By Bob Menges*
The National Association for Gun Rights has recently undertaken a campaign to smear hundreds of thousands of great patriots around the nation that are responding to the clarion call of the founders to use the single most powerful tool given to us to save our nation. This group contemptibly refers to the lawful, orderly, and constitutional process in Article V as “snake oil.”
The Article V Convention of States process was inserted into our Constitution on September 15, 1787, just two days before the draft was completed, because of a flaw discovered by the great Virginian, George Mason. Mason observed that the states might someday require recourse against an “abusive” and “oppressive” (his words) national government and successfully argued for the insertion of this self-governing process. Contrary to the claims of those who oppose this process, the framers drafted the convention provision to give the people the power to defend the Constitution when the federal government twisted and perverted its words to expand its own power.
While NAGR purports to defend the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, its smear campaign against a constitutional process designed to defend the 2nd Amendment says otherwise. It is inaction and fear of using the “check” in Article V of the Constitution that will truly undermine our 2nd Amendment liberties. The Convention of States effort is precisely the tool needed to stop the staggering, power-drunk, ever-growing federal leviathan that will inevitably undermine not only our 2nd Amendment liberties but all the rest as well.
In NAGR’s most recent mailing, they invoke the names of men like James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, as if to imply they would opposed the use of a constitutional provision they voted for and helped draft. That is preposterous, and it shows either a complete ignorance of constitutional history or a blatant attempt to deceive. It was James Madison himself in a letter to Edward Everett in August of 1830 that told us, “Should the provisions of the Constitution as here reviewed be found not to secure the Government and rights of the States against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States the final resort within the purview of the Constitution lies in an amendment of the Constitution according to a process applicable by the States.” Madison knew that the Article V convention process was the right remedy for an out of control federal government.
Irrational fear is no substitute for thorough investigation. One of my colleagues, Missouri State Director Keith Carmichael, said it best:
Scholarship is important. We tell our kids that it is important. We tell them to do their homework, study hard and pay attention on things that matter. Responsible and informed parents who want to foster success actually go a step further when they demand that their children apply themselves because learning is important—knowing the difference between the truth and fiction is important.
Those that wrote and signed the Constitution believed that it was essential for this document to be able to be amended peacefully by the states in order to maintain federalism or a balance of power. On September 15, 1787, they voted unanimously to give the states equal power in the process along with Congress. They saw this then as a ‘life or death’ issue for the republic. That has not changed—it still is one today.
In a discussion about our Constitution—specifically Article V which is the part which allows the document itself to be amended—we can’t afford to not do our homework. We must resist the temptation to trust some of the inaccurate, incomplete, and agenda-driven scholarship that has been regurgitated for so long on this topic. Those unwilling to make an honest, complete investigation into the most recent, more reliable, serious scholarship on this issue place their own credibility at risk.
Our 2nd Amendment rights hang by a thread. The Supreme Court decision in Heller was a razor thin 5-4 majority that upheld the original intent of the 2nd Amendment as an individual right. This decision could have easily gone the other way and eviscerated the 2nd Amendment in one fell swoop. It is time to rein in the federal government using the wisdom and courage of the founders. By opposing the states rightful use of Article V, NAGR opposes the Constitution and the most powerful “check” given to the states by the founders. This group and others like it stand resolutely for the progressive and growing tyranny of the status quo.
* Bob Menges is the Convention of States State Director for South Carolina, and a strong 2nd Amendment advocate. In 2013, he authored and pushed through a bill that restored much needed liberty in South Carolina’s concealed carry statute. His bill was strongly supported by the NRA who dubbed it the “restaurant carry” bill.
Bob goes into greater detail about Article V and common misrepresentations of the convention process in this article: http://www.conventionofstates.com/madison_s_final_resort.