The History Channel in Canada has presented a series about the history of the United States entitled ‘America: The Story of Us’. It is a bite-sized look at the birth of your nation that played on the US History Channel before it hit our Canadian specialty channels. One thing was very obvious to me as an outsider: the path that you took toward independence had a lot to do with your current defense of the firearm as a basic right . . .
You won your independence at a great cost to America and England. The issue was settled on the battlefield in a war between a colonial superpower (The British Empire) and its upstart colony (The United States).
Initially the British strategy was successful because they employed conventional warfare with professional soldiers against a rag tag collection of US revolutionaries.
The documentary indicated that US forces began to use guerilla tactics against the Brits. The long rifle was paired up with American snipers and they began to pick off high-ranking British officers and their Native Indian guides.
It was a brilliant strategy that undermined British military confidence and provided the emotional boost needed by the American revolutionaries at a crucial time in the war.
Eventually the military might of the US forces increased to a point where they were able to fight their way to nationhood. The British foes were vanquished largely due to a collaborative effort of strong-willed US forces and a few old foes of England like France, Spain and the Dutch.
The Germans (Hessians) were on the losing side of this war as allies of the British, but the message was clear: the new nation of the United States of America was born on a battle field. The impact of a call to arms has been a fundamental part of the US gun culture since that war.
The War of Independence was the first and best reason for the case for the right to own and bear arms in your country. It is a fundamental right for you as American citizens to protect your country and family from harm.
I have no difficulty with that basic right. The devil is in the details for the pro and anti-gun forces.
On one hand, gun rights groups argue for a universal right to own firearms with few if any restrictions. On the other hand, gun control advocates seek to place weapons under some level of governmental control, to prevent gun crime, firearms-related suicide and accidental death.
There is very little middle ground between the two factions. Gun rights groups see any effort to restrict their right to keep and bear arms as an infringement of their most sacred document: the U.S. Constitution. Gun rights advocates see the Constitution as a “living document,” affording government the right to create “reasonable restrictions” on gun sales, purchase, ownership and use.
The sacred cow for pro-gun forces—the right to private firearms ownership—is clearly rooted in the efforts of their revolutionary forefathers who fought for an independent nation that still allows freedom of expression. And the history of gun control—especially the African American experience—is littered with examples of disenfranchisement and death.
As that debate plays out, it’s important to note why it can play out. The fundamental right to express yourselves exercised by both sides of the gun debate in your country was won at the point of a gun. Firearms held by average citizens fighting for their freedom, and the freedom of their children.