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Second Amendment: winning issue



Constitution Day meme. Hypocrisy on the right threatens Constitutional government. Can Liberty Amendments serve that purpose? Wanted: sheriffs who understand civil asset forfeiture threatens the innocent.

Yesterday, Governor Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) boasted about her favorite Christmas gift: a 9-mm Beretta PX4 Storm handgun. Supporters and opponents, both of Haley and of the Second Amendment, reacted quickly. The two sides obviously set the tone for her rematch against State Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden, S.C.). But it also spoke volumes about the Second Amendment and what the people think of it.

The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment is the reset button on the Constitution

The Houston Gun Show, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX. Photo: M. Glasgow, CC BY 2.0 Generic License

The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads:

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The militia is you, me, and every other adult who owns or carries a gun. States achieve “good regulation” with organization, training and discipline. Under the Constitution, Congress sets the standards for training and discipline, but States appoint its officers and run the training programs.

But notice how that sentence reads. It begins with a nominative absolute. Using a nominative with a participle in an independent phrase, expresses not a hypothetical condition, but a fact in evidence. Therefore the clause in that sentence is in full force at all times:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The Second Amendment guarantees American liberty as no other part of the Constitution does. It is the reset button on Constitutional government. Thomas Jefferson said:

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural [fertilizer].

Earlier he more famously said:


That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,…

Do people appreciate the Second Amendment?

Many used social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to weigh in on Nikki Haley’s gift. She got more cheers than jeers. But of all the jeers she got, this is most telling:

You’re a governor, not a police officer or soldier. What reason do you have for a gun?!

There you have it. Progressives believe no person, except a law-enforcement officer or one on active duty in the military, should own or carry a gun. One presumes they also would except a bodyguard for a government official. Let all who doubt this, read this jeer before commenting.


Shame on you for telling children that a weapon is an appropriate gift from Santa. Bad parenting. It perpetuates violence and makes it look “cool.”

No. It means only that self-defense is appropriate. Perhaps whoever wrote that, wants the criminal laws of her State and the country to disallow self-defense as a justification for homicide.

So now I ask: You are a free citizen of a free State. (I address this to those eligible to vote in the South Carolina governor’s race.) You ask that I expect you to debate in good faith and with good will. For what reason, then, do you damn another for owning or carrying a gun? For the view those jeering commenters express, better becomes a tyrant than a free citizen. Only a tyrant need fear an armed populace. That also applies to a criminal. And what is a criminal, but an amateur tyrant?


So: kudos to Nikki Haley for saying, in effect, “I carry a gun and believe you should, too, if you want.” The Second Amendment will be a winning issue in this year’s elections. Nikki Haley’s gift, and how people reacted to it, show this.


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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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