As stronger sentiment concerning gun control mounts on the American streets, Glenn Beck invited renown historian and Wallbuilders founder David Barton on his Tuesday evening program to provide viewers with a comprehensive overview of the Second Amendment as a foundation for liberty and freedom.
Beck was compelled to provide this in-depth look after 19 potential executive actions were identified to move the Obama administration forward with new gun control measures. Those measures include but are not limited to: requiring mental health screenings of both the buyer and seller; banning military-style “assault” weapons and high-capacity magazines; issuing a statute prohibiting gun trafficking; and an “end” to the “hobbling of federal agencies.”
“This is not about preventing mass-murders it is about eliminating your right to bear arms,” Beck slammed. “This administration will never waste a good emergency.”
“Americans need to know where the Second Amendment even comes from…The history of our ‘why and how,’ and how it has shaped our foundation of freedom.”
A glance back in time
Barton, who has an extensive knowledge-base in American history, said that the Second Amendment is truly about a “certain set of principles.” He added that people should not separate the Second Amendment from other amendments, particularly the first five, as they are all aligned and part of one larger concept of protection of one’s self, religion and property. In other words “unalienable rights.”
The Founding Fathers, according to Barton, believed that God gave these rights to mankind and that no government could take them away.
“That is why our government is different,” he explained, “other world governments trampled peoples rights… the idea was to prevent the government from ever trampling our rights.” He added that unlike any country in Europe, Americans insisted the government could not touch what God had given them.
The Founders also used the philosophy term “laws of nature and nature is God,” which Barton informed is contained in Blackstone’s commentary on the law. The idea is that certain things come to one from nature, such as the deep-seated biological mechanism of self-defense. The historian also noted that James Wilson, a signer of both the Constitution and Declaration of Independence noted that the law of nature is to defend oneself, and that — through the castle doctrine — a private citizen failing to defend his home or family — even with deadly force — would be considered negligence.
As the interview continued, Barton went on to explain how different the times were at America’s founding, and that citizens could even penalized for not carrying a gun. The topic then veered to the lawless days of the Wild West, its religious revival and the role of Texas Rangers in enforcing the law.
In addition, Barton addressed the founding of the NRA. While some like to demonize pro-Second Amendment group and even call it prejudiced, it turns out the powerful group was in fact started by two Union generals in 1871 as a means to driving out the Ku Klux Klan and ensuring that blacks, who although then-free were not allowed means with which to defend themselves — could in fact legally own a gun.
Barton also noted that even after the Whiskey and Shays rebellions, and even the assassinations of Lincoln Garfield and McKinley, calls for gun bans never came into play. In fact, the times even bolstered the Second Amendment.
It was not until the aftermath of Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King’s assassination that then President Lyndon B. Johnson sought stricter gun control. Ironically, said Barton, President Reagan — although having survived an assassination attempt himself — was very much an adherent to the Second Amendment and opposed then assistant and White House Press Secretary Jim Brady’s bill.
Psychology professor Warren Throckmorton, a scholar who has challenged some of Barton’s facts in the past, took note of Barton’s assertion, however, revealing that Reagan actually favored the Brady bill. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Reagan wrote:
This level of violence must be stopped. Sarah and Jim Brady are working hard to do that, and I say more power to them. If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land.
Reagan, while a proponent of the Second Amendment, had a more moderate view on gun control, revealing that people’s views on the issue, irrespective of political leaning, is as multi-layered as the types of legislations that have been brought to bear concerning the matter. For deeper insight into the Gipper’s views on gun control, please visit TheBlaze’s in-depth article here.
When asked how American citizens should react if government were to seek to claim their arms, Barton said that there is a host of lawyers working bro-bono to step in and help protect citizens’ gun rights.
This post has been updated with additional views on Reagan and the Brady Bill from Warren Throckmorton.