by Sen. Doug Whitsett
According to our constitutions, each American citizen possesses the unconditional, guaranteed right to own, keep and bear firearms.
The Second Amendment to the Unites States Constitution reads: “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.”
“Shall not be infringed” has clear meaning. It means no government shall encroach upon, interfere with, violate, disobey or disregarded the constitutionally guaranteed right of a citizen to own and bear firearms.
Article I, Section 27 of the Oregon Constitution is even more specific: “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, and the State…..”
Both of these declarations, of our constitutional rights, are explicit and unambiguous. They are also prescient.
Virtually every mass shooting in the United States, during the past 25 years, has occurred in a gun-free zone. Whether in a school, a government building, a military base or a night club, those areas were each gun free, because politicians passed laws infringing on their constituents’ constitutional right to carry a firearm to defend themselves in those zones.
When confronted with determined killers possessing firearms, those laws have consistently resulted in killing zones rather than safe zones. No one can rationally deny that these deranged killers have sought out gun-free zones for their carnage. The history speaks for itself.
Moreover, every despotic regime in modern history was initiated by first disarming its people. The common pretext is to create a safer society. Once the people have succumbed to the ruse, they are helpless to defend their freedom.
Nevertheless, in the aftermath of the religiously motivated terrorist attack in Orlando, pundits and politicians are once again attempting to convince our citizens that they must disarm in order to be safe from such attacks. We should never forget the folks in that nightclub were totally vulnerable only because they allowed themselves to be disarmed.
The American Lexicographer Noah Webster observed: “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”
Also, the British statesman Edmund Burke wrote “The people never give up their liberties, but under some delusion.”
So too, Ben Franklin reflected: “They that give up essential liberty, to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Those statements remain as true today as they were when made during the 1780s. No citizen can ever be free without the means to defend themselves and their families. To give up that means of defense against the aggressive acts of others, or of government tyrants, under any pretense, represents an open invitation to subjugation and tyranny.
Unfortunately, too many among our state and national political leaders mean to be our masters. From their votes and statements yesterday, our president, our governor and both of Oregon’s U.S. Senators appear to believe that in order to be safe from terrorism, we must give up certain of our rights to defend ourselves against extremists and religious fanatics. They do not appear to comprehend that disarming the vulnerable only makes it safer for terrorists.
Our response to any effort to disarm us today should be no different than the answers of our nation’s founders.
Senator Doug Whitsett is the Republican state senator representing Senate District 28 – Klamath Falls