Guest Contributor: Joe Marshall, author of Last Call for Liberty
In response to a three-part series on gun control we recently featured, Joe Marshall has provided the following POV on how he sees it.
He responds to each part of the series individually.
Part I: Why I’m armed. As a life-long advocate of our Constitutional Republic and all of our individual rights and liberty, including our Rights to Arms, I was put at odds with a number of Mr. Milligan’s assumptions from the very beginning. But maybe we can iron a few of them out.
I haven’t merely ‘chosen sides’ in any of the ongoing border, gender or ‘gun debates’ being played out on the surface of contemporary politics. What difference does it make which political upheaval or waves we choose to ride, debate or argue over, when one after another they’re being generated by an ocean of progressive forces far beneath them? The outcome of such surface politics will have little to no effect on the revolutionary end-game of a full-blown collectivism for our once Free Society. And as we continue, I hope to make it clear as to why, and what it might take to address such waves at their source.
If Mr. Milligan’s assumption that “like it or not” we cannot know the intent of our Founders or the meaning of the Second Amendment is true, then despite all the reams of evidence to the contrary, neither can we know what any of the Constitution means, or define any of the Liberty “secured” there-in; at least until the ‘judicial supremacy’ of progressive Courts has “interpreted” them for us.
If we were to follow his lead and admit that we really don’t know what a militia is, or whether our so-called “right to arms” is really an individual one or not, we must also admit that we don’t know if any of our “rights” and “liberties” are collective ones or not; at least until the progressive courts “interpret” them for us as well.
The truth is that if our Right to Arms isn’t an individual right it can only be a collective right, which would come at costs that few have bothered to imagine. First and foremost among them is that there is no such thing as an individual right to anything in a collective.
In a collective the only entity with a right to life is the collective or state. There can be no “right to life” for any individual in servitude to it whatsoever. Where there is no individual right to your own life, there can be no right to defend it, be it armed or unarmed. And that’s exactly why, as it has been determined by the UN itself, that there is indeed no such thing as a collective human right to self-defense anywhere in the world. As human rights are not the freely given Natural Individual Rights of our Founding, they are wholly conditional, of civil origin, and collective only. The “Life Liberty and pursuit of Happiness” of our Founding is not the “life, liberty and security of person” found in collectivism!
Quite simply, the second we forgo the absolute and eternal truth that our Right to Arms is unquestionably an individual right as Mr. Milligan suggests we do, we forgo the very possibility of them. And the second we forgo the truth that we know our Constitution “secures” the individual rights and liberty of us all, we forgo the very concept of the Constitution as “the will of the people” over “the will of their servants”. For how could it possibly be the ‘will of the people’ if the people, as he claims, have no idea what it even says or means?
Part II: Finding middle ground. Though I commend his willingness to meet the current populist progressive anti-Constitution tsunami sweeping the nation head on with a discussion to find some “middle ground” in his living room, the futility of restoring the animated contest of liberty back into the hearts and minds of those who have already surrendered it for the “security” of its antithesis, can hardly be overstated.
What real middle ground can there possibly be between the wolf and the sheep? What possible happy ‘middle-ground’ is there that will not lead to the minimum of both a dismembered sheep and a still hungry wolf? Neither is there any happy compromise between the forced redistributed rations of a forced collective servitude, and the autonomy of the individual liberty of a free people; the least of which would ever include an intact Individual Right to Arms.
Part III: Gun reform that would actually work. Does the preservation of our ‘gun rights’ really lie in heavier enforcement of existing progressive gun laws? From the perspective of all the ‘law abiding’ gun owners out there, “gun laws” are all being obeyed; hence the term ‘law abiding’. Whether it’s enforced or not, no law is going to stop a criminal bent on breaking it. So the argument for more enforcement of existing laws to prevent violations holds no water in the real world. If that’s Mr. Milligan’s point here, I’m with him. However, I’m not so sure that it is.
With concerns for the “gun rights” of the “law abiding citizen” only being drummed into us over and over again by groups like the NRA, I’m forced to ask what happens when guns in America have finally been outlawed entirely. Will they still be blaming the loss of them on the lack of ‘gun law’ enforcement? If you don’t think it can happen you might want to recheck your world history.
When it comes to selective law enforcement, it isn’t just ‘gun laws’ that are going unenforced. As Daniel Horowitz points out:
“Remember, not nearly every murderer winds up in prison. Just in one year, 6,013 murder cases went uncleared by law enforcement. In addition, 79,310 rape cases, 206,091 robbery cases, and 349,190 aggravated assault cases were uncleared in 2017, according to the FBI. Thus… if we actually successfully convicted every murderer, and certainly every other violent offender, there would be hundreds of thousands more people in prison.”
This in a day when the likes of Trump, Kanye West, and Van Jones are teaming up to implement the revolutionary abolitionism of “jailbreak” criminal justice reform. Regardless of how you slice it, the reality is that progressives are in charge of our criminal justice system and have been for decades.
As long as the alleged “disparate impact” and “mass incarceration” of progressivism’s protected classes remain launching pads for revolutionary calls to action against our Constitution and Founding Republic, nothing is going to change in the “select enforcement” of any law. PROMISE programs like the one where everybody from President Obama down to the local Sherriff, community organizers, and school principles all collaborated as a condition of a $54 million grant to sweep any and all reportable records of minorities like the Broward County School shooter under the rug alone is proof of that, and it’s only going to get worse.
In NYC however just being in possession of a gun is a violent crime with a mandatory minim 3.5 year sentence, and since they hate guns more than they love their protected classes they’re still enforcing those laws hard and heavy.
Being that criminals will always continue to buy guns, Mr. Milligan’s “next logical step” is more effective background checks, including all private sales. NRA-endorsed NICS background checks by the way aren’t just limited to criminal records alone as they now or soon will include the whole of your data-mined life history from medical records, internet searches, and social media postings to accusations made by random individuals. To renew your pistol permit in NYS you now have to submit your passwords so your social media accounts and internet searches can be frisked by officers of the state for ‘immoral’ activity. Not only are such laws an infringement on Second Amendment rights, they violate our Fourth Amendment rights to due process and privacy.
Funny how convicted felons can appeal to get their gun rights back under the 2nd Amendment, but little to no such avenues exist for the ‘law abiding’ citizens who have found themselves on the NICS list with out any due process.
But the real problem I have with mandatory background checks on all private gun sales, is that we are mandated to request government permission to exchange the only piece of private property, I can think of anyway, that’s specifically enumerated in the Constitution as a protected right. If they can mandate that for our guns, they can mandate that for any or all property.
The only real way our individual rights and liberty can be re-secured is by defeating the progressive collectivism mandating their elimination from our once Free Society. Preservation of what little remains of our individual right to keep and bear arms doesn’t lie in the enforcement or non-enforcement of any gun laws … period. Instead, it lies in the fundamental principles of individual liberty secured by our Founders in the Constitution.
If we don’t know those principles, we had better learn them. For where we don’t know and understand them, we risk being blindly seduced into accepting the very same progressive collectivism targeting them for destruction under a false hope of some nonexistent ‘middle ground’ upon which their preservation might be assured.
Joe Marshall was born and raised in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate NY. He is a married father of two grown sons, an outdoorsman, a landscape contractor, a former stock car owner and driver, a certified 4H firearms instructor, and a retired New York State corrections officer.
Joe is the author of the book, Last Call for Liberty