FOREWORD: by Gary Conway

The following paper was written by Richard Burgner, an 18 year old friend of a friend. His points are well taken and if other young people will take a lesson from his lead, we may well save the Constitution yet. As We the people sit both blindly and idly by, the rights both granted and recognized by the Constitution are being slowly and deliberately removed. We must take charge of our destiny, for if we do not, it will be chosen for us. Our forefathers gave their lives so that we may have the freedom to choose our own destiny. We owe it to them; we owe it to ourselves; and we owe it to our children to guard and protect the Constitution. We are failing in this responsibility; failing to hand the union over to our children as it was handed over to us is unconscienable. It is not just the right to keep and bear arms, but the numerous clauses of the Constitution that are being rewritten or just flatly ignored. The framers knew the English language and how to use it - their words are clear and there is no need for new interpretations.

These effects are cumulative and as surely as we passively watch, the Constitution will surely become, just another piece of paper. I am ashamed to see what we as a nation of individuals have allowed and are allowing to happen to our great Republic. When the National Anthem is played, I see very few people with their hands on their hearts, and even fewer who know enough of the words to sing along. When the Pledge of Allegiance is said, again, few people with their hands over their hearts reciting the Pledge. This is a visible sign of the epicureamism that will surely destroy us. The stoicism that this country was founded with has all but died. If we as Americans continue on our self-centered path, will we not indeed deserve what a chosen destiny will show us. For those who turn a deaf ear to the screams of pain of a country struggling for its identity; and for those who think that America cannot die, I say this; the Roman Empire lasted for a thousand years, it too, was born of stoicism, turned epicurean, and is now a history of debris and bones.


By Richard Burgner

Personal note to Dr. Harrison: (ed: Richard's Teacher)

This paper has quite a few quotes from historical figures. I hope that as you read it, you will see that they were relevant and important to the flow and substance of the paper. The things these men said were significant in the shaping of my views on the issue of guns, personal security, and freedom. Some of the well known quotes were saved in a master quote file on a friend's word processor, copied from the Internet "public domain" of various firearms rights websites. One final comment. It seems that certain organizations, politicians, and media outlets go to great pains to paint anyone who holds the views contained in this paper as some kind of "right wing gun radical". A quote from a famous historian may shed some light on that shameful practice:

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get
yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days
is to go about repeating the very phrases which our
founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.

-- Charles Austin Beard, American Historian, 1874-1948

The Paper


By Richard Burgner

The results of the ongoing political process in the United States have an effect on every citizen. One area of concern for me is the erosion of rights recognized and protected under the second article of the Bill of Rights. This concern manifests itself in two areas. I am concerned that by the time I am 21, the state will have acted in an unlawful and unconstitutional way to remove those protected rights before I am fully able to exercise them. Additionally, the erosion of this all important right is having an effect in a general way, one that has an effect on all citizens. Stated simply, the weakening or dissolving of the right to keep and bear arms leaves the state unrestrained to chill and violate what civil rights remain to the citizens of this country.

It is my personal responsibility to provide for the protection and security of my person, home, and family. This is a deep concern of mine, in this time when home invasions and carjackings are common. Courts in various jurisdictions, up to and including the Supreme Court, have ruled that local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, agents, and agencies have no legal responsibility to protect my person, home or family. Their protective responsibility is to the community at large. So whose responsibility is it, if not the state's? Mine alone.

The Old Testament speaks to this subject, in the book of Nehemiah. "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."(Nehemiah 4:14) Our nation's first President, George Washington, said it best, "To secure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good."

Some politicians and special interest groups present the argument that guns for defense are actually a hindrance to safety, or that society should be willing to give up the personal security that the firearm represents, in order to establish a "gun free" society, providing safety for all. First, a personal observation. If all guns are removed, then the "equalizing" aspect of the gun is removed. Therefore, the 250 pound man would more easily use his natural size and strength to get what he wants. The same for a man with a big stick. A 105 pound woman in a dark parking lot is in a much better position with an extra 38 ounces of fine Colt steel in 45ACP at hand in her pocketbook when she is faced with a 250 pound attacker, than she would be in a "gun free" society. For those that need more than my opinion, "If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated assaults would have been avoided yearly." (Lott-Mustard Summary).

For those that feel personal security should be sacrificed for some nebulous "social safety", "Some security is essential if freedom is to be preserved, because most men are willing to bear the risk which freedom inevitably involves only so long as that risk is not too great. But while this is a truth of which we must never lose sight, nothing is more fatal than the present fashion among intellectual leaders of extolling security at the expense of freedom. It is essential that we should re-learn frankly to face the fact that freedom can be had only at a price and that as individuals we must be prepared to make severe material sacrifices to preserve our liberty. If we want to retain this, we must regain the conviction on which the rule of liberty in the Anglo-Saxon countries has been based and which Benjamin Franklin expressed in a phrase applicable to us in our lives as individuals no less than as nations: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Hayek/Internet).

The 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. What was the purpose? Some would have us believe it is a state's right to form National Guard units, or only for the militia, and that being a dead issue since the formation of a standing army. Roy Copperud, one of the leading experts in the usage and grammar of the English language, was convinced that the right to keep and bear arms mentioned in the 2nd Amendment was a pre-existant, unconditional, unrestricted right, with the Framers using the militia clause as the reason why it should remain so. Reading the extra-constitutional writings of the Framers, it is clear that they understood the necessity of an armed citizenry to insure checks, balances, and good behavior should the then new born federal government evolve into something beyond what they envisioned in the constitution (Parker).

The following is a sampling of quotes on this subject from great early American citizens. "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect all who approach that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined...The great object is that every man be armed...Everyone who is able may have a gun." (Patrick Henry). "A well regulated militia (is) composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property as individuals, and their rights as freemen." (Josiah Quincy Jr.). "No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against the tyranny of government." (Thomas Jefferson). These quotes should be sufficient to establish the position of these great men.

As mentioned before, some feel the 2nd Amendment is a "dead letter" now that we have a standing army, 60,000 armed federal law enforcement agents, and many more armed local and state police officers. We need to remember that these are armed employees of the state, and are the very reason that the Framers saw the necessity for protecting the citizen's right to keep and bear arms. Please permit another quote that addresses this most eloquently. "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed & constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops." (Webster).

When the government approaches the point where they are the "supreme power", then it is easier for them to "enforce unjust laws". A few short examples. Atlanta police officers dragging Catholic nuns and Baptist Sunday School teachers to the paddy wagons by their hair, because they were peacefully protesting abortion. Federal judges that "throw the book" at citizens participating in peaceful protest against the improper use of the School of the Americas, all for simple trespass and minor defacement of "federal" property. Is "federal" property holy ground? Eureka, California sheriff's deputies that spray pepper gas directly into the eyes and mouths of teenage girls while protesting on environmental issues in a Congressman's office. Federal holy ground. These are examples of "jackbooting". Either the law enforcement actions or the judicial rulings are way out of proportion in response to citizens exercising their right to speak out on a variety of issues that are important to them. When the citizenry is armed, knows their rights and responsibilities acknowledged by the 2nd Amendment, and the government knows it, then they should be more circumspect in their treatment of citizens engaged in dissent, civil protest, and civil disobedience. This is exactly what George Mason meant when he said, "To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

In conclusion, I take a simple position. It is a God given right and responsibility for me to protect my own person, property, and those that I hold dear. Today, the modern firearm, both the handgun and rifle, are the most effective means of carrying out that responsibility. Furthermore, I take the position held by those great men that shaped, formed, and fashioned the original Republic. The means to keep my freedom, and hold in check a government tending toward repression of civil rights, is the constitutionally recognized and protected right to keep and bear arms. I totally repudiate and reject the typical statist position that in a modern society, it is a necessity that firearms are best left in the hands of the government approved professionals. "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." (William Pitt 1783). I reject the concept that the unconstitutional outlawing of firearms is in the best interest of society. "Today, as always, the people, no less than their courts, must remain vigilant to preserve the principles of our Bill of Rights, lest in our desire to be secure we lose our ability to be free." (Chief Justice Earl Warren). As George Orwell once said, "The the symbol of democracy." (Orwell). Personal safety, family security, protection of my property, all are good reasons for me to keep and bear arms. Above all of that, if citizens cannot insure their freedoms against government repression and tyranny, then the ability to protect our lives, loved ones, and hard earned personal property will also disappear.