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Week of: July1, 2001

Gun Rights & Privacy Rights Targeted

by F.R. Duplantier

Any excuse will do for advocates of gun control -- even tragedies like school shootings.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was intended to protect the right of the individual to own and use guns. Liberal politicians view gun ownership as an interference with the expansion of federal power, which of course it is (and is meant to be), for an armed citizenry is much more difficult to subjugate than one that has been disarmed. In an effort to remove this irritating impediment to more government power, they exploit every public tragedy involving firearms as propaganda for tighter restrictions on their use.

The Second Amendment states, "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." Advocates of gun control latch on to that word "militia" and insist that the Amendment merely authorizes the bearing of arms by a state- organized group. But the intentions of the Founding Fathers are clear. After all, if they had not owned guns as individuals, they could not have overthrown the tyranny of England and established a free country. Richard Henry Lee declared that, "to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught . . . especially when young, how to use them." Patrick Henry said that the protection of our freedoms requires "that every man be armed."

Our right to privacy, protected by the Third and Fourth Amendments, is also under attack. The Federal Government seems determined to increase its control over all of us by prying into our daily lives. Tax collectors and regulatory agents have snooped on us for years, and proposals for expanding the inquisitorial power of federal agents are constantly floated in the name of combatting drugs or terrorism or some other bugaboo, real or imagined.

The Third Amendment forbids the quartering of soldiers in private homes during peacetime without the consent of the owner. The Fourth Amendment guarantees "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," and forbids the issuing of warrants except "upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Nevertheless, President Bush's predecessor sought to empower federal agents to force banks, credit card companies, telephone companies, hotels, motels, airlines, and buslines to turn over their records on individual Americans -- without search warrants or court orders. He also proposed a federal, interagency, domestic counterterrorism center to investigate groups without evidence of criminal intent.

More than 50 million American citizens exercise their constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms. They defend their families and their property against the predations of criminals -- and guard their rights against the usurpations of government. How long would we retain our freedoms if we surrendered the 200 million weapons now in our possession?


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