by Karl Denninger
WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS...
You've read that document, yes?
Let's quote the first part of it.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.Read this to 100 random people on the street and I'm willing to bet the majority of them would argue that you're some sort of Anarchist.
The Founders went on to devise our Constitution, which is a list of powers and explicitly denied all others not enumerated therein from the Federal Government.
Indeed The Constitution itself declares in Article VI the following:
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; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.Got that?
The Constitution is the supreme Law of the Land, and no law made by man or any law of any state that contradicts it controls over it.
But that was not enough. The Colonies did not believe that this document was sufficient, even with a formal means of Amendment called forth in Article V and the formal statement that any statute or other act taken in contravention to the Constitution was facially void. They insisted, in fact, that 10 Amendments be passed along with The Constitution or they would not ratify it. In short they did not believe that government would adhere to The Constitution, that the judiciary would not uphold it and that in fact government would immediately seek to undermine and destroy it.
They were right.
But the 10 Amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were considered to be sufficient at the time and thus were passed with The Constitution, becoming an inherent part thereof. (Ed: Those who wish to argue timelines may do so but are playing wordgames and semantics in a raw and puerile attempt to dilute the debate; it was only the promise to actually collect and pass the Bill of Rights that got the Constitution ratified. And yes, I'm aware there were originally 12 Amendments proposed.)
It is only through the process in Article V that any clause in The Constitution or any existing Amendment can be overridden in a lawful manner. Any other law or regulation, no matter how proposed, no matter how passed, no matter if enforced or not, is facially void upon the very words in The Constitution itself.
This isn't opinion. It's black-letter fact, and that this fact has been intentionally and wantonly disrespected and violated on a serial basis only turns each and every one of the legislators, law enforcement officials and executive members who have done so into factual criminals.
So says The Constitution itself.
So why do I write this essay?
Because we have an individual in our Senate, Diane Feinstein, who is proposing to put forward a facially-invalid law, on top of the 20,000 already-invalid gun laws on the books, purporting to violate The Second Amendment.
She doesn't give a good damn that what she proposes today, had she done so in 1775, would have instantly precipitated Concord as soon as word was passed.
She thinks she can get away with this based upon your inaction over the last few decades when similarly-bogus and facially-void laws were both proposed and passed.
It is time for We The People to take a stand, as did John Hancock, Richard Stockton, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Penn, Arthur Middleton and others.
Your right to life is not bestowed by government. Your right to liberty is not bestowed by government. Government never possessed those rights and you cannot bestow what you do not first lawfully possess.
You right to life and liberty were bestowed by your creator. Those rights inure to each and every one of us by virtue of being human. And here's the point which many of you wish not to discuss:
A right without the ability and willingness to defend it is no right at all.
There are those who would argue that The Second Amendment doesn't apply to this sort of arm or that, as it was written in a time and age of muskets, not semi-automatic rifles or even machine guns.
That would be a nice appellation and is often run by leftists such as Arianna Huffington. She conveniently forgets that The First Amendment was written in a time when the only "press" consisted of movable type impressing ink upon paper, and yet she argues at the same time that contemporary means of publication, such as The Huffington Post on The Internet, fall within its meaning.
Certainly if The Internet falls under the meaning of The First Amendment then a semi-automatic rifle -- or even a machine gun -- falls under The Second Amendment.
But more to the point is reality, as expressed by Thomas Paine:
Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise.And later on...
Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things.Indeed.
Witness Miller, in which the US Supreme Court remanded a case of a man tried for possession of a sawed-off shotgun, which the National Firearms Act had made illegal without registration and payment of a tax. The US Supreme Court's ruling included the effective claim that the sort of weapon in question was never used in any sort of militia organization.
This foundational claim presented to and accepted by the United States Supreme Court, upon which Miller rests, is a factual lie and the solicitors who presented it either knew or should have known they were lying.
It is a fact, supported by documents archived at the Government Printing Office, that the United States military procured some 30,000-40,000 sawed-off shotguns which it used to guard German prisoners of war during WWI!
If that's not a "militia use" could you please explain to me what would qualify?
Not only did Miller (the defendant) not appear at the Supreme Court and thus not render an argument (in which it can be presumed this would have been raised!) but in addition he was shot to death before the decision and as such the remanded proceedings never took place.
Now let's add onto this: It is a fact that semi-automatic rifles with magazine capacities of more than 10 rounds, flash-hiders, pistol-grips, forward grips and various other accessories and "features" are factually militia weapons. So are semi-automatic pistols with more than 10 round capacity; indeed, they are issued today in such service. The very argument used by the gun-banners is the claim that these are "military-style" weapons when they press their argument for registration or a ban and yet it is those precise sorts of arms that Miller held were protected by the Second Amendment!
Therefore, even if we accept Miller as the test then it is facially unconstitutional to propose any law to require registration of, say much less ban, any such firearm.
Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things.Indeed.
Who will speak against clear and obvious usurpations? Did you know, for example, that in the Miller case an intentional factual falsehood underlay the decision of the court and that the defendant never presented an argument before the court and thus could not refute it?
Did you know that the remanded proceedings that were ordered never took place?
Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would do in fact grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things.When do we, the people, stop sitting for expedience and demand things be right instead?
There is a lawful means to change the clear language of The Second Amendment. There is a lawful means to ensconce a right to health care in the Constitution. There is a lawful means to make illegal the use of recreational drugs (we once understood this with alcohol and then ignored it -- for expedience.) There is a lawful means to constrain the 4th Amendment and make being groped by the TSA legal. There is a lawful means to constrain your right to travel using the common means of the day and require driver licenses.
That lawful means is to amend The Constitution.
There is no other lawful means; all other methods are in fact law-breaking and, when proposed by or passed by Congress, openly seditious in their character.
It is often said that hard cases make for bad law. It is precisely for this reason that The Constitution is extremely difficult to amend.
It is difficult and yet that is the required process because we are not a Democracy; we are a Constitutional Republic in which the rights of all are protected from the demands of the majority.
Even if it is a screaming majority.
The Second Amendment, along with the First, Fourth and Fifth, stand as guardians of freedom. Freedom of expression. Freedom of religion. The fundamental freedom to remain alive, and to retain that which you justly earn through the fruits of your own labor.
America's very foundation in fact contains the right to remove and replace its entire government should it become necessary -- should that government ever disrespect those rights that each individual has been endowed with by his or her creator.
The Constitution can only be understood in this context -- the context in which it was written following The Declaration of Independence, and in which the signers (and many others) then proceeded to fight and die to preserve and protect.
So to restate and emphasize:
The Declaration was not of rights to be given by government but of unalienable rights that no government has the authority to regulate, delegate or control as it never possessed them in the first instance.
The Constitution was not a declaration of rights held by the people, it was the opposite. It was a declaration of a very few things that the government had the ability to control and regulate, delegated by the people, reserving everything else.
And the entirety of the Bill of Rights was the absolute requirement of the founders to sign off and accept The Constitution. Without each and every one of them the Constitution would not have been adopted, and as such they are inherently part and parcel of the original document and can only be lawfully modified in one way -- through the Amendment process in Article V.
So let's ask the inconvenient question:
Why was the Second Amendment so pivotal as to occupy the second place in the list?
It is precisely because The Gun is the single instrument that man has devised that renders equal the weak and the strong, the young and the old, the male and the female. It makes the gay man the equal of the half-dozen homophobes in a truck taunting and threatening to drag him behind it with a rope until he dies. It makes the 90lb woman the equal of the 225lb would-be-rapist. It makes the 60-year old shopkeeper the equal of the 18-year old iron-pumping thug.
And finally, and most-importantly, it makes the people, individually and collectively, the equal of the government.
The founders understood that without unfettered individual ownership of firearms there is no such thing as a Constitutional Republic. There is instead "democracy" -- which is best described as the bigger or more-numerous you are the more rights you have.
This, of course, means that if you're small, frail, unpopular or singular....
You have no rights at all.
The gun-banners would have you believe that the Second Amendment is some quaint notion -- an anachronism. They claim that "The Gun" is an instrumentality of violence and death; that its primary purpose is to kill people and that's what it mostly does. They point to the 10,000 or so homicides with guns a year in support of this.
But these people not only ignore reasonably-recent history, including Nazi Germany, Rwanda and many other instances (indeed there are 200 million people, nearly all disarmed, that governments have murdered outside of "war" in the last 100 years!) but they also ignore the very facts of today.
The fact of the matter is that of those 10,000 homicides about half are black-on-black violence committed by young black men against other young black men. Many are in fact "mutual combat" over something that we rendered illegal unconstitutionally (mostly drug-related), thereby removing their access to peaceful means of settling disputes (the courts.) And worse, the highest prevalence of those crimes are found in places where it is nearly impossible for a law-abiding citizen to be defensively armed. Those victims pay with their lives for the unconstitutional laws that have been imposed upon them.
That would be bad enough, but that's just the beginning.
We don't see the national media attention raised over defensive uses of these weapons, but it happens all the time. 98% of the time the gun is never fired and a huge percentage of these incidents are never reported to the police, as there was no victim, no violence, and no property of materiality was lost or damaged. The person who intended to commit a violent felony, however, was deterred from his action and decided not to proceed based on the mere presence of that firearm.
Think about this folks, because it's the real reason that the anti-gunners hate the Second Amendment.
Why do they demand of you what they will not take upon themselves? Why is this (Gun Free Residence) sign not on the White House door -- and that of the Obama daughters' school?
We all know the answer -- they claim to be superior to you. To have rights which to you are privileges. To do what you cannot, because they are rich, powerful, or otherwise "better."
But here is in fact the punchline, and the reason that Feinstein and others want to ban or otherwise restrict guns in any way, shape or form, no matter what they claim in public.
It is the true reason that all the gun-banners, including Obama, Biden, Bloomberg and the rest lie and obfuscate in an attempt to whip you into a frenzy:
The Second Amendment is not about revolt; that's the last resort, not the first, that comes with being armed, exactly as is shooting the felon is when a citizen is armed and a common criminal threatens.
As in the 98% of civilian cases, it is the deterrent value of the mere presence of millions of heavily-armed citizens that constrains the imposition of unconstitutional laws that disrespect the people's unalienable rights, whether that comes from a standing formal "army" or a hyper-militarized police force.
If you want to change the Second Amendment then do it through the formal amendment process, where the full and fair nature of the debate, including this fact, will be brought out into the open and against which those in the government who wish to propose such a thing will be forced to defend.