Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 22, 2013

SCOUT REPORT: The shot heard round the world

By Clinton Gill
Glade Sun editor

CROSSVILLE — The provisions written into the Bill of Rights were not arbitrarily included; rather, the founders were addressing specific conditions they had experienced through the British government's attempt to subjugate the colonies.

During the French and Indian War (1756-1763), England and France battled for domination over the American colonies. The British eventually won, but the cost of the war nearly destroyed their government. As a result, the British began to exploit the colonies, pressing them with more taxes and increasing control over a period of several years, which eventually lead to the Revolution.

By 1774, the British had invested a lot of manpower in the colonies in order to control a population that was becoming increasingly insolent. British merchants were losing huge sums of revenue from looted, spoiled and destroyed goods that had been shipped to the colonies. After the Boston Tea Party, Parliament passed a series of punitive laws known as The Coercive Acts, which were an attempt to bring the colonies back under control. The "Intolerable Acts," as they were known by colonists, stripped Massachusetts of the right to self government and imposed upon several other historic rights.

Thomas Gage was appointed as military governor over Massachusetts and was charged with implementing the Intolerable Acts. Governor Gage outlawed town meetings from taking place more than once a year. Not long afterwards, he received word that an illegal meeting was being held in Salem and dispatched Redcoats to break it up. They were met with 3,000 armed Americans,  and the British retreated.

Gage discovered that implementing British control would be impossible with a well armed populace; he only had 2,000 troops in Boston, which was insufficient considering "everyone in the area aged 16 years or older owned a gun and plenty of gunpowder." Once Parliament was notified of this problem they banned the import of weapons and powder. Further, Gage attempted to confiscate the arms and powder stores that were already in the colonies. On April 19, 1775, British soldiers were dispatched to Concord under orders to seize the colonists' military stores. They were met by American militiamen who turned them away, firing on them all the way back to Boston. By the end of the day, the American Revolution had begun.

For those of you who think the Sandy Hook tragedy is the cause for all of the recent talk of gun control, think again. The president has had gun control on his agenda since day one. In a 1996 survey of independent voters in Illinois, he answered "Yes" when asked if he supported legislation banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns and assault weapons. He has a long history of opposing Second Amendment rights. As his popularity grew, his outspokenness on gun control waned; it was not politically expedient to express his views. He caught flak for missing votes on key legislation, later noting in the Hyde Park Herald: "As those of you who are familiar with my record know, I have consistently made gun control one of my top priorities." Obama's style of governance has always been "plausible deniability."

In the 2008 campaign, Obama emphatically stated "I believe in the Second Amendment. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away...I am not going to take your guns away. So if you want to find an excuse not to vote for me, don’t use that one because it just ain’t true." However, literally within hours after his 2012 win, the administration renewed support for an international treaty drafted by the United Nations that would heavily regulate shotguns, rifles and handguns. A final conference on the Arms Trade Treaty was scheduled for March 2013. Sandy Hook merely sped up the timeline for the gun control debate.

Those who favor Big Government believe the Second Amendment has grown long in the tooth, so to speak. They use tragedy as an opportunity to stand on soap boxes with their pliers ready, saying things like “No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer!” “We need to get weapons of war off the streets!” “[Semi-auto] weapons can shoot down airplanes, they can blow up railroads!” (They can't) “We simply don’t have the time or the manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form!” (In 2010, 44 cases were prosecuted out of 72,600 denied background checks) "40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check!" (The study this claim is based on was conducted in 1997 and sampled 251 people).

These claims are made in order to elicit an emotional response. The easiest way to manipulate people is by preying on their emotions. Never mind the assertions gun grabbers make are irrelevant, flat out lies or just plain stupid; never mind that while firearm ownership has doubled, gun murders are the lowest they have been in 32 years; never mind that you are more likely to be struck by lightning than killed with a so-called “assault rifle,” (incidentally, the “AR” in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite Rifle, not "Assault Rifle." ArmaLite is the company that originally developed the legendary rifle).

The Bill of Rights was specifically written to protect citizens from those who would use the law for their own ambitions. The Obama administration has increased the national debt to dangerous levels and continues to spend with reckless abandonment; they have increased taxes and continue to call for more "increases in revenue;" they continue to expand government influence in our lives; and now they are attempting to ban firearms, ammunition and magazines. "Those who do cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."