NASA’s research into our nearest neighbor has revealed that many millions of years ago Mars was a lush, wet planet with a thick atmosphere. Yet today, all that remains is the barren and desolate wasteland with only a toehold of moisture to be found in ice at the poles and in small pockets of ice elsewhere.
Why is a pro liberty, gun rights website talking about Mars?
Because Mars is a parable, an allegory, a metaphor for what can happen to American liberty.
You see, if there was life on Mars millions of years ago, chances are they saw their lush planet with flowing water and forested hills as inviolate from its desolate future. Yet, if the leading theory is to be believed, a powerful solar wind knocked out the magnetic field of Mars. That magnetic field was the barrier and protector of the Martian atmosphere and as such to the surface and the water. The crippling of the magnetic field itself did not make the planet dry up immediately. Rather, it was a slow process, taking a little moisture at a time, drop by drop by drop, until at last…the red planet was a dusty and lifeless desert save for a few pockets of ice that were allowed to remain.
So, what does this have to do with gun rights?
There was a time in America when the 2nd Amendment wasn’t a defense. It was a fact of life that was beyond question. You owned a gun. Yes, sure, for hunting. But also for protection. Be it on the frontiers from American Indians or from the British, the 2nd Amendment was about 20 years old in 1812 when the Brits came back for round 2. It wasn’t as if it was 6 months after the revolution and the government hadn’t gotten around to confiscating all the guns that were used in warfare.
Guns won the west, they linked East and West, and in the hands of the innocent they beat back the desires of evil men in the vast plains. An American and his gun was not questioned or infringed upon in any meaningful way until, like on Mars, one large attack weakened the defense.
That attack came in the 20th Century. For over 120 years the 2nd Amendment was understood to be inviolate. Not to be infringed. Yet, in New York (surprise surprise) the first major bit of gun control was passed in the Sullivan Act.
The Sullivan Act, also known as the Sullivan Law, is a gun control law in New York State. Upon first passage, the Sullivan Act required licenses for New Yorkers to possess firearms small enough to be concealed. Possession of such firearms without a license was a misdemeanor, and carrying them was a felony. The possession or carrying of weapons such as brass knuckles, sandbags, blackjacks, bludgeons or bombs was a felony, as was possessing or carrying a dagger, “dangerous knife” or razor “with intent to use the same unlawfully”. Named for its primary legislative sponsor, state senator Timothy Sullivan, a notoriously corrupt Tammany Hall politician.
Somehow, the idea that a God given right can be allowed to be legislated and only exercised when PERMISSION is granted by an authority’s whim, was allowed to go forward. This is when the metaphorical solar wind crippled the 2nd Amendment.
An inkling of doubt means you have doubt. A drop of oil in water means that their is oil in the water. A little infringement means there is infringement.
And with it’s inviolate status cracked wide open the past century has seen one infringement after another slowly, ever so slowly ebb away from our right to keep and bear arms…drop by drop.
In 1934 FDR brought forward the National Firearms Act.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt hoped this act would eliminate automatic-fire weapons like machine guns from America’s streets. Other firearms such as short-barreled shotguns and rifles, parts of guns like silencers, as well as other “gadget-type” firearms hidden in canes and such were also targeted. All gun sales and gun manufacturers were slapped with a $200 tax (no small amount for Americans mired in the Great Depression; that would be like a tax of $2,525 today) on each firearm, and all buyers were required to fill out paperwork subject to Treasury Dept. approval.
Now Americans must pay for a right and beg for approval with hat in hand. Of course, that didn’t go far enough so Congress went further in 1938 by infringing upon the business of selling firearms.
Congress aimed this law at those involved in selling and shipping firearms through interstate or foreign commerce channels. Anyone involved in the selling of firearms was required to obtain a Federal Firearms License from the Secretary of Commerce ($1 annual fee). They were also required to record the names and addresses of everyone they sold guns.
Not only the right to keep and bear arms but now the rights of commerce and privacy are being evaporated. But once the ball got rolling things began to speed up and more and more of our rights evaporated from us. In 1968 the Gun Control Act was passed.
License requirements were expanded to include more dealers, and more detailed record keeping was expected of them; handgun sales over state lines were restricted
The key element of this bill outlawed mail order sales of rifles and shotguns; Up until this law, mail order consumers only had to sign a statement that they were over 21 years of age for a handgun (18 for rifle or shotgun); it also further restricted shotgun and rifles sales.
The infringements got so big and eroded the 2nd Amendment so much that in 1972 an agency was created to facilitate the decline of freedom. It is known today as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.
In 1990 the Crime Control Act made it illegal to possess a firearm on school property, thus creating the so called “gun free zone”. Not only does that infringe upon the rights of the law abiding but also leaves them defenseless against those who couldn’t care less about such nonsense. The damage such a nonsensical infringement does can be seen in the past 20 years with Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and the like.
Then we have 1994 with the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons ban. After 80 years of the constant assault on liberty the gun controllers finally thought they had the coup de grace that would turn American Liberty into the Martian wasteland they had so longed for.
Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act; imposed, a five-day waiting period and background check before a licensed gun importer, manufacturer or dealer can sell or deliver a handgun to an unlicensed individual. Required a new National Instant Criminal Background Check System, run by the FBI, be ready to replace the waiting period by Nov. 30, 1998. The new background check system will apply to all firearms and will allow checks to be done over the phone or electronically with results returned immediately in most cases.
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act aka the “Assault Weapons Ban”; this bill banned the manufacture, possession and importation of new semiautomatic assault wepaons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices for civilian use. Criteria for semiautomatic assault weapons that fall under the ban are provided as well as a list of 19 specific firearms. Prohibits juveniles from possessing or selling handguns and directs the attorney general to evaluate proposed and existing state juvenile gun laws.
Imagine telling our Founding Fathers that one day, the Congress and President would pass a law that would OUTLAW the citizenry from having weapons that could defeat a tyrannical government. Denied the firearms that a common soldier would have. I’ve no doubt they would be appalled that such a notion would ever come to pass in country were the citizenry used the equivalent to assault rifles to win Independence from a tyrant in the first place.
After 1994, many people thought that the right to keep and bear arms would be limited, much like the water on Mars, to small pockets of American society. Namely hunters and ex-police officers.
Yet this is where the analogy breaks off. In America, we don’t like having our rights become desolate and lifeless. We don’t like being infringed and having our liberty evaporate. It may have been getting dryer for a long time but finally we have awoken and have called for the rain.
That is why Obama has, so far, failed to pass any real gun control measures while President. That doesn’t mean he won’t try an end around by Executive Order or sneakily via treaty.
But if we forget the vibrant, liberty and freedom filled past that our country once enjoyed, if we allow the evaporation of our rights to continue, we need only look up at the little red dot in the sky to see where our country will end up.
I for one do not want to live on a lifeless and desolate planet. I say, let it rain.
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