Old times here are not forgotten

Once you get to a certain age, you do things you didn’t used to do. Like reading the ingredient labels on cans of food before you buy them, instead of just to pass the time while you’re eating them. Like planning naps, and actually turning down offers to go do stuff so you don’t have to break your nap appointments. Like trying to decide which kind of insurance you need, when the choice is between major medical and minor miracle.
And then there are the good things, like knowing who our allies were during World War II without having to look it up, and being able to recite the lyrics to all the Eagles songs, ever, and remembering a time when America was really free.
OK, I’m actually way too young for that last one. We gave up our freedom in America a long time ago, way before I was born. Matter of fact, I know the date America’s freedom was lost. It was June 26, 1934. The day the National Firearms Act became an unconstitutional law. The Second Amendment died that day. It’s been downhill since then, freedom-wise.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “No, Kendal, we still have freedom. We can still own guns, so we still have the Second Amendment.” Bless your heart. Please try not to be such a gooberhead, and pay attention.
On June 26, 1934, America traded liberty for safety. That was the very thing, if you’ll recall, that Ben Franklin said we shouldn’t do. He said anyone who would trade liberty for safety deserves neither one. I also think he alluded to the fact that anyone who would trade liberty for safety would lose both. If he didn’t say that, he should have. Maybe I should say it, so people will be talking about me in 200 years.
See, before the NFA, we Americans had the right to self defense. Rights can’t be taken away, only given up. Rights come from God, and if someone tries to take a right away from you, what they’re saying is that they have authority over you. So no human can take your rights away. But you can give them up. I don’t recommend it.
America gave up the right to self defense when the NFA was passed, and that right was replaced with a privilege. A privilege is granted by one with greater authority to one with less authority. Once we let that happen, the Second Amendment was toast, no butter.
Rights are basic, and there are few of them, but they are powerful. The problem is, they come with responsibilities. For example, we all have a right to shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater (really, we do). If no one panics and runs, everything is peachy. But if people panic and someone is trampled by the mob trying to escape, then whoever shouted ‘Fire!’ is in big trouble, Bubba.
In other words, you have the right to do whatever you want, and the responsibility to bear the consequences. Good luck.
When the NFA was passed, the Second Amendment was deeply infringed. Once we allowed the Federals to overstep the bounds of the Tenth Amendment that way, well, it’s too late for Katie to bar the door. By giving the Federals permission to tell us which firearms we can own and which we can’t, we set a precedent for them to infringe further. And they have. Give the Federals an inch and they’ll take your tape measure.
There are some who almost understand this, but not really. An article I read recently, in a magazine that shall remain nameless, complained that people shouldn’t say ‘The Second Amendment is my gun permit.’ And the article would have been correct, before the NFA, because 2A only guaranteed that the right to self defense would not be infringed, it never granted that right. But the warranty evidently expired. Because now, in most places, you have to buy a license from your state government to obtain the privilege of self defense. That’s asking permission. You don’t have to ask permission to exercise a right.
So when people say 2A is their gun permit, they’re about half correct. Without it they would not even be able to buy the privilege of self defense. Still, they’re wrong, because 2A by itself is not enough.
Think of it like this: Say you have a Federal Silver Certificate (for those too young to remember, that’s a one- or five-dollar bill that, up until 1968, you could take to a bank, turn it in, and get real, solid silver, silver dollars for it). Saying ‘2A is my gun permit’ is like saying ‘This $1 silver certificate is worth a silver dollar.’ It’s not. It used to be, but not any more. Both are promises made by the federal government that are no longer honored by the federal government. They’re lies.
Every time some court strikes down a gun ban, or forces a city to issue concealed weapon permits, or rules that a homeowner is allowed to defend his family, the fact is reinforced that we don’t have a right to keep and bear arms, but are dependent on our government to tell us what we can and cannot do. We are asking for privileges. And any court that can grant us those privileges can also take them away.
Once you get to a certain age, you miss things you used to have . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who misses a lot of things. Write to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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