Government tyranny is just as much a threat today as ever before. History books are loaded with gloomy illustrations of war and mass slaughter spurred on by governments that deprived people of their right to defend themselves. America was founded on the idea that we would be different from all the other oppressive regimes that came before us.
Democracy made this nation a land of innovation and opportunity — a concept many countries in the world today still don't follow. The U.S. remains one of the last places on earth where its people have fundamental rights deliberately spelled out in the supreme law of the land. Just as the system of checks and balances limits each branch of the government from becoming stronger than another, the individual Right to Bear Arms ensures the government can't become stronger than its people.
Historically, politicians and monarchs have had no problem stepping on the rights of their people, especially when it comes to guns. While there are countless instances going back many years, these eight examples of guns and government oppression represent what could happen if the Second Amendment fails and allow us a window into the rationale of many pro-gun soothsayers.
1946 - Battle of Athens, Tennessee
After World War II, nearly 3,000 veterans returned home to Athens, Tenn., to an era of electoral fraud and political corruption led by Democratic Sheriff Paul Cantrell. While they were away at war, their families became victim of civil rights violations, bribery and widespread voter intimidation. The veterans became aware of the situation during the 1946 campaign for McMinn County Sheriff.
When the polls opened on Aug. 1, 1946, nearly 200 armed deputies patrolled the balloting locations. According to the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Cantrell's deputies brought the ballot boxes back to the county jail. Veterans quickly responded by arming themselves and surrounding the jail. After a several hour standoff, they breached the door of the jail with dynamite and recovered the stolen ballot boxes. No civilians were charged with crimes, and political order in McMinn County was soon restored.
2013 - Obama's Executive Orders
Perhaps no other person in history has boosted gun and ammo sales
more than President Barack Obama since his 2008 inauguration.
The current attack on gun rights is far from complete, but we've made it through a few major hurdles so far. Americans who value their civil rights had victorious smiles on their faces as the administration pouted like petulant children over the failure of their sweeping gun control package in the Democrat-led U.S. Senate in April 2013.
1996 - Australian National Firearms Agreement
Following the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre
, the Australian National Firearms Agreement
effectively ended private gun ownership in Australia.
Aussies understand how gun control legislation violates human rights. Former Prime Minister John Howard's efforts placed huge burdens on self-defense, hunting and competitive shooting. Semi-auto centerfire guns are now heavily restricted to law enforcement, and those with a 'genuine need ' to own such weapons.
Handguns and air pistols require a person serve a 12-month probationary period, during which time the individual must display competency at an approved firearms training facility before applying for a pistol permit. The permit holder must then regularly pass yearly qualifications.
As Australian gun rights activist Steve Lee says in his music video, "Who Gave You the Right," "gun control is cleverly disguised as being about guns, but really it's about government control. '
2005 - Hurricane Katrina
A massive hurricane wasn't the"https://www.gunsandammo.com/2013/04/23/what-doomsday-preppers-can-teach-you-about-home-defense/" target="_blank">protect their homes.
After the storm drowned the city of New Orleans, looters weren't the"https://www.gunsandammo.com/2012/03/13/how-to-prepare-your-gun-collection-for-disaster/" target="_blank">devastation. Homeowners faced unforgiving National Guard and law enforcement officers from all over the country, who invaded the New Orleans area with orders to confiscate guns. Suddenly, residents became criminals in their own homes, as police went door-to-door seizing guns from innocent people who were simply protecting themselves from looters.
Conveniently for police and government officials, mainstream news stories shifted to the massive relief efforts instead of focusing on how many people's rights were stripped by those in power. Many lives were lost during Hurricane Katrina — but there's no way to count the number of people who perished because their guns were seized and they couldn't defend themselves.
1989 - Tiananmen Square, China
Illegally possess or sell firearms in China and you may go to death row. Minimum sentencing for illegal possession or sale includes a minimum of three years in prison, and could result in the death penalty. In the land where more than 1.3 billion residents aren't even allowed to access the World Wide Web, they also can't own guns for self-defense. Hunting
permits are issued on a very strict may-issue basis to people in rural areas, which still only allow hunters to own a select few types of rifles
The population of China has lived under oppressive regimes for centuries. From one dynasty to another, China has repeatedly restricted the rights of its people in almost every aspect, including self-defense. The Constitution of the United States clearly protects against the kind of tyranny that exists in China. Without the right to protect one's self from the government, citizens are devalued to the point of peasantry.
In 1989, student-led demonstrations against China's political leadership in Tiananman Square resulted in mass casualties of unarmed citizens. Chinese authorities declared martial law, mobilizing more than 300,000 troops into Beijing as a result. Chinese citizens were unable to protect themselves against their oppressive communist leaders, and thus thousands of people were killed, and many were arrested.
1943 - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
With 1.3 million citizens, Poland's capitol of Warsaw was the second largest city in the world before Poland surrendered to Germany in 1939. According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
, on Oct. 12, 1940, the Germans forced Warsaw's Jewish population of 400,000 people into a zone about the size of one square mile. The Warsaw Ghetto
, as it became known, was bounded with 10-foot tall fences and thousands of SS guards.
In July 1942, German authorities began ordering SS troops to move the Ghetto's 400,000 or more Jewish inhabitants to the Treblinka killing center. The Jewish prisoners quickly formed a resistance of nearly 750 fighters, armed with pistols and explosives. Although strongly outnumbered, the resistance prolonged a three-day deportation process into a month-long battle. During that time, Jewish people had the chance to fortify bunkers, and some managed to evade capture.
Although German soldiers systematically destroyed the Warsaw Ghetto, the rebellion became the first of many symbolic urban uprisings in German-occupied Europe. The resistance proved that an armed populace could increase its chances of overcoming government oppression.
2013 - Illinois FOID Cards
Firearm Owner's Identification Cards (FOID) have been a requirement for civilian gun ownership in Illinois since 1968. The cards create a state registration
database of lawful gun owners. To legally bear arms and ammo, state residents must first apply for a FOID card
to the Illinois State Police.
The application requires a $10 fee in addition to providing the same personal information one would already include on ATF Form 4473 when buying a firearm. By law, the State Police must issue or deny FOID cards within 30 days of application. The Illinois State Police report that nearly 1.5 million Illinoisans hold FOID cards.
Following suit with the methodology of Illinois politics, the FOID process is completely corrupt and broken. Residents report the state cashes their application checks within a week of postmark, but then doesn't issue the card for another three months — or longer.
Illinois politicians are also currently in a legal battle over the right for its citizens to carry concealed weapons. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Illinois' ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional, but Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continue to thumb their noses at the high court. Illinois remains divided between the corrupt Chicago political machine, and the other 90-percent of the state.
1996 - Dunblane Massacre, U.K.
are no strangers to knee-jerk gun legislation.
In response to the 1996 Dunblane School Massacre — which was eerily similar to what happened in Newtown, Conn. — the Snowdrop Campaign motivated parliament to ban private ownership of handguns capable of firing cartridge-cased ammunition. England's extensive gun control movement following the massacre illustrates how quickly a government can seize the civil rights of its people.
Guns that haven't already been confiscated are required to be licensed and registered — including most air guns. Those with proper licensing may only use firearms for hunting, target shooting or collecting. As a result, self-defense is no longer considered a valid reason for gun ownership in the U.K.
Enjoy articles like this?
Subscribe to the magazine.
Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine