The Billings Outpost

Origin of gun rights

I would like to compliment Lauris Byxbe on the most excellent letter regarding gray matter on gun control (Outpost, Jan. 24).

It is horrible having these mass shootings! And something needs to be done to make sure those risky people do not have access to firearms. It is impossible to keep all weapons out of their hands.

After each tragedy there is an outcry for more gun control. Some of the states which have the strictest gun control laws also have the highest death by gun rates. Something is wrong.

I believe we need to focus on the real issues concerning gun control. To do so we have to get some history behind the men who wrote the Bill of Rights. In feudal England only the knight class and those higher up were allowed by law to possess weapons. They fought the wars and the common man was not involved. Military service was a matter of land ownership and position. This arrangement gave the peasant no means of self protection and no political power.

Then came gunpowder, which foretold an end to feudalism, and things began to change. No longer were weapons of self-defense limited to the upper classes. The “commoners” began to be conscripted into the military because they had the means to fight, accompanied by their legitimate demands for political involvement. Eventually the common man demanded the right to vote and got it because he now had the power and the upper class could not enforce its will upon the common man because he could resist effectively. Revolutions and constitutional monarchies began to emerge.

Now there was migration to the new world composed of these men who had been involved in the new order and realized that political power belonged in the hands of the people. When the King of England became too much for them, they rose in armed revolution and they had the firepower to resist.

The founding fathers understood completely this principle of tyrannical governments being brought down by the power of the people. These very wise men wrote the Constitution and included the Bill of Rights to ensure that the people had the power to keep their vote.

They included the Second Amendment to insure a militia composed of “common” men to keep enemies of the state and the government in check. Some “forget” that this amendment says “the rights of the people shall not be infringed.” Some believe that this militia was the National Guard, but there was no Guard then.

So, we have the same issue now confronting the people. Gun control is basically about political power and the right to vote and have input into the political process. We have the elite, who keep their guns and have heavily armed bodyguards who want to strip the law-abiding citizen of his right to defend his life, his family and his property.

The downside of this also is that there will be groups who have weapons that the government can never get: gangs, other criminal elements, military, law enforcement, foreign gun smugglers, so there will always be those with guns and a law-abiding populace helpless against the negative forces.

If interested in these concepts, a very good place to begin would be the writings of Professor Carroll Quigley in his book “Western Civilization to 1914.” One might also begin by researching the relationship between political process and gun ownership in Switzerland.

Keith Babcock


Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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