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(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

Text of this article available as:

[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E151-E152]
                            COME AND TAKE IT


                              HON. TED POE

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, it was fall of 1835. Mexican President 
Santa Anna had dissolved the Constitution and made himself dictator. 
Tensions began to flare between his oppressive government and the 
liberty minded desires of Texians and Tejanos. To suppress

[[Page E152]]

the rumblings of unrest and revolution the Mexican military leaders 
began their quest to quietly disarm the Texians. One of the first 
actions was to retrieve a cannon lent to the Texian colonists at 
Gonzales. The famous bronze cannon was loaned to the Gonzales colonists 
by the Mexican government in 1831 to defend themselves from hostile 
Apaches and Comanches. Mexican Corporal Casimiro De Leon and a few 
soldiers were sent to reclaim the cannon. That task was easier said 
than done.
  The feisty Texians said they were keeping the gun and took the 
soldiers prisoner. The ladies of settlement even made a flag bearing 
the words ``Come and Take It!'' to be flown over the cannon. The cannon 
had been buried in a peach orchard near the Colorado River for safety, 
but was retrieved shortly after and readied for battle and mounted on 
cart wheels. The Mexican government responded by sending Lieutenant 
Francisco de Castaneda of the Mexican Army and 150 troops to put an end 
to the dispute. They were met by a militia of frontier Texians and 
Indian fighters who simply said, ``There it is--come and take it.'' 
After a few shots were fired by both sides the Mexican army left the 
engagement. The Battle of Gonzales went on to be known as the 
``Lexington of Texas''. It was Act I of the Texas War of Independence. 
It was similar to Lexington because sixty years earlier the British had 
tried to seize the weapons of the colonists at Lexington and Concord. 
The Texas War, like the American War of Independence, began because 
oppressive government tried and failed to disarm the people. The 
citizens of Texas would not surrender their arms to appease the 
overbearing Mexican regime. History has an odd way of repeating itself.
  Flash forward 200 years. One night I was at a town hall meeting in 
Spring when a local preacher came up to me to share his concerns about 
where our country was headed. It is always refreshing for me to hear 
from normal people in Southeast Texas after spending all week long in 
the land of the bureaucrats. I will always remember this particular 
neighbor because of his strong opinions and his shirt. It had a 
photograph of the Bible and two .45 Colt revolvers with the words ``I 
love my Bible'' and ``I love my guns''. Naturally, they were in the 
right order. God then guns. Leave it to a Texas preacher to keep it all 
in perspective. You wouldn't see that shirt up in Washington, DC. Some 
elites outside of our Great State fear ``us southerners'' and our colt 
45s, and ridicule those who cling to their guns and religion. In Texas 
we have a rich tradition of proudly celebrating the right to bear arms. 
The elites seem to forget that not only do we cling to guns and 
religion, we cling to the Constitution that protects these rights. Many 
Texans believe the call for gun control is really a call for more 
government control.
  Texans aren't the only ones who have historically defended this 
right. During the birth of our nation, the Founding Fathers were very 
concerned--almost paranoid--that a strong Federal Government would 
trample on the rights of the people. Their concerns were warranted 
because that is exactly what happened to the colonists, and that's what 
governments historically do--trample on individual liberty. So after 
the ratification of the Constitution, the Framers purposely included a 
list of inalienable rights that are endowed by our Creator, not from 
government. One of them being the individuals' right to bear arms. They 
knew from their experiences in the American War of Independence that an 
armed citizenry and a citizen militia were not only needed for personal 
defense, but were also the best safeguard against the tyranny of 
  But here we go again. Today some in government once again fear the 
freedom of its citizens and are now calls to round up all the guns. 
Ironically, each day in the U.S. Capitol there are guards with guns by 
the doors--to the north, to the south, to the east, to the west--on the 
roof, on all of the entrances, and by the steps. Many elitist 
politicians and lifelong bureaucrats expect protections for themselves 
while advocating for more restrictions on guns for the people of 
America--hypocrisy at its highest. Most citizens don't have government 
guards protecting them 24/7. Many people feel defenseless. In fact, one 
of the proposals for more gun laws mirrors the stringent DC. gun laws. 
If the DC gun laws worked, DC would not be such a violent city. If DC 
gun laws worked, why are there so many armed guards at the Capitol?
  The elites want more government power and control while taking away 
liberty from the rest of us. They want to punish the guns, not the 
people who commit crimes with guns. They want to keep their special 
government protection while redlining the Second Amendment for the 
people. They say, ``Protection for me but not for thee''. Not much has 
changed since the days of the Santa Anna. Oppressive governments will 
always seek to limit the freedom of their citizens. Mexico eventually 
lost Texas and Great Britain eventually lost America. Both wars started 
because those in charge wanted to take guns away from the citizens. 
Those who seek to take guns away from Texans should open a history 
book. Those early Texans defied Santa Anna, hoisted the flag ``Come and 
Take It'', and the rest they say is Texas history.
  And that's just the way it is.



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