If I may ask, what is the following image? I’m not asking what make, model, or caliber it is, just the overall definition which fits the image below.
I would be willing to wager that a vast majority of the people in this country would say that the above image is of an assault rifle. The phrase assault rifle is used so frequently, and interchangeably, that one hardly knows what constitutes an assault rifle and what doesn’t.
In 1994 when the now defunct assault weapons ban was passed, the U.S. Justice Department made the following declaration in regards to what constitutes an assault weapon, “In general, assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use.”
Do you even know the origin of the phrase assault rifle? I didn’t think so. One of the first attributed uses of the phrase assault rifle dates back to World War II when Adolf Hitler, for propaganda purposes, used the word Sturmgewehr, or assault rifle as the nickname for the MP43. Thus these weapons became known as the Sturmgewehr 44 or StG 44 for short.
The StG 44 was a selective fire rifle, which is not the same thing as what our Justice Department defined an assault rifle. The Justice Department defines assault rifles as being semiautomatic and having removable magazines, while a selective fire rifles have a selector switch which allows the user to switch from various modes of fire; such as single shot, semiautomatic, and full automatic.
The primary difference between the two definitions is the mode of fire. Yet today Americans have been brainwashed into believing that anything that looks like a weapon soldiers carry into war is an assault rifle. Therefore, a person could conceivably modify a single shot rifle to resemble an automatic weapon and law enforcement, the media and the general public would define it as an assault rifle should it be used in the commission of a crime.
You see, it’s all about perceptions; what people perceive as being an assault rifle, and what they perceive as being a weapon the average citizen should be allowed to own.
Not only do people’s perceptions vary in regards to what constitutes an assault weapon, the laws in each of our 50 States are not uniform. Therefore firearms that people are permitted to own in one State may be banned in a neighboring State. For instance, in Nevada, the citizens can purchase a Taurus Judge; a pistol that can shoot either a .45 caliber round or a small gauge shotgun shell. However, in my home state of California existing gun laws prohibit me from purchasing or owning that same gun because it constitutes a short barreled shotgun; which is illegal to own in California.
Although my belief that the 14th Amendment was ratified by certain States, particularly those in the post Civil War South, the vast majority of people accept that it was in fact lawfully ratified, and therefore part and parcel of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has referenced it numerous times in its rulings, therefore why is it that the 14th Amendment guarantees us equal protection under the law, yet the laws in the various States regarding gun ownership are not equal?
If the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, the law that we all, from the ordinary average citizen all the way up to the President must obey, then what does it say about gun ownership? Well, to answer my own question, the Constitution itself does not say a single thing about gun ownership. Now why would that be?
Well, for one thing our Founders felt it was obvious that the right of the people to keep and bear arms was a Natural Right; one which could not be violated by government without the grossest of injustices being committed. After all, it wasn’t until the Kings men attempted to disarm the Colonists at Lexington and Concord that the Colonists went from acts of civil disobedience and verbal protests to the use of violence to defend what they believed to be a God-given right.
However, there were those who felt that the proposed Constitution did not do enough to ensure that certain rights would be set aside; free from the ability of government to restrict or regulate. Hence a Bill of Rights was agreed upon, and after the Constitution was ratified 12 amendments were sent to the States for their consideration. Ten of those amendments obtained the requisite number of ratification votes and became the Bill of Rights as we know it today.
It is the second of these amendments which were duly ratified which protects the people’s right to keep and bear arms; “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.” Note I said protects, not grants. The right pre-existed the ratification of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. All the Bill of Rights does is to declare that the right exists and that government may not infringe upon it.
Two important Supreme Court cases must now be brought to your attention. In the 1905 case of South Carolina v. United States the Court ruled, “The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.”
The second one, Powell v. McCormack, was handed down in 1969, and in part states, “The values of the Framers of the Constitution must be applied in any case construing the Constitution. Inferences from the text and history of the Constitution should be given great weight in discerning the original understanding and in determining the intentions of those who ratified the constitution. The precedential value of cases and commentators tends to increase, therefore, in proportion to their proximity to the adoption of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any other amendments.”
Therefore, it is not what you believe the Second Amendment means, it is not what the media pundits tell you the Second Amendment means, and it is not what current members of government tell you what the Second Amendment means that matters; it is what those who were alive when it was ratified believed it to mean that matters. So any law regarding the ownership, or the carrying of arms which goes against what our Founders believed regarding gun ownership, no matter how much you are told it is for the public good, is in fact an infringement of that right.
I don’t know how many times I must repeat myself on this, but infringement is defined as the action of limiting or undermining something. Therefore, if a law limits our ability to own arms, or bear, (carry them on our person), it is an infringement if it goes against what our Founders believed at the time the 2nd Amendment was ratified. 21st Century interpretations and attitudes towards that right bear no weight in deciding what gun control laws are constitutional or not; only how the Founders themselves felt about the right to keep and bear arms.
I suppose then the next obvious step is to see what exactly our Founders meant by the words bear and arms. Roger Sherman was one of the five individuals who was chosen to prepare a declaration of independency for the Continental Congress to consider; so I suppose that qualifies him as being one of the original Founding Fathers. Years later, (1790), in a House debate over legislation regarding the militia, Sherman stated, ” [C]onceived it to be the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made. The particular states, like private citizens, have a right to be armed, and to defend, by force of arms, their rights, when invaded.” (My emphasis) So not only does Sherman explain what it means to bear arms, (to be armed); he also explains why this is such an important right, (to defend by force of arms when their rights are invaded).
So I guess the only other thing that needs clarifying is this; what exactly is meant by the word arms? Arms comes from the Latin word arma, which simply means weapons. It does not specify what kind of weapons, nor does it restrict our right to one specific category of weapons; it simply means weapons.
Therefore, should an individual wish to own, and carry on his person, a switchblade knife, a pair of nunchaku, or even a 15th Century broadsword, it is his right to do so; no matter how much your weak minds fear seeing an armed individual other than law enforcement walking down the street.
However, if one definition of arms is not enough to convince you, maybe I should provide more. When the Supreme Court heard the case of D.C. v Heller, Justices Scalia and Stevens researched the meaning of the word arms as it was used at the time the 2nd Amendment was ratified. Justice Scalia found, in Timothy Cunningham’s New and Complete Law Dictionary, (1771), that arms is defined as, “anything that a man wears for defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.” Both Justice Scalia and Stevens also refer to John Tusler’s 1794 definition of arms to be, “instruments of offence generally made use of in war; such as firearms, swords, &c.”
Therefore, it only follows that if a weapon is used in times of war, then that weapon also fits the definition of arms which is protected by the 2nd Amendment, and guaranteed to the people; up to and including fully automatic weapons, grenade launchers, and shoulder fired missiles if a person is so inclined to own them.
Not only is the federal government prohibited from passing laws which restrict, or infringe if you will, a person’s right to keep and bear arms, that restriction applies to the States as well. In the case of Cockrum v. State the Texas Supreme Court ruled, “The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the “high powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.”
I think I’ve done a pretty good job of showing that every gun control law on the books which restricts a person’s right to own certain type arms, or requires permission from some governmental agency to carry an arm on their person for defense, goes against the intent of those who both wrote, and ratified the 2nd Amendment; and therefore is unconstitutional.
Yet if you are still hesitant to take my word for it, here are two more quotes which should prove sufficient to convince you. The first comes from Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, (1833), and states, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
Not only does Story declare that it is our right to keep and bear arms, he explains why the right exists; to prevent the abuse of power by those whom we elect to represent us in government. I mean, c’mon, that sounds pretty straightforward.
The final quote comes from the Georgia Supreme Court case of Nunn vs. State, and declares, “‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.”
How does all this mesh with the title of this commentary? Well it’s quite simple actually; anyone one any skills in critical thinking would be forced to admit that I am right in asserting that every gun control law ever passed is a violation of our right to keep and bear arms, and therefore unconstitutional. If you cannot see this you have lost the ability to examine facts for what they are and to come to a conclusion based upon the facts, and the facts alone.
But it does not end with the 2nd Amendment. Almost all our rights protected by the Bill of Rights have come under attack and been infringed upon in some fashion. Freedom of speech is a thing of the past. How is it that those who profess respect for the Stars and Stripes can seek that those who defile it be punished for their right to freedom of expression; then at the same time deny those whose loyalty is to the Confederate Battle Flag be denied the right to defend, and fly that flag?
How is it that people have twisted and perverted Jefferson’s meaning of the words a wall of separation between church and state to completely ban religion from any tax funded institution?
Not only have the 1rst and 2nd Amendments come under vicious attack, the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th amendments have all but been eradicated by our governments continued usurpations of power; particularly in regards to how it chooses to fight this so-called War on Terror.
The 9th and 10th amendments have pretty much not been in existence since Abraham Lincoln’s victory in his unconstitutional war of aggression against the seceded Southern States.
Yet I cannot for the life of me get certain people to see that these attacks against our rights are not confined to Democrats or Republicans; they have occurred no matter which party held control of both Congress and the Oval Office.
That is why I entitled this the way I did, because I believe, whatever the reason may be, that most people simply cannot think on their own. Instead they are reciting what they have been conditioned to believe; that if it is the public good, or if a majority of the people seek that certain laws be passed, then government can and should pass them; no matter how unconstitutional they are.
People also are so conditioned to accept these usurpations of power, and infringements upon their God-given rights, that they even support the agencies that enforce these unconstitutional edicts. If you ask me, that is accepting the fact that you have no rights without a whimper of protest.
In 1771 Samuel Adams wrote the following, published under the title The Liberty Letters, “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”
That was written almost 250 yrs ago, yet Adams may as well have been speaking to Americans today.
And again, people wonder why I get so angry…