It’s time to say what shouldn’t need to be said.

The “tea party,” as it’s called, is not at war with the police or with federal agents or agencies. Liberty is not synonymous with rebellion, and though free men have had to, through history, occasionally take up arms to defend their rights, those times are not these times.

The best defense of the Constitution is found in the Constitution, not in your gun safe.

Don’t misunderstand me. I own guns, I own assault weapons. And I owned them long before their popularity of recent years. Each payday I buy and stockpile ammunition, and I have done so for years. I have guns, and carry guns, to defend my family, my faith, my home, my country and my freedom. I understand, and have taught for years, that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the rights of the people against the oppressive powers of government. The Second Amendment assures that the people can use force of arms to repel and topple oppressive government.

I also believe that the current relationship between the people and the government is tilted dramatically toward the powers of the government and against the rights of the people. I loathe the current administration in Washington and almost palpably hate the efforts by my state government to strip me of my liberties.

I consider that I live in a regime oppressive to my constitutional and natural rights.

Further, I am a veteran of the United States military, and swore an oath of enlistment that I would, “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic – and bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” That oath had no expiration date and I consider it binding upon me now.

I was a constitutional conservative long before there was a “tea party,” and I remain one as that manipulated and mocked movement fades into the shadows.

I am a free man, a believer in the divinely inspired Constitution, and to my dying day I will resist all efforts to enslave me.

But those who threaten or engage in violence against law enforcement officers and others are wrong. They are criminals, not patriots, and they are engaged in immoral, illegal, unjustified acts based not in constitutional principle, but in the darkness of their own evil hearts.

The hateful Internet screeds of lunatics, and the quoting of phrases or use of ancient flags, do not justify or sanctify cold-blooded murder.

And to believe that the road to liberty in our current day is down the barrel of a gun is to woefully misunderstand or distort reality. Further, it is to abandon the morality which always undergirds liberty, and to attack the last protection of freedom our society enjoys.

Because the Constitution is its own best protection. And while we hold the Second Amendment dear, it is one part of a complex, interrelated document which in its entirety best guides the affairs of men and state.

The Constitution gives me the right to own and carry a gun. But it also gives me the right to vote, and to be represented in the workings of my government. It protects my divine rights of speech and assembly, the right to distribute my opinions widely via the evolving technology of the press, and the right to go to the government with my complaints.

The Constitution creates a balance of powers among the branches of government and between the states and federal governments. And when those balances are out of whack – as they are now – the electoral, legislative and judicial processes offer me – and all Americans – hope of relief. Is it immediate? Is it satisfying to all? It is perfect? Of course not, but for more than 200 years it has been the best system of government known to man.

Yes, there is a cancer upon the federal government, an encrusting tilt toward tyranny.

And it is going to run up against the Constitution.

But the Constitution is going to win.

Yes, I own and carry guns. And in the final extremity they are a defense of my liberty. But the fight of this age is not on the battlefield, it is at the voting booth and in the halls of Congress and in the decisions of the federal judiciary.

We fight for our liberty by trying to convince our neighbors of the wisdom of constitutional principle, not by shooting at cops. We need to declare and explain truth, not raise our guns in anger. The power is in our ideas, not in our bullets.

We know that mob rule – which is what happens when you opt out of law and make violence your king – is not a defense of liberty, it is a poison to liberty. Violence seeks to make the individual sovereign, imposing his will above all others, while the Constitution seeks to make “We, the people” sovereign, by unitedly deciding and declaring how our society will be ordered. It is the law that protects our liberty, and where the law or its administration stray from that duty, we fix it through legal process – through constitutional process.

Not by pulling a trigger.

It’s time to say what shouldn’t need to be said.

We are not at war with the police or with federal agents.

And those who act differently are not patriots, they are criminals. Not defenders of liberty, but threats to it.