A well-regulated militia …

So begins the historic statement of 27 words that fuels the titanic battle that rages between the proponents of freedom and the forces of collectivism.

Daniel Petry

Daniel Petry

As I started to write this piece, I realized that during the past 230 years, words and definitions have mutated into something that would be unrecognizable to our founding fathers. Brilliant though they were, they could not predict how future generations would define certain words and concepts. Where we use word de jure slogans, the framers wrote in terms of underlying human experience.

If James Madison had lived today and realized that nefarious elements in this country were challenging the right of Americans to bear arms, he probably would have written something like, “All citizens have the right to own semi-automatic guns, rifles and ammunition — period.” But he didn’t, because that is not how the framers thought — or wrote. Remember that when you’re reading the historic words that provide the foundation of this great country. 

Defenders of our right to bear arms need to understand the rationale behind the framers’ reasoning. Otherwise, they will leave the door open to those who wish to limit freedom and those ideological bullies who have the same gun-grabbing objectives, as did Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.

You’ll run into the argument that the right to bear arms only existed because a well-regulated militia was necessary to the defense of the new nation, and that today this concept is antiquated because we now have a well-regulated militia called the National Guard. Wrong. That is the trap of historical misinterpretation.

Then there are those who say that “well-regulated” meant some form of gun control. I imagine that the framers would have tarred and feathered an insipid two-bit ideologue, bureaucrat or politician who thought that our Bill of Rights was in support of government regulation.

My brief effort here is to enlighten the hive mentality of progressives and give ammunition — pardon the pun — to those who fight for our fundamental rights. So here goes.

King George understood that an armed populace was to be feared — not only hard to control, but also able to fight the tyrannical application of brute force laws that restrained the freedom of the populace. Here was their problem: Frontiersmen settled the American wilderness. They were tough and armed, and the Brits realized that if they messed with an American they would most likely die. To assert their will on the people, they needed to remove this threat.

In hindsight, did the English really think they would succeed against hundreds of thousands of armed Americans? Not likely. But they came very close. If it weren’t for a few thousand “right-wing fanatics,” we would be a far different nation today. That fact has been purposefully lost through brazen educational censorship by factions that want Americans to be disarmed subjects of the collective.

Here’s a flash: More than 80 million U.S. families own a gun. That’s a scary figure when you’re an ideological zealot who wishes to disarm these very citizens. In fact, I imagine that if you’re a zealot, you experience the same fear the English did. That fear is well-deserved.

Remember folks, there is no truer statement than, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Right now, the government fears us — but it’s trying hard to change that.

I have a particular fondness for Thomas Jefferson. Let’s face it: The man knew how to turn a phrase, and he truly had a feel for the thousands of years of mankind’s experiments with government. When it comes to this aspect of our God-given freedoms, he said, “No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Remember that — tyranny in government. Not hunting, stopping crime, gun collections or fighting in a war — tyranny in government.

So, in the minds of the framers, what was the definition of a militia?

In the 1700s, a militia was all able-bodied men who owned a weapon. In today’s twisted world, the militia has been transformed into some evil right-wing boogieman that keeps progressives shivering inside their unarmed homes.

The British policy was to disarm American colonists by whatever means possible from entrapment, false promises of safekeeping and banning imports to seizure and ammunition control. Sound anything like what you’re hearing today coming from the lips of those who want you to prostrate yourself to the god of government?

Could any right be more applicable in today’s America? At no other time has there been a stronger justification for the Second Amendment.

We have a paranoid government that is growing in size and intrusive power almost by the second. It uses fear as a tool to slowly erase hundreds of years of hard-fought freedom. It threatens and attacks its own citizens, attempts to censor information, undertakes efforts to crush private enterprise and uses the Treasury as a slush fund to support these efforts. 

Understand this: There are opponents to our constitutional rights. Since they believe that there is no reason today for Americans to be armed, politicians such as Sen. Barbara Boxer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Charles Schumer and President Barack Obama would like nothing better than to have the power to force Americans to relinquish their freedom for the perceived security of the nanny-state.

In fact, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (an amazing fact understanding his political philosophy) had not inserted into the current Senate version of the health-care bill his manager’s amendment — titled “Protecting Second Amendment Gun Rights,” that no program implemented under health reform may require disclosure or collection of any information relating to gun ownership — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius could have mandated that gun ownership is an activity so dangerous that your insurance coverage needed to be suspended.

In conclusion, the Second Amendment is designed to protect your way of life. Destroy it, and it’s only a matter of time before all of your rights disappear. So when you hear someone telling you that guns need to be banned or restricted, what they’re really saying is that they believe in the power of government and consider individual freedom to be dangerous. Even 230 years later, our war for freedom rages on. I can only say never let up. For the day they lose their fear of us is the day you lose it all.

Oh, and for those of you wondering about those 27 words: “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.”

— Santa Barbara resident Daniel Petry is the CEO and founding partner of Petry Direct Inc., a 20-year-old management firm that specializes in content production and marketing management. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, class of 1976, and received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.