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Human Rights vs. Civil Rights

by Dennis Jackson


In discourse with our opponents and our supporters in the area of our rights, often the discussion evolves into an argument between civil and human rights.  I am not an attorney, nor do I have any experience in the area of law -- with the exception of being sued once or twice, but I don’t think that counts!  In any event, I hope you bear with me.

To quote our good friend and mentor Alan Korwin, author of “Gun Laws of America”, Certain words hurt you when you talk about your rights and liberties”.  I hope to illustrate to you how true this is and how we are at risk of losing all of our rights and liberties by our misuse of the terms human rights and civil rights.

Ever since the 1960’s civil rights has become a popular term in our social and political lexicon.  I hope to successfully argue the point that my human rights do not determine which seat I am allowed to sit in on a city bus.

If you can convince me that your teenage son or daughter's claim that the human right to come home with enough tattoos to look like the Sunday funnies can be compared to my right to own a gun, to speak, worship or associate freely, you have won this argument.

If we refer back to our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence states:

“WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men”…

Human rights are natural rights, fundamental and universal. This means that they cannot be repealed by any government.

Enter the Bill of Rights and our use of the term HUMAN Rights!  Human rights are natural rights, fundamental and universal. This means that they cannot be repealed by any government.  Civil rights are individual rights which exist by virtue of legislative action and consent of the people.  Human rights are what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Bill of Rights.

Our Bill of Rights was created out of a need to address the concern among the States that the Constitution did not fully “prevent misconstruction or abuse of it’s powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”…

There was no inference in the Bill of Rights that a “sporting purpose” to the Second Amendment has the same weight of meaning as a “free press” or “freedom of assembly” in the First Amendment.  If the liberals interpreted the Second Amendment in the same way they interpret the First Amendment, every man, woman and child would be required to carry a gun.  This is where firearm owners lose ground in the war of words.  By the use of “civil” rights when we are arguing for our firearm freedoms, we are in fact incorrectly “admitting” to the power of the government to further restrict our human rights.

Click to Explore Self-Defense as A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT...Amnesty International is responsible for popularizing the use of human rights as they apply the use of that term to prisoners.  When society denies freedom to a criminal, society has the duty to provide them with clothing, sustenance and shelter from the elements.  These are called HUMAN rights because an incarcerated person is not in a position to go out in society and exercise their CIVIL right to provide for their own basic needs.

When the social experimenters and miscreants in Washington, D.C. interchange these terms we can expect big trouble.  We need to consider the real meanings of these two terms.  Any gun owner who doesn’t carefully consider how they use these two terms, places the rest of us in grave danger of losing all our rights and liberties.

According to Barron’s law dictionary CIVIL RIGHTS:  “Rights given, defined, and circumscribed by laws enacted by civilized communities…  Also, defined as rights of a citizen or citizens, and laws relating to the private rights of individuals and to legal actions involving these.”

Sounds good doesn’t it? 

Now let’s take a look at the definition of HUMAN RIGHTS:

“As the right to organize politically, worship freely, (and to own a gun). Thought of as belonging inherently to each human being and not to be taken away or interfered with by arbitrary or repressive government action.”  In other words, your right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”!  Rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights!

The holocaust victims in Nazi Germany had human rights.  However, they were victims of a government that did not recognize these rights.  A felon in the United States does not have a “civil right” to vote, or hold a public office, in some cases.  But he still has his “human rights”.  Curiously, a convicted felon is denied his human right to defend himself with a firearm!  (This is because we have allowed our government to define firearm ownership as a civil right, and therefore a privilege to be denied by whim of the government.)

At this time the United Nations is contemplating a “Declaration of Human Rights”.  Notice that this declaration does not address our right to keep and bear arms, or the right of a citizen to defend one’s life.  Nor does it include other liberties that we take for granted.  This proves that citizens need to carefully guard their liberties to ensure that their HUMAN RIGHTS are not infringed upon by not-so-well-meaning governments.

If we as lovers of our liberties allow ourselves to use the terms that our opponents use, we are destined to lose the war.  If we inaccurately admit and mistakenly accept the belief that our Second Amendment rights are “civil rights”, we are in fact giving tacit approval to government to limit, deny and amend our most basic and sacred of rights.  At that point our right to own a firearm or defend ourselves becomes a privilege, to be granted or denied by government!  Let's pass on that one, yes? The correct and continual use of the term “human right” will spread with consistent use and public application; begin doing your part, today.

In defense of the Second,

Dennis Jackson


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Allowing riflery training while decrying gun violence doesn't send a mixed message any more than does supporting a wrestling team while opposing schoolyard brawls. — CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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