I know some people are getting awful tired of my long winded tirades about the government infringing upon my rights. Well guess what, I am getting just as tired of having to come up with new ways to repeat the same message. I feel like a parent who has to keep repeating something over and over to a child that just refuses to listen. However, until I am successful in getting people to accept the truth, I guess I will have to keep trying to find the right combination of words to get through to them.
I wonder though, are people confusing rights with privileges? There is a distinct difference between the two. A privilege is something that someone in a position of authority grants you permission to do, a privilege can be taken away. While a right, on the other hand, is something you do not require someone’s permission to exercise. According to our founders, our rights are unalienable, meaning they cannot be taken away, or transferred.
Prior to our country ratifying (accepting) the Constitution, there was a huge debate over those very rights. Many were of the opinion that the Constitution did little to safeguard those rights from possible infringement by the government it proposed. To appease those concerns, and to ensure ratification, it was agreed upon to add certain amendments to the Constitution, listing certain fundamental rights that our government, under no circumstances, could infringe upon.
It is not widely known, but just as does the Constitution, the Bill of Rights contains a Preamble which defines its intent. It states, “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
If you will notice, it says that further restrictive clauses shall be added. This means that the clauses which make up the Bill of Rights, are restrictions placed upon our government, at all levels.
Before I go any further, I need to make sure we are on the same page when it comes to the meaning of the word infringe. There appears to be a misconception that to infringe upon means to completely do away with a right. Not so. According to the dictionary, infringe means to encroach on somebody’s rights, or privileges, often in a minor or gradual way.
Now that we have that all cleared up, allow me to spend a few moments examining a right that is presently facing another possible infringement right here in my home state of California, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
The full text of the second amendment states, “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.”
In the case of D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court recently ruled that it was indeed an individual right, although they left themselves some leeway in their interpretation by saying it was not an unlimited right.
They based their decision on the grounds that the operative clause, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” refers to a pre-existing right of individuals to possess and carry personal weapons for self-defense, and for defense against tyranny.
As I stated, the Court ruled that it is not an unlimited right, as they state, “[l]ike most rights, the Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”
Furthermore, in their opinion they stated their ruling, “should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
Therefore, using my earlier definition of rights, versus privileges, is did the court rule that it was a right, or do they consider it a privilege? To purchase a weapon we have to take tests, have the guns registered in a database, and now in my home state of California, they are making it just a bit more difficult to exercise that right.
Already the governor of California has signed into law Assembly Bill 1471, which mandates the technology known as microstamping, which leaves an imprint upon shell casings which is traceable back to the gun owner. Governor Schwarzenegger signed this into law, even though there are reports stating it is ineffective and flawed technology.
Currently, the governor has another bill sitting on his desk awaiting his decision. Assembly Bill 962, if signed by the governor, will ban internet purchases of ammunition and require a ‘face to face’ purchase be made.
Californians wishing to purchase ammo will be required to provide photo ID and leave a thumbprint with each purchase of ammunition. Thankfully the provision limiting firearms owners to 50 rounds per month was taken out of the bill.
Nevertheless, these remain infringements upon our right to keep and bear arms. They may not seem like much to someone who does not own guns, or cares little for their unalienable rights, but they are small steps in the plan to disarm the people of this country.
Former Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders, made the following comment which was published in Mother Jones Magazine, “I want to make it as hard as possible. Gun owners would have to be evaluated by how they scored on written and firing tests, and have to pass the tests in order to own a gun. And I would tax the guns, bullets and the license itself very heavily.”
Isn’t that exactly what we are seeing now when it comes to our ‘unalienable’ right to keep and bear arms? Yet it gets worse.
In the July 1976 issue of the New Yorker Magazine, Nelson T. Shields III, founder of Handgun Control made the following statement, “We’re going to have to take this one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily – given the political realities – going to be very modest. Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal – total control of all guns- is going to take time … The final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition – except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs and licensed gun collectors – totally illegal.”
All I can say is, let them try. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”
We the people have allowed this to happen because we do not know the importance of our rights. Our Socialist Indoctrination Centers, otherwise known as the Public School System, has done an abysmal job of teaching the children of this country about the history of this nation.
Noah Webster once said, “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.”
You may ask, how come I know these things. I know them because, instead of gluing myself to a TV screen, I have spent hour upon hour reading the writings of our founders. I know them because I value my liberty more than a few moments trivial entertainment.
In 1779, a certain Dr. Richard Price wrote, “every inhabitant has in his house (as part of his furniture) a book on law and government, to enable him to understand his civil rights; a musket to enable him to defend these rights; and a Bible to make him understand and practice his religion.”
We sure have come a long way since 1779, haven’t we? I don’t know about you, but I have numerous books on laws and government. I have a Bible, which I keep on my headboard, and sitting upon that Bible, when I am home, I keep a loaded pistol.
I wonder what I might find were I to visit your home?