“Before America had a Constitution, We the People had the right to keep and bear arms. This is a natural right, proceeding from the basic human right of self-defense. The very language of the Second Amendment — “the right…shall not be infringed” — makes it clear that our Framers were acknowledging and protecting a pre-existing right of the people, not granting Americans a government-bestowed privilege.
Likewise, before our Republic had a Second Amendment, we were crafting, customizing, and making our own guns. The most famous firearm in American history, the Kentucky Long Rifle, was crafted by private gunsmiths in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s.
Before the advent of mass production, the self-manufacture of personal firearms was recognized as an integral part of the right to self-defense. Many were forced to build, repair, or customize their own firearms to defend their small communities or, eventually, to fight in the Revolutionary War.
The right to craft and customize firearms is integral to the right to determine which arms one will “keep and bear.”
There is nothing strange or sinister about making and customizing one’s own means of personal defense. Assembling or crafting a gun is no more unusual than growing your own food in a garden or sewing an article of clothing. But accustomed to modern technology, some Americans have forgotten these basic realities — and yet, many of us still value self-sufficiency over a culture of centralization, dependency, and government control.
The latest assault on our basic right to arms is against this oft-neglected right to make and craft them. In late 2020, a group of gun control activists and progressive cities sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), challenging the Agency’s well-established definition of what constitutes a “firearm.” Through two ongoing lawsuits — Syracuse v. ATF and California v. ATF — these activists are seeking to forcibly change the definition of “firearm” — for the entire nation.”
Read Cody Wisniewski’s piece in its entirety at Real Clear Policy.