“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.”
The Second Amendment has guaranteed the right of the American people to arm themselves thereby preventing the rise of a tyrannical government the likes of which the thirteen colonies first rebelled against. In modern times, however, doubt has been cast on how useful an armed populace would be against the government and a professional military.
Most notably, President Joe Biden recently justified his broad gun control measures by claiming that the Second Amendment would be insufficient to repel the American military. He further argued, “The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.”
His assertion that sweeping gun restrictions, the likes of which he and much of the Democratic Party fight for, are longstanding parts of American history has little credence. Even in the case of Biden’s specific example, cannons, their shells were legal until as late as 1934 when they were registered as destructive weapons under the National Firearms Act, and even today muzzle-loading cannons are legal to own. Up until Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal for Crime,” the Second Amendment was perhaps the most uncompromising freedom in the United States, and the government’s repeated attempts to curtail it are an entirely modern phenomenon.
But perhaps more significant was his blunt assertion that “If you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”
Putting aside for the moment the absurdity of the President of the United States touting his capacity to wage thermonuclear war against private citizens, this begs the question: could the American people truly fend off the most powerful military in history? Surprisingly: Yes.
With a well over $700 billion defense budget and the most technologically advanced weaponry the world over, the United States has a well-earned reputation as the world’s premier military power. However, the mistake made by many, including President Biden, is the assumption that the people are only able to resist the government through a competing organized military and conventional warfare. The truth of the matter is that an armed population is not meant to overpower the military in battle, but to simply be more impossible to subjugate and control, hence why a “well regulated militia” and “the people” are written as separate parties in the amendment. Occupation has its own distinct challenges that cannot be overcome with sheer power. Indeed, the United States military has bested the likes of Britain, Mexico, Spain, and Japan but has failed to find the same level of success against drastically less equipped guerrilla forces such as the Viet Cong or the Taliban, even when winning battle after battle. And with three-in-ten US adults owning firearms and a nearly 3.8 million square mile territory to control, the American people are perhaps the most well-equipped to defend themselves of any population across history.
But logistics aside, the capacity of a nation’s people to fend off a superior military should be painfully evident from our nation’s own history. Perhaps President Biden would have likewise scoffed at the idea of a ragtag militia of mostly farmers fending off the British Empire, then the strongest military in the world as we are now.
The very Framers who gave us the Second Amendment were living proof that no fighting force in the world, no matter how large, no matter how organized, and no matter how wealthy, could hope to stand against the will of a people. It was for this reason they trusted the people to be the ultimate safeguard of American liberty. And if push comes to shove, the American people won’t need nukes to get the job done.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.