By Dennis Petrocelli, MD
I write this on the occasion of President Biden’s executive order regarding “gun” “control”. I anticipate that my readers would expect me to excoriate him and his ilk and denounce them as tyrannical, ill-informed, and a threat to our nation’s foundational principles. All of these points are true, but they aren’t going to be the focus of this piece.
The current “administration” will surely pass, but the diseased thinking that underlies its plotting will persist absent strong medicine.
The diseased thinking I have in mind is, sadly, of the Founders’ creation. Perhaps my title is unfair — certainly nothing I write will stand the test of time nearly as well as their creation did.
Before I take pot shots at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, let me be clear that it is the most successful framework for government ever created. Notwithstanding that achievement, I believe that we are at this point in history because of critical errors the Founders made and for which we are now paying dearly.
The first of the Founders’ oversights related to one of the greatest challenges every writer faces: communicating in such a way that their written words convey the entirety of their message and sufficiently capture the relevant context such that their message can stand alone. This is an aspirational goal that can at best be approached but never fully achieved.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights suffer in this regard because they do not capture the sacrifice of lives and fortunes in service of escape from tyranny. It is impossible for modern Americans to conceive of years of bloody warfare on our soil to resist the dictates of a foreign crown. Because if we couldd, we wouldn’t give up one single ounce of the rights they secured for us.
The authors of Biden’s executive orders (hereafter referred to as the puppet masters) regarding guns bring us to the second of the Founders’ critical errors. The puppet masters chose his words very carefully, and the reason they did is that they too see the diseased thinking, and rather than cure it, they want it to fester to their advantage.
But no amendment—no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.
There’s a sleight of hand here so deft that unless careful attention is paid, the rest of the nonsense seems to flow logically enough. Of course, “amendments”, taken literally, mean the written words are not absolute. So why say this?
The puppet masters realized that the Founders blew it in naming the Bill of Rights, their second consequential oversight. It should have been titled something more accurate, albeit unwieldy, like “The List of Absolute Restrictions on Government So That Your Inalienable Rights Are Forever Secure.”
This critical error allows people to believe that the words of the Bill of Rights, created by people, are what “give you your rights.” This is made worse by two modern problems.
First, our society has drifted away from any meaningful attachment to a Creator who endows us with our rights. Second, wrapping one’s head around the constructs of “natural rights” or “inalienable rights” requires a capacity for abstraction that public education avoids imparting at all costs, leaving people without any conceptual basis to argue otherwise.
If what I’ve written gets you to read this, then my job here should be done. I think that article is both sufficiently catchy and lethal to the diseased thinking about rights that it could be the catalyst to taking our rights back. I’d be remiss however not to comment on one particular focus of Biden’s executive order.
“Ghost guns” is the confiscationist term for guns made by their owners from components after personally drilling holes in one of the parts (the “lower receiver”) so that the components can be assembled. No background check is required because the ATF (so far) defines a “gun” as the serialized receiver. But since it was purchased “unfinished” (i.e., without a lot of the holes) it didn’t become the “gun” until the holes were drilled and the lower completely finished.
If any of this troubles you, consider the alternative: your right to self-defense would require absolute reliance on the commercial purchase of the implements of that right. No other natural right works that way because it is antithetical to any conception of liberty.
The puppet masters’ obvious goal is to deprive you of the ability to arm yourself outside their watch. It’s certainly not about crime because privately assembled guns are almost never used criminally. Interfering with the home manufacture of guns, combined with universal background checks, would give our authoritarian Lords the ability to make a registry of guns for potential future confiscation.
Although we must fight these efforts through our representatives at every level of government, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the right to armed self-defense is enjoying increasing respect throughout the states, as noted here. I share that author’s optimism that we shall, in the end, overcome.
Dennis Petrocelli, MD is a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who has practiced for nearly 20 years in Virginia. He took up shooting in 2019 for mind-body training and self-defense, and is in the fight for Virginians’ gun rights.
This article was originally published at drgo.us and is reprinted here with permission.