Archive for the 'Second Amendment' Category



Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 3 days ago

David Codrea:

Can you imagine how Rolling Stone would howl if someone from the “right” were to call for “Second Amendment remedies” against, say SEIU, or the Southern Poverty Law Center or Everytown? Or Organizing for Action? How does Yawn feel about his guy singling out “the corporatized wing of the Democratic Party” — the folks like Wenner, who put Obama, Pelosi and the entire leadership in office — for the same treatment?

They would howl and wouldn’t think a thing about the hobgoblins of inconsistency.  After all, progressives only think something is terrorism when they disagree with it.

In a 2013 e-mail, physics professor Bob Lange wrote that the Benghazi attacks were “not terrorism.” He explained, “It is not terrorism to kill representatives of a government that you are opposed to.” Bringing the conversation back to Israel, he noted, “If an Israeli soldier protecting a settlement is killed by Palestinian militants, it is not terrorism.”

Kurt Hofmann:

If, after all, government officials do not fear the wrath of an armed citizenry, the deterrent effect provided by the Constitutional guarantee of the people’s ability to deny a “government monopoly on force” has failed. If the government insists on ignoring both the Constitutionally imposed limits on its power, and disregarding armed citizens’ ability to enforce those limits, the only option remaining is for we the people to actively refresh the tree of liberty.

Sounds exactly right to me, and I agree with every bit of the sentiment expressed by Larry Pratt, including the unction (and good judgment) with which he communicated it.

Holding Human Rights Hostage To Favorable Statistical Outcomes

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

I previously argued against John Lott’s procedure (especially when it is employed as an exclusive-use procedure) to demonstrate that gun ownership and crime are inversely proportional.  Go back and read this article again if you need.

Kurt Hofmann sent me this wonderful note in response to the article.  I have always claimed that my readers are better writers and I am (and especially so with Kurt), and so it behooves me to paste in his entire letter without further commentary from me.

I definitely agree with you on the danger of holding fundamental human rights hostage to any kind of requirement for a favorable statistical outcome.
Have you ever read Jeff Snyder’s A Nation of Cowards?  He talked a lot about that very point.  Here’s one passage:
For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that keeping and bearing arms suitable for self-defense is a bona fide individual right. If so, the fact that 100,000 people a year murder others with firearms, while one man alone uses a firearm to save a life, provides no basis for curbing the individual liberty to own and bear arms. Each individual must, because of his inherent, autonomous ethical freedom, be respected as an end in himself; no prior restraint may be imposed upon his right to own and bear firearms.
 
Actually we can go further. Under an individual right view, the fact that 100,000 people a year murder innocents with firearms, and no one uses a firearm to protect himself or others provides no basis for a prior restraint. Individuals must still be possessed of a right to own firearms because their ethical freedom contains the potentiality of using firearms for good. That is, people can use this tool for good, if they turn to it with a good will. 
 This one is good, too, operating on the hypothetical assumption that “gun control” saves more lives than would be saved by unrestricted self-defense:

Second, the individual’s private good is not merely subordinate to realization of the aggregate greatest good, but is freely sacrificed to securing that greatest good. The obverse of the fact that more lives are saved by gun prohibition is that some, having been deprived of an effective tool of self-defense, will of necessity lose their lives, so that others, admittedly more numerous, will live.

In short, some are sacrificed so that others, comprising a greater number, may live.

Utilitarianism sanctions human sacrifice, both great and small, as long as it is for “the greatest good of the greatest number.” Utilitarianism justifies using some people as cannon fodder merely as a means to the fulfillment of others’ ends– so long as those who are to be sacrificed are not too numerous.

Take care,

Kurt

NRA Board Member Tom King Laments Rhetoric At Pro-Gun Rallies

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

NY Daily News:

In my “Albany Insider” column today, I wrote how Tom King, the head of the state Rifle & Pistol Association, was critical of the increasingly angry and inflammatory rhetoric at pro-gun rallies. King said he fears that the ugliness that has popped up at the rallies is actually hurting the pro-gun cause. He also said it’s time to stop the rallies, arguing that they won’t result in a repeal of the SAFE Act. He wants to instead focus on trying to get the law struck down in the court …

I won’t post his silly letter, but I thought it would be appropriate to highlight this paragraph.

Fellow gun owners I submit this to you for your consideration. We will never convert the 22% rabid anti-gunners, we don’t have to convert the 32% avid pro gunners but we must convert a sizable portion of the 46% of those somewhere in between if we want to retain our 2nd Amendment Rights long term. These are the soccer moms, the guys who say I’ve never shot a gun but would like to try it and the people worried about their safety. How do we do that? Not by standing on stage screaming obscenities at Cuomo and certainly at large rallies where people stand on stage, pound their chest and tell the attendees to prepare for war. That frightens the very people we want to attract to our side, the people who will insure (sic) 2nd Amendment Rights for our grandchildren.

As a sidebar comment, the people he wants to attract will not insure (sic) 2nd amendment rights for our grandchildren.  But second, this letter is as  emblematic of everything that’s wrong with the NRA as I’ve ever seen.  It’s the perfect example of how not to think about our rights.

The strategy he advocates is why we’re where we are, among other reasons like loss of our national moral conscience.  He wants first to turn to the black robes, and failing that (as it certainly will fail and has already failed), he wants to turn to popular opinion.

Like so many other NRA board members, he wants to be oh-so-respectable and loved by the people.  Don’t appear extreme and scary, says he.  Never mind the warnings that should be issued to the collectivists should they continue with their pursuit of confiscation and onerous laws and harassment.  Never mind that they could be declaring war as an unintended consequence of their lust for power.  Don’t be scary to the people we want to persuade.

I rarely cite polls or popular opinion because while they may matter to the exigencies of my life, they don’t matter to my rights.  I have weapons because God gives me the right to own weapons, not the second amendment.  The opinions of the people are as subject to the vicissitudes of ideology as the times in which they live, and the mind of man cannot be entrusted with the rights of mankind.  If Mr. King is placing his trust in the people, he is building his house on sand.

My rights are what they are by divine pronouncement.  It is righteous to own guns because it reflects the character of the Almighty.  Without this I’m no different than the statist thugs and collectivists who want to disarm me, except we happen to be on different sides of an issue.  It means everything … everything … to be right and righteous.

Until the NRA board of directors is as convinced of the foundations of their rights as I am, they will be a weak and neutered organization, fit for nothing much except a good magazine once a month.

UPDATE. David Codrea links some history on this.  Jacob is a real piece of work.  Come on into my house, Jacob, and let’s throw down.  I’ll call you out for being the sorry, pathetic, collectivist piss ant you are.  Or did I already just do that?

Supreme Court Won’t Block Ban On High Capacity Magazines

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

SFGate:

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Wednesday to halt Sunnyvale’s enforcement of a voter-approved ban on high-capacity gun magazines. The order signaled that San Francisco will also be allowed to enforce a virtually identical ordinance during court challenges.

Sunnyvale’s measure, approved by 66 percent of its voters in November, prohibits possession of magazines carrying more than 10 cartridges.

A group of gun owners sued to overturn the Sunnyvale ordinance and asked a federal judge to block its enforcement, arguing that tens of millions of Americans legally own guns with high-capacity magazines and may sometimes need them to repel criminal attacks.

But U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte of San Jose rejected the request March 5, the day before the ordinance took effect, saying the ban would have little impact on the constitutional right to bear arms in self-defense.

A federal appeals court refused to intervene, and on Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency appeals from California and eight other Western states, denied a stay without comment.

More often than not, when the SCOTUS refuses to hear a case, they know full well how it will turn out and conclude that the outcome wouldn’t be any different than the way it is before review.

Occasionally I like the decisions made at the appeals court level.  But more often than not I don’t.  But one thing I do not do is rely on the federal court system to protect my rights.

I am a second amendment and gun rights writer, but I only loosely call myself that.  Readers know that I don’t believe that I have a right to own firearms because the constitution says so.  I also don’t believe in so-called “natural law” or “natural rights.”

Ever since my seminary training in apologetics and philosophy, having seen John Locke thoroughly dissembled with logic, I don’t reference his views for anything.  No respectable philosopher today does.  Even among the legal community, John Whitehead is an exception.  In order for something to be “natural,” it has to be binding upon all men and capable of epistemic certainty.  To me, the concept of a natural right to own guns is no better than the notion of the new head of a pride killing the young lions so that the lionesses will come into estrus again – or the lioness trying to defend her young one.  What’s natural to one won’t be natural to another.

So why do I have a right to own guns, or high capacity magazines?  Because God says so.  That settles it for me, whether the constitution recognizes it or not, whether a judge certifies it or not.  You may not have my world view, and I’m okay with that.  But every man must come to his own conclusions and ascertain the ultimate foundation for what he does and what he believes.

You live on the Serengeti desert in a Machiavellian world of eat or be eaten, with no concept of right and wrong, or you know whereof you act, and you know why what you do and what you believe is morally righteous.  And If you were relying on a federal judge to warranty your rights, you’ve been disavowed of that mistaken belief as we speak.  Is that clear enough?

The Ninth Circuit, The Second Amendment And The Right To Bear Arms

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

Eugene Volokh is discussing the very recent Ninth Circuit decision on the right to bear arms outside the home.  See also here and here.  Eugene’s comments are well worth reading.  Here is one interesting excerpt from the decision.

… with Heller on the books, the Second Amendment’s original meaning is now settled in at least two relevant respects.  First, Heller clarifies that the keeping and bearing of arms is, and has always been, an individual right.  See, e.g., 554 U.S. at 616. Second, the right is, and has always been, oriented to the end of self-defense.

See, e.g., id. Any contrary interpretation of the right, whether propounded in 1791 or just last week, is error. What that means for our review is that historical interpretations of the right’s scope are of varying probative worth, falling generally into one of three categories ranked here in descending order: (1) authorities that understand bearing arm s for self-defense to be an individual right, (2) authorities that understand bearing arms for a purpose other than self-defense to be an individual right, and (3) authorities that understand bearing arms not to be an individual right at all.

To illustrate, a precedent in the first category that declared a general right to carry guns in public would be a great case for Peruta, while a decision in the same group that confined exercise of the right to the home would do his position much damage.  By contrast, those cases in the third category — which, like the dissenting opinions in Heller, espouse the view that one has a right to bear arms only collectively in connection with militia service and not for self-defense within or outside the home — are of no help.

It’s very important to understand what they’re arguing and what they’re not.  But first, let me rehearse my view of the Second Amendment.

Recall that I view the Second Amendment as primarily and first of all a restriction on the power of the federal government.  It was meant to frame in, or circumscribe the centralized powers.  Therefore, it needed only one reason to restrict that power, that reason being stated as concerning the militia.  The Second Amendment is not restrictive, it is inclusive.  I’ll return to that in a moment.

Later, the Second Amendment was applied to the States through incorporation, and thus it applies to all U.S. citizens regardless of State.  However, this should have been superfluous at the time, since most States (Illinois being one exception, having been corrected only recently) recognized the right to bear arms in State Constitutions.  It should have been … but it wasn’t because of collectivist designs on control.

God gives me my right to bear arms.  Man can and should only recognize and respect that right.  I do not have to be a member of the militia to justify my right to own weapons (the Second Amendment gives only one reason that the centralized powers cannot infringe on my rights to bear arms – there are many others).  Again I say – and always remember this – God gives me the right to weapons and to use them for self defense.

Such notables as my friend Bob Owens have asked the question, loosely paraphrased, if militia membership is required, then what kind of training should we be engaged in?

No, and a thousand times no.  Paraplegics, the elderly, shut-ins, and all manner of people who cannot be a member of the militia have just as much of a God-given right to weapons as does a healthy, 19-year old strapping young man ready for service.  It does no good to say that we’re all member of the unorganized militia, because my 90 year old grandmother in-law cannot get herself out of bed.  It’s a lie and a subterfuge to say otherwise, and it avoids the hard question about the ultimate root of my rights.

Now back to what the Ninth Circuit said.  While I am in both categories (i.e., right to bear arms for self defense and also for resistance to tyranny), again, it’s important not to misconstrue their words.

The case before them had nothing to do with the militia or resistance to tyranny.  It had to do with the right to bear arms at all times for personal self defense.  Thus, decisions, case law, and legal texts that have to do with anything but this are irrelevant to their decision.  They lack probative worth in this context.

I think that this is right, and I think that this is generally a good decision.  Let me make a careful note that I am not finished reading the decision, and I may stumble upon something outlandish.  I’ll point it out if I do.

David Codrea says that he doesn’t cede the decision whether we have a right to bear arms to the Ninth Circuit.  Properly so.  God gives it to me, and what God gives me, no court can take away.  But for the trashy decisions handed down by the Ninth Circuit, this one is surprising and delightful to read (so far).  And I do like their focus on the historical context of the constitution rather than on what judges have to say about it from their ivory tower perches today.

For more reading on this subject, see my Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense.

Illinois Supreme Court On Carry Outside The Home

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 3 weeks ago

Eugene Volokh has a post up entitled Illinois Supreme Court: Second Amendment Protects Carrying Outside The Home, where he discusses the recent subject ruling.

From today’s unanimous decision in People v. Aguilar (Ill. Sept. 12, 2013):

As the Seventh Circuit correctly noted, neither Heller nor McDonald expressly limits the second amendment’s protections to the home. On the contrary, both decisions contain language strongly suggesting if not outright confirming that the second amendment right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home. Moreover, if Heller means what it says, and “individual self-defense” is indeed “the central component” of the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, then it would make little sense to restrict that right to the home, as “[c]onfrontations are not limited to the home.” Indeed, Heller itself recognizes as much when it states that “the right to have arms *** was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.”

I think the result is correct, because Heller‘s reasoning does indeed apply to carrying for self-defense in most public places, and not just in the home. Indeed, Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago had no occasion to squarely confront this question, because they dealt with total handgun bans, including on home possession. Heller does speak of “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home,” and stresses that the D.C. handgun ban extends “to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 635, 629. And Heller also holds that bans on concealed carry in public are constitutional, because of the long tradition (dating back to the early 1800s) of such prohibitions.

Eugene goes on to discuss what he sees as a technical error in the ruling, albeit not determinative, i.e., he still believes it’s the correct result.

I have exchanged e-mail with him on Georgia case concerning guns in churches / schools.  Eugene is a very smart guy.  But on this issue I disagree.  No, not that the Illinois Supreme Court ruled rightly, but how they got to it.

Read again.  And read Eugene’s analysis again.  They both presuppose that to answer the question of whether carrying outside the home should be legal, they must turn to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

We’ve discussed this before.  The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant us rights.  It circumscribes the power of the federal government so that they cannot infringe in those specific areas.  If you want to learn whether carry is protected in Illinois, turn to the Illinois state constitution, article 1 section 22.

It is a late addition to the constitution, but better late than never.  Folks, the notion that the founding fathers would have turned to a federal document to understand or delineate their rights is preposterous.  We have given the centralized government too much authority, too much legitimacy, and too much power.

We needn’t turn to the federal government, even when we get the answer we like.  We have rights because those rights were granted by God and recognized by our local and state covenants, not because the U.S. constitution says so.  And it should be embarrassing that the Illinois Supreme Court had to turn to Heller to make their decision.  Embarrassing.  Do they have a mind of their own, and aren’t they supposed to be deciding cases concerning Illinois?

The Continuing Saga Of Nullification And LEO Soul-Searching

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 3 weeks ago

KCUR:

Several police departments and organizations around Missouri are speaking out against a bill that would bar enforcement of federal gun laws if they interfere with a Missourian’s Second Amendment rights.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says House Bill 436 would in effect end cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies.  He cites a recent traffic stop where his officers apprehended two armed men wanted for different crimes.

“Typically we would take that case to the federal authorities, because (the criminals would) get a lot more serious prison time than you would on a state charge,” Fitch said.  ”If this law is passed, it basically takes away the opportunity for us to do that.”

[ ... ]

In addition, St. Louis city Police Chief Sam Dotson, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte, and Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum co-wrote an op-ed piece strongly opposing House Bill 436.  It reads, in part:

As police officials we are concerned about this legislation because it would make it a state crime for our federal partners at the FBI, ATF, and other agencies to do their job of enforcing federal gun laws in Missouri. The prospect of Missouri officials trying to arrest federal agents is unimaginable …

Fitch is a liar, and that isn’t the reason he opposes the proposed law.  The real reason is that while it is unimaginable to the authors of the letter that they would actually hold the collectivists accountable for their crimes (because they are themselves collectivists), it is quite imaginable that they strip their own people of their God-given rights.

So there you have it.  The benefit of things like this is that it allows liberty lovers in that neck of the woods the opportunity to see what their LEOs are really made of, and remove them from office, however hard that may be and however long that may take.

On to what is always an interesting read, PoliceOne.

Don’t expect any change in local enforcement of New York’s SAFE Act following recent comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo … Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said he has no intention of enforcing the law, and that his office won’t do anything that would cause law-abiding citizens to turn in their weapons or arrest them for possessing firearms.

Good for the Sheriff, but the more interesting thing is the comments to the article, as it always is at PoliceOne.

I support laws limiting magazine capacity in the United States. Let’s say 7 rounds at most. Carry as many of those 7 round magazines as you want.

Law enforcement officers, due to the nature of their work, are excempt (sic) from these limitations.

The reasoning is this. There have been numerous situations in Law Enforcement where higher round magazines have been necessary to do what they do. It’s the nature of the job.

There is no evidence that a non law enforcement person needs a higher magazine capacity to protect themselves. It doesn’t exist.

And next:

Officer Discretion! It doesn’t matter what laws are passed, or what crooked politicians think. I can enforce or not enforce laws however I see fit. Its called officer discretion. I would hate to live/work in an area where LEO Officers feel they have to enforce every law, no matter what the circumstances. If you work for a city/county/state/federal department, you may not have discretion. Fortunately I work for the Office of the Sheriff, and (with the Sheriff’s Blessing) I make the decisions to charge/not charge the people I deal with.

The first commenter is easily answered by one name: Mr. Stephen Bayezes.  But the more involved answer pertains to how poorly trained and ignorant he is, as well as raising the question why police departments hire such badly qualified candidates.

LEOs can use weapons for only one reason according to the SCOTUS decision in Tennessee versus Garner: self defense.  Nothing more.  So whatever applies to LEOs applies equally to citizens who aren’t LEOs, that is, self defense isn’t unique to LEOs, and there is no compelling legal argument for allowing weapons in the hands of LEOs that aren’t in the hands of others.

The next commenter is a little more level-headed in that he would refuse to confiscate weapons, at least according to him, but just as ignorant in that he elevates discretion to the point that it overrides the law.

This makes for corruption in the ranks of enforcers just like it does in the ranks of law-makers, who sometimes feel that they can make any law they want for whatever reason they want.  Neither is true.  The constitution constrains us all, law-makers and LEOs alike.  The officer doesn’t have discretion to ignore enforcement of a law that is constitutional, and it is the very fact that a gun confiscation law is in fact unconstitutional that gives him the latitude to refuse to enforce it.  There are rules for all of us; our actions are circumscribed by higher law, first the constitution, and finally, God Himself.

So as you can see, LEOs are still having extreme difficulty dealing with the political and cultural crises in which we find ourselves.  I only expect the dilemmas to get worse for them.  They had better put on their thinking caps.  Right now they’re acting pretty stolid and dense.

Guns Against Tyranny

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 3 weeks ago

Lily Tang Williams writing at National Review has a must read column entitled Guns Against Tyranny.  It has become almost amusing to watch as the collectivists hyperventilate over claims that we make about right to guns having nothing to do with hunting, and everything to do with ameliorating tyranny.  But what Ms. Williams has to say is sobering and gives existential and emotional import to what is for us sometimes all about doctrine.

I was born in Chengdu, China. When I was growing up, the Communist Party controlled everything. There were no choices of any sort. We were all poor except the elite. The local government rationed everything from pork to rice, sugar, and flour because there were not enough supplies. We were allowed only a kilogram of pork per month for our family of five. We lived in two rooms, without heat in the winter. I got impetigo during the cold, humid winters. There were eight families living around our courtyard, and we all had to share one bathroom (a hole in the ground) for males, one for females. We had only government-run medical clinics, where the conditions were filthy and services were horrible. I was afraid of going there because I might get some other infectious diseases.

As children, we were brainwashed in school every day. We chanted daily: “Long Live Chairman Mao, Long Live the Communist Party.” I loved Chairman Mao. I was so brainwashed that I could see Chairman Mao in the clouds and fire. He was like a god to me. The powerful government watched us very closely, from the Beijing central government to our Communist block committees and local police stations. We had no rights, even though our constitution said we did.

It was frightening that local police could stop by our home to pound on the doors at night and search us for no good reason. People were arrested without court papers and locked up for months without trials.

Citizens were not allowed to have any guns or they would be put into prison, or worse. Chinese people were helpless when they needed to defend themselves. I grew up with fear, like millions of other children — fear that the police would pound on our doors at night and take my loved ones away, fear that bad guys would come to rob us. Sometimes I could not sleep from hearing the screaming people outside.

There were many stories of local people defending themselves with kitchen knives and sticks. Women were even more helpless when they were attacked and raped. I was molested as a college student once while walking home at night. It was common then.

When it came to dealing with the Chinese government and police brutality, there was nothing we could do. They had guns, while law-abiding citizens did not.

And thus does it go in collectivist hives where the government controls even your right to self defense.  The power brokers couldn’t care less whether the people can ensure their safety – they care merely about subjugation of the common people under the yoke of bondage.  Ms. Williams eventually made it to the U.S., and has this important observation.

I tried so hard to come to the U.S. for personal freedom, including the freedom guaranteed by the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms, which makes me feel like a free person, not a slave. I felt empowered when I finally held my own gun. For the first time in my life, I truly knew I was free.

I think the Founding Fathers of this country were very wise. They put that in the Constitution because they knew that a government could become either powerful or weak and that the citizens’ last defense is the ability to bear arms to protect themselves against tyranny and criminals. The guns are not just for sports, hunting, and collecting; it is our fundamental right to bear arms and use them for our self-defense.

Having previously lived under a tyranny, it seems clear to me that the U.S. government is going to try to infringe my Second Amendment right. What happened in China could happen in America. If the government can tell us what arms to bear, where to bear them, and how many shots you need to use to defend yourself, we might just become slaves.

It’s already happened, Ms. Williams.  And if you haven’t noticed, at any time your local police department – or any of a multitude of federal departments – could send in a SWAT team on a misguided mission, destroy your home, kill your beasts in front of you, endanger your family and even kill members of your family, and no court in the land will hold them accountable for so much as the misdemeanor of littering.  We are already headed down the path about which you warn because they don’t care about the Fourth Amendment.

And that’s what makes the Second Amendment so important, no?  And it means that eventually we must be willing to act on our own behalves because they won’t.

Guns And Aliens, Legal And Illegal

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 3 weeks ago

David Codrea:

Per The Omaha World-Herald, “Bruning was one of 18 state attorneys general who signed a letter sent by the National Association of Attorneys General, urging the Senate to confirm Holder’s nomination.” He also, per that report, declined to talk about Fast and Furious “gunwalking” that happened on Holder’s watch.

“Mr. Holder is a known quantity to some of us,” the 2009 letter sent to then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and then-Ranking Member Arlen Specter stated, as if that was a good thing, especially considering Mr. Holder was indeed a known quantity to gun rights proponents at the time the letter was written.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is in the middle of a controversy – he always seems to be – on the denial of weapons rights to a long standing legal Mexican resident.

This is a detailed and involved articled by David, one that you really need to read, both to be educated and to understand my response.

First of all, the NRA has absolutely got to do better at ranking politicians than they do.  On the other hand I have talked to them via phone and to their credit they do a fair to good job of keeping abreast of issues and politicians.  Oftentimes a politician is disingenuous and cites an NRA ranking that was done well before a given candidacy in which they claim that it applies.  So the NRA needs to do better (of course they do), and politicians need to stop lying (like they ever will).

Now let’s get to the issue of guns and Mexicans.  If you read David’s prose and the accompanying comments from well-educated readers, you will see that they all support gun rights for legal residents.

Here is a news flash.  So do I.  I wonder from time to time about going abroad on short term mission trips and also lament the fact that most of the locations to which I would go do would not allow a weapon to be brought into the country.  And then I think hard about my God-given duty to protect myself.  Ultimately, if you do something like that you must be cognizant of the fact that you are sustaining a certain risk that you cannot ameliorate.

In fact, I even favor the restoration of guns rights for non-violent felons, and I do not believe in the rehabilitative power of prisons (indentured servitude is the best way to pay debts, since a debt is not to society but to individuals).  But I need to discuss some caveats.  God gives us our rights, the state merely recognizes them.  One commenter observes that the Second Amendment nowhere says that it applies only to citizens.  True enough, that’s beside the point.

The Second Amendment doesn’t grant us a right.  It says that the federal government cannot impinge on that right.  And it doesn’t speak to state governments.  That’s why – in my opinion – listen carefully here before you ascribe to me something I am not saying – state constitutions also need clearly to outline a man’s right to weapons, and the local laws clearly need to support that doctrinal stand.  As advocates of states’ rights and tenth amendment advocates, we need NOT to turn to the federal government for delineation of our rights, even on the state and local level.  The constitution and bill of rights doesn’t delineate our rights, it restricts the federal government from impinging on certain rights.  Those rights also must be protected at lower levels of government.  Here I strongly recommend reading Clarence Thomas And The Amendment Of Doom.

Regarding illegal aliens (or residents if you want to call them that), I strongly oppose such rights (that is, right to have guns).  Just as God grants them a right to self defense, He grants us a right to protect our borders.  His right to self defense doesn’t outweigh our right to national sovereignty as long as there is a remedy available to him that doesn’t also impinge on any other rights, i.e., becoming legal.  These are carefully thought-out stipulations and explanations – do you need to read them and think about them again before reacting?

These are all controversial issues, but ones that we needed to discuss.  You may disagree with my take on the Second Amendment (and believe that it speaks to states), and I accept that disagreement.  But if you turn off your interest knob after reading the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, I continue my interest to the State Constitutions.  I have more work to do than you.  But I strongly believe that governance is best when the political fight happens first and foremost at the local and state levels.  Our founding fathers saw a much weaker central government than do we, and the notion that they would have had to turn to a national document to show their rights is preposterous.  Our founders believed that they were stipulating behavior and framing in the centralizers.

Does A Comma Stand Between You And Loss Of Your Guns?

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 1 week ago

Business Insider:

A recent poll suggests Americans will consider the gun debate a pivotal point in the 2014 elections. So we wanted to explore how Americans kept the right to bear arms in the first place. As it turns out, grammar is the culprit.

Take a look at the Second Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

That little, red comma caused the Supreme Court to strike down D.C.’s ban on handguns, the country’s strictest gun control law to date.

Before the Supreme Court heard the case, the D.C. circuit court of appeals nixed the ban, too. “According to the court, the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one ‘prefatory’ and the other ‘operative.’ On this reading, the bit about a well-regulated militia is just preliminary throat clearing; the framers don’t really get down to business until they start talking about ‘the right of the people … shall not be infringed,’” The New York Times reported.

Gun control proponents argue the founders used commas more frequently than common English today, Ross Guberman wrote in his legal writing blog. Some historians even claim that many states ratified a version of the Second Amendment with only two commas, not three. The extra commas don’t mean much in that context, the argument goes.

Straining at a literary gnat to swallow a camel.  This is what happens with you superimpose literary criticism over the inherent rights of mankind.  The title of the commentary is telling: “How a comma gave gave Americans the right to own guns.”

The author, poor Christina, believes that rights are granted by the state, as she was no doubt taught by her college professors.  Nay, Christina.  God gives us rights and you cannot take them away.  Neither can any state – all a state can do is formally recognize what God has granted.

As for the silly argument over commas, let’s hurry the death of this debate by a simple observation.  Rather than turn to grammar to understand how the colonialists thought, recall how they saw weapons in their day.

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

Whatever else you might find significant in one comma, two commas or three commas, and whatever else you think the second amendment means, it cannot possibly mean something contrary to the way the colonialists believed and behaved.  And thus it cannot possibly mean that they intended to garrison all weapons in an armory controlled by the state.

Christina needs to do some historical reading, as do most Americans.  A comma cannot take away your God-given rights any more than it can grant them to you.


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