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column By: Steve Garbe | March, 23
According to most sources, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin uttered the words “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” This practical piece of advice had been around for some years before Franklin quoted it, but at the time of the signing it summed up his best thoughts on how the colonies could pull off actually declaring independence from the world superpower, England. It made good sense then and, given the nature of the assault today on many of those freedoms that the signers of the Declaration fought for, it makes even more sense now.
We are truly witnessing the efforts by a few in the chairs of power to drastically change the very structure and nature of the United States. The reasons for this are many, but primarily it stems from man’s predatory nature and the desires of our enemies in the world to see our republic dismantled. These things are not surprising and have been with us since humans first banded together for protection from outside threats.
The majority of Americans have always been well armed with a combination of common sense, a strong moral compass and a powerful document called the Constitution. I doubt if there is any piece of paper more disliked by those who have attempted to destroy our American way of life throughout history. The Constitution lays out, in simple terms, our rights that cannot be usurped by crooked politicians, self-serving lobbyists or empty-headed idealists.
Our Constitution does require constant attention from us, however. Vigilance that it is not changed or misinterpreted are things that will always need to be borne in mind by true Americans. To say that it is under constant assault is an understatement. The hurdles that the Constitution represents to our enemies will only stay in place as long as we are diligent in our efforts to preserve them.
Franklin’s words were brought to mind during a conversation I was part of with a group of black-powder shooters. The topic was the recent decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the legality of “bump stocks” and whether they (bump stocks) converted a semiautomatic firearm into a restricted full-auto firearm. There were a few in the group who were dismayed by the decision of the court, saying that bump stocks were simply more of the modern-day gimcracks that eroded our credibility and perception as responsible gun owners to the general public.
I listened to the debate and then offered up Franklin’s quote. I seriously doubt if I personally will ever own a bump stock, these sorts of things being far beyond my area of interest when it comes to firearms. However, I am in complete agreement with the decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, for the simple reason that the ban put in place by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to restrict the ownership of bump stocks is in violation of the Second Amendment. I’m also against federal agencies “making law” without review of Congress or the courts. Paying strict attention to the activities of our federal bureaucracies is a responsibility of every American and absolutely necessary to prevent governmental overreach.
I can already hear a few voices from those that are saying that I have lost my mind and am taking an untenable position. In my defense, I would say that the federal agency that determines what you, as a law-abiding citizen, are “allowed” to possess, will soon come knocking wanting to collect that “.50-caliber sniper rifle” that you own. Good luck explaining that the rifle in question is only a Sharps single-shot rifle or that it uses black powder, which coincidentally, is classed as an explosive by this same agency. Don’t use the tired and wrong-headed argument that these bureaucratically controlled agencies are only interested in our well-being and fighting crime. Elimination of the private ownership of firearms is the ultimate goal and those who would ban all firearms are only too happy to take whatever small steps they can towards achieving that same goal. Cloaking their efforts in what they describe as “common-sense gun control” should be the first thing that triggers warning bells. The best way to stay off a slippery slope is to never venture out on one.
Maybe by now, you will understand that, as gun owners and guardians of the Constitution, we must “all hang together or, most assuredly we will all hang separately.” Franklin was absolutely right in 1776, and he is just as right in 2023. S
– Gut Ziel