It says here that the Second Amendment Foundation, in cooperation with Smith & Wesson, is going to have a fancy, embellished revolver made to mark the legal and historical milestone they feel that the Supreme Court's recent District of Columbia versus Heller decision represents.
Very appropriately, the revolver chosen will be Smith & Wesson's cute little .38 caliber Model 442, an excellent choice for concealed self-defense under many circumstances, but one of the puniest weapons the company makes, and in this case, highly symbolic: an airweight for airheads.
Around these parts, DC v. Heller is better known as the Viagra Decision, due to the court's embarrassingly inadequate performance in defense of the Bill of Rights. With a reluctant, grudging nod at the Second Amendment as an inarguably individual right, the old men and women in black incontinently hastened to add that it is subject to practically any "reasonable" regulation politicians and bureaucrats might wish to impose upon it. That, we submit to our dear colleagues and allies at the Second Amendment Foundation -- as well as to our old friends and enemies at Smith & Wesson -- is absolutely nothing to celebrate.
At best, it means that the ancient struggle simply goes on, over whether the plain language of the Constitution means what it says or not.
At worst, it means that within a decade, possibly sooner, we'll be fighting against the passage of nationwide legislation under which -- once again -- each of us will be compelled to beg the government for its gracious permission to exercise the fundamental, unalienable, individual, civil, natural, Constitutional, and human right of every man, woman, and responsible child to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon, any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.
A right that was meant to protect us from the government.
And legislation that will be officially considered "reasonable".
Let me tell you what's reasonable, in terms the thickest judge can understand.
Individuals human beings have a right to live, and to struggle to stay alive, that predates the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by at least a couple of million years. anybody who disagrees with that, is some kind of monster whose utterances shouldn't be taken seriously as anything but threats. The Founding Fathers mostly understood all this, and they never meant the country's basic operating documents as any kind of grant of rights, but merely as an official acknowledgement and a promise that those rights would be respected and enforced by the government.
The individual right to own and carry weapons is a logical and necessary extension of the right to live, and to struggle to stay alive. Sure, all of today's local, state, and federal governments will insist that they can take better care of you than you can. But then they also insist that they can spend your money more wisely than you do.
And we all know how that's worked out.
None of this is breaking news. The Founding Fathers understood that when governments and kings don't get their own way, when their various plans and schemes collapse in humiliating failure, they will sometimes -- often -- resort to violence. We've seen it ourselves. The Marxist bees in Lenin's bonnet failed to generate a worker's paradise on Earth, so he got mad, blamed it on the people's stubborn reluctance to cooperate, and had tens of thousands of them rounded up and shot. In their time, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot did more or less the same.
In anticipation of that, James Madison wrote the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the naked, brutal point of which is exactly the same point Thomas Jefferson made -- twice -- in the Declaration of Independence, when he wrote, "whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it" and "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government ... "
All of this throwing off, altering, and abolishing was intended to be accomplished by means of the arms that the people had -- and still have -- a right to keep and bear. Perhaps even more significant, as it turned out, for at least four score and some-odd years or so, throwing off, altering, and abolishing continued to be unnecessary as long as the people continued to keep and bear arms, and the government knew it.
Beyond that, the government had no power, neither within the law nor within the bounds of reason, to insist on knowing exactly who had weapons, where those weapons were kept, or what they consisted of. That was for the people -- as individuals -- to know, and for the government to find out only if and when the government made it necessary. Government still has no such power, not within the law nor within the bounds of reason. The Second Amendment makes absolutely no sense if it does. How can the government legally or logically be permitted to "regulate" -- meaning to control -- the exercise of a right that was meant by the Founding Fathers to defend the people from government itself? Gun control of any kind is, in that sense, just as illegal -- as unconstitutional -- as anything can possibly be under the Bill of Rights.
No regulation is "reasonable" that flies in the face of the Second Amendment.
Most Americans understand nothing about this, and the government, its school system, and the mass media aren't going to help them to understand.
In the aftermath of D.C. v. Heller, it is up to us to set the tone, just as it has always been. It is up to us to establish the level of discourse, and we can no longer afford to be compromising and conciliatory.
It is up to us to establish the meaning of the word "reasonable" and make it stick. We have to make Americans wonder why politicians, bureaucrats, and the media want them helpless and unable to resist the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot. Anything less than that -- anything more like D.C. v. Heller -- is an authoritarian farce.
I forgot to mention that SAF and S&W plan to give these little popguns to the D.C. v. Heller plaintiffs, then sell more to the public.
Many more, they hope.
Frankly, if I thought there were something to celebrate, I'd do it with an N-frame .44 Magnum, at the least, maybe even a .50 caliber X-frame.
Or maybe I'd choose something manufactured by a company that doesn't go on making the same old political mistakes, over and over again.
Come on, Smith & Wesson, I've collected your beautiful revolvers for decades. There's a 3" Model 629 lying beside the keyboard on my desk right now. I want to love you, really I do. But you make it so difficult.
So very, very difficult.
"Men cannot be governed and remain men. Domesticate the wolf and he changes both physically and mentally. His muzzle shrinks, his teeth diminish, he loses size, speed, and strength, He grows spots. His ears flop. His brain withers. He becomes a dog. Men are on the verge of becoming dogs -- the changes are underway already -- unless we do something to stop it."
-- The Ceo Lia Wheeler, Phoebus Krumm, forthcoming
Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been writing about guns and gun ownership for more than 30 years. He is the author of 27 books, the most widely-published and prolific libertarian novelist in the world, and is considered an expert on the ethics of self-defense. For years he has dreamed of purchasing a .44 Magnum S&W Model 629 with a five-inch fully-underlugged barrel, but S&W keeps making it difficult.
So very, very difficult.
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