-By Warner Todd Huston
Unlike the U.S., Canada does not have the right of self-protection enshrined in its laws. Where we Americans have the coverage of the Second Amendment to protect our God-given right to self-protection, the Canadians have to rely on the occasional good nature of their overlords in government to determine how their right to own a firearm is treated. Sadly, their ownership of firearms is usually mistreated rather than upheld.
A writer for the Toronto Star wrote an article recently that showed the capriciousness of government thugs where it concerns privately owned firearms in Canada. Joe Fiorito had a retinue of Toronto’s finest stormtroopers come beating on his door one day this month to confiscate his old rifle because the columnist had the temerity of forgetting to re-up his registration of a disassembled, 30-year-old, small caliber bird gun.
Involved were multiple police cars, half a dozen officers, judge’s warrants. All sorts of iron, jack-booted automatons of the state came down on Mr. Fioritto. It was as if he were public enemy no. 1. All of this over a beat up old rifle that was disassembled, locked in a basement, and stored in a house in which no ammunition existed.
You might laugh at this absurd overreach. It might amuse you that all these thousands of Canadian dollars in state funded policing assets were wasted for this practically useless old rifle in the possession of an obviously unassuming and powerless citizen. You might utter a guffaw at the Canadian’s follies.
But be forewarned: Canada is but one step ahead the U.S.A. if the American left has by hook or crook gotten its way and outlawed our Constitutional rights.
Mr. Fiorito calls himself a “social democrat who wears his bleeding heart on his sleeve,” and one that agrees with the Toronto gun registry… or at least used to. He says he agrees that no one but cops should be allowed to have handguns or “military-style weapons.” But what threat, he wonders, did his little bird gun present to society?
I am and have been a supporter of the gun registry but now I’m not so sure, not when ownership of a two-bit little bird gun – legally acquired, lawfully used and stored in pieces in a trunk for the past 30 years – is sufficient reason for three cops to come to my door and snatch it, after threatening me with a search warrant.
Look, I registered the damn thing. I simply neglected to renew. A sin of omission?
Send in the troops.
Fiorito then reported that even days afterward the Toronto police were seen in cars idling in front of his house. What a waste of government resources not to mention an outrage against this man’s god-given rights.
This incident shows the idiocy of government, the penchant for stormtrooper tactics by its police/military arm, and government’s outright inability to consider a citizen as anything other than a dangerous threat. And these facts, the way that an all powerful government that doesn’t have to fear its citizens treats those same citizens, is precisely why America’s Founders enshrined our rights to self protection in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States. The founders weren’t nearly as worried about thieves and marauders as they were of an out of control government.
The founders did not invent this right out of their over-ripe imagination, either. There was an awful lot of precedent for it. A book called Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws (1765) was a huge influence on the founders and this is what it said on arms ownership: “The right of the citizens that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense.” And ” This is the natural right of resistance and self-preservation when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain violence of oppression” and again “To vindicate these rights when actually violated or attacked, the citizens are entitled … to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense.” This warning by Blackstone was born of thousands of years of government abuse of citizens.
With our founder’s heavy use of Blackstone’s Commentaries, it is clear that what the founders had in mind was that self-preservation and defense was a natural right to be protected by the laws and the Constitution. And historically what did people have to fear at least as much as criminals? Government.
James Wilson was one of only 6 founders who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, he was a great Jurist, and was one of the first members of the Supreme Court appointed to that body by George Washington. He spoke on the floor of the Constitutional Convention 168 times and was one of the most active politicians of his day.
Mr. Wilson taught his laws students that the rights secured by the Constitution did not create new rights, but simply reaffirmed old ones. He said that our own documents were made, “to aquire a new security for the possession or the recovery of those rights to… which we were previously entitled by the immediate gift or by the unerring law of our all-wise and all-beneficent Creator.” Thomas Jefferson similarly viewed our Constitution and principles, saying: “Government is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties and to take none of them from us.” For his part John Adams stated that, “Rights are antecedent to all earthly government; Rights … cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; Rights are derived from the great Legislator of the universe.”
As far as our founders were concerned, the right to protect one’s self was God given. What God bestows let no man tear asunder.
Here are some other quotes about firearms uttered by our founders specifically now that we have the principles of self-preservation established:
- “The right … of bearing arms… is declared to be inherent in the people.” Fisher Ames, one of the framers of the 2nd Amendment in the first congress
- “The great object is that every man be armed … Every one who is able may have a gun. But have we not learned by experience that, necessary as it is to have arms, … it is still far from being the case?” Patrick Henry
- “And what country can preserve its liberties if its rules are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” Thomas Jefferson
- “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them” Richard Henry Lee
- “The advantage of being armed is an advantage which the Americans posses over the people of almost every other nation … the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” James Madison
- “A free people ought … to be armed.” George Washington
And now, what is the militia? Try these quotes:
- “The militia are the people at large.” Tench Coxe Atty Gen. of Penn. and Asst. Sec of Treasury under Washington
- “Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.” George Mason
- “The militia is composed of free citizens.” Samuel Adams
- “A militia… are in fact the people themselves.” Richard Henry Lee
And who is this militia? The first federal law passed concerning just who a militia member might be, the Militia Act of 1792, states that the “militia of the United States” consists of every adult male in the country. Under that act each adult male was required by the law to possess a firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition. In fact, the current law still states, “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 and under 45 years of age.” -United States code, title 10 par., 311(a)
Lastly you can check most of the early states and see that they went even further in delineating that firearms should be owned by individual citizens of the states. But that is another, longer, discussion.
So, what the heck does this all mean? Well, to be blunt, the founders would surely have agreed that American citizens should be expected to defend themselves against the sort of government thugs that pounded on columnist Fiorito’s door. Yes, you read that right. There is no gentle way to put it, no softer way to massage the essential truth that the founders would themselves have been up in arms if some government official had imagined he had the power to confiscate their firearms. In fact, they did. We now call it the Battle of Lexington and Concord, one of the earliest engagements of our Revolutionary War. The colonists, our founders, took up arms to prevent British authorities from confiscating their firearms and gunpowder.
The final conclusion is that no patriotic American citizen should meekly hand over his firearm to the government (unless he’s abdicated his rights by becoming a criminal). Unfortunately, if the anti-American left has its way the United States of America will emulate Canada and become meek, powerless, subjects of an all powerful, uncaring, illicit government.
Don’t let it happen. Be vigilant.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, TheRealityCheck.org, RedState.com, Human Events Magazine, AmericanDailyReview.com, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for RedCounty.com.
He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston
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