LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Need to read into what Founding Fathers meant
I want to take issue with Emory McClendon’s March 31 attempt to have “the likes of David Hoggs, the Snowflake Students, and other Progressives robots grasp this truth.” McClendon’s truth basically being that Founders had no intent to restrict the right to bear arms, that Founders were only concerned with governmental tyranny. But Founder’s writings and actions prove McClendon wrong on both counts. Founders talked of “enemies foreign and domestic.” Founders were just as concerned by insurrections by armed citizens as they were of domestic or foreign government armed attacks!
My brother was killed in Sutherland Springs, Texas, by an AR-15. The shooter was killed by an AR-15. I can see the arguments for banning assault weapons, but I can see the need to have good people with assault weapons. Gun-control advocates may have to allow assault weapons to properly licensed people, while the NRA must acknowledge that weapons may only be sold with caution.
The Founding Fathers favored an armed public. But they also recognized that some people should not be armed.
George Washington said: “A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined … to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority … to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness.”
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote: “One of the ordinary modes by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia. … the importance of a well-regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition … to be rid of all regulations. … and thus undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national Bill of Rights.”
Pennsylvania anti-Federalist writer Samuel Bryan, in 1787 Address and Reason for Dissent, wrote “… no law shall be passed for disarming the people … unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals… .” Samuel Adams qualified the right to bear arms to “peaceable citizens.”
And, so it was that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton amassed a force of 13,000 to 15,000 men to disarm the Whiskey Rebellion insurrectionists. Washington knew there had to be discipline, regulations, freedom from armed licentiousness. He and other Founders acknowledged that criminals, non-peaceable citizens, and those, like the mentally ill who posed a real danger of public injury, should not bear arms!
The NRA and other militia supporters need to get over their militia delusions! Read Washington (and other Founders) for instance in his October 1780 Circular to the States: “I solemnly declare I never was witness to a single instance that can countenance an opinion of Militia or raw troops being fit for the real business of fighting.” Hence, Founders began to give us the Standing Army we have today, to protect America where militias and armed citizenry cannot. We need all, but disciplined, with guidelines and respectful of law and order. A man came to the Indianapolis March for Our Lives with an AR-15 on his shoulder. Is he there to kill? Want to wait until he fires to find out? Or, arrest and disarm him? The Founders aren’t here anymore. We need to figure this out for ourselves with a clearer view of what Founders said or didn’t say, recognizing they did not all have same views. But they did compromise! Why can’t we? Without the demonizing and name-calling.
— Bruce Braden, Carmel
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