“No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.” 16 Am. Jur. 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256
The Spanish philosopher George Santayana famously quipped, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana knew that history has a habit of repeating itself. Societies emerge, they flourish, and then they end. In school we learn about the empires of the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Germans, Russians, et al. We learned about their triumphs and failures, contributions and atrocities.
Our Founders well understood the qualities of previous civilizations, what made them great and what made them fail. Picking the best ideals and forming a few ideals of their own to form “a more perfect union.” The most fundamental idea, was the idea that the populous, not the Government, held the power. Further, that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.” These are not rights granted to you by any form of Government, rather something you are born with and no one; I repeat NO ONE, may take from you! Losing these freedoms requires you giving them away.
Imagine you lived during the Revolution. Perhaps you were concerned, as others were, that your newly formed Government may try to rule over you like King George. There were concerns that a hard fought freedom from England might result in replacing one despot for another. Therefore, the Constitution was written to make plain what powers “we the people” allowed our Government. That’s right, we permit our Government to hold certain powers. The Constitution is much like a contract, one which describes how our Government is limited. Within this contract are particular rights the Government has no authority to infringe upon.
So when people talk about furthering restrictions on gun ownership, one must pay close attention. If a fundamental right is subject to change or abolishment, then ALL rights are in jeopardy. If you think this is a “slippery slope” fallacy, consider the First Amendment and how the Government has tinkered with that.
In 1802, after his election, Thomas Jefferson replied to a letter of congratulations from the Danbury (CT) Baptist Association. In that letter, Jefferson addressed the religion clause of the First Amendment, describing “a wall of separation between church and state.” Although this letter is not part of the Constitution, and merely musings from then President Jefferson, the Supreme Court in 1878 found that this “wall of separation” gave insight into the intent of the religion clause.
Later, in 1948, the Supreme Court ruled in McCollum v. Board of Education, that, “in the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state.'” McCollum, an atheist, has sued the school for offering voluntary religious studies for students. The Supreme Court’s ruling found that “the use of tax-supported property for religious instruction and the close cooperation between the school authorities and the religious council in promoting religious education” was a violation of the religion clause. Believing that government was establishing religion.
From that point forward you will find many cases where it appears the “wall of separation” is becoming more of a prison wall. What you have today is the idea that there is a freedom from religion, a policy attempting to remove religious freedom from public view.
You’re skeptical? You must be unaware of the IRS ruling that bans pastors from discussing politics while on the pulpit. Politics plays a huge role in the quality of our lives. The leader of a congregation should have the ability to discuss how those politics fit into their religious views. But no, the IRS will strip a church’s tax-exempt status if they violate this ruling. Or maybe you haven’t seen the reports of schools suspending students for praying on campus. Not only does this violate the students’ right to religious freedom, it also stripped them of the freedom of speech! Worse still, some were even suspended for praying silently! What about the current debate on Obamacare and religious groups? The Government is mandating that churches offers services that directly violate the tenets of their faith. How are these not examples of Government infringing on religious freedom?
Many of the controversies derive from Government intervening when someone is offended. You will not find in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights a freedom from being offended. Clearly this is the result of the Government exerting powers it does not have.
How about the freedom speech? Surely that has not been tampered with! The Bill of Rights is once again, very clear about it. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” Hmm, well not entirely true. You might want to be aware of Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1752 (18 USC 1752). This law prohibits you from “disorderly or disruptive conduct” in or “within such proximity” to certain Government buildings, the President, Vice-President, or “other person protected by Secret Service.” (Also check how 18 USC 1752 was amended in February 2012)
After the inauguration ceremonies the crowd booed Paul Ryan (I’ll save commentary on the “civility” of the “tolerant” progressive left for some other time). This got me thinking about this law and if things were a little different. Let’s just say that Obama stepped up to the microphone and the crowd booed and hissed at him. Isn’t that disorderly and disruptive conduct? Wouldn’t the crowd be subject to arrest? Okay, maybe not if it was a huge crowd, but, what if it was just a couple? I’ve seen people pulled out of political functions when they interrupted politician’s speech. Well, according to this law, officers seem to have the authority to arrest you. Doesn’t exactly give you the feeling of free speech does it?
Now consider the debate brewing about the 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.
During America’s colonial period, all able-bodied males were required to participate in the militia. These consisted of local bands led by a senior officer. Do not confuse these groups with regular army. Think more of citizens who would come down from the hills, off the farm, or city folks who responded when the need arose. These militias maintained armories as well as personal arms. During the Revolutionary War, the bulk of General Washington’s army were militia men.
“The shot heard around the world” was the first engagement between the English and the Patriots. The English sent 700 soldiers to disarm the militias at Lexington and Concord, which sparked a little thing we like to call the Revolutionary War. As we all know how that turned out for the English, it serves as a cautionary tale for a government that might try to wrest protection from the people.
You often hear that certain weapons have no legitimate purpose for hunting or other sport. Where is it mentioned that your right to bear arms is strictly for hunting or sport? The Framers intent to bear arms was for the “security of a free state.” That means citizens have the right to defend themselves from threats both foreign…and domestic.
But hey, that can’t happen today, right? We have our armed forces for foreign threats. We have law enforcement and the National Guard for domestic threats right? What use could people possibly have for keeping their guns, especially those evil assault weapons? Well, what if you needed to protect yourself from a government that arbitrarily ignored your freedoms?
Not many folks know that it has already happened after Katrina. In the wake of the disaster law enforcement, along with the National Guard, were completing two tasks, checking on survivors and confiscating weapons. Now I understand if a house were abandoned, collecting weapons for safe-keeping sounds like a prudent plan. Or if they stopped a real shady character with a boat-load of weapons, you might hold on to them in case they were looted. If only they stopped there.
In the middle of all the chaos, looting, and violence that occurred right after Katrina, the Government began disarming ALL citizens. Not just the thugs who were committing crimes, but law-abiding citizens as well. Under what authority? When did surviving a natural disaster become a criminal act whereby guns could be seized? What gave them the right to violate people’s First and Fourth Amendment rights? (See the video of victims to this abuse)
In the aftermath of the cleanup, law enforcement offered to return the guns to the owners if they could provide a bill of sale or affidavit of the serial number. Yeah, I’m sure they were able to go right out and find those documents. Never mind that many homes had been underwater and that tends to ruin such things.
We have allowed our Government to grow into a dangerous, unwieldy apparatus; one which needs a reminder of the limits of its power. This Government feels secure in the knowledge that many don’t stand up for their freedoms. Americans today have squandered an inheritance so hard fought by our preceding generations. Welfare and subsidies have become the opiate for the masses. Many are giving away their freedoms for their next fix. Without those with the courage to stand and be heard, our Republic may be lost.
What then will future historians say of America? Will they point to a series of events that led to the eventual collapse? Will they applaud the efforts of those committed to maintaining the American way of life? I suppose that is up to you. Let your voice be heard. Timidity and apathy are simply unacceptable.
As I delve into this issue, I hope that you will return and read more. I hope you sign up to follow my blog for future articles. In my next article I’ll be addressing societal problems and how that relates to gun control. Thanks and see you soon…