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The House of Representatives passed an expansive gun control bill that would criminalize firearm sales, gifts, or loans between unlicensed private persons. Some Republicans joined the unconstitutional bill. Criminals are laughing. Do members of Congress believe that such a law is going to stop criminals from selling, loaning, or “gifting” firearms?

There are people right now who kill other people with guns. That’s not going to stop with any new laws. People are the problem, not guns. The vast majority of people—around 75 million—will never shoot anyone.

Decades ago, many public schools had shooting clubs. According to John Lott:

Until 1969 virtually every public high school—even in New York City—had a shooting club. High school students in New York City carried their guns to school on the subways in the morning, turned them over to their homeroom teacher or the gym coach during the day, and retrieved them after school for target practice. Club members were given their rifles and ammunition by the federal government. Students regularly competed in citywide shooting contests for university scholarships.

Even today there are “more than 2,000 high-school rifle programs across the United States. In 2015, 9,245 students in 317 schools across three states participated in the USA High School Clay Target League. In 2018, participation had increased 138% with 21,917 students from 804 teams in 20 states.”

Chipping away at the Second Amendment has been going on for a long time. For example, actor Mark Hamill best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series and as the voice of the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series has said some things about the Second Amendment that defy history, the Constitution, and logic. In a tweet, he wrote the following:

Don’t get me wrong, as a strong supporter of the 2nd Ammendment [sic]—I believe in every American’s right to own a musket.

Piers Morgan said something similar:

The Second Amendment was devised with muskets in mind, not high-powered handguns and assault rifles. Fact.

See if you can find the word “musket” in the Second Amendment:

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.

Even without this constitutional right, we have the right to bear arms. Rights don’t come from government.

The Second Amendment was included in the Constitution to ensure the already existing right to “keep and bear arms.” Hamill and Morgan should study some of their own history before they write on a subject like the Second Amendment.

“The right to have arms in English history is believed to have been regarded as a long-established natural right in English law, auxiliary to the natural and legally defensible rights to life. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court remarked that at the time of the passing of the English Bill of Rights there was “‘clearly an individual right, having nothing whatsoever to do with service in the militia’ and that it was a right not to be disarmed by the crown and was not the granting of a new right to have arms.”

The Second Amendment doesn’t say what type of “arms” is included in the right to bear them. There’s a reason for this. Our founders knew that the definition of “arms” can change over time. What were “arms” in the 18th century differed from what would have been defined as “arms” in the 13th century. The Constitution was designed to be a document for the ages, not just for the late 18th century.

Following Hamill and Morgan’s logic, the freedoms of speech and press found in the First Amendment should be limited to a town crier, horses and footmen to carry communiques, quill pens, and actual printing presses. This would mean setting type by hand, rolling ink ever the type, and pressing the paper on the raised letters, one sheet at a time. Since we don’t “press” paper over inked type today we can’t appeal to the First Amendment’s right to “freedom of the press.”

If the Second Amendment was only for muskets, then it was also only for parchment and literal printing presses. Our founders knew better. Ideals transcend technology and innovation. Ideals are for the ages.

No one in the 18th century, or even in the last decade of the 20th century, could have conceived of printing exclusively with digits by way of a Portable Document Format**—**PDF.

Printing has made more technical advancements since the First Amendment was drafted than have “arms.” Someone from the 18th century could easily recognize a modern-day handgun and rifle and learn to load and shoot it in a matter of minutes but would be stymied by a laptop computer and software used to “typeset” a book with no hard type that could be turned into an electronic file that in the end could print a million copies of a book in days or send the document around the world in a matter of seconds.

We are beginning to see a chipping away of the free speech and freedom of the press provisions found in the First Amendment by advocates of the Press. Here’s the twist: They are OK with limiting speech and the “press” for people they disagree with on policy and moral issues. We’re seeing it everywhere—from university campuses to social media platforms. This might be the reason our Founders thought it necessary to include the Second Amendment because when a government and those who control the free flow of information suppress speech, wholesale tyranny can’t be far behind.

Author: Gary DeMar

Gary—who served as President of American Vision for thirty-five years—is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. Author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, he has been featured by nearly every major news media outlet. Gary also has hosted The Gary DeMar Show, History Unwrapped, and the Gary DeMar’s Vantage Point Webshow and is a regular contributor to AmericanVision.org. Gary has lived in the Atlanta area since 1979 with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and are enjoying being grandparents. Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).