2nd Amendment Petition Delivered to Ashcroft -- UPDATE
February 15, 2002
The Petition to Enforce the Second Amendment (“Ashcroft Petition”) was delivered this week to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft., along with the first batch of over 16,300 hardcopy signatures. A copy of the letter sent to Mr. Ashcroft, signed by representatives of Citizens Of America and KeepAndBearArms.com, the sponsors of the petition, appears at the end of this article.
This petition (which may be read here: http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com/Petition/) notes that the state of California has greatly infringed on the right to keep and bear arms, that gun owners in this state have tried every legal remedy to no avail, and that moreover the governor of California claims that no Americans have the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Most people who track gun rights news are aware that last year, John Ashcroft wrote to NRA-ILA head James Baker and asserted his belief that the Second Amendment protected an INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms. Yet Mr. Ashcroft has done nothing to enforce that right in states (such as California) where it has been outrageously infringed upon.
The petition calls on John Ashcroft to do his sworn duty and to take any necessary legal action against California officials
— specifically CA Governor Gray Davis and CA Attorney General Bill Lockyer —
in order to restore the free exercise of Californians’ gun rights. The federal government enforced civil rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and so it must enforce these civil Constitutional rights today.
Petition sponsors Citizens Of America (CitizensOfAmerica.org) and KeepAndBearArms.com note that enforcing the Second Amendment in California would affect all states, and therefore all Americans are invited to sign the petition. These new signatures will be delivered to Mr. Ashcroft periodically as they come in.
An exclusive story on this subject appeared a few days ago in WorldNetDaily.com.
Again, the petition sponsors will CONTINUE to accept signatures sheets for the petition. We’re going to press Mr. Ashcroft and George Bush to do what they swore to do: uphold the Constitution.
Please — Read the petition, download and sign the signature sheet, have your friends or gun club members sign it, and send it in. This takes just a few minutes. Again, here’s the link to the page, from which you can download MSWord, PDF, or HTML versions of the document – your choice.
BELOW: Cover letter sent with the Petition and the first set of signatures.
January 31, 2002
United States Attorney General John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Petition for Enforcement of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
George W. Bush, President of the United States of America
Dear Mr. Attorney General,
The state of California is denying its citizens, and citizens of other states visiting within its borders, the inalienable and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
All means of redress to restore these rights at the state level have been exhausted in that the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government have consistently acted under the false theory that the Second Amendment does not articulate an individual right, but rather a collective "state right" to arm a state-controlled militia. The governor of California, speaking through his attorney general in the ongoing case
Don Bird vs Gray Davis et al, states: "[There is] no legally recognized right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the United States
Constitution..." This position is also shared by the highest federal court of jurisdiction, the Ninth Circuit.
As you know, this directly contradicts the position you defined in your now-famous and historical May 17, 2001 letter to Mr. James J. Baker, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, the position of the overwhelming body of scholarly opinion and legal precedent, and the position of the Fifth Circuit Court in the Emerson case.
Mr. Ashcroft, the rights of American citizens are being forcefully infringed, the supreme law of the land is being blatantly violated, and agents of the state of California are acting with lawless disregard for their obligation, affirmed under oath, to uphold and defend our rights.
Unless relief is provided, and quickly, a collision between those with allegiance to defending the Constitution and those with allegiance to violating it, is inevitable. Our last means of recourse within the framework of Constitutional law is the following petition to immediately restore the free exercise of our rights.
Mr. Ashcroft, we have heard your words, but without action to back them up they are meaningless. Daily acts of criminals as well as the tragedy of recent days have demonstrated to the American people that the need for self-defense in the general population is real, as is the growing furious resentment and the certainty of political backlash against anyone working to disarm Americans (and we include the Democrat Party as a whole). That resentment is now encompassing anyone with the power to stop it who refuses to act.
Mr. Attorney General, these are your rights, too, and those of your relations, friends, and countrymen. Just as the federal government ensured the free exercise of the Constitutional rights of Black Americans in the 1950's and 1960's, so is it the duty of the federal government to ensure the Constitutional rights of all Americans, of whatever color, today.
We remind you of the words of President Bush, who, in responding to Americans asking what was expected of them in the wake of recent terror stated: "We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them."
Among the most important of these principles are those stated in the Bill of Rights. Therefore we the undersigned, as well as over 16,000 of your fellow Americans whose signatures we are including with the enclosed petition, and those whose signatures we will continue to forward, request in the strongest possible terms that you comply with your sworn oath of office to immediately and resolutely act to uphold and defend the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
With sincere respect,
Enclosure: Petition for Enforcement of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States