By Jerry Modisette


"...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."


Amendment II

"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."

It is a uniquely American concept that Man is endowed by his Creator with unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and Property.

The fundamental principle underlying traditional American philosophy is that Man is of divine origin and his spiritual, or religious nature is of supreme value and importance compared to things material. No other people in all of history ever made this principle the basis of their governmental philosophy. This philosophy asserts that there are moral absolutes: truths, which are binding upon all Individuals at all times under all circumstances.

This concept of Man's spiritual nature excludes any idea of intrusion by government into his spiritual relationships and the anti-moral precept that the end justifies the means. Attempting to do good through force--for instance, through coercion of Man by government, whether or not claimed to be for his own good or for the general welfare is in opposition to this principle.

In connection with the meaning of the right to "Life", the American philosophy defines the common good or general welfare, as being principally the sum of the well being of all individuals full enjoyment of their equal unalienable rights, especially the right to freedom of choice. It is badly served by a sacrifice of any of the rights of any individual--for example, by any subordination of them to Government-over-Man philosophy or system. Hamilton Abert Long stated in his book, The American Ideal of 1776, Any sacrifice of any right of any individual is morally wrong. It is also potentially dangerous to all rights of all individuals and, therefore, threatens the general welfare and the common good, which depend basically upon observance of due respect for the rights of each and every individual. Thus to deprive any Individual of his rights through either government coercion, or by pressures by other Individuals socially, economically, or otherwise--is to victimize potentially every Individual because this sets a precedent which is conducive to later disregard of the rights of all--Individual Liberty's fatal injury."

Endless debate over the intended meaning of the Second Amendment and misguided legislators' attempts at pacifying militant gun control advocates have endangered our American ideals.

Gun Control advocates have tried to shift the meaning of the word Militia, in the Second Amendment, to represent contemporary military forces, when actually the framers of the constitution included this Amendment for the purpose of insuring against usurpation of undelegated powers by the central government, which they felt, should be retained by the States. Militias of the States were intended to be used to oppose any Federal military force employed by possible usurpers.

The debate over the intent of the framers of the Constitution in the Second Amendment should be considered a moot point since they also followed it with a guarantee in the Ninth Amendment.

Amendment IX

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The omission of the word "property" from the Declaration of Independence assuredly did not mean that the signers of the Declaration disapproved of the idea of the right to property being considered a most important right of Man. Quite the contrary is true, as all pertinent historical records amply prove. It is noteworthy that among the signers of the Declaration were some who had been members of the First Continental Congress in 1774; and all the signers undoubtedly shared the then popular support slogan: "Life, Liberty and Property" as the gist of Man's fundamental rights.

Fear of Government-over-Man and providing a means of guaranteeing protection is the main principle of the traditional American philosophy. Since the State Militia, Police and Local Law Enforcement Agencies are no longer effectively protecting Life, Liberty and Property it is imperative that the right of the Individual to provide his own security be safeguarded.

The Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to provide this guarantee and would have for over two centuries served this purpose well, except for past failures of the judicial to rule in opposition to the many unconstitutional laws depriving the Individual of his right to keep and bear arms.

Liberty is defined as God-given rights of the Individual to go and come as he pleases, possess and be secure in the use of private property, to have and freely express opinions.

Are these God-given rights then more important than life? Patrick Henry stated the premise most eloquently as he tried to convince his audience to take up arms and go into the field against the British. "Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me give me Liberty or give me death."

America's citizens have throughout history demonstrated their belief in the ultimate importance of Life, Liberty and Property even at the sacrifice of life. Without their sacrifice we would have already lost these precious privileges to despotic powers outside the country, but a more potentially hazardous threat exists here at home today. The threat is personified in those who support the idea that government should deprive citizens, presumably for their own good, of their right to property, specifically firearms, in their misguided attempt to control violence.

Violence in society is indeed a problem but not one, which can be solved by placing blame on possession of an inanimate object. An act of violence is behavior and responsibility should be placed on the person performing the act. It is poor reasoning to make excuses for criminals' behaviors by blaming society in general, lack of governmental controls or the availability of firearms.

Who would try to deprive you of one of your God-given rights? Recent legislation at the National level, the "Brady Bill", as it is called, restricts the right to freely purchase a handgun for personal defense without a waiting period.

It is a sad comment on our Governments' commitment to constitutional law, when our legislators demonstrate a disrespect for the rights of the individual by sacrificing them for political gain.

Newspaper editorials as well as television programming have moved, in most instances, to support the hysteria that all would be best served if guns were outlawed.

We who are not under the watchful eye of The Secret Service nor protected in fortified mansions are left to fend for ourselves in matters of protection and security. Executive Branch zealots, from their ivory towers, would have us be at the mercy of any and all criminal types. How many times must we suffer muggings, rapping, auto hijacking, and yes even mass killings, as evidenced at Killeen, Texas, before those who are in position to correct the situation act? Ask Dr. Suzanne Gratia Hupp, whose father and mother were killed by the gunman how she felt as she saw him walking through "Luby's", indiscriminately shooting patrons, mostly women. She said--

"I grew up in a house with no guns, my father was not 'Bubba Hunter' uh fact he gave up fishing because he didn't like to clean fish ...OK ... When I grew up and moved out on my own I was given a gun by a friend, for self protection, ...I was taught how to use it and knew how to use it correctly, and I carried it my purse. I lived in the country by myself ...OK ..." "Somewhere along the line I made one of my stupidest decisions... I was afraid that ...if ...somebody caught me with the gun in my purse, I could lose my license to practice, lose my ability to make a living. So I took the gun out of my purse and I left it in my car ...which the laws in my state are kinda wishy- washy on ...and I thought, 'Heck, if I needed it, it's probably going to be when I'm out on the road the middle of nowhere and, you know, my car's broke down or something ..." "Everybody in here knows, I think, what happened in Luby's .. but, in a nutshell ...uh ...ya know, we all think ...and I know you do ...(indicating a committee member), we all think that crime happens when you're walking down a dark alley... I've never been involved in any crimes ...that's never happened in my life ... I was with my parents ...AT NOON, on a bright sunny day, in Luby's, with a hundred and forty other people, OK. In a town that's not a high crime town." "This guy .... drives through the window .... and starts shooting ...This guy has got no history ...nothing." "Well, my father and I immediately put the table up in front of us and we all got down behind it, and I ...ya know your first opinion is this guy robbing this place ...what's the deal ...what's ...what's going on, and then you're realizing that all he's doing is simply shooting people." "As he was working his way toward us, I reached for my purse, thinking ...Hah! ...I've got this son of a gun ... OK? Now, understand, I know what a lot of people think, ...they think, ... 'Oh, my God, then you would have had a gunfight and then more people would have been killed.' Unhunh, no, ...I was down on the floor ...this guy is standing up ...everybody else is down on the floor ...I had a perfect shot at him would have been clear, I had a place to prop my hand ...the guy was not even aware of what we were doing ...I'm not saying that I could have saved anybody in there, but I would have had a chance ...that's all I'm saying is that I would have had a chance ..." "My gun wasn't even in my purse was a hundred feet away in my car!" "My father was saying, 'I gotta do something!, I gotta do something! This guy's going to kill everyone in here!' So I wasn't able to hold him down and when my father thought he had a chance ...he went at the guy! The guy turned, shot him in the chest and my dad went down." "Shortly made the guy change directions and he went off to my left. Shortly after that somebody broke out a window in back and I saw a chance to get out ...I grabbed my mother and tried to get her up ...hoped she was following me ...and I grew wings on my feet. As it turned out, my mother crawled over to my father and stayed with him ...and this ...I'm trying to think of a civil word to use ...this person ...uh ...eventually came around and shot her also ...OK" "Let me make a point here, in case this isn't becoming extremely clear. My state has gun control laws. It did not keep Hennard from coming in and killing everybody! What it did do, was keep me from protecting my family! That's the only thing that cotton pickin' law did! OK! Understand that! That's ...that's so important!"

During self-defense hearings in 1994, Dr. Suzanne Gratia, one of the few survivors of the massacre at Luby's restaurant in Killeen, Texas, told this to anti-gun Congressman Charles Schumer (D-NY):

"The Second Amendment isn't about protecting ourselves against criminals. It's about all of US protecting ourselves from all of YOU."

No doubt this story would have had a much different ending if even one patron in that "Luby's" had been armed and experienced. Chances are that if state laws depriving citizens of the right to carry had been previously eliminated, someone there would have been legally armed and able to stop the slaughter of innocent people.

Deplorable conditions in our present society, including an armed criminal element, demand that those of us who are comfortable with firearms be allowed the privilege of carrying them for self protection. Those who have an unnatural aversion to weapons should also have the right to not carry. I am sure that those of us who do carry would never refuse to help those others whenever their need for protection arises.

The last bastion against the loss of liberty then is the right to self-protection of Life and Property by an individual, and that is best served by responsible citizens maintaining their God-given privilege of freely purchasing, possessing and responsibly using firearms.

It is not only his right to keep and bear arms but his responsibility to protect that privilege. It should be done within the framework of constitutional law that is by voting for those who support this right. The criteria of how intensely they are dedicated to preserving individual rights are of supreme importance.

I have the same fears as those expressed by Patrick Henry at the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788 as he protested with vehemence against the proposed new Constitution's lack of safeguards against governmental abuses, saying:

"Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt."