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In Defense of the Second Amendment

Written by Gary North on December 24, 2012

Gary North’s Remnant Review

I want to go over in considerable detail the fundamental issues of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution: the right to keep and bear arms.

There is a great deal of emotional commitment in the United States to one of two extreme positions: (1) the right of every non-felon adult citizen of the United States to own any weapon he chooses, and (2) the right of the government of the United States to outlaw the ownership of firearms.

I am hard core. I would extend this right to convicted felons who have served their time or have made restitution to their victims. I would not let the federal government revoke this fundamental right of citizenship.

To understand the Second Amendment, we need to go back to something like the beginning.


In English common law in medieval times, meaning as late as the 13th century, the feudal legal system limited ownership of military weapons to members of the knightly class, and those classes over the knights. In other words, the ownership of weapons had to do with legal status.

The common man, meaning a peasant, could not be called into military service. Military service was a matter of inheritance of land and status, and this inheritance mandated military training, which created a military mindset. Thus, the weapons associated with this class, which were also a matter of social status, were not to be shared with the peasantry. This placed the peasantry at an obvious disadvantage in terms of military power. It also extended to political power. They had little political power. They were represented mainly by priests.

One of the marks of the knightly class was the right to wear armor. Armor was heavy. So, a peasant who had a simple walking staff was in a position to knock a knight off his horse. A knight in shining armor who was lying on the ground could not get up by himself. He was defenseless. So, the fact that a peasant was not allowed to carry a sword, or a bow and arrow, did not necessarily place him at a complete disadvantage, one-on-one, when dealing with a knight on horseback. It all depended on the tactics of surprise. The knight who was not expecting to be knocked off his horse might be at a disadvantage.

Early on, peasants learned how to use walking sticks as weapons. Peasants could not be deprived of their walking sticks. So, they retained a degree of power which was not legally associated with their class. The movie scene of Robin Hood, an outlaw from the knightly class, battling Little John on a log over a stream was unlikely. Little John would easily have killed him. Knights were not trained in the use of staffs.

Anyone who possessed expensive weapons began with a competitive advantage in the use of power. The knightly class was careful to guard its legal rights. Magna Carta was a document created by the barons to defend their rights against the king. These rights were jealously guarded both against intrusions of power from below, as well as any intrusions from above. It was part of a hierarchical social and legal social order.

There is no question that, under most circumstances, the knightly class could deal with the peasants in the field of military battle. There were peasant rebellions from time to time. But, over the centuries, the knightly class did prevail against attempts by the peasants to overturn the legal status of the knightly class.

One of the advantages of this system was that civilians, meaning peasants and the people who lived in towns, were to be left alone by the warriors. They were not to be slaughtered in a military confrontation. Warriors were to do battle with other warriors. Warriors were not to use the specialized implements of warfare against civilians. This was a good arrangement for civilians.


Gunpowder signaled the end of feudalism. It did not cause this decline, but it accompanied it. Armies became professional. Mercenaries appeared. Legal access to weapons was no longer based on birth and legal status. With the demise of the feudal order after the 14th century, and the rise of professional armies, which were funded by taxation rather than by a grant of land by the king to specific families, access to military training became available to common men. The more that the armies depended upon conscription, or payment by the central government, the greater the demands for the right to vote by the lower classes.

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12 thoughts on “In Defense of the Second Amendment

  1. To promote the Second Amendment is to promote gun control:

    "…The Bible knows nothing of rights, only responsibilities. Rights are easily licensed and limited (consider what has occurred with the Second Amendment since its adoption by the States). Responsibilities remain unchanged, regardless what the government says or does:

    'But if any provide not for his own [including protection], and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.' (1 Timothy 5:8)

    "We don’t need the Second Amendment (which merely recognizes a right) when we have Psalm 149 (which charges us with a responsibility):

    'Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword [or today’s equivalent] in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye Yah.' (Psalm 149:6-9)

    "Implicit in this Psalm is that only the righteous are to be armed. However, since the Second Amendment was added to the Bill of Rights, the 'right' to bear arms in defense of ourselves, our families, and neighbors has been incrementally taken away from the unrighteous and righteous alike. The Second Amendment has actually facilitated gun control, including gun-free zones such as Sandy Hook Elementary School…."

    Excerpted from "Newtown’s Massacre, Today’s Cultural Abyss, and Gun-Free Zones" at http://www.constitutionmythbusters.org/newtowns-m….

  2. Gary North consistently takes positions that are hostile to common sense. We have seen, over the past decades, many movements pushed by govt operatives which are hostile to Americans and diametrically opposed to our philosophical tradition. Nevertheless, they have successfully banned prayer and God from the public square, forced legalization of abortion on demand, created law to require govt approved "healthcare", and countless other infringements of our individual liberties. Mr. North is out of touch with reality if he is unwilling to see the threat to our right to Constitutionally guaranteed self-protection. As Ayn Rand correctly observed, govt is motivated to make every man a criminal, because criminals have NO rights. Therefore the act of making gun ownership illegal carries its own benefit to the totalitarians.

  3. Those who appreciate and respect our second amendment are now compelled to deal with the willful ignorance of an increasingly disloyal opposition. Even the mayor of New York has uttered total falsehoods in an attempt to discredit firearms owners, and has publicly disrespected us. My wife and I shall never visit or spend a dime in New York City.

  4. David Hodges says:

    The Second Amendment is like permission from an older sibling to do what is already authorized by one's parent. It is meaningless, except for the purpose of usurping legitimate authority. My ancestors had the Biblical responsibility, according to Luke 22: 36, to bear arms long before "Big Brother" gave us the Second Amendment. If you are a Constitutionalist (or a prostitutionalist–whatever you want to call yourself for whoring after other gods), be ready to turn your guns in as soon as the Second Amendment slips away. As for me and my house, we'll keep our fingers on the triggers.

  5. Unfortunately, as Christians seeking a new Christian domain, persecution will follow and we can expect them in the coming days. Stand for God and you will never fall.

  6. 2WarAbnVet says:

    Since the invention of firearms every wanna-be tyrant or despot has attempted to deny or restrict them to those they wanted to subjugate or control. The Founding Fathers were perfectly aware of this, and wrote the Second Amendment as a guarantee that citizens could protect themselves against government tyranny: Here’s a bit of their reasoning:

    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “… to disarm the people is the most effective way to enslave them…” – George Mason

    "Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense." – John Adams

    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence." – George Washington

  7. From complete article,"_____I believe that individual citizens are sovereign, not because of a grant of authority by the state, but because of a grant of authority by God. The state therefore does not have the right to confiscate the firearms of the people, precisely because the state did not make the original grant of sovereignty to the people.[Agreed] ____Firearms are marks of political sovereignty. They should be defended on this basis, not on the basis of some hypothetical revolution, which is not going to take place. I am saying that such a revolution is not necessary, precisely because the people do possess the right to keep and bear arms. They need not take up arms against the government, precisely because they already possess the arms.______"

    Not sure how to take this last paragraph. Are we to believe that the state will not attempt to confiscate arms because it does not have the right? Considering history (including that of our own government) I would say that this is a non-sequitur. I may not have understood, but it doesn't seem logical.

  8. To clarify the second amendment the Supreme court MUST RE-READ the Declaration of INDEPENDENCE, REVIEW THE ACTIONS OF King George in prohibiting the importation of guns to the Colonies and the confiscation of guns by his soldiers with the INTENT of preventing any resistance to his UNJUST laws conceived to deny REPRESENTATION of the Colonies in their causes for JUSTICE before the King.

    The Second Amendment was INTENDED to prevent any government,including our own, from denying our God Given RIGHT to resist,CHANGE,or ABOLISH a CORRUPT and UNJUST Government even if it meant using FORCE and that that FORCE must be EQUAL to any force possessed by the offending government. In the case of the American Revolution the FORCE was GUNS. The use of the term ARMS was intended to mean ALL existing weapons not just GUNS. That shows how intent the Founding Fathers were about NOT being CONTROLLED or DENIED their RIGHTS endowed by their CREATOR of Life,Liberty,and the Pursuit of Happiness.

  9. I am of the same thinking about your position on Gary North. I think it is a little extreme to give back full rights to all felons. That is one thing about committing a felony, you are to lose something. You lose your right to vote and to possess a firearm. I do have reservations about some nonviolent felonies. There are people charge with tresspassing that doesn't make them much of a threat.

    For the most part, felons don't make restitution to their victims. They spend time in prison, but do nothing to repair the damage they have done to their victims. Most don't care and will do the same thing again when released. If the criminals actually had to work to pay the victims back for the damages they had done to their victims when released from prison, I would say they made restitution.

    I can't see why you would allow a violent felon the opportunity to go right back out and start a possible killing rampage. The purpose in denying criminals rights is to deter them from going back to the same type life that sent them to prison.

  10. I agree, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is an Inherent and Inalienable Right and is not dependent upon the Constitution or the Government for it's existence!
    Neither the Constitution nor the government created by the Constitution have any Authority to Grant, Confer or Bestow any Rights upon an Individual Sovereign American!
    In fact it is We, the Individual Sovereign Americans who through the Constitution Grant certain Rights which are enumerated within the Constitution to the government to act on our behalf

    Today, many crimes that are now considered felonies were nothing but misdemeanors yesterday and many people have been convicted of a felony simply because they could not afford to properly defend themselves againt a government with unlimited resources, but regardless, once an individual has paid his Debt to Society all Rights should be restored!

  11. During WW II, the generals who ran the Japanese Government wanted to attack the US expecting the US to simply surrender. Admiral Yamamoto, who was educated in the US (Ivy League), argued against the generals. Yamamoto told the generals that they did not understand the American People. Yamamoto told them that to conquer the US, Japan would have to land in the West coast and fight for every foot of land all the way across the continent to Washington, DC. Yamamoto also understood that many Americans were armed and prepared to defend their country with their lives.

    The Japanese Generals did not take the advice of Admiral Yamamoto. They did attach the US at Pearl Harbor, the Philippines and other military installations in the Pacific. Admiral Yamamoto must have hoped to survive until Japan was defeated, but he died in the Pacific, knowing that his country had picked a fight that they could not win.

    Why could they not win? Because American citizens have guns and would defend their country.