a president and see that president finish his term are under attack. If we are not to become a “banana republic” without the rule of law, we must protect and uphold our constitution - every part of it. Right now, the Second Amendment is under siege. If it goes, how long will it be before our other rights go as well?