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On the selective doling out of 'constitutional rights'

On the selective doling out of 'constitutional rights'
by Vin Suprynowicz

T. T. writes in, in response to the Nov. 5 column in which I admitted being a one-issue voter, rejecting any politician who won't trust me with a gun:

"Thank you, Vin, for raising the issue which has been bothering me for quite a while: when I read through the Bill of Rights, I cannot understand why a convicted felon WHO HAS SERVED HIS OR HER TIME is, under the present selective 2nd Amendment rights-lifting, not automatically and permanently stripped of ALL of his or her rights, and not just the Second, plus voting:

"Felon = no free speech, freedom to assemble, or, as you say, freedom to go to the church of choice; no 3rd Amendment protections ... hey, quarter those soldiers at will in the forever-felon's house! ... no 4th Amendment protections, or 5th, or 6th (as you point out) nor 7th or 8th. And of course, the 9th and 10th are moot, since they're long-gone anyway for everyone, felon and misdemeanor and non-convicted alike.

"But if the power-geeks were to do this, why, then it would be too blatantly obvious what was really happening, wouldn't it?

"Best wishes, and thanks for keeping the faith so eloquently."

I responded:

Yes. Does a felon, once he has "done his time" and "paid his debt to society," again become a member of "the people" to whom all the rights in the Bill of Rights apply, or not?

If NOT, then indeed any government agency should be able to arrest anyone who has EVER been convicted of a felony -- even a 90-year-old guy who tended bar in a speakeasy in 1930 -- hold him without bond and without letting him confront his accusers, in some foreign jurisdiction, torture a confession out of him, convict him without a jury trial, and then subject him to a cruel and unusual execution, all in secret. No problem with the Bill of Rights -- it DOESN'T APPLY.

Needless to say, under this evil premise, the government should also be able to deny such a person the right to attend church, the right to publish a newspaper or magazine, the right to own property which cannot be seized on a bureaucrat's whim without compensation, etc.

On the other hand, if that is NOT the situation which does or should prevail, then it seems to me any former felon who is no longer on "parole" has a right to vote and bear arms, along with all his other pre-existing rights ... which after all are only ACKNOWLEDGED by the Bill of Rights as having been ordained by the Creator, not actually "granted" therein.

This business of creating different classes of citizens, with different degrees of legal "disability," is the basis for virtually ALL the invasions of our privacy -- up to and including the police numbering system on our cars -- so frequently justified as "allowing us to check and make sure you're not an escaping felon."

(Note what a police state South Africa became, based on the simple notion that one should have to show one's "racial identity card" to any policeman who asked, to determine whether one had a right to be on a given street at a given hour of the day -- and the sad absurdities it created, as visiting Japanese businessmen were given passports declaring they were "white" so they wouldn't have to suffer the indignities visited on South Africa's native east Indian merchants, who carried second-class INTERNAL passports identifying them as inferior "Asians.")

There should be no NEED for me to ever "submit to a background check" to prove I'm "not a felon." Felons should be in prison, or in the graveyard.

"Parole" is the French word for "promise." If you can't trust a convict to keep his "promise" not to acquire and carry a gun until his sentence expires, then don't let him out on "parole." It's not I who should have to suffer inconvenience or indignity because the government wardens can no longer tell the difference between me and all these convicted thugs they're allowing to wander the streets in plain clothes.

Start repealing one law a day until you have enough jail cells to keep those guilty of violating our REMAINING laws (you might want to to keep murder, forcible rape, and armed robbery on the books, while tossing out drug use, "money laundering," and failure to pay gun "transfer taxes") in stir for their FULL SENTENCES.

And set the rest of us free.

Vin Suprynowicz is one of the most articulate spokesmen serving on the front lines of the Freedom Movement we have. Vin's timely and well written articles are syndicated in newspapers all around the country, and they circulate around the world freely on the Internet and in Libertarian publications. He is the author of Send in the Waco Killers, the book that tells the details the media failed to tell in plain English. The best way to get Vin is to subscribe directly to the e-mail distribution list for his column. Send a request to with "subscribe" in the subject line.

It is an honor to host this man's work, and we encourage you to visit his site and read his book. To read other articles by Vin on this site, click here. You can also see his full archives at these two sites:

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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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