Most of us who hunt in Maine are gun owners. Guns are a hunter’s tool, like a hoe for a gardener, or 7-iron for a golfer.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in my view, is the only shield that has kept the political left in this country from dispossessing us of our firearms and our hunting heritage. Part of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment was intended by James Madison and our nation’s founders to give citizens an avenue of defense against a tyrannical federal government.

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoors Columnist

In 2008, the U.S Supreme Court, in the District of Columbia vs. Heller, held that self-defense was “the central component” of the Second Amendment. This decision not only upheld our right to bear arms for defending ourselves, it further held that the amendment ensured the right of individuals to take part in defending the liberties by taking up arms in an organized militia.

President Joe Biden recently mocked these coveted constitutional guarantees in a speech about his plan to control ever-increasing gun violence in American cities. In his assertion that the country’s citizenry would need F-15s and nuclear weapons to fend off a tyrannical federal government, the president said inasmuch that we the people, firearms or no firearms, have in truth no real defense against governmental tyranny in the 21st century.

Perhaps he is right.

It seems plausible that the Founders, even in their worst 1776 nightmares, never envisioned a federal government as all-powerful, pervasive and politically corrupt as the one of today.

Beneath the surface in the gun-rights debate, an irony smolders. The president, in his appeal for more gun laws seems to blame gun-rights proponents and law-abiding gun owners, which includes recreational hunters, for the anarchy and violence in America’s cities. Yet private gun sales this year are at record highs. The data shows that women and minorities compromise the largest proportion of these first-time gun buyers.

Colion Noir, a gun-rights activist hit the proverbial nail: “It’s a very sad day in our country’s history when you have a President of the United States basically telling the American people that, ‘Hey, look, we’re the government, we can do anything that we want to you and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. He’s not talking to us like a group of people. He’s talking to us like we’re an invading force. People don’t want these firearms so we can take over the government. We want these firearms so that we can protect ourselves.”

Until law and order is restored, existing gun laws are enforced and the law enforcement community is respected and funded and civic responsibility is resurrected by all levels of American leadership, this country’s descent into lawlessness and urban madness can only spiral downward. Those of us who hunt and value our hunting heritage but ignore all of this, or refuse to get involved, do so at our own peril.

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has authored three books; online purchase information is available at Contact him at [email protected] 

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