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Di Leo: The Bill of Rights, and the Safety of a Nation Under Attack


By John F. Di Leo –
Another horrible shooting has the Left talking about gun control, as if people already in violation of tons of other laws would be dissuaded by one more.
So the Right responds by focusing on the Second Amendment, which is certainly legitimate and relevant, as it was intended to protect the American people from all manner of assaults, whether from a mugger in an alley, a street gang in the neighborhood, an enemy abroad, or a tyrant in our own capitol..
…but we often forget the relevance of another Amendment, the First, which is increasingly under assault, particularly in the context of current events:
We have a right to freely practice our religion. We have a right to freely assemble. These are natural rights, not given by government but by God…. and they are listed in the Bill of Rights to remind us all that our government has an obligation to protect these rights. Our government can pass no laws that would infringe upon our rights to freely assemble. Period.

Whether that's a monthly visit to a congressman's town hall, or a weekday visit to the post office to mail our businesses' invoices at the end of the day, or a weekly visit to church, or a Saturday shopping trip at the mall… we should not be forced by restrictive laws to hide in our homes because public places have become too dangerous.
And yet… in an era in which the threat of mass murder is very real, and we see exhibits in the daily news – a church shooting, a mall bombing, a theater shooting, a school attack… how does our government respond to this growing threat?
In too many places (my own home state of Illinois among them), we tolerate laws that restrict our Second Amendment rights exactly when we are practicing our First Amendment rights.
We may acknowledge our right to concealed carry in general, for example, but then we ban the firearms that would protect the public at the very places we need such protection most.
We allow the individual walking down the street to protect himself with a handgun, but we tell him – with laws in Illinois, with window stickers in Texas – to leave that gun at home and enter our churches, schools, malls and theaters defenseless.
In the case of the horror at a small Baptist church in tiny Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5, 2017, as so often happens, a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun. But only after the killings had occurred, and the villain was fleeing.  Had there been armed parishioners in that church, the casualty count might have been much lower.
It is time to recognize that our Constitution is not a collection of a random and unconnected clauses; the separate pieces of that marvelous document work together, to strengthen and protect each other.
We currently tolerate bans on parishioners, shoppers, vacationers and businessmen protecting each other, at exactly the places where we need such protections the most, our churches and synagogues, our malls and department stores, our theaters and stadiums, our post offices and hotels.
We have a right to freely assemble, for any of these purposes, and this plethora of restrictions on the ability of "a good guy with a gun" to protect his fellow man from "a bad guy with a gun" are violations not only of the Second Amendment, but of the First as well.
copyright 2017 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer, Customs broker, writer and actor. His columns are regularly found in Illinois Review. Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included.


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  1. Well, if the wealthy elites are willing give up their weapons and their security guards and the same for all political elected folks, I “might” consider doing it too if I had them. But, knowing that they won’t give up their protection, I don’t think ANY American CITIZEN should be forced to do so. I fear that were that attempted, there would be nationwide violence.

  2. Government leaders, both elected and employed, continue to demonstrate that they do not fulfill their duty, example of Flint Michigan, failure in education, etc. The fundamental rights, given from our God Creator to individuals, some of which are, in a limited way, given to government through the Constitution, both federal and state. Governments are formed because our forefathers created them. They have grown out of control and are not accountable; They, the elected and employed, think they are the elites and entitled, NOT.