Liberal education includes Second Amendment
by Linn and Ari Armstrong
The following article was originally published by Grand Junction Free Press on February 20, 2006.
What do Gale Norton, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, and former Sheriff Riecke Claussen have in common? When Norton was Attorney General of Colorado, she was one of the early keynote speakers at the annual Pro Second Amendment Committee banquet, and Claussen spoke before the group at the end of his tenure.
Last year, your junior author shared a few comments at the banquet (and got a few chuckles for his spoof of Ward Churchill's Mona Lisa) before legal scholar Dave Kopel discussed the international politics of civil arms.
What is the Pro Second Amendment Committee? Nearly sixteen years ago, several concerned local residents instituted the group to educate citizens about Second Amendment issues.
One of the Committee's most successful programs is an essay contest about the Second Amendment for students from first through twelfth grades. The judges of the essays have been impressed by the quality of the essays.
One of the very best essays was written by Julie Moores from Gateway School, who at the age of fifteen wrote, "Being able to bear Arms goes beyond just protecting ourselves and our rights. It's having the knowledge that we're free to choose for ourselves whether we want to bear Arms. It's determining individually our decisions and wishes in life. It's being in control of our independence, lives, and future. The Right to Bear Arms isn't merely an amendment, it's the key to the doorway of a future of freedom for Americans."
This year's event will once again honor students for their outstanding essays.
This year, Alan Korwin will make his first appearance at the Committee's banquet. Korwin's first book explained Arizona's gun laws in plain English. His latest co-written book, Supreme Court Gun Cases, released after a six-year effort, chronicles the entire high court jurisprudence on guns.
In a recent article "The Language of Liberty" in the Libertarian Communicator, Korwin states, "Listen hard when you hear the term 'gun control' in the news. You'll notice they're usually not talking about controlling crime. They're talking about controlling you. When a 'gun-control law' regulates or demeans honest people in the false name of controlling crime, that's actually tyranny."
Paul Danish, a favorite speaker from previous years, will return this year. He said, "I've been a life-long Democrat, and frankly I view my party's views on the Second Amendment as self-destructive beyond words. Democrats' opposition to the Second Amendment makes our support of the First Amendment seem self-serving and makes a mockery out of the support of other rights not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution."
Danish continued, "Moreover, I suspect the palpable fear of firearms that is so self-evident on the part of so many Democrats raises real doubts in the minds of a great many Americans as to whether the party is up to the task of protecting the country, or even the country's streets. I think a lot of voters see this as self-taught helplessness, and they don't see it as a political virtue. However, it's worth remembering that people who lose their way and their nerve can often regain them, particularly with a little help. Which, to anticipate a question, is one reason I haven't changed my political affiliation. My message to party councils is that Franklin Roosevelt wasn't elected four times because he found the world 'scary,' and that the only thing we have to fear from guns is fear of guns itself. For a long time it has been an argument that's fallen on deaf ears, but losing election after election after election concentrates the mind wonderfully and opens it to new ideas -- or very old ones -- which is why I remain optimistic."
When current Pro Second Amendment Committee president Dean Blanck was asked why members old and new should attend the annual banquet on March 11, he responded, "The primary purpose of the Pro Second Amendment Committee has always been and will always be education. Education is a continuing process and is especially necessary in today's society. Because of the many different and complex facets of our community, government and society in general, many do not have as fluent a knowledge of the United States Constitution, much less the Second Amendment, as they should have."
In his foreword to Ludwig von Mises's book Liberalism, Louis Spadaro laments that the word "liberal," while "grounded in the ideal of individual liberty," was "unable to to go beyond the nineteenth century or the Atlantic without changing its meaning... virtually to that of its contrary!" He adds, "Liberalism belongs to us" and "we are bound to try to take it back -- as a matter of principle." The Second Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights are part of the tradition of liberalism, properly understood.
For more information about the Pro Second Amendment Committee, go to www.prosecond.org.