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Dissecting Dianne

By Mark Kohler


In a letter that Dianne Feinstein recently sent to one of her constituents, she claims that there is no individual right to keep and bear arms, a view that she has argued many times in the past, even on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Ms. Feinstein also asserts that federal court case law, with the exception of the recent U.S. v. Emerson, unanimously supports her viewpoint. Though revisionist historians, gun control activists, and proponents of Big Government would love for all of this to be true, these arguments are simply false. The history of the United States, statements made by the Founding Fathers that reflected popular sentiment at the time of ratification, and case law not mentioned by Dianne Feinstein decisively prove that the right to keep and bear arms is very much an individual one.

Much may be learned from a piecewise examination of her letter to her constituent. As one might imagine, her letter is replete with distortions of the truth and inaccuracies, as well as some statements that must be called lies; but it also contains some unsettling truths. Her letter differs only marginally from an HCI publication, "The Myth of The Second Amendment," which can be found on their web site.

Her letter begins as follows:

DIANNE FEINSTEIN United States Senate WASHINGTON, DC 20510-0504

July 7, 2000

Thank you for writing to me about the Second Amendment. I appreciate hearing from you.

I am aware that the National Rifle Association would like people to believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution gives every individual the right to own any kind of weapon, no matter how powerful or deadly from a Derringer to a Bazooka, from a revolver that holds 5 bullets to weapons of war with drums of 250 rounds.

Immediately, the exaggerations begin. No organization with any standing among defenders of the Second Amendment believes that "every individual has the right to own any kind of weapon." No rights are absolute, and practically all socially responsible citizens realize this.

Note that Dianne Feinstein displays her true beliefs immediately. Individuals, according to her, have no right to keep and bear arms of any sort. For, if an individual has no right to own a weapon as weak and ineffective as a Derringer, why should an individual have the right to own a weapon as tremendously powerful as a single-shot shotgun, with much greater potential to cause devastation than a Derringer?

The record is clear. The Supreme Court has never struck down a single gun control law on Second Amendment grounds. I feel strongly about correcting what I call "the Second Amendment Myth," so let me just go through some facts with regarding this debate.

Courts, including the Supreme Court, have not been striking down gun control laws on Second Amendment grounds for the better part of this century. However, the Supreme Court has struck them down because they violated state sovereignty (U.S. v. Lopez) and the Fifth Amendment (Haynes v. U.S.). Also, far reaching gun control measures were never seriously contemplated until the crime wave spawned by Prohibition stirred the usual "we-have-to-do-something" frenzy. Ironically, the first true gun control measure, the National Firearms Act of 1934, was enacted a year after the repeal of Prohibition.

The nearly exact match between Dianne Feinstein's choice of words in describing the supposed "Second Amendment Myth" and its near identity to HCI's essay title, "The Myth of the Second Amendment," should be noted. For those not aware of the fact, Dianne Feinstein and HCI agree completely on Second Amendment issues. They will take away God-given rights from a trusting public in an instant, if they're presented with the opportunity.

The Second Amendment says: 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.

As people often do, Dianne Feinstein omitted the third comma in the Second Amendment, though materially, the inclusion of the comma, where it was inserted above, makes little difference.

The National Rifle Association rarely mentions that the words "well-regulated militia" are contained within the text of the Amendment.

In fact, most of their literature shortens the clause with ellipses instead, so the amendment simply reads "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Clearly, the NRA is leaving out half the story the story of a time when our Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that individual States would be able to protect themselves from a tyrannical Federal government by arming well-regulated State militias like today's National Guards.

Here, she makes a vital point. The NRA does indeed shorten the Second Amendment and leave half of it out, and it is very difficult to understand why they choose to do so. Much of what the NRA does, including helping lawmakers to pass "more palatable" gun control measures, is inexcusable and detrimental to the Liberty movement. This misstatement of the Second Amendment has been a major tactical error for Liberty advocates, because we have given anti-freedom zealots the latitude to claim that we are telling only half the truth, which the NRA is indeed doing.

The Second Amendment, as historical and linguistic arguments have shown, intends that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms and that it is the right of states to keep a militia. Additionally, an armed, able bodied citizen has the duty to answer the call of his country, when he is called into service for one of the compelling reasons identified in Article I, Section 8. At the ratification Debates, the originally proposed wording of the Second Amendment read simply, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The Virginia delegates, namely, Patrick Henry, adamantly opposed this wording, fearing not that the common citizen would get his hands on a gun, but fearing that the absence of a 'militia' clause would prevent the state from organizing militias. Never did he contemplate that the militia clause would be construed to deny citizens their God-given right to keep and bear arms.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution further elucidates the true nature of a militia. A militia cannot, under any circumstances, be used in an expeditionary role, because Congress has no power under the Constitution to bring the militia into active service for this reason. A militia is distinct and entirely separate from an army. Congress has the power to "make rules for the . land and naval forces," but may only "[govern] such part of [the militia] as may be employed in the service of the United States." Thus, the Constitution itself identifies a part of the militia that is not employed in the service of the United States. Upon ratification, the militia consisted of all able bodied free men. Both the part of the militia employed in the service of the United States, and that part not employed in the service of the United States, are the militia referred to in the Second Amendment. The word 'militia' simply cannot mean different things in different parts of the Constitution that were ratified at the same time. According to the Second Amendment, both 'parts' - today, the active and unorganized militias - must have the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Further, because the Fourteenth Amendment provides equal protection under the law, all citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, whether constituting 'members of the militia' or not.

Dianne Feinstein also makes the excellent point that the Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that the states and the people would remain free from tyranny. She does not claim, nor is it true, that the need to guard against federal tyranny is less today than it was in 1787. She neglects to mention the fact that every member of every state National Guard is also a member of the National Guard of the United States, subject to be called to active duty at any time and for nearly any reason, in great contrast to the militias of old. Arms belonging to national guard members are stored in armories, so that quick action by a hostile military power, foreign or domestic, could deprive the guard - the state "militia" - of their arms. What part of this arrangement is thought to oppose federal tyranny, or provide the same security to the state of having every able bodied citizen be well armed?

Contrary to the constant claims of the NRA, the meaning of the Second Amendment has been well-settled for more than 60 years ever since the 1939 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Miller. In that case, the defendant was charged with transporting an unregistered sawed-off shotgun across state lines.

In rejecting a motion to dismiss the case on Second Amendment grounds, the Court held that the "obvious purpose" of the Second Amendment was "to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness" of the state militia. Because a sawed-off shotgun was not a weapon that would be used by a state militia (like the National Guard), the Second Amendment was in no way applicable to that case, said the Court.

Thus, Dianne Feinstein begins the substance of her letter by skipping over two-thirds of our nation's history to the year 1939, when some court rulings began to agree with her view that there is no individual right to keep and bear arms. She ignores important, albeit less recent, Second Amendment cases such as U.S. v. Cruikshank and Presser v. Illinois that recognize the fundamental right of the individual to keep and bear arms in no uncertain terms.

Described by Professor Eugene Volokh as "deliciously and usefully ambiguous," the outcome of the U.S. v. Miller case was simply weird. It did anything but leave Second Amendment issues "well-settled." The Supreme Court decided against Mr. Miller, as Justice McReynolds explained, because there was no evidence before the court to show that a sawed-off shotgun was "any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense." Most telling in the Miller case, however, was the fact that no argument was made and no evidence was presented on Mr. Miller's behalf. The Miller case does imply that privately owned arms must relate to "the preservation and efficacy of a well regulated militia," but, if one properly applies the criteria set by the Miller case today, pistols clearly pass the test. They are ordinary military equipment and have been methodically shown by the research of Dr. John Lott to contribute to the common defense.

All told, the Supreme Court has only chosen to address this issue two more times after the Miller case. And each time, the verdict was clear the Second Amendment is no bar to gun control laws.

In 1969, in Burton v. Sills, the Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to New Jersey's strict gun control law, "for want of a substantial federal question." The New Jersey law provided for the licensing of manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers, and for the issuance of permits and identification cards to purchasers, as well as giving the Superintendent of Police broad powers to establish additional regulations on firearms. Yet still, the Supreme Court found no substantial federal question to address.

Burton v. Sills was dismissed "for want of substantial federal question." This, however, is a narrow obstacle and does nothing to establish precedent. The argument used to deny the existence of "substantial federal question" is that the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, acts only as a barrier to Congress' power to enact laws. At least, this was true until 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted. In part, the Fourteenth Amendment states that "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." Why the Supreme Court chose to ignore the Fourteenth Amendment in this case is difficult to understand, unless one realizes that the courts have become just as much a place of politics as the legislature.

Then, more than forty years after the 1939 Miller case, in the 1980 case of Lewis v. United States, the Supreme Court held that "These legislative restrictions on the use of firearms are neither based upon constitutionally suspect criteria, nor do they trench upon any constitutionally protected liberties." And the Court continued that "the Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia." Again, the Court pointed to the militia as the key to the right to keep and bear arms.

The deceitfulness of this paragraph is striking. It is central to Lewis v. U.S. that this case involved the right of a convicted felon to possess a firearm. Dianne Feinstein completely ignores this and portrays the verdict in this case as supporting a much broader range of gun control measures than simply prohibiting convicted felons from possessing firearms.

In Lewis v. U.S., it is also critical to note that the Supreme Court applied the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, i.e., that a person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, as a test to determine the constitutionality of the section of the 1968 Gun Control Act barring convicted felons from possessing firearms. The fact that the Court felt it necessary to apply the Fifth Amendment test to the 1968 GCA strongly suggests that they interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right.

In the early 1980s, the Supreme Court had another opportunity to address this issue, but simply refused to take up a Second Amendment challenge, leaving established precedent in place. In that case, the town of Morton Grove, Illinois, passed an ordinance banning handguns (making certain reasonable exceptions for law enforcement, the military, and collectors). The town was sued on Second Amendment grounds, but the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that not only was the ordinance valid, but went further to say -- explicitly -- that there was no individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. In October 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of this ruling, allowing the lower court rulings to stand.

Once again, the fact that the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal does nothing to establish precedent. The Supreme Court has the unquestioned power to decide what cases it hears and does not have to account for its reasons in choosing to hear or not to hear a particular case. Its choices in this respect often seem strange. Why, for example, would it hear a case in which a convicted felon was found in possession of a firearm, but refuse to hear in case in which law abiding citizens were denied their right to keep and bear arms?

Furthermore, at least twice -- in 1965 and 1990 -- the Supreme Court has held that the term "well-regulated militia" refers to the National Guard (although those cases did not specifically address the constitutionality of gun control).

In Maryland v. U.S. (1965), the Court held that the National Guard is the militia described in Article I, Section 8. The Court did not deal directly with the Second Amendment in this case.

In Perpich v. Dept. of Defense, the Court held that no gubernatorial or other state consent was required in order for the federal government to deploy the National Guard temporarily overseas on training missions, as this fell within the power of Congress to raise and support armies. However, Article I, Section 8 strictly reserves "the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress" to the states.

Thus, a significant conflict emerges. If command of the National Guard may be assumed by the federal government at any time for training purposes, a reason not enumerated in Art. I, Sec. 8, then it is clear that the National Guard is not the militia identified in the Constitution, that the states have the authority to train. Thus, while Maryland v. U.S. held that the Guard is the militia referred to in the Constitution, Perpich. v. Dept. of Defense wiped that interpretation away.

Assertions that the Second Amendment protects a state "right" to maintain a militia become ridiculous if that militia may be taken over by the federal government for any reason. The "right" to maintain a militia would become something akin to the "right" to pay taxes.

And the history is clear through countless cases in the lower federal District Courts and Courts of Appeal as well. Let me just cite a few recent examples.

Here again, the Supreme Court's view of the Second Amendment in the last 60 years has become anything but clear. The purpose of repeating that "the record is clear" so often is to intimidate the Liberty advocate, to convince people unsure of whether to be pro- or anti- Second Amendment to lean towards gun control, and to empower would-be anti-freedom activists to flock to HCI's banner.

Just last year, in the case of Gillespie v. City of Indianapolis, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that there is no individual right to bear arms. In that case, a defendant challenged the 1996 Amendment to the Gun Control act of 1968, which prohibits persons convicted of domestic violence offenses from possessing firearms. The court held, in keeping with Supreme Court precedent, that the Second Amendment only protects a right to bear arms where it might affect the maintenance of a state militia; it is a collective right, not an individual right.

As Seventh Circuit Judge Rovner stated in that case, "The Supreme Court's jurisprudence on the scope of this amendment [the Second Amendment] is quite limited itself, and not entirely illuminating ," which stands in great contrast to Feinstein's statement that "the record is clear."

The Seventh Circuit Court did rule as Feinstein stated, indicating that firearms ownership is a collective rather than an individual right. For at least the last ten years, this has been the general view of lower courts. It is shocking to learn that these rulings did happen, that great danger currently faces American liberties, that rights which were seen as inalienable one hundred years ago have been coopted by a power hungry federal government. Our Republic could easily be just one bad Supreme Court ruling away from self-destruction.

Also last year, the Ninth Circuit even more specifically addressed the "militia" question, clarifying that only a State militia, not a private militia, is covered by the Second Amendment. In that case, U.S. v. Kuenoel [sic], the defendants appealed their firearms convictions arising from their activities as members of private militia groups. The court held that the Second Amendment is a right held by the States, and does not protect the possession of a weapon by a private citizen, and that neither an individual nor a member of a private militia can challenge the constitutionality of the statute on Second Amendment grounds.

Technical membership in a state militia or membership in a non-governmental military organization is insufficient to show legal injury under the Second Amendment, said the court.

In the 1998 case of Peoples Rights Organization v. Columbus, the Sixth Circuit refused to overturn an ordinance banning assault weapons on Second Amendment grounds.

In U.S. V. Scanio, also in 1998, the Second Circuit held that the Second Amendment provided only a collective right to bear arms for States in organizing militias, and not an individual right.

In the 1997 Eleventh Circuit case United States v. Wright, the court rejected arguments that simply proving that a firearm has military uses satisfies the Second Amendment. The court instead held that a claimant must also prove that possession of the weapon is reasonably related to a well regulated militia.

The Third Circuit held in the 1996 U.S. v. Rybar case that the defendant's possession of machine guns was not connected with militia-related activity and that the Second Amendment furnished no absolute right to firearms.

The list of cases goes on, and on dozens of instances in Federal Courts of Appeal around the country, and countless others in the lower Federal District courts.

Thus, a situation has arisen in which a single, sixty year old Supreme Court case in which no evidence on behalf of the defendant was even presented, has completely altered the basic meaning of one of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights in the eyes of the lower courts. Our nation has arrived at nothing less than a full blown Constitutional crisis.

Perhaps this incontrovertible history is what led former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1991 to refer to the Second Amendment as "the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime...the NRA] ha(s) misled the American people and they, I regret to say, they have had far too much influence on the Congress of the United States than as a citizen I would like to see -- and I am a gun man." This was Warren Burger a Nixon appointee to the Court.

First of all, no self-respecting "gun man" would be able to look himself in the mirror or sleep at night after even thinking something like that, much less proclaiming it publicly. A "gun man," or any real man for that matter, knows that he and his family are safer and better off because he has the power to protect them and does not need to rely solely on others for protection.

In light of the following well known Supreme Court decisions, former Chief Justice Burger's statement more closely resembles fraud than civil arms proponents' representation of the Second Amendment. When delivering the opinion of the High Court in U.S. v. Cruikshank (1875), Chief Justice Waite remarked of the Second Amendment: "This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed." In doing so, he recognized that a fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms exists and that the Congress has no constitutional authority to infringe upon that right.

And as Mr. Justice Woods, in delivering the opinion in Presser v. Illinois (1886), stated in such a way as to leave no doubt whatsoever of the Court's opinion of the Second Amendment, "It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the States, and in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the States cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question [the Second Amendment] out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government."

Burger also wrote, "The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon...Surely the Second Amendment does not remotely guarantee every person the constitutional right to have a 'Saturday Night Special' or a machine gun without any regulation whatever. There is no support in the Constitution for the argument that federal and state governments are powerless to regulate the purchase of such firearms..."

Gun rights advocates do not maintain that the Second Amendment guarantees an "unfettered right to any kind of weapon" or that it grants "every person the constitutional right" to have any kind of weapon without any regulation whatsoever. Quite the contrary, our country has a lengthy tradition of denying lawful firearms ownership to people "reasonably" believed to be dangerous. Slaves, Indians, and former Confederate soldiers and elected officials were all, at least for a time, denied the right to keep and bear arms. Just as a footnote, it is ironic to realize that most slaves, Indians, and former confederates were rendered "dangerous" solely because of the actions that Congress took at one time or another. Slaves would not have been "dangerous" had they not been forced into bondage; Indians would not have been as "dangerous", if "dangerous" at all, except that the United States continually committed horrible acts against them; fewer former Confederates would have been "dangerous" if Congress had been more timely with repatriation.

Erwin Griswold, former dean of Harvard Law School and Solicitor General in the Nixon Administration said in 1990 that "It is time for the NRA and its followers in Congress to stop trying to twist the Second Amendment from a reasoned (if antiquated) empowerment for a militia into a bulletproof personal right for anyone to wield deadly weaponry beyond legislative control."

Once again, anti-freedom extremists employ tactics of sensationalism and speak in absolutes. This kind of emotional rhetoric may well be the only effective weapon they have. It's easy to convince someone who is receptive to reason and factual information of the virtues of firearms ownership. Someone who will not listen to reason will accuse Liberty advocates of believing in a "bulletproof personal right for anyone to wield deadly weaponry." and so on.

Last I heard, though, no one at the NRA was complaining that Mark David Chapman's right to have machine guns was being infringed, or saying that Charles Manson ought to have a few hand grenades. Quite the contrary, the NRA is spending its time and money trying to put people caught violating federal crimes in prison, of all places. Why hasn't the federal government been doing that?

In every case, up until March of 1999, the courts decided that the Second Amendment refers to the right to keep and bear arms only in connection with a state militia in other words, the National Guard, not an individual.

And the NRA is clearly aware of this history. Despite all of the NRA's rhetoric and posturing on this issue, they know that the Second Amendment does nothing whatsoever to limit reasonable gun control measures. In fact, in its legal challenges to federal firearms laws like the Brady Law and my assault weapons ban, the National Rifle Association has made no mention of the Second Amendment.

When the Ninth Circuit expressly rejected a Second Amendment challenge to California's 1989 assault weapons ban, the NRA elected to not even appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court, because they knew they would lose.

Yes, the NRA knows its history better than many. The fact that it carefully chooses its arguments shows that it also understands something of law and politics. The NRA understands that the lower courts' Second Amendment rulings in the last 60 years have been based on a High Court ruling that went against prior precedent and was highly ambiguous. Because of this, and because the Supreme Court has not taken up the question of whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right, a state right, or both since U.S. v. Miller, the NRA is reluctant to proceed using Second Amendment arguments when other arguments would better serve its purposes of stopping onerous gun control legislation.

Thus, many gun rights organizations prefer to use Fifth Amendment or Tenth Amendment arguments in court because they want to give themselves the best chance of winning.

In fact, even when part of the Brady law was struck down as unconstitutional, that decision was not based on the Second Amendment, but on a narrow states' rights issue.

Another suit against the 1994 assault weapons ban was based on a "bill of attainder" argument, that Congress illegally targeted gun manufacturers -- again, the suit is not based on the Second Amendment.

Why does HCI not understand that, when faced with an issue as serious and expensive as a Supreme Court case, it is only prudent to utilize the argument that provides the greatest likelihood of rendering a favorable decision? Also, it is true that gun control provisions often violate more than just the Second Amendment. In a hurry to pass whatever law for which they believe they can convince enough people to provide support, anti-rights extremists act hastily without regard to the consequences of their actions, ever fearful that more of the public will discover how ineffective and misguided their disarmament doctrines truly are.

Elsewhere around the country, the NRA has argued that various gun control laws violate the First Amendment, or the privacy rights of gun owners, or even the equal protection clause because NRA members are treated differently than others. The Second Amendment is never even brought up.

Nonetheless, many on the other side of the aisle may point to the one, single, lone exception to the long history of Second Amendment jurisprudence.

This is a falsehood of gigantic proportions - it turns out that the "one, single, lone exception" is just one of many. As has been shown, at least two previous U.S. Supreme Court opinions have explicitly held that individuals have the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

On March 30, 1999, a United States District Judge in Texas struck down a federal law making it a felony to possess a firearm while under a domestic restraining order. In the Texas case, a man in the midst of a divorce proceeding was accused of threatening to kill his wife's lover. Although put under a restraining order and therefore barred from possessing a firearm under federal law, the man was subsequently caught with a gun and indicted for violating the ban. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings dismissed the indictment, in part because the federal law, he said, had the effect of "criminalizing" a "law-abiding citizen's Second Amendment rights." This was the first time such a decision was made by a federal judge, but it is important to note that this decision has been appealed. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the Supreme Court, if it ever got to that level, would uphold this decision.

If the Supreme Court decides that the gravity of this issue warrants an in-depth look at the intent of the Founding Fathers and examines the stunning departure of U.S. v. Miller from previous Supreme Court cases, and the Justices do their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution, the Supreme Court will uphold Texas Judge Sam Cummings' 1999 decision.

Should the Supreme Court neglect to do this, it is difficult to imagine what this country would become. The country that existed for more than two hundred years would, however, cease to exist.

As Handgun Control has said, the Texas decision clearly flies in the face of 60 years of Second Amendment precedent, and "can only be viewed as a renegade decision." In fact, they point out, in his opinion Judge Cummings was unable to follow usual judicial practice and cite legal precedent supporting his decision, because no such precedent exists.

Once again, this is false; precedent for Judge Cummings' decision does exist, though it is older precedent than is typically used.

Again, this ruling is being appealed and since that decision, two federal courts, including a higher Circuit court, have ruled that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Despite this recent aberration to the long history of Second Amendment jurisprudence, it is quite clear that the meaning of this Amendment has been well-established for years. Not one gun control law has ever been struck down by the Supreme Court on Second Amendment grounds, and few people believe such a thing will ever happen.

This is the part of the letter that is supposed to convince the defender of Liberty that all is lost, that there is no hope, and that we might as well give up; simultaneously, it emboldens gun control supporters. When it comes to the Second Amendment, however, we can't give up. We simply don't have that luxury. Though HCI may not realize it, if anti-freedom extremists achieve their goals, everyone will ultimately suffer in the aftermath of disarmament. History consistently teaches the lesson that disarmament eventually visits anguish upon all.

Once again, thank you for writing me with your concerns. I hope this letter serves to clear up my position on this issue. [sic] have given a great deal of thought to this issue and so, and least, [sic] welcome the opportunity to share my views.

With warmest personal regards,

[signed] Dianne Feinstein

From Feinstein's letter, we see that much of what anti-freedom activists have to say is pure propaganda. They consistently distort the truth and disregard facts which don't suit their agenda. Of course, these are facts of which Liberty supporters should have already been aware.

Though Dianne Feinstein's position has changed little in the last decade, her letter contains several boasts of the recent success that the anti-rights movement has enjoyed in the courts. Stated another way, she proudly provides evidence of widespread judicial corruption, demonstrated by the fact that the courts are ruling in a manner that stands in direct opposition to court rulings in the first century of our nation's history. Though a large amount of support for gun control measures exists within the court system, no High Court has said that the right to keep and bear arms is merely a collective right; and none ever will, if the Supreme Court continues its tradition of carefully examining the intent of the Framers. This is the truth that terrifies anti-freedom extremists. The history of the United States, and the intent of the Framers, is unmistakable; the right to keep and bear arms is a God-given, individual right.

In parting, I would like to issue a challenge to HCI, Dianne Feinstein, and any other supporters of gun control. Rather than continuing to use scare tactics, publicity stunts, sensationalist emotional appeals, and reckless, demonizing attacks against your opponents, agree to a forum of rational debate about pertinent facts of gun ownership. There is very little open discussion between gun control and gun rights advocates, and this kind of discourse is precisely what is needed to insure that we reach our common goal of making this country a safer and better place for all, while properly addressing the fears of both the gun control and the pro-Second Amendment camps. Unless HCI is simply looking for a fight, there is no reason not to do this. But if they choose a fight, they will lose.


Printer Version

"Secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy ... censorship. When any government, or any church, for that matter, undertakes to say to it's subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything. You cannot conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him." --Robert A. Heinlein, "Revolt in 2100" (Pg. 68-69, Baen Books paperback edition, 1999 printing)

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