Independence Day and the Second Amendment
Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year. Besides enjoying parades, barbeques, and fireworks, I look forward to July 4th because it is a day where we stand united as Americans and take pride in living in a country as great as ours.
Indeed, America would not be the nation that it is without a commitment to basic rights such as freedom of speech and travel. Yet the right to bear arms is under threat today. The Founding Fathers saw the Second Amendment as a way to protect our families and way of life in a dangerous world.
Society may change, but the foundations of our Constitution do not. It is unfortunate that some politicians in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento fail to understand the Second Amendment. Some think it is outdated, that it does not apply to today’s society.
But I beg to differ. The Second Amendment is very clear. We don’t need political elites telling us what it means. It simply says,
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
When 56 men signed their names on the Declaration of Independence, they knew that they were risking their “lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor.” They put everything on the line for the principle that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
One of those rights is self-defense.
It is one reason why after the Revolutionary War, the framers made sure to include a right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights. Yet some politicians this year have introduced a barrage of new laws that would further restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens such as banning constitutionally-protected firearms components.
The politicians who have authored these bills say their proposals will reduce gun violence. But they won’t because violent criminals already ignore existing laws. We must do more to enforce and tighten laws to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, but drowning the Second Amendment with more regulations is not the answer.
Successive generations of patriots did not fight just to see our rights be chipped away. Because when we enable the government to disarm the law-abiding population, we make it easier for them to undermine our other rights as well.
One of the reasons America is the freest nation on earth is because of a historical commitment to limited government. That is why we have the Bill of Rights to ensure that the government respects our most fundamental rights as citizens.
Revisiting the story of our nation’s independence makes July 4th much more meaningful for me and my family each year. As Americans, we have an inherited a legacy of freedom. It is my hope that we continue to champion this legacy and ensure that all our rights – and not just some – are preserved.
Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, represents the 5th Assembly District in the California Legislature which encompasses all of Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties.