Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shall Not Be Infringed...

Thanks to the DC gun ban, and the lawsuit by a local DC police officer, the Supreme Court is hearing a case on Gun Rights for the first time in 70 years. A circuit court ruling 2-1 decided that the gun ban was unconstitutional, and that individuals had the right to own personal guns for self defense.

The issue, which is a staple of the conservative base, revolves around the intent of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

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.

Fox News reports the two sides of the argument being brought before the court. The DC government ‘s first argument is that the amendment applies to the militia (i.e. National Guard and Army) to have guns. Secondly, DC claims that the amendment does not apply to the district, as it is a special federally controlled haven of the government (a strange argument for a government looking for equal representation in congress). Finally, the DC government claims that this is a reasonable ban used in protecting the DC citizens from violence (looks like it has worked! I can’t think of one person that equates DC with Crime!)

The opposition claims, of course, that the 2nd amendment is very specific about guaranteeing an individual the right to keep and bear arms, and that the DC ban is a “draconian infringement” of our rights.

Heller’s lawyers also present its Founders-era evidence by quoting from George Mason, Blackstone and Madison. They also quote lawyer John Adams during his successful defense of British soldiers in the aftermath of the Boston Massacre.
In that trial Adams conceded that “here every private person is authorized to arm himself, and on the strength of this authority, I do not deny the inhabitants had a right to arm themselves at that time for their defense, not for offense."
This is going to come down to the intent of the amendment. What did the founders intend by placing those 27 words into our constitution? What purpose could those words serve for future generations?

Let’s take a look at the words, and identify with the founders… what experiences had they lived that would move them to include such a statement?

Definition of MILITIA: The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency; without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service

The founders had just fought and won a war against the largest army and Navy in the world, with little more than farmers and family men with a want to be free. Had these men not owned their own hunting rifles, or been trained in how to use them, there would be no USA. The militia is a band of ordinary citizens versed in defense.

A well-regulated militia” refers to the ability to call on the citizens of a country to stand in defense with little training in order to face foes the likes of the British regular army.

being necessary to the security of a free state” – it is the people of a society which are it’s very defense. The security lies in the necessity of ability to defend… and without this ability, the freedoms so valiantly fought for will be succumbed.

the right of the people to keep and bear arms” – the two most important words are in this clause: right, and people. “Right” indicates that the words of this amendment are equal to those rights endowed by our creator, as described in the Declaration of Independence, which states that “among which are Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness”… of course the founders were bright enough to say “among which”, which meant that further rights were yet to be defined that were also Divinely Endowed. And the word “People” is equally important. They did not say that it is the right of the government to issue arms, rather the right of the people to keep their own arms outside of a government armory. These would be their personal arms, well known to the individual, and able to sue in times of necessary defense of their personal property… be it from a tyrannical government or in simple defense of their personal property.

shall not be infringed” – the meaning of this line is self evident… it was stated very clearly and bluntly… “No Trespassing” on our afore mentioned rights.

So according to my most accurate interpretation of the amendment, it would read (in layman’s terms): For the protection of our God Given and Earned Rights, a trained and knowledgeable citizenry is necessary. There is no better way to ensure that the United States will always have a citizenry ready to defend than to ensure that the people are always armed and well versed in their personal firearms. This is a right that a government of, by, and for the people shall never take away.

The court is expected to have a ruling on this case by June. I expect that a court truly in understanding of the intent of the people who founded this country will vote unanimously against any bans on firearms by the government. Unfortunately we have a court full of very liberal activists, willing and waiting to strip the people of their Endowed rights. Luckily we have a slim conservative majority, so we can expect a 5-4 ruling in favor of freedom. And this is exactly why we must not allow Hillary or Obama to select our next judges… the very interpretation of our Liberty is at stake.

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