Question 3 isn’t just an attack by anti-gun forces on our individual right to keep and bear arms; it’s an attack on our rights as a community. A lot of people forget that there are two parts to the Second Amendment; the most quoted is the second part: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This is an individual right applied to the people of the United States; as individual members of the public we each have the right to keep and bear arms.
The less quoted, first part of the Amendment is an explanation of why the second part exists: “a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” Basically, we have the right to keep and bear arms as stated in the second part, because the first part asserts that doing so maintains the security and freedom of our country.
The Second Amendment gives us an individual right, but it’s tied in repeatedly to a much broader concept of community. The words “militia” and “people” mean that while the right may be individualistic, it is a part of something bigger than any one individual. We are a community of free individuals, not isolated islands.
It’s easy to forget when you’re alone hunting in the woods, or carrying concealed in a dark parking lot, that while friends may not be present, they are connected to you. Firearms go far beyond the individual who wields them to include a whole community of people, from those you hunt with, to those you protect, to those you are just trying to share the shooting experience with by introducing them to marksmanship.
Question 3 puts regulations on more than just the sale of firearms; it also regulates the borrowing and sharing of them. This is because the anti-gun forces wish to attack the building blocks of our communities: the firearms which connect us to the great outdoors and serve as the centerpiece of family security and national liberty.
By not only regulating our firearms, but also how we interact with those firearms, Michael Bloomberg and other Question 3 advocates wish to strip our freedom-based community from us. By disconnecting like-minded people, they seek to destroy the bonds which strengthen us and oppose their will; they know that if they can isolate us, they can destroy us one by one.
This same tactic worked in England and other countries where guns were removed from the public by attacking one kind of gun at a time, one kind of gun owner at a time and by tearing down the relationships between different gun owners.
They wish to isolate us so we feel alone and powerless against them; this is why the anti-gun community hates the NRA, because it is the largest pro-gun community in the United States and as a result it is the strongest.
In the October issue of NRA’s America’s First Freedom in the article “Reign of Confusion,” that the anti-gun forces do not need to ban guns, but “simply [have] to make American gun owners so confused that they are afraid to practice their right to bear arms.”
This was striking because this is how the legislation for Question 3 is worded. It is so confusing that it will make innocent gun owners in Maine fearful to carry on their rights within the firearm community in the way they have always done.
The wording doesn’t have to explicitly ban the lending of firearms; it just has to word it so confusingly that the average gun owner is afraid to trust his own best friend due to legal liability.
How and when a hunting buddy can borrow a rifle when his own has malfunctioned is debatable, who and where a friend may borrow a shotgun for clay shooting is regulated and the teaching and training of youth is complicated by legal interference.
The law does not explicitly say it is against the firearm community, but it doesn’t have to because its very wording waves a warning finger against those who would share their passion.
The greatest strength of the right of individuals to keep and bear arms is not in the individual himself, but in the greater community of gun owners and those they would share their love of firearms with. The anti-gun crowd is not just attacking us as individuals, but attacking our very right to have a community, so they can isolate and weaken us in the eventual hope of destroying our rights altogether.
This isn’t just an attack on guns; it is an attack on our right to pursue happiness. This law will impede our ability to freely pursue relationships involving firearms with our fellow citizens.