Smith: Proposed gun control legislation stifles Second Amendment rights granted by Founding Fathers

Today, President Barack Obama will unveil his gun control proposal in which he may use executive orders to bypass Congress and place strict limitations on Second Amendment rights.

While the legality of such actions is highly questionable, he also voiced support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s misleadingly titled “Assault Weapons Ban”. The language in the bill is so vague that the ban could be applied to a large majority of firearms.

For several weeks, the mainstream media has been using often-misleading numbers and statistics to question the safety of such legislation.

But they fail to address the most important fact, the only fact that proves consistent throughout history – the problem with gun control is not about safety or guns; it is about control.

While much is to be done about gun violence, guns are only the means. The causes – broken mental health, education systems and rising poverty – are the real issues that must be addressed. So why is the government so quick to limit our Second Amendment rights?

Many opponents of the Second Amendment say it is outdated and flawed. When it was created, there were only muskets that shot one round until they needed to be reloaded. It was created to handle 18th-century national security threats. The country didn’t have the law enforcement that we have in place today.

While these are all valid points, they fail to acknowledge the most important one: our Founding Fathers did not create the Second Amendment to protect American citizens from each other or from foreign nations. Our Founding Fathers understood that we needed to be able to defend ourselves from government.

As President Thomas Jefferson himself explained, the strongest reason for the right to bear arms is to protect against tyranny.

Jefferson and the rest of our Founding Fathers understood that it is in the very nature of government to expand control and limit freedom. In our democratic republic, it is up to the people to keep this progression in check and stop it from moving forward.

In recent years, not only have we allowed this encroachment on our freedoms to happen, at times we have successfully begged for it. Half of the country is doing so right now.

Even if citizens can still own firearms, but the types they can purchase are limited further, this prohibits the people from carrying out the most important purpose of the Second Amendment.

The simple truth is that citizens cannot sufficiently defend themselves from a federal government armed with the most extraordinary firepower in the world with only stripped-down hunting rifles.

While protection from government is the most important aspect of the Second Amendment, it is only the last resort. In order for this to be necessary, our system would have to fail in many ways, and the government would have to grossly overstep its boundaries.

And this couldn’t happen. Right?

In 2011, it was the renewal of the Patriot Act, which allows the government to read your emails, listen to your phone calls and monitor your Internet use. In 2012, it was the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the government to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial.

Now, in 2013, how many more unconstitutional laws will we allow to be passed that further negate our rights, all in the name of “protecting” us?

We as a nation need to start giving the Constitution, which has allowed us to remain the freest nation in the world for more than two centuries, the respect it deserves. We also have to hold our politicians, who have all sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution, to a higher standard.

This is your freedom and it is disappearing, one piece of legislation at a time.

Nick Smith is a junior broadcast and digital journalism major. His column appears weekly. He can been reached at and followed on Twitter at @Nick_X_Smith.


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