As news of the apparent murder of a dozen patrons at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California breaks today, a career bureaucrat is calling for the gutting of the right to keep and bear arms as applied to individuals.
“David Chipman, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent, on Monday said AR-15 rifles should be regulated like machine guns,” The Hill reported. (Ironically, the California shooting that took place four days after Chipman’s comment was not done by an AR-15-wielding gunman. Rather, the assailant used a single semi-automatic pistol.)
“What I support is treating them just like machine guns,” Chipman said. “To me, if you want to have a weapon of war, the same gun that was issued to me as a member of [the] ATF SWAT team, it makes sense that you would have to pass a background check, the gun would have to be in your name, and there would be a picture and fingerprints on file,” he added.
Of course, as with so many similar calls for civilian disarmament, Chipman and the author of The Hill’s article remind readers of recent atrocities, subjecting the victims of those unconscionable crimes to yet another attack.
“Gun control advocates have repeatedly called for regulations on the weapons, which have been involved in various mass shootings including the Parkland, Fla., shooting in February, the Las Vegas country music concert shooting last year, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012,” writes Julia Manchester, author of the article published by The Hill.
News agents and agents of government will quickly bundle the Thousand Oaks tragedy with the other senseless crimes, and there will be a reactionary abuse of power that will become just another pretext for the annihilation of the representative government of the United States. It’s hard to believe that anyone is ignorant of the lack of empirical evidence linking the regulation of gun ownership to the commission of violent crime.
No matter, though. Bureaucrats and globalist advocates of the silent and gradual gutting of the Second Amendment know that there is a significant number of Americans who will be convinced by rhetoric and emotion before they would ever be swayed by reason or research.
Surely Chipman — and the other voices in the choir of gun grabbers — knows that there is no law, regulation, or executive order that could ever dissuade someone from committing murder in cold blood. The very premise is laughable. Such acts are the result of mental instability and are the product of a perversion of purpose inscrutable to most regular folk.
Moreover, even the most discerning minds in the fields of medicine and psychology are now, and are likely to remain, woefully ignorant of the vortex of abnormalities that combine in someone’s mind to produce such anti-social behavior. Inside every cranium there is a universe, and no explorer has successfully navigated the myriad spheres of influence that orbit therein. While the attempt is noble, the president's presumption that there are explanations to be found in this or that shooter’s mad scribblings or self-aggrandizing videos is naive at best and purposefully misleading at worst.
Finally, as the Declaration of Independence (and hundreds of years of English political theory before it) declares, the only legitimate basis of government is the consent of the governed. In the United States, the extent of that consent is set forth within the four corners of the Constitution.
The simple and undeniable fact is that there is no constitutional authority given to the federal government to restrict purchase of firearms, ammunition, or component parts. In fact, the Second Amendment explicitly proscribes any attempt by the federal government to infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
Therefore, any attempt to curtail the right of civilians to own and use weapons — of any sort — is an act of tyranny, no matter how “reasonable” the supporters try to make it sound.
Besides, reasonable people understand that the ready availability of guns is no more responsible for any armed massacre than an all-you-can-eat buffet is responsible for obesity.
Why must every murder lead so many Leftists (and the occasional “compassionate conservative”) to dishonor the memory of those killed by demanding that presidents, vice presidents, attorneys general, or any agent of government abolish the only right that protects enjoyment of all the other rights.
For that very reason, our Founding Fathers very well intended that every American be armed, believing that such was the only way to avoid being enslaved by tyrants. They knew from their study of history that a tyrant’s first move was always to disarm the people, and generally to claim it was for their safety, and to establish a standing army so as to convince the people that they didn’t need arms to protect themselves, for the tyrant and his professional soldiers would do it for them. Sound familiar?
Although he was certainly not a Founding Father and not a reliable friend of constitutionally protected liberty, in his commentary on the Constitution penned in 1833, Joseph Story wrote:
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
In a much better written and constitutionally sound commentary on common law and the Constitution, Founding-era legal scholar St. George Tucker wrote:
This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty.... The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.
But in this age of “gun-free school zones” and “free-speech zones,” temperate appeals to history and to right reason won’t convince people that a propensity for acts of armed violence are not born of opportunity, but of instability.
Those of us who do understand these facts, though, must not dishonor the memory of those killed by the insane by allowing partisan fealty or the purposefully bellowed passions of faction to indict us on the Left or the Right as co-conspirators in the legicide of the Constitution.
Image: artas via iStock / Getty Images Plus