The Café Constitution: #2 -- Firearms by Diane Alden
Constitution: #2 -- Firearms
by Diane Alden
The Constitution of the United States is not a
café where one may pick and choose which items on the menu one prefers. The
Constitution is what it is. These days it is popular to call it a
"living" document. Which means it is subject to the whims of political
correctness, a judiciary and executive branch overstepping the bounds of the
separation of powers, goofy world wide trends, and a statist belief that the
individual is no longer capable of making decisions without the strong arm of
the federal government pointing the way.
The matter of the Second Amendment and its
interpretation is a case in point. It is a matter of whether or not the intent
of the founders is valid any longer. The question is raised whether or not the
people of the United States are about to have part of the Bill of Rights
discarded because of political correctness and a perilous desire to leave
defense of the self in the hands of government.
The Second Amendment is being reinterpreted
because of the rise of the statist mentality in the 20th century, and because a
minority of U.S. citizens are criminal or loony and use guns to commit crimes.
The Federalist Papers, which describe the
evolution of the Constitution by the Founders, speak to the issues in the Bill
of Rights including those raised by today's crop of statists, collectivists, and
the left. The intent of the founders is clear. But with regard to the Second
Amendment the statists on the left don't care; they no longer consider the
Constitution as it was written as relevant to the times.
Nonetheless, the right of self-defense and the
ownership of weapons to accomplish that feat go back into ancient history. Much
of U.S. law and the Bill of Rights are based on English common law. A great deal
of that law may be found in the lawyers bible, the venerable Blackstone's
Edition, which dates back to the 1700s. In this bible of law it flat out states
that self-defense is a natural right. Consequently, arms to accomplish that are
also a right.
Each and every part of the Bill of Rights
depends on the other for legitimacy. The Constitution may be amended but it may
not be ignored. But no matter how many arguments there are about the legitimacy
and meaning of the Second Amendment, collectivist-statists come up with a reason
why it no longer applies.
The integrity of the entire document and its
affect on our rights and liberties is called into question. That includes the
First Amendment which guarantees freedom of the press, speech and religion.
Because if the Second Amendment, or the Fourth, or any other is made irrelevant
for what may be perceived as a transitory good of the state, then the whole
becomes subject to the same attacks.
The rest of the liberties, as enumerated in the
document, may eventually become irrelevant because they offend someone. For the
perceived good of the collective state, the liberty of the individual is
Additionally, at the speed with which the
separation of powers is being demolished, we are rapidly becoming a nation with
an executive branch tyranny stamped with the gold seal of approval by an
all-powerful and corrupt judiciary.
When viewed from the perspective of
‘separation of powers’ congress has become an expensive and irrelevant
vanity. Filled with people who either no longer believe in the Constitution, are
ignorant of its meaning, or know full well they are part of the force which is
destroying it. As the Second Amendment in particular is under attack from the
collectivist left, our elected officials dither on about symbols and nanny-state
The founders understood that even a benevolent
government can become corrupted. They were wise enough to realize the tendency
of men to wield tyrannical control over other men. That all power is abused when
it is not regulated.
They understood that government perpetuates
itself by expanding and finds a reason to maintain its power. They understood
the temptation that may confront an amoral or ethically bankrupt populace to
exchange liberties for license and to inflict a reign of terror on those
perceived as different or enemies of the state. That is the reason the founders
gave us the Bill of Rights. That is the reason for the Second Amendment.
The Last Resort
The Jews in World War II learned what happens
when a group is demonized by the prevailing culture. For the left to say it
couldn't happen in the United States shows an abysmal ignorance of man's ability
to shed civilization in very short order.
Activists for the Second Amendment include the
National Rifle Association but there are other groups as well. Jews for the
Preservation of Firearms understand that Second Amendment guarantees may be all
that stands between Americans and the criminal class and the possibility that a
tyrannical government can develop in a matter of years.
Richard Stevens, a spokesman for the group
based in Washington, D.C. says, "gun prohibitionists want to make firearms
illegal unless they have a "sporting purpose.” The "sporting
purpose" idea was part of the Nazi Weapons Law of 1938. JPFO has shown that
the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968 imported much of its organization, content, and
phrasing, from the Nazi Weapons Law. [Gateway to Tyranny]
Mr. Stevens goes on to say, "The key to
genocide, or government mass murder of its citizens, is to first disarm them. No
government mass murders have taken place in this century where the people were
widely armed. The Founders of this nation, from their own experience, knew that
when government goes bad, liberty evaporates and people die ... unless the
people are armed."
The Jews of the Warsaw ghetto fought for days
against the Nazi's with only a few weapons before they were finally starved out.
While Hitler rose to power the Jews and good people of Germany and Europe
believed "that it couldn't happen here.” But it did happen. They failed
to heed the warnings because the economy was in good shape and most of them were
Yet they failed to pay attention as the
demonization of a particular religion and a people took hold. People were
dehumanized and marginalized by an accepted kind of national bigotry. The hard
won restraints of civilization disappeared overnight as the Jews, gypsies,
Catholics, Christians, homosexuals and Slavs became the target of hatred by the
Nazis and fascists.
Tyrannical governments destroy the right to
bear arms as a jumping off point for destroying other freedoms. Bancroft's
History relates: “The common law respects the right of self-defense; yet the
Irish Catholics, or popish recusants as they were called, were, by one universal
prohibition, forbidden to use or keep any kind of weapons whatsoever, under
penalties which the crown could not remit. Any two justices might enter a house
and search for arms, or summon any person whomsoever, and tender him an oath, of
which the repeated refusal was punishable as treason.”
In North America the British threw
French-Catholics out of Nova Scotia. British Governor Lawrence said to the them
as they were forced to flee: "Guns are no part of your goods," he
continued," as by the laws of England all Roman Catholics are restrained
from having arms, and are subject to penalties if arms are found in their
houses. It is not the language of British subjects to talk of terms with the
crown, or capitulate about their fidelity and allegiance. What excuse can you
make for treating this government with such indignity as to expound to them the
nature of fidelity? Manifest your obedience by immediately taking the oaths of
allegiance in the common form before the council."
It was not long ago in America that blacks were
forbidden to own firearms; that foreigners, Catholics and Jews and other
minorities were considered as un-American. It was not long ago when government
committed genocide against the American Indian. It was only yesterday that Ruby
Ridge and Waco were front-page headlines.
Bill Clinton and Janet Reno get up and ask for
more gun laws while those on the books are not enforced, while the extreme left
demands the unconstitutional act of registration which in turn leads to
confiscation as it has in Australia.
Canadians are now required to register their
guns and many formerly commonly used firearms such as shotguns are now illegal.
Have the likes of Bill Clinton, the left and
statists of all political persuasions proven so trustworthy that they will
resist the temptation to eventually come get guns? Is the government so
benevolent it will not use any means at its disposal to control the citizens of
the United States in order to maintain and solidify power?
They have taken the guns away from the people
of Australia in the last 10 years and it can happen here.
Shall Not Be Infringed Second Amendment:
"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." The
commas separate the thoughts.
Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 29
explained: "That an armed citizenry was the best and only real defense
against a standing army becoming large and oppressive…The usurpers, clothed
with the forms of legal authority, can too often crush the opposition in
Constitutional law scholars such as Dr. Eugene
Volokh of UCLA maintain: "The Second Amendment, like the First, Fourth, and
Ninth Amendments, refers to a "right of the people," not a right of
the states or a right of the National Guard.
"The First Amendment guarantees the
people's right to assemble; the Fourth Amendment protects the people's right to
be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; the Ninth Amendment refers to
the people's unenumerated rights. These rights are clearly individual — they
protect "the right of the people" by protecting the right of each
person. This strongly suggests that the similarly-worded Second Amendment
likewise secures an individual right."
Justice Joseph Story described the "right
of the citizens to keep and bear arms" as, "The palladium of the
liberties of a republic.” According to Dr. Volokh that is because it is a
check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers. It will generally,
even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist
and triumph over them. Likewise, he reminds us that in the English bible of
constitutional and common law, Blackstone described even the more limited
English right as a means "…of the natural right of resistance and
self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient
to restrain the violence of oppression." He maintains that, "Perhaps
the Bill of Rights is more radical - and more dangerous - than people might at
"As in the case of the 5th Amendment,
another often unpopular right - the privilege against self-incrimination - the
Court has determined if it be thought that [a right] is outmoded in the
conditions of this modern age, then the thing to do is to take it out of the
Constitution [by constitutional amendment], not to whittle it down by the subtle
encroachments of judicial opinion."
Constitutional rights may be respected,
repealed, or modified; but they must never be ignored.
Weapons of Assault
When this nation no longer believes in its
basic documents that contain the basis for law and governance, than government
begins to lose its legitimacy. Because it is in the precepts contained in the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which is the covenant, the agreement
between individuals and government, that gives government legitimacy.
Voting for policies or individuals is not what
gives government its legitimacy. It is the agreed upon set of ideas and
precepts, the long history of common law and societal values, which accomplishes
that. Otherwise we become nothing more than a rabble with the right of
plebiscite, our individual liberty subject to the whims of tyranny or the rule
of the mob.
If that is the case those in power can
manipulate and pay lip service to that which is nothing more than a collective
horde at tax time or during national election mania.
We lose liberty as the rule of law provided in
the Constitution is replaced by executive fiat, bureaucratic regulation, a
judiciary taking on the duties of congress and an illegal power wielded by
federal military and police forces. This happened at the end of the Roman
republic. The result was tyranny for the next 400 years.
Guns of November
Since the collectivists and statists have no
faith in the individual or individual responsibility they have little faith in
the Bill of Rights. A document that places the individual and certain
self-evident truths above the needs of the state no longer seems relevant to
Americans must decline to accept a
corrupt and illegitimate interpretation of the Bill of Rights. Those who call
for a diminution of the Second Amendment are much like the science fiction
collectivists known as the "BORG.” These beings destroy the individuality
of everyone around them and they care only that everyone become part of a drone
like collective. Their battle cry is, "resistance is futile - you must
By ignoring the Second Amendment and the Bill
of Rights we eventually become nothing but a cog in a mindless collective. Ruled
instead of being rulers. Frightened serfs instead of proud citizens.
If Americans are wise they will use the
"guns of November" at the ballot box. The right to vote is a powerful
weapon — if used with wisdom. Getting rid of the left, moderates and those on
the right who no longer place their faith in the Constitution and the Bill of
Rights could be the wisest thing we ever do in our lifetime.
Demand from the elected a return to the
Constitution as conceived by the Founders. Demand a return to the separation of
powers by demanding that congress take back the reins from the judiciary and
executive who have overstepped their constitutional bounds.
We are at a crossroads in our Constitutional
life. Many in this country no longer believe in the Constitution and the Bill of
Rights except as it is used in their drive to form the corporate nanny-state.
The road we choose in November, and from now
on, will determine whether or not we will maintain our liberties. The other
alternative is to blunder into tyranny. As poet T.S. Elliot might describe us at
this point in our history, "Not that they die but they die like
The Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment are
not the dessert in the Café Constitution they are the whole enchilada.
Diane Alden is a research
analyst, writer, historian and political economist. She writes a column for
NewsMax.com, Etherzone, Enterstageright, American Partisan, KeepAndBearArms.com
and many other online publications. She also does occasional radio commentaries
for Georgia Radio Inc. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
or look for http://www.inflyovercountry
after June 10, 2000.