A bill sponsored by S.C. Sen. Tom Corbin seeks to classify most able-bodied citizens over 17 as members of an unorganized militia to protect them from any new federal gun laws. This bill is similar to others introduced throughout the country that attempt to support and strengthen the Second Amendment in the face of threats to our right to keep and bear arms.
Words have meaning, yet meaning can change over the span of time. For instance, “life, liberty and happiness.” “Happiness” did not mean smile and be joyful when it was written. It meant the pursuit of worldly goods such as land, a house, farm animals and whatever the common man desired. Similarly, the meanings of "militia" and "well-regulated" have changed. In colonial days, the militia was an association of like-minded neighbors who banded together for self- and national protection. There was no police department, and the Founding Fathers had disdain for a standing army, so the militia was the defense.
The groups of militia were of varied backgrounds, had little or no training, and more importantly carried different types of firearms of different calibers. The Founding Fathers merely wished that the militia would become more organized or “well-regulated.” They wanted that the rifle of a fallen militia member could be grabbed by the person next to him who would be able to fire it because he used the same caliber ammo. Sen. Corbin properly understands the Second Amendment.
Columnist Brian Hicks piggy-backed his March 28 commentary on a theme brought out in a recent letter to the editor. He jumped on the anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment wave that is popular with some left-wing progressive Democrats. He also has trouble with the Founding Fathers' vocabulary and their insistence on precise wording. The words “shall not be infringed” are simple and easy to understand. Neither he nor state Sen. Marlon Kimpson understands that the Second Amendment as well as the First Amendment are accepted as universal rights of the people throughout the ages. These are not government-given rights but rather God-given.
As with the “militia” bill, the open-carry gun bill seeks to protect and restore the Second Amendment. South Carolina is one of only five states that do not allow some form of open carry of firearms. Nearly 20 states have constitutional carry laws (no permit or license required) with more in the pipeline.
A total of 44 states allow open carry of long guns, otherwise known as rifles and usually including those identified by the misnomer “assault rifle." More people are killed with knives than rifles. Five of the safest states in the nation allow open carry, and it is well-documented that permitted gun owners are among the most law-abiding group, easily surpassing law enforcement officers.
Mr. Hicks should study the history of gun confiscation in various nations. They always begin with some sort of gun registry or licensing or “buybacks” or background checks and sundry anti-firearms laws. They end badly with the confiscation of firearms — and eventually the loss of freedom for citizens.
Firearms are used for self-defense in this country 1 million or more times a year. Police officers are under no legal obligation to protect or defend you. You are your own “first responder,” according to Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight.
And as George Washington said: “The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.”
Let’s go after the illegal gun owners and the lawbreakers who care little about what and how many anti-gun laws are passed because they don’t obey them.
George Resnick of Ridgeville is an executive committeeman with the Dorchester County Republican Party and a member of Gun Owners of America and the Second Amendment Foundation.