Right to bear arms an essential freedom

Jeremiah Van Doran

On Nov. 8, voters in San Francisco passed a referendum titled, Proposition H. The new law bans the manufacture, distribution, sale and transfer of firearms and ammunition within San Francisco. The law also bans the possession of all handguns within city limits. Proposition H was passed in direct violation of California’s preemption statute, which outlaws local governments from constructing patchwork gun control zones, and is in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Proposition H was opposed by the San Francisco Police Officers Association as well as “Pink Pistols,” a homosexual group in San Francisco, along with many others.

?The pressing issue here, however, is not the legality of the law, but the underlying mentality of those who have disarmed the citizenry. Thomas Jefferson once said of an armed public, “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

?Virtually all of our founding fathers shared these sentiments, and coming from a time where freedom was the exception, rather than the rule, it should not come as a surprise. But how does this figure into today’s world?

?During the months leading up to the war in Iraq, San Francisco was the place to be for peace protests and every kind of rally that dots the leftist spectrum. What seemed most ironic, however, was the repeated caricature of President Bush as Hitler and the persistent condemnation of the U.S. Government as “fascist.” Knowing what I do about Leo Strauss, the intellectual father of the neo-conservative movement, I am not inclined to disregard their claims. But if the people of San Francisco truly feel this way, is disarming really the best response? Surely they know history shows little mercy to a disarmed society.

?According to Death by Gun Control by Aaron Zelman and Richard W. Stevens, the Soviet Union established gun control in 1926, and from 1929 to 1945, twenty million unarmed dissidents were slain. Germany established gun control in 1928. From 1933 to 1945, thirteen million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill and others were slain. Didn’t you ever wonder why they were so easily loaded into the train cars? Didn’t you ever wonder why they didn’t fight back? Didn’t you ever wonder why they didn’t, in a spirit of resistance, take up arms and fight back?

?The list doesn’t end there. One and one half million Armenians in Turkey from 1915 to 1917, 20 million Chinese from 1949 to 1987, 100,000 Mayan Indians in Guatemala from 1964 to 1981, 300,000 “political opponents” in Uganda from 1971 to 1979, and two million Cambodians from 1975 to 1977 were all disarmed and were all murdered wholesale-men, women and children-by their governments. Keep in mind many of these societies were once widely regarded as civilized and humane. The depravity of human nature knows no borders.

?If history has taught us anything, it is this: given the opportunity and the motivation, the strong will destroy the weak. Some believe our government already has the motivation – are we really willing to give them the opportunity? Which one comes first? Germans gave up their arms freely in 1928, believing that their government didn’t have the motivation. Freedom is a rare and precious gift, so we should never lull ourselves into thinking “it could never happen here.”

?My advice to the minority population of San Francisco who voted against Proposition H is the same as it would be to any other population in the world – take Thomas Jefferson’s advice. Preserve your spirit of resistance, take up arms, and when they come for your guns, give them the ammo first. History has taught us this much.