Thank you Rich, thank you Mayor Donaldson. Good citizens of Butler County and of the great State of Pennsylvania, thank you for coming out on a cold Saturday morning to support your right to bear arms.
I find it ironic that we have to come out to support our right to bear arms because firearms have been pervasive in our society since before we became a self governing, free, and independent nation. As a matter of fact, we would not have become the self governing, free, and independent nation when we did had it not been for a well armed population.
When our founders got together, in the Continental Congress, to draft the letter of interposition, known as the Declaration of Independence, they listed the various grievances from all the colonies and sent it to the King of England. After King George III read the document, he did not say, “You are right, I have overstepped the limits of my authority and I am sorry, I will not do it again.” NO! He instead sent armed troops to our shores who stuck bayonets in the faces of our citizens. One of the only reasons we were successful in defending ourselves against such tyranny is because we had a well armed populace.
Firearms were so pervasive in our society during the founding era that Benjamin Franklin, who is not known for his marshal exploits, described the difference between a democracy and a republic by using an analogy involving firearms. He said, “A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for lunch, and a republic is a well armed sheep contesting the vote.”
Since Mr. Franklin spoke those words, our nation has drifted closer and closer to the democracy Franklin warned us against. In the election of 1824, sixteen out of twenty-six States tampered with the way the Electoral College works. Prior to 1824, the State legislatures, which are a fair representation of the constituencies from each State, appointed the electors based on the electors’ ability to evaluate the presidential candidates and cast their votes for the two candidates they thought would best uphold the Constitution.
In the election of 1824, those sixteen States awarded all the Electoral College votes to the candidate that won the majority of the popular vote in their State. Today, forty-eight out of fifty States award their Electoral College votes by using what is now known as the general ticket method, which has moved us closer to the democracy Franklin warned us against.
Another example happened during the Wilson administration when Congress passed the Seventeenth Amendment, which changed the way we get US Senators. Prior to the Seventeenth Amendment, Senators were appointed by State legislatures and were accountable to that legislative body. After the Seventeenth Amendment, US Senators are elected by the majority of people in each State and are only accountable to the irrational exuberance of the majority of the population in each State, which has moved us closer to the democracy Franklin warned us against.
While our nation has drifted closer and closer to the democracy Franklin warned us against, the wolves have been busy disarming the sheep. If you want to buy a firearm in Pennsylvania, you will have to pay between fifty and seventy-five dollars to get a background check for the privilege of exercising your God-given right to possess firearms. If you buy more than one firearm at the same time, you will have to pay for separate background checks for each firearm you purchase, which begs the question, is it the person or the firearm whose background is being checked?
If you want to exercise your God-given right to bear arms, you will have to go to the Sheriff’s office and pay for a permit, which comes in the form of a photo ID, for the privilege of exercising your right to bear arms.
The right to bear arms is second on the Bill of Rights because most of the States refused to ratify the US Constitution unless it included a bill of rights. Therefore, the first agenda item of the first session of Congress was to pass a bill of rights. Congress consolidated lists of rights from each of the States and assembled them in order of precedence. That is why the right to bear arms is second only after the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech.
You can search the entire Bill of Rights and you will not find the “right to vote” in it because according to the definition given in our Declaration of Independence, voting is not a right. Rights are endowed by our Creator and nowhere in Scripture has God said people have a right to cast ballots in political elections. But, He did say we must honor life and in order to honor life we must defend it, not only the lives of others, but our own and that is how we derive our right to bear arms.
I bring this up because, recently, Pennsylvania has been involved in a dispute as to whether we should or should not require people to have a photo ID to vote. We even provided free photo IDs for those who did not possess one, but many people said that voting was a fundamental right and that requiring them to have a photo ID was too much of an imposition on a fundamental right.
I find this to be an odd argument because, when we first became a nation, the States determined who was eligible to vote. Universal suffrage did not become a semi-universal concept until the Jacksonian revolution of 1828, it did not become semi-codified until the Fourteenth Amendment, and it was not complete until the Nineteenth Amendment. So now, many people get up in arms about citizens being required to obtain a free photo ID to cast a ballot, which is an assumed right, but these same people think nothing about requiring citizens to pay for a photo ID to exercise their God-given to bear arms; I hope I am not the only one who sees a disparity in this!
Citizens of the great State of Pennsylvania, I implore you, if you are lovers of liberty, if you care anything for the freedoms this nation has promised, then you must uphold the right to bear arms. Upon the right to bear arms depends all our other rights, because it is irrational to believe we can make a successful appeal to justice in the absence of the ability to protect what is rightfully ours.
 Although this quote is accurate in its sentiment, it is not something that Benjamin Franklin or any of our other founders said. I apologize for not researching and verifying this quote before I used it and I am leaving it in as a warning to all others who may also have been or would have been fooled by it.