An open letter on California’s Gun Laws

This letter is being sent to the Governor of CA, as well as the State Attorney General, the CA Supreme Court, and members of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Each letter contains a cover letter which addresses the individual to whom it is being sent. This is the cover letter I am sending to Justice Stephen Breyer of the SCOTUS, followed by my letter on California’s gun laws.

Justice Breyer,

In late 2010 I wrote you a general letter asking the Courts thoughts on the case of D.C. v Heller. Of all the Justices, you were the only one who was kind enough to respond. It was so considerate that I framed and hung your response on the wall above my computer desk.

As my first letter was general, this is more specific in nature. I have laid out my argument as to why I believe that California’s gun laws, and more specifically, two new bills recently signed into law by Governor Brown, infringe upon the Second Amendment, and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

I know you are a very busy man, but I would hope that you again show me the courtesy of taking time from your schedule to read through my argument and respond with your views.

Thank you for your consideration,

Neal Ross
………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
In accordance with the Constitution for the State of California, each newly elected governor must first take an oath of office before they can begin their duties as governor. In part this oath states, “I, ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”

It is my belief that Governor Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr. is guilty of violating that oath, and of perpetrating crimes against the citizens of California by legislation he has signed into law during his term as governor. In support of that claim I provide the following as evidence.

The Second Clause of Article Six of the Constitution declares that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land…”

Furthermore, Article Five of the Constitution states, “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof…” Therefore all amendments to the Constitution also become part of the Supreme Law of the Land, to which all who swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution are obligated to uphold.

Are not the rights specified in the first ten amendments to the Constitution to be considered as laws which all elected officials are sworn to uphold? And does not the Second Amendment declare: “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 Preamble to the Bill of Rights declares that the first ten amendments are “…declaratory and restrictive clauses…” and when a particular amendment states that the right being discussed “…shall not be infringed… ” it means that no one may encroach upon it.

Also, Article Four, Section Two of the Constitution states, “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” And the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, in part states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Therefore, it is my claim that a wide range of laws enacted by the State of California have infringed upon my Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, and that during his term in office Governor Brown has singed into legislation which further restricts my ability to freely exercise that right. I am speaking of two laws in particular, AB 144 and AB 1527, both of which criminalize the bearing of arms in public.

In June of 2008 the Supreme Court delivered its decision in the case of D.C. v. Heller, which in part stated “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose…” However, after doing my own research I have discovered a few things which lead me to question the Courts ruling, and therefore the legality of Governor Brown signing these bills into law.

In 1969 the Supreme Court heard the case of Powell v. McCormack, wherein the Court ruled, “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.”

In the 1943 case of West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, Justice Robert Jackson ruled, “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

During the Second Session of the 97th Congress, the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary declared, “The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.”

In 1824 Thomas Jefferson stated, “The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people…that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”

In 1788 Richard Henry Lee stated, ” To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”

In a 1790 House debate, Roger 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.”

In Nunn v. State, the Court ruled, “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 milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all 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.”

In Cockrum v. State, the Courts 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.”

In the 1878 case of Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 the Court ruled, “To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege.”

In Bliss v. Commonwealth the Court ruled, “For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution.”

In Miller v. U.S. the Supreme Court ruled, “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”, and in Miranda v. Arizona, the Court ruled, “Where rights as secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which will abrogate them.”

In formulating his decision to sign these bills Governor Brown stated that he had listened to the chiefs of police and their concerns over the waste of manpower due to officers being called out to investigate every case of someone openly carrying a firearm. Yet in People v. Zerillo, the Court ruled, “The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff.”

I think I have made it abundantly clear that our founders, and previous court rulings have stated that it is the right of the people to keep, and to bear arms, and that no law may be enacted which infringes upon that right. Yet California has, and continues to do so.

How is it that forty-two states allow the open carrying of handguns, but California does not? If the Second Amendment was written to protect a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, and if it is part of the Supreme Law of the Land, and the Fourteenth Amendment states that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, then why is it that California’s gun laws are much stricter than those of many other states? Why has California passed numerous laws which restrict my right when other states allow their citizens to fully exercise their right?

Therefore since the Constitution, (including the Bill of Rights), is the Supreme Law of the Land, and since the Fourteenth Amendment provides equal protection under the law, and since Governor Brown has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, it is my belief that the state of California, and Governor Brown specifically is guilty of not providing me equal protection of my rights as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and that my Constitutionally protected Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms has been violated. This, therefore, makes Governor Brown guilty of violating the law which he is sworn to uphold.

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One Response to An open letter on California’s Gun Laws

  1. Bill says:

    Neal,
    First off, I’m sorry to hear you live in California. I live in Pennsylvania which I feel is similar to California as to being mostly rural, scenic, vast natural resources, conservative, and ruled by a few population centers. You have made a great argument for Constitutional rights in California and I will appreciate hearing the reply of your inquiries. Ignoring your case reaffirms that further steps need to be taken.

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