Before I even begin, let me make it clear that I am not insulting or denigrating anyone. I am merely using a conversation I had this morning as an example to explain how our right to keep and bear arms has been infringed by those who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution, our elected representatives, and the Injustice System whose job it is to uphold the law.
This morning at work a woman was saying that she keeps a gun in her car for protection and that it is her Constitutional right to do so. She also said something about if anyone tried to arrest her she would see them in court for violating her right.
I am not insulting this woman, in fact I agree that it IS our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment makes no mention of requiring a permit to keep and bear arms for our personal protection, and by the fact that we are required to obtain a permit to carry arms for our own protection the government IS infringing upon that right.
However, with that said, I think this woman is naive if she thinks by quoting the Second Amendment, or talking about Constitutionally protected rights, she would not land in jail if she were caught in possession of a loaded firearm in her vehicle by city cops, or a county sheriff’s deputy.
The California Penal Code § 12031 states:
(a)(1)A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.
(2)Carrying a loaded firearm in violation of this section is punishable, as follows:
(G)In all cases other than those specified in subparagraphs (A) to (F), inclusive, as a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
So, while the Second Amendment makes no mention of a permit for the ‘bearing’ of arms, the California State Legislature has passed a law making it a crime to do so. The California Supreme Court has also maintained that most of California’s restrictive gun laws are constitutional based on the fact that the STATE Constitution does not explicitly guarantee private citizens the right to purchase, possess, or carry firearms. I guess the fact that the Constitution for the United States of America supersedes the State Constitution is beyond the scope of their understanding.
To make matters worse, in the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of D.C. v Heller the court held, “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…“
So, it appears that the injustice system does not seem to care that the Second Amendment makes no mention of a permit for the bearing of arms, as long as the states require one, or make it a crime to do so, they will convict you even though technically you are legally exercising a Constitutionally protected right.
But it gets worse. In 2001 Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Rick Stanley, and Duncan Philp decided to celebrate the 210th anniversary of the Bill of Rights by protesting a Denver, Colorado, ordinance prohibiting the bearing of arms. They attended a rally on December 15, both carrying pistols, violating the city’s ordinance prohibiting them from doing so. In fact, they advertised in advance what they intended to do and invited the Denver police to come and arrest him, which they did.
On May 15 of the following year he was brought to trial in the municipal court of Judge Robert L. Patterson. During the defense attorney’s questioning of potential jurors the question was asked of a potential juror, who was also a police officer, whether or not she had taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, which included the Second Amendment. The following is a transcript of what took place after objections from the District Attorney.
Dismissing the prospective jurors for lunch, Judge Patterson began to lecture Grant, instructing him, according to both Grant’s recollection and Stanley’s, “I already sent you an order in this case. The order has been mailed to your offices. You are not to mention the Constitution during this proceeding. Do you understand?“
Grant replied that he did not.
The defendant and his attorney report that the judge said, “Then I’ll explain it again. You are not to reference the Constitution in these proceedings. You will not address it in voir dire, you will not address it in your opening remarks, you will not ask any questions about the Constitution when you summon your witnesses, and you will not talk about the Constitution when you give your closing arguments. Do you understand my instructions?“
This is not the only instance in which I have read in which judges have ruled that in criminal cases the defense attorney IS NOT to make reference to the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. According to their perverted sense of justice, the Supreme Law of the Land is not pertinent and therefore inadmissible in court.
So, if this woman who made this comment thinks that by merely mentioning the fact that the Second Amendment protects her right to carry a weapon in her car for her own personal protection is going to keep her out of jail, she is sadly mistaken.
I have been writing now for nearly 15 years about the abuse of power by those in office who are sworn to uphold the Constitution and defend our rights. Yet for the most part people think everything is just hunky dory in the good ole U.S. of A.
John Hay, who served as Secretary of State for both William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, once said, “The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it.” You may think that you still maintain your rights as protected by the Bill of Rights, but just try and exercise it when it conflicts with a state or local law and see how fast the injustice system finds you guilty of violating what THEY consider to be the law.
There is a way to obtain justice in these type situations, but you are unlikely to obtain it because it requires that the general public be informed about the nature of their rights, and the purpose for which government was instituted; i.e. the preservation of those rights. With the majority of the people in this country being completely ignorant regarding those things, it is highly unlikely you would escape incarceration for simply exercising your right. Nonetheless the means exist, and it is through the concept of jury nullification.
You have probably never heard the name Theophilus Parsons, but he served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1806 until his death in 1813. Mr. Parsons once declared, “But, sir, the people themselves have it in their power effectually to resist usurpation, without being driven to an appeal of arms. An act of usurpation is not obligatory; it is not law; and any man may be justified in his resistance. Let him be considered as a criminal by the general government, yet only his fellow-citizens can convict him; they are his jury, and if they pronounce him innocent, not all the powers of Congress can hurt him; and innocent they certainly will pronounce him, if the supposed law he resisted was an act of usurpation.”
Justice Parsons is not the only person to have broached the subject of jury nullification, it was a widely held belief by our Founders that jurists held the power to resist unconstitutional laws without resorting to armed rebellion. Here are just a few quotes by some of our Founding Fathers on the subject of jury nullification:
“Under the character of jurors, the people exercise in person the greatest proportion of judiciary powers.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1806
“It is not only the juror’s right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” – John Adams, 1771
“The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the facts in controversy.” – John Jay, first Chief Justice of Supreme Court, 1789
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of the constitution.” – Thomas Paine
“The Jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.” – Samuel Chase, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, 1796
“The jury has an unreviewable and irreversible power… to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge.” – U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, 1792
“All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” – Marbury vs. Madison, 1803, 5 US (2 Cranch) 137, 174, 176
“Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” – Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436, p. 491
“An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.” - Norton vs. Shelby County, 118 US 425, p. 422
By now I think I have made my point, it is the right of the juror to question both the facts, and the law, and if it be found that the law is in violation of the Constitution, or infringes upon an unalienable right, the juror has the right to reject the law and find the defendant not guilty.
Thomas Jefferson feared the powers which judges might accumulate when he said, “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
In fact, Jefferson ALSO said, “We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”
But for this to work it requires that prospective jurors, (that is all citizens), take jury duty seriously, and be well informed as to the nature of their rights. And from my own personal experience I don’t see people caring enough to spend hours researching the law, and the intent of our Founders when they drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
So, unless that happens, unless people decide to pull their heads out of their asses and educate themselves, our government will continue to do as it damn well pleases without regard to our unalienable rights. In fact, the time is quickly approaching, if we haven’t already passed it, where peaceful petitions to our government for a redress of grievances will be futile, at best.
Then, we will be left with no other alternative but the one mentioned by Patrick Henry on that fateful day in Richmond Virginia at St. Johns Church, “If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!“
But, don’t fool yourself into thinking that simply because you think you understand the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that you will not find your throat under the jack booted heel of tyranny should you try to exercise your rights when your government has passed laws which infringe upon them.
That will only prove how naive and foolish you really are.
February 11, 2013
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his book: ROSS: Unmasked
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross can be reached for comments at email@example.com.
If you wish to comment, please go to Neal’s blog so that others may partake of your wit and your wisdom as well… http://www.zombie-slayer.com/neal