Remembering Our Roots

On Wednesday, The Washington Times posted an article about the Second Amendment. There has been a lot of talk lately about the Second Amendment, but very little talk about the relationship of the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution.

The article reminds us:

The U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled in the past 11 years that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual pre-political liberty. That is the highest category of liberty recognized in the law. It is akin to the freedoms of thought, speech and personality. That means that the court has recognized that the framers did not bestow this right upon us. Rather, they recognized its pre-existence as an extension of our natural human right to self-defense and they forbade government — state and federal — from infringing upon it.

It would be exquisitely unfair, profoundly unconstitutional and historically un-American for the rights of law-abiding folks — “surrender that rifle you own legally and use safely because some other folks have used that same type of weapon criminally” — to be impaired in the name of public safety.

It would also be irrational. A person willing to kill innocents and be killed by the police while doing so surely would have no qualms about violating a state or federal law that prohibited the general ownership of the weapon he was about to use.

With all of this as background, and the country anguishing over the mass deaths of innocents, the feds and the states face a choice between a knee-jerk but popular restriction of some form of gun ownership, and the rational and sound realization that more guns in the hands of those properly trained means less crime and more safety.

Can the government constitutionally outlaw the types of rifles used by the El Paso and Dayton killers? In a word: No. We know that because in the first Supreme Court opinion upholding the individual right to keep and bear arms, the court addressed what kind of arms the Second Amendment protects. The court ruled that the Second Amendment protects individual ownership of weapons one can carry that are of the same degree of sophistication as the bad guys have — or the government has.

The government? Yes, the government. That’s so because the Second Amendment was not written to protect the right to shoot deer. It was written to protect the right to shoot at tyrants and their agents when they have stolen liberty or property from the people. If you don’t believe me on this, then read the Declaration of Independence. It justifies violence against the British government because of such thefts.

Governments are the greatest mass killers on the planet. Who can take without alarm any of their threats to emasculate our right to defend our personal liberties?

The Second Amendment is there to protect us from a tyrannical government. Does anyone believe that 90 percent of the people in government would not become tyrants if the population were not armed?

The article concludes:

The president also offered his support for “red flag” laws. These horrific statutes permit police or courts to seize guns from those deemed dangerous. Red flag laws are unconstitutional. The presumption of innocence and the due process requirement of demonstrable fault as a precondition to any punishment or sanction together prohibit the loss of liberty on the basis of what might happen in the future.

In America, we do not punish a person or deprive anyone of liberty on the basis of a fear of what the person might do. When the Soviets used psychiatric testimony to predict criminal behavior, President Ronald Reagan condemned it. Now, the president wants it here.

The United States is not New Zealand, where a national legislature, animated by fear and provoked by tragedy, can impair fundamental liberties by majority vote. In America, neither Congress nor the states can outlaw whatever handguns or rifles they want to outlaw or infringe upon the right to own them.

The government can no more interfere with Second Amendment rights than it can infringe upon any other rights. If this were not so, then no liberty — speech, press, religion, association, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership — would be safe from the reach of a fearful majority.

That’s why we have a Constitution.

A government that prefers an unarmed citizenry is not a government I want to support.

Why It Is Important To Know Your Rights

On Friday, the New York Post reported the story of Nancy Genovese, 58, who was arrested in Suffolk County New York in July 2009 and charged with criminal trespass. Ms. Genovese was taking pictures of a decorative helicopter in front of the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach for a “Support Our Troops” website.

When her car was searched, Southhampton police found a legally owned rifle she was taking home from a nearby shooting range.

The article reports what happened next:

She contends a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene later and said to her, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” When Genovese said she’s gone to Tea Party rallies, he allegedly said, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and then added that she’d be arrested for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.”

“Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because [authorities] did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights,” her lawyer Frederick Brewington said.​​

Genovese said in a statement said she was “relieved” by the jury’s verdict. She added, “if this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated.”

Ms. Genovese has been awarded ​$1.12 million​ by a federal jury over her false prosecution by Suffolk County authorities. It obviously pays to know your constitutional rights!

Another Gun Confiscation And American Citizen Forced To Go To Court To Defend His Constitutional Rights

Today’s National Review posted a story about a soldier in Texas arrested for “rudely displaying” his weapon. Yes, you read that right.

The article describes the incident:

“We live out in the country in Texas, near Temple,” he told me. “My son and I were on a ten-mile hike so that he could earn his hiking merit badge – it’s the last badge he needs to become an Eagle Scout.” But half way into the hike, Grisham said, “a police officer pulled up.” Initially, he was “cordial” and he “asked what we were doing.” Grisham told him. “Then he looked at my rifle. I carry a rifle any time I walk around because there are feral hogs and cougars and things like that.” 

From here, things took a turn for the worse.

“‘Where you going with that rifle?’ he asked me. I said, ‘does it matter? Am I breaking any laws?’” Then, he says, the officer “grabbed the rifle without telling me – but it was attached to me. My immediate reaction as a combat veteran was to grab it back and then take a step back. I asked him what he was doing. So he pulled his gun on me. Then I thought about my son, so I put my hands off my gun and he told me to move over to the car. Luckily my son had the video camera to document the hike for his merit badge. I told him to turn it on.”

There is a video of the incident included in the article. I suggest you watch the whole thing. This is clearly unconstitutional.

The soldier’s concealed-carry permit was taken along with his guns. The article notes that historically what happens next is that the prosecutor will offer to drop the charges if the soldier gives up his guns. It is a very subtle form of gun confiscation.

Evidently this is not an isolated incident. The obvious question here is, “Why are the police wasting their time on legal gun owners when there are so many illegal guns out there?” If the police had been half as diligent in “Fast and Furious” as they are at harassing legal gun owners, a lot a people would be alive today who are no longer with us.

UPDATE: Evidently there are some questions about whether or not Mr. Grisham set up this encounter. However, even if this were the case (and we don’t know if it was), confiscating someone’s guns without proper legal procedure is a serious violation of the Constitution. The fact remains that it will cost Mr. Grisham a lot of time, money, and energy to get those guns (which are rightfully his) back. If I come across further information on this story, I will post it.

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