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This is a fair use reprint that the NRA is encouraging us all to share with everyone we know:


Fifteen year old Memphis Briarcrest student, Rena South, submitted this essay for consideration into the NRA YES program. This young lady is fifteen years old and understands the 2nd Amendment more than most adults and most politicians. With views like this in the next generation of leaders, America's future looks bright! Thank you, Ms. South, for this great essay!

Q. Where do you stand on the issue of gun control? Does the government have the right to step in and disarm the American people, even though the right to bear arms is one of the main principles this country was built on?

When the forefathers gave citizens the right to bear arms, they created a check and balance in the U.S. Constitution, much like the branches of the government. If the United States must have an armed military force, then the people must have the right to bear arms to maintain balance. If there is one truth to human nature that has been proven across time it is the consistent abuse of power. Lord Acton states "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." What is to prevent a military commander, or official from taking over and putting the country under martial law? Absolutely nothing if the right to bear arms is not in place.

A militia, not the military, not a police force, and not the National Guard is the ultimate defense of our freedom. Exactly what is a militia today? "The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard." Title 10 U.S. Code, Section 311, subtitle A chapter 13. The current meaning of militia has evolved from the term that our forefathers knew in 1776. Our forefathers knew that the United States would grow and that citizens would need to be able to protect their rights and freedoms.

When the Bill of Rights was written by our forefathers, they understood that the defense of these freedoms should be in the hands of the people and not the government. The right to bear arms insures as United States citizens we can protect ourselves from having another dictator. Having a check and balance for the armed internal strength prevents such situations. Other governments would rise and fall, but the United States would remain strong. It is the civilian population, our militia, that insures the government remains in the hands of the people. It is the militia, that secures the freedom that all United States citizens enjoy. "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people ... To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." (George Mason, Virginia Ratification Convention, 1788)

A member of my own family was a victim of violence where a firearm was used. Some people may think that would make me an advocate for gun control, that the Second Amendment is out date. It does not. Would my murdered unarmed cousin still be alive if he had exercised his Second Amendment Rights? Our forefathers knew crime would always exists, that there would be threats against individuals, their homes and country. Yes, some people would decide to abuse the right to bear arms. A fire arm does not have a mind of its own. It is an inanimate object, a machine. A machine that we control. A machine that has been used to save lives, to protect and defend. Firearms do not kill people. People kill people.

Removing the Second Amendment does not keep firearms out of the hands of evil people. It would prevent good law abiding citizens from defending their country, themselves, their family and their property. Those who commit crimes should be punished under the law. Does one man committing murder really mean that those who do not abuse the right to bear arms should lose their means of providing protection? Do you let one rotten apple ruin an entire barrel of apples? No, you do not. You decide. Do you take a chance to have to live under martial law, with no freedom? Or, do you want the freedom to protect your loved ones, possessions and your county? You choose. I choose to punish criminals under the law and keep my rights. I believe in the check and balance that was set in place when our U.S. Constitution was written.,

The United States exists in a time of uncertainty. We face the threat of terrorists' attacks on our homeland. Economic conditions have caused companies to collapse, high unemployment, raising healthcare costs, and a tide of illegal immigration. When our country was still an infant, the United States also faced uncertain times. Would the United States grow and continue to thrive and to evolve? Our forefathers added the Second Amendment to the Constitution for a specific reason. Our freedom came at a high cost in life and property. Our forefathers saw a time when this newly won freedom may have to be fought for again. They wanted to make sure that citizens had the tools necessary to defend and maintain freedom. I value my freedom. How much do you value yours? Are you ready defend your homeland from a terrorist? Are you ready to defend your family from an assault in your home? Can you save the life of your child, your wife, any member from of your family when faced with an attacker? A firearm can equalize an encounter and could prevent lost of life. The right to own and bear arms was given to us for a reason. The strength of our citizens is the hidden power core of the United States. Today we have a subtle militia that lingers among our current citizens.

The United States has one of the most powerful military forces in world. Our military does not walk the streets. Our first army was a militia. It was made up ordinary everyday people that took up their personal firearms that established this country and secured our freedom. The fact our population can bear arms makes this country a indomitable force. An assault on this country can fought from the military down to the militia level. After the advent of 911, who can say when the next attack will be on our country. On September 11th when the United States was attacked by terrorists, it was the militia that stopped Flight 93 from reaching what was believed to be their intended target of Washington D.C. There were no police officers on Flight 93, or a military presence. The National Guard did not appear to fight the terrorists.. It was the passengers. They were typical United States citizens going about their daily lives. When the passengers realized that the United States was under attack, they assaulted the hijackers stopping them from completing their mission. The Second Amendment is as relevant to today as it was over 230 years ago. The United States is a bastion of freedom to the world. The Second Amendment is just as critical right now as it was then.

"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." I consider myself to be one of the people, my parents, my neighbors, and other citizens that I do not know. Citizens have the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment is a fail safe guarantee to ensure that citizens would always be able to defend all aspects of freedom. Freedom is a spirit that continues to grow, and evolve in the future. Our forefathers anticipated this. They recognized the American spirit. They realized then that taking the right to bear arms from the people would slowly crush that spirit and transform the United States into a shadow of itself.

Prepared Gourmet
2,964 Posts
Nice piece to read, but the authot needs to learn to use the word "ensure" when they mean that rather than "insure".
While I agree with your grammar comment, I don't think this was the appropriate forum to make it in, nor applicable to the thread's intent. Perhaps you should talk to the NRA about accepting an article with such a critical grammar mistake and not 'editing' it before they requested it be distributed freely. Your own spelling (typo?) mistake ... 'authot' ... shows how none of us is infalliable.

The article was VERY well written, particularly coming from a 15 year old. I echo the sentiments of Gallo. Thank you .. to both you, Gallo, and to that wonderful 15 year old who could and did write this article.

546 Posts
Really - grammar police? Are you serious?
That isn't grammar. It is a different word which changes the meaning.

When persuading people to one side or another, it is worth putting in the effort to use the words that convey the meaning you're trying to convey, particularly when the content is potentially going to be published. If that was how they wrote it for this forum, no problem, but for a published piece a proofreading check is worth it.

Those on the other side of the argument love to take the comments of 2nd Amendment supporters and point out anything they can to try to defame the messenger rather than the message.
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