This is What Guns Were Made For

-By Warner Todd Huston

One of the main purposes for guns in the American philosophy is certainly a controversial idea. It is an aspect of the Second Amendment that few people today are comfortable talking about, but, uncomfortable or no, it is a major factor in the necessity and usefulness of the Second Amendment in our founding father's experience. That purpose, that guns in the hands of the people are a breaker on the power of the state, is an issue raised again in last week's story out of Canada.

In Ontario, Canada Jessie Sansone, a young father of four, was grabbed up by the local storm troopers and charged with a gun crime. He was thrown in jail for most of the day, not allowed to see his wife and children, was repeatedly interrogated, and it seems threatened with having his children taken away from him and his wife. His crime?

You won't believe this…

His crime was that his kindergartener daughter drew a picture at school, a stick figure of a man with a gun.

Because this five-year-old drew a picture of a man with a gun, the idiot principal of the school decided that her father must be a mass murderer, or something, and called the police. The police in turn battered down Mr. Sansone's door and threw him in the Ontario dungeons.

Granted this occurred in Canada and in Canada people don't have the same rights to self protection that Americans do. But this incident is the exact sort of situation that our founders feared. Ontario authorities proved themselves to be the sort of Fascists that would grab up citizens for illegitimate reasons and their illicit actions are precisely the sort of over stepping, authoritarian powers that our founders wanted to put a stop to by allowing citizens to be armed.

After all, one does not casually start battering down the doors to people's homes if they imagine the inhabitants might be armed and dangerous. Some more thought is usually required before violent confrontations in such cases if you are a government used to dealing with an often armed public (unlike Canadian authorities are). This is the sort of Fascist, authoritarianism that the founders were intent on stopping and that is why they wanted us armed.

This is not just a "gun nut's" fantasy, either.

The founders thought the right of self protection to be a natural right, one no one could take away. But even that aside they wanted guns in the hands of the people to stop overbearing governments.

In his famous treatise on the U.S. Constitution early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story addressed the Second Amendment and noted this reasoning in its import. 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."

The fact is uncomfortable for many today. The idea of shooting down policemen or other government officials that come ready to unfairly and illicitly imprison us for imaginary crimes is not an easy topic to discuss. But easy or not, our government is quickly approaching a time where a bullet is more apropos than a vote. Tales of the police -- local, state, and federal --acting the role of oppressors and jackbooted thugs instead of keepers of the peace abound these days and seem to be growing daily.

As Americans we need to be reminded about how important our Second Amendment rights are and we absolutely need to keep government officials apprised that we the people know that one of the reasons for the Second Amendment is to keep them in their place.

It is true we are a nation of laws, not of mere men. But sometimes that tree of liberty needs to be watered by the blood of tyrants, as Jefferson once wrote. Would that it never comes to such violence, but government should be warned of the distinct possibility if it continues to violate our rights.


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  • Whatever the rights and wrongs concerning the overreaction of the Canadian police, your argument is a complete non sequitur of a rant. The truth is that the police in the US will come to arrest you if they have a warrant regardless of whether you have a gun. If that should happen to you, I wish you good luck if you're dumb enough to start waving a weapon at them.

  • In reply to PaoloChicago:

    Sadly, the intricacies of the article appear to have been way over your head.

  • In reply to PaoloChicago:

    Paolo, read the column again.

    (I am an American, currently residing in Canada, not far from the despicable event in Kitchener, Ontario.)

    Mr. Sansone does not own a firearm. He does not have a Canadian Firearms Possession and Acquisition Licence. He is a working man with a wife, two children, and one on the way.

    His daughter drew a picture of a gun. The little girl said that "Daddy uses it to kill bad guys and monsters." A teacher, a principal, a child care worker and officers in the Waterloo Regional Police Force over-reacted like hoodlums in a police state.

    Mr. Sansone was arrested in front of school children, handcuffed, taken to a cell, strip searched, cavity searched, and left with no knowledge of why he was arrested.

    His wife was removed from her own home and the police searched the house for a gun--and they had no warrant. They retroactively got Mr. Sansone to sign a permission paper for a search after holding him in a cell for hours. Childrens Services took custody of their children.

    To this day, no one in authority has offered any kind of an apology. In fact, one police officer, probably monitoring the call on his police radio, tried to get the officers to abort the travesty. He was ignored. The word is that he will never be promoted.

    Oh, they did find a gun. A clear, plastic toy.

    The teacher, the principal, the child care agency, the police, never thought of interviewing the child, even though that is expected procedure. They could have asked the child what the gun looked like. What the bullets looked like. They could have telephoned the mother or father and asked.

    Remember: the theme of Publius' column is the over-reach of a western democracy as its government agents seize more and more power.

  • When you say that" the government should be warned of the distinct possibility", are you talking about the current administration?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I said "government" not any particular administration. In fact, I didn't even mean it specific to just federal government. Local government is far more apt to act the tyrant than the feds.

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