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[s45] COLUMN: 2nd Amendment Rights Necessary for a Free Society
Start Date: 2/6/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/6/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

Our U.S. federal government has changed dramatically since its creation in 1789. Several of the core principles that guided the Founding Fathers and shaped our democracy are beyond recognition today, specifically the balance of power between the states and Washington.

In 1788, Founding Father James Madison wrote the following words: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite.”

We’ve certainly come a long way from Madison’s intent when he explained the fundamental premise of our new government in the Federalist papers all those years ago. It’s no secret our federal government has been overstepping its bounds and growing at an alarming rate, especially in recent years.  This federal power grab over commerce issues, health-care issues, personal matters and more has encroached on powers that the Founding Fathers intended to reserve for state governments. We, as U.S. citizens, are experiencing exactly what the Founding Fathers feared when a centralized government goes unchecked.

Earlier this month, President Obama announced his proposal to restrict gun ownership. Not only does this infringe on one of our most basic rights as citizens – guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights – but it’s just one more manifestation of Washington overreach.

It’s important to note, though rarely discussed, that the 2nd Amendment is not just about hunting for sport, or the ability to defend yourself and family. It’s an essential pillar to ensuring a free state, and as such, was included in our Bill of Rights. The very purpose of the Bill of Rights – in the words of Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson in 1943 – is “to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.”

The principle of freedom to bear arms was important to the Founding Fathers because they were closer in history to a time without that right. In England in the late 1600s – less than 100 years from when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution – Catholic King James II had taken arms away from Protestants as a means of oppression. The Founding Fathers knew the abuse of power that came with disarming citizens. Today, we’ve forgotten what that looks like.

No one argues that violent crime in our country is not a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where young kids play disturbingly violent video games, Hollywood spends billions to perpetuate horrific imagery, mental illness is on the rise and families are losing their structure and meaning.

In 1789, Founding Father John Adams wrote in a letter, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  And in his farewell address, President George Washington said, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

The problems we see today are what they warned about. The answer isn’t to abuse the Constitution, it’s to improve our culture.

That won’t be done by the government. It must be done by families, churches, charities and local civic groups. The moral fabric of our society may be at risk, but that certainly won’t be solved by handing over our personal freedoms to make way for a more powerful federal government – one that’s further removed and far less accountable to the people it serves.

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Molly Johnson
Phone: 317-234-9133
Email: mjohnson@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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