Though it’s doubtful anyone will hear much about it, neither lawmakers, judges, or even a president has the constitutional authority to infringe upon the inalienable right of the American people to keep and bear arms.
One hundred thirty eight years ago, the Supreme Court wrote that the right to keep and bear arms “…is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.”
The case was United States v. Cruikshank; and the Court made it clear that the right to keep and bear arms is an inalienable right, God-given and independent of any mandatory approbation by men or their laws for its force and legitimacy.
The Founders were so certain as to the absolute nature of these inalienable rights in the Bill of Rights that Alexander Hamilton suggested in Federalist No. 84 that it was unnecessary even to make them a part of the written Constitution. “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do,” he wrote, clear in his assertion that men have no authority to meddle with rights deriving from God and nature.
All these years later, the Court has not changed its attitude about the inalienable rights of the American people. In the majority opinion of D.C. v Heller, the Court states that the 2nd Amendment “codifies” the pre-existing right to keep and bear arms; it does not “give” us that right. “[I]t has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.”
Yet for decades, it has been the aim of gun-banning lawmakers and left-wing jurists to transform the 2nd Amendment into a nonsensical hodgepodge. Children are killed by a psychopath, and the left is pleased to claim that “assault weapons” must be responsible and should therefore be banned. “High capacity” magazines are deemed unnecessary for hunting, and this somehow means they must be outlawed. Individuals thought to be “too dedicated” to the Constitution are accused of being potential domestic terrorists; and for some unknown reason, Libertarians and veterans are not to be trusted as gun owners. It’s an extraordinary mix of non sequiturs designed to add confusion to the 27 word 2nd Amendment.
Well, the Founders of this nation saw nothing complicated about the right of the American people to keep and bear arms; for theirs was a lesson of cruel experience learned from the British enemy during the Revolution. The British knew that disarming the colonies would mean an end to any war, and they focused all of their efforts on the capture of weapons, powder and ball. Surely this is a concept simple enough even for Dianne Feinstein—disarm an enemy, and they will become the easy prey of a would-be tyrant.
For the Founders, the right to keep and bear arms became nothing more complicated than “…the right of armed self-defense against tyranny.” Indeed, that was the purpose of the right as later expressed in the 2nd Amendment. And in spite of the best efforts of modern hoplophobes and would-be tyrants to confuse the issue, it has not changed to this day.
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