JPFO Alerts


Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027

Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959

January 20, 1998


Aaron Zelman has requested me to send this to the e-mail subscribers, in hopes of encouraging you to become pro-active, instead of re-active.

Too many whine of the problems we face, while too few actually do anything about the problem. Let this letter to the editor serve as an example of what we must DO, instead of how we must whine.

Some of us have read such an editorial before, but when was the last time YOU wrote one?


Dear Editor:

In his opinion piece entitled Unbearable "right to bear arms" (January 15, 1998), Mr. Gaillard tries to erase the Second Amendment with phony references to history. So let's start with the exact language: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the preservation of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Gaillard says that the Amendment gives a conditional right, i.e., a right which spontaneously evaporates if conditions change.

There is nothing conditional about the right to keep and bear arms. The right cannot be conditional, because it comes directly from the right to self-defense, which existed before any government.

The Amendment says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." What part of "shall not be infringed" is conditional? Along the same lines in the First Amendment, what part of "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech or of the press" is conditional? Both Amendments say that the right "shall not" be infringed or abridged.

Gaillard dismisses the "militia" concept by saying that if the federal military and the police have enough guns, then the citizens don't need them. For that reason, he says, the Second Amendment is outmoded and should be ignored.

Ironically, the Founders saw it exactly the opposite way. In The Federalist Papers No. 46, James Madison recognized the danger of having a large peacetime standing army. At that time, Madison estimated a "large army" to be about 30,000 men. Madison told the Americans not to fear such a large army, because "to these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands." Madison expressly envisioned 16 times more armed private citizens than soldiers. A militia of these citizens would prevent tyranny, Madison said.

In The Federalist Papers No. 28, Alexander Hamilton observed that when government goes bad, "there is then no resource left but in the exercise of that original right of self defense." In No. 29, Hamilton expected there always would exist "a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to [the army] in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens."

The Founders did not idly theorize about the threat of tyranny from one's own government. The Declaration of Independence details the oppression the Founders themselves suffered at the hands of their own King and Parliament. Thomas Paine seemingly foresaw the results of "gun control" when he wrote: "Horrid mischief would ensue were one half of the world deprived of the use of [firearms]; ... the weak will become a prey to the strong."

More clearly than any other, the Twentieth Century's history shows what happens when governments go bad: their citizens die. Of the 160 million civilians killed by their own governments this century, at least 59 million victims were prepared for slaughter by "gun control" laws that had earlier disarmed them.

Americans not only have the right to keep and bear arms, they have the duty to do so, to protect their families, communities, and nation. Gaillard and his ilk would shirk their duty, and trust instead in arming only the "experts" ... those folks who brought us the Vietnam War debacle, IRS oppression, and the Waco massacre.

The people of Philadelphia, steeped in America's constitutional heritage, must resist this modern day call to surrender their rights for an empty promise of security. Else they will betray the legacy established 210 years ago in their fair city.


Aaron Zelman, JPFO Executive Director

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