they can, as a last resort, and withoutnthe consent of Congress, call forth thenarmed citizenry as a militia to defendnlife, liberty, and property.nMany Americans seem to have forgottennthat they were given the right to keepnand bear arms by the Second Amendmentnexpressly for the purpose of defendingnthemselves and their propertynfrom lawlessness and tyranny. Huntingnand “sport shooting” are inconsequentialncompared to self-protection. CertainlynAmericans are threatened by street crimenand random violence from below; but bynfar the greatest threat to life, liberty, andnproperty comes from above—from a rapaciousnnational government that increasinglynstrikes against the law-abidingnwhile ignoring the real criminals (includingnmany of its own employees). ThenBrady Law, the banning of some 180 assaultnweapons and high-capacity clips,nthreatens to impose excessive taxes onnammunition, and further attempts tonabridge Second Amendment rights innthe name of fighting crime or other socialnmaladies should make us consider annimportant question: What is the sourcenof the central government’s “right” tondesignate what types of arms a law-abidingnprivate citizen may “keep and bear”?nSince the end of Reconstruction, thenijjr’^’^W”^-“•”””?>” •>”• “‘•’ ••’• 7″nI THEnMARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.,nPLAGIARISM STORYnEdited by THEODORE PAPPASnA publication of ThenRockford Institute.n107 pages (paper). Only $10 (shippingnand handling chaige included).nTO ORDER BY CREDIT CARD,nCALL:n1-800-383-0680nOR SEND CHECK OR MONEY OR­nDER (MADE PAYABLE TO THE •nROCKFORD INSTITUTE) TO:n46/CHRONICLESnKing Book.n934 North Main Street,nRockford, XL 61103nfederal courts have issued four major decisionsninvolving the Second Amendmentnright to keep and bear arms. Inn[J.S. V. Cruickshank (1876), the SupremenCourt held that Congress had no powernto regulate the states or the citizensnthereof in regard to the? possession andnuse of firearms. In Pfesser v. Illinoisn(1886), the Court ruled that a state cannotndisarm its citizens to the point thatnthey are unable to function as a militianunder congressional order for purposes ofnnational security. Thus, neither of thesenlate 19th-century decisions enhancednstate or federal authority to abrogate thenSecond Amendment rights of Americanncitizens. Two rulings in the present century,nhowever, have subverted the SecondnAmendment: U.S. v. Miller (1939)nand U.S. v. Warin (1976). The Millerncase, by upholding Big Daddy Roosevelt’snNational Firearms Act of 1934n(which placed certain weapons, especiallynrifles and shotguns with barrels shorternthan 18 inches, under federal regulation),ngave the centra! government powernto decide what weapons are appropriatenfor state militias, and by implication,nwhat weapons are illegal for citizens tonown. The right to keep and bear armsnhad now been infringed by Congress.nBuilding on precedent set by the Millerndecision, the sixth circuit court ruled innthe Warin case to uphold the Cun ControlnAct of 1968. That act, at least in thenopinion of the ruling elites, destroyednonce and for all the Second Amendmentnrights of individuals by making thenpossession and use of arms a collectivenright that applies only to members ofn”active” state militias. Moreover, thenWarin decision acknowledged the powernof Congress to regulate arms nationwide,nthe states’ authority under the TenthnAmendment notwithstanding.nThe present Congress points to suchndecisions to defend the Brady Law andnFeinstein-Schumer assault weaponsnban, but the federal courts are clearlynwrong in their ruling on the SecondnAmendment. Congress still has no rightnunder the Constitution to determinenwhat arms the American people maynkeep and bear. Many liberals and mainstreamnconservatives argue that Congressnmust have control over gun ownershipnlest “gun nuts” of all stripes brandish machinenguns, rocket launchers, mortars,ngrenades, and various sorts of even heaviernhardware, making life unsafe for thenpoor thugs and deadbeats of Phoenixnas well as Janet Reno’s baby-burners.nnnPerhaps some wild-eyed Branch Davidianntypes would manage to lay theirnhands on tactical or strategic nukes andnunleash Armageddon on the Potomac.nEver mindful of such possibilities, our esteemednSolons must make the nationnsafe for democracy by declaring from onnhigh what sorts of weapons we citizensnmay possess. But look for a moment atnhistory and consider what would havenbeen our fate had the British, in thenname of public safety, succeeded in regulatingnAmerican arms prior to Lexingtonnand Concord. Had the patriots whonstood their ground against CeneralnThomas Cage’s Redcoats been restrictednto “keeping and bearing” blunderbussesnas opposed to state-of-the-art “BrownnBess”-style muskets and Kentucky andnPennsylvania long rifles, then we mightnstill be subjects of the Empire. Thenpoint is that if citizens have firepowerncomparable to their government’s, thennthat government is less likely to turnntyrannical.nThe development of sophisticatednmilitary technologies that are beyondnthe ability of the average American tonpurchase and maintain certainly hasnchanged the firepower equation betweennthe citizen and his government. UntilnWorid War I and the introduction of thenairplane and tank, our forebears had littlentrouble acquiring and learning to use andnmaintain most of the advanced weaponsnsystems of the day (perhaps exceptingnDreadnought battleships). But the increasedncomplexity and destructivenessnof armaments and the subsequent monopolizationnof the means of violencenby the state has put the citizen at a greatndisadvantage. Facing Leviathan againstnsuch odds is a daunting prospect.nSo what is the answer? If Americansnhad guts, they would tell the courts to gonto hell, take back their Second Amendmentnrights to arm themselves, and organizen”well-regulated Militia” state bynstate. Liberals never tire of pointing outnthat the 20th-century equivalent to anmilitia is the National Guard (which ofncourse can be federalized). This simplynis not SO; the traditional meaning of anmilitia is all males aged 16 to 60 acting inndefense of their states and local communitiesnagainst whatever threat may presentnitself. Since we are charged by thenConstitution with defending ourselves innan organized, private fashion, then whyncannot we (like the nation’s armed services)nobtain the most effective weaponsnfor that vital task?n