The Potowmack Institute
amicus curiae in
US v. Emerson (1999)
The Rule of Law
The National Rifle Association
What does the NRA really want?
The National Rifle Association
Charlton Heston Speaks:
The Founders and the AK47
The NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" "outflank", Wash. Post 7/6/89
The Washington Post
Guns, Rights, the Libertarian Fantasy, and the Rule of Law
Not Seen in The Responsive Community
Getting Commitment from Congress
The blood on their doorstep
The Libertarian Fantasy on the Supreme Court
Thomas and Scalia
Joyce Lee Malcolm
Ayn Rand, Blackstone
"Palladium of the Liberties"
The Second Amendment in Court
True History John Kenneth Rowland
Leon Friedman, and more
LaPierre's List and the Law Reviews
Militia Act, 1792
Mass. Militia Act, 1793
Reviews Ayn Rand
National Review, 1957
The gun lobby and the libertarians have a very difficult time
accommodating to public authority. This childish insolence is
elevated into the civic pathology that they cannot consent to be
governed. The individual right to be armed outside of the law,
as the gun lobby and the libertarians conceive it, is the
ultimate hedge on the consent to be governed. The Potowmack
Institute has made this point to the US Court of Appeals, Fifth
Circuit, in its
amicus brief in US v. Emerson.
Other examples of how words are misused are given in
Appendix I, The Meaning They Seek.
That Every Man Be Armed by Stephen P. Halbrook is the gun lobby's most comprehensive statement. Halbrook provides extensive references to prove the thesis stated in Chapter 1: "These two basic traditions [authoritarians and libertarian republicans] in political philosophy have consistently enunciated opposing approaches to the question of people and arms, with the authoritarians rejecting the idea of an armed populace in favor of a helpless and obedient populace and the libertarian republicans accepting the armed populace and limiting the government by the consent of that armed populace." This is a preposterous characterization of the evolution of Western political values, concepts and institutions. Just as James Madison's Federalist Paper No. 46 and Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 29 are abused to erect the doctrine that guns and gun ownership cannot be touched by laws, so is John Locke's The Second Treatise on Government, one of the founding documents of American political consciousness. Locke's The Second Treatise on Government is as much American political scripture as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. At the time of the American Revolution everyone studied Locke. The American Revolutionaries very self-consciously put themselves under government.
The libertarian fantasy's extreme difficulty accommodating to public authority motivates enormous dishonesty which may in fact be true belief. Below the dishonesty is blatant and has to be self-conscious. The passage Halbrook quotes is from Chap. VI, § 137 from The Second Treatise on Government. The parts below in bold are what Halbrook actually quotes. The rest he leaves out. Halbrook makes the case for staying in the State of Nature and not entering into political community where an absolute arbitrary ruler and his military force have all the weapons. In that case it is better to stay in the State of Nature where each individual is equal in his natural powers and there is no concentration of political power. The middle ground which Halbrook leaves out is political community under settled standing laws and stated rules of right and property. The political cynicism wants the courts to secure one foot planted in the State of Nature. The desire is now under appeal in Emerson.
Men put themselves under government to "be safe and secure within the limits of the Law, and the Rulers too kept within their due bounds." They do not consent to be governed "by extemporary Dictates and undetermined Resolutions" of arbitrary power. The parts Halbrook lifts out of context give a very different meaning to The Second Treatise on Government.
Stephen Halbrook in bold, That Every Man Be Armed, starting from page 28: