Better to Have It and not Need It – The Essence of the Second Amendment

Written by Nicholas Wishek

An old adage tells us that, “It is better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it.”

This is obviously something the gun control folks haven’t considered. The gun is not evil, it is an equalizer. A gun gives an 110 pound girl a chance against a would be rapist twice her size. A gun gives an elderly couple a chance against youthful home invaders bent on mayhem. Most importantly, as the Second Amendment intends, a gun gives citizens at least some chance against a tyrannical government seeking to take away their freedoms.

Historically, warriors in service to a government such as the ancient Spartans, Medieval knights, or Japanese Samurai, thanks to their weapons and training could brutalize helots, serfs, and peasants with near impunity. A serf with a pitchfork stood little chance against an armored knight. Guns changed that. They gave the average man or woman a better chance against the elite soldiers seeking to oppress them for the state.

Proponents of gun control seem to feel that all guns should be in the hands of the government, whether by the police, military, or various other government departments. That won’t help those physically weaker than their attackers. A young girl, an elderly couple, or any other unarmed innocents would be at the mercy of their assailants. Given police response times, even if the attacks were promptly reported, those in danger would likely be already dead or victims of an assault before help could arrive.

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Even worse, an unarmed population is at the total mercy of the government. Of course progressive claim could never happen here. Government, they maintain is our friend. History tells us differently. Doesn’t the Trail of Tears, the Japanese relocation camps, or numerous other examples warn us of the potential misuse of government power? How about Ruby Ridge, Waco, or the Bundy Ranch standoff?

The Second Amendment is only 27 words long. It 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.” Obviously the gun control advocates have ignored the infringement part of the Second Amendment. Not only have many liberal cities made it next to impossible for citizens to purchase firearms, whole states have done so as well. Take my state, the people’s socialist republic of California, for example. To buy a handgun I had to take a test and pay a fee. Next they decided that to purchase a long gun I had to take another test and pay another fee. Never mind that having served in the military my government had given me a fully automatic M16 to use at 18 years of age. Finally, California recently passed a law that to buy ammunition in California I will have to pass yet another test and pay another fee. I sure feel my Second Amendment rights are being infringed. That’s OK with progressives. If they can’t ban all guns they will keep infringing on gun owners to limit the Second Amendment as much as they can.

And the argument progressives use are not logical. Those progressives who cite the “well regulated militia” opening of the Second Amendment are ignorant of the historical background the Founders lived through when they framed the Bill of Rights. The “militia” the framers had in mind was independent of the government. Today the National Guard and reserves are government entities. They are not likely to stand up to unlawful government orders. Our Founding Fathers knew that a citizen militia couldn’t win a war against a government. While the Minute men were successful against the English at Lexington and Concord, they couldn’t defeat a professional army. They fought bravely at Bunker Hill, but were defeated. What an armed citizen militia could do was to discourage government overreach and, if necessary, give their side time to build a force that could win.

The other infringements the gun control people advocate are equally contrary to the spirit of the Second Amendment. Again, I believe their complaints are a result of historical ignorance. The anti-gun folk have gotten a ban on automatic weapons, and in many areas have outlawed high capacity magazines. Currently they are pushing for a reintroduction of the ‘assault’ weapons ban.

This would not be in keeping with the objective of the Second Amendment – giving free citizens a better chance against the armed forces of a tyrannical government. Consider that at the time the Second Amendment was written the standard firearm in use by the British Empire was the Land Pattern Musket, nicknamed the “Brown Bess.

Most of the Minute Men had weapons at least equivalent to this, and some Americans, those who owned true rifled firearms, such as the Kentucky Long Rifle, had weapons with superior range and accuracy. If the framers of the Second Amendment had the same mind set as modern day gun control groups they might have limited the colonists to crossbows or spears for self-defense.

The bottom line is quite simple. Gun control is people control. It’s too bad those calling for gun control are blind to reality.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Nicholas Wishek

Nicholas Wishek. Retired teacher. 40 years classroom experience. Served in California National Guard 6 years. BA in history, MA in education. Married 35 years. Two sons. Many columns published in OC Register 2009-2014.

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