I grew up in an era where we were still reasonably free. I wasn’t as free as my father’s generation and my father didn’t grow up as free as his father who was born in 1895. My grandfather grew up before the modern progressive movement started with Woodrow Wilson. In that vein my Grandfather was probably every bit as free as my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather who saw the true dawn of freedom after the ratification of the US Constitution. It is sad to think now in relation to the entire history of man only five generations of my family lived in the “Freedom Era.” The period from 1787 to 1900 in America was the freest period in the entire 10,000+ years of man’s existence. The real tragedy is that my son is less free than I have been and on the current trajectory my grandchildren will be even less free. The liberal (progressive, democrat, socialist, left, whatever) movement keeps chipping away at freedom with no signs of letting up.
I have a pistol that my Great Grandfather purchased. No State or Federal forms, background check, or waiting period required. It has been in my family for more than a century. I have another pistol that was the Sears & Roebuck special over a hundred years ago and was probably purchased through the mail by a different Great Grandfather. Try that today.
One of those pistols was part of a small lot of guns that I inherited from my Uncle when he passed away. The guns were in the People’s Democratic Socialist Republic of Washington, but the problem would have been the same regardless of State. To get the guns to my home in Virginia I had to locate a gun store in Manassas, VA and then engage the services of a gun store in Bremerton, WA to ship them to me via the Virginia gun store. Not so long ago I would have been able to box them up and put them in the belly of the plane. In my grandfather’s day I could have mailed them to myself. But now you can imagine what this cost me to ship these guns through two third parties.
When I arrived in Virginia the guns were there and I went to pick them up. I had the receipt and there was never any dispute that the guns were my personal property. However I had to fill out all the forms and wait to pass the background check just as if I was purchasing them new. That hurdle overcome I ran afoul of the Virginia two pistol rule. In addition to my Great Grandfather’s pistol there was a newer (by 40 years or so) .22 caliber pistol. In Virginia you can only buy one pistol in any 30 day period. Again, no one disputed that both pistols belonged to me but I either had to wait 30 days before picking up the second pistol or go to the State Police office and fill out another battery of forms. I waited. The funny thing was that the restriction didn’t apply to the long guns with which I can do much more damage. So I walked out of the store with two rifles, a shotgun, and a .32 revolver.
I suspect the one pistol rule prevented me from putting the reins in my mouth and riding down Main Street Manassas firing both pistols Roster Cogburn style. Remember one of my ancestors filled out a form and mailed it with a check for $1.95 to Sears & Roebuck to buy one of my other pistols.
One of the pistols is in pretty good shape and the other is well worn. I’m sure that my Great Grandfathers might have tucked those guns in a coat pocket, under the buggy seat, or maybe in their waistband. As intended by the Constitution there wasn’t any restriction against that activity. In order for me to do that I have to take a class and then register with the State and then carry a State-provided license. Even then some of the other States don’t recognize a Virginia conceal-carry permit (the People’s Democratic Socialist Republic of Maryland for example).
How exactly does that reality compare to my rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution?
Amendment II: 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.