Dem Senator: Right to Keep and Bear Arms Is 'Not a God-Given Right'
During a May appearance on Rachel Maddow Lean Forward Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said gun rights are not "God-given" and any claim that the Founding Fathers wanted U.S. citizens armed so they could repel a tyranny "is insane."
Murphy said, "The Second Amendment is not an absolute right, not a God-given right. It has always had conditions upon it like the First Amendment has."
This is disturbing language from a sitting Senator, especially when you consider that the First Amendment opens with the phrase "Congress shall make no law" and the Second Amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed."
Moreover, anyone who has studied the two major political philosophies among our Founding Fathers knows that Anti-Federalists persuaded Federalists to add the Bill of Rights to the Constitution as a check on the government rather than the people. The Bill of Rights allowed James Madison to set apart and protect those certain, "unalienable rights" Thomas Jefferson had described in the Declaration of Independence.
These were those rights with which Jefferson said we were "endowed by [our] Creator." In other words, they were God-given.
Murphy claims that talk of possessing arms as a check on the government is a demonstration of how the NRA has morphed into a "paramilitary group." But long before the NRA was even thought of, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote:
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins