Last month we
looked at the Founder’s intent underlying the Second Amendment.
I think it’s fair to say their obvious purpose was to ensure that an
individual’s right to keep and bear arms was never threatened or infringed by
any government action.
So what have the
courts said over the years about such a “radical concept?”
Many times we’re told by anti-gun elements that the courts have
maintained no individual right to keep and bear arms exists and we pro-gun
advocates are just too stupid to understand the intricacies of constitutional
Have the courts
universally denounced the individual’s right to keep and bear arms over the
past 200 years and are you really too stupid to read and understand what the
Constitution plainly says? To
believe any of that anti-gun bilge, you’d have to be terminally stupid.
let’s read a few examples of what several courts across the country and across
history had to say in the years after the Constitution was adopted.
As you did last month, please judge for yourself and draw your own
One note before we
start: I suspect you’ll never see
any of these quotes or rulings either reported or cited on the evening news but
that would be just a guess from my saddle…
George Tucker, Judge of the Virginia Supreme Court and U.S. District
Court of Virginia in I Blackstone COMMENTARIES Sir George Tucker Ed., pg. 300
“The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in
most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within
the narrowest possible limits...and [when] the right of the people to keep and
bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not
already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”
Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251
principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of
concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the
former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be
forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the
constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption
of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial
how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done,
it is equally forbidden by the constitution."
Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251
" The right
of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the
whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep
and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the
militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest
degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and
qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a
free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the
Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right."
Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402
"The right of
a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute.
He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the "high
powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the
general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair
it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power."
Andres v. State, 50 Tenn. (3 Heisk) 165, 178
“....the right to keep arms necessarily involves the
right to purchase them, to keep them in a state of efficiency for use, and to
purchase and provide ammunition suitable for such arms, and to keep them in
“The rifle of all descriptions, the shot gun, the musket
and repeater are such arms; and that under the Constitution the right to keep
and bear arms cannot be infringed or forbidden by the legislature.”
[ANDREWS V. STATE; 50 TENN. 165, 179, 8 AM. REP. 8, 14 (TENNESSEE SUPREME
1876: The Supreme Court, in U.S. v. Cruikshank (92
Recognized that the right to arms preexisted the
Constitution. The Court stated that the right to arms "is not a right
granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that
instrument for its existence."
v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54
a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction
upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and
dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil
must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general
deprivation of constitutional privilege."
State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224
maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free
people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions."
People vs. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. 927, at 928
provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is
a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary.
The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to
the will of the sheriff."
2000: Tuesday, June 13th. Let’s
fast-forward to the Clinton years of judicial activism and see how an attempt
was made to unscrupulously bastardize this long venerated inalienable right by a
dangerously anti-gun, anti-constitution administration in U.S.
Early accounts from
those who attended the week's oral arguments on U.S. v. Emerson (see FAX Alert
Vol. 7, No. 23) revealed, with no uncertainty, how the Clinton-Gore
Administration truly viewed our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The attorney
representing the government, William Mateja, said that the Second Amendment
offers law-abiding U.S. citizens no protections against the government
prohibiting them from owning any firearm. Judge William Garwood, one of three
judges on the panel that heard arguments, had the following exchange with Mateja:
Garwood: "You are saying that the Second Amendment is consistent with a
position that you can take guns away from the public? You can restrict ownership
of rifles, pistols and shotguns from all people? Is that the position of the
Meteja (attorney for the government):
Garwood: "Is it the position of the United
States that persons who are not in the National Guard are afforded no
protections under the Second Amendment?"
the court rejected the Clinton-Gore argument—this time.
frightening how tenuous is the jewel of liberty and how easily it can be
incrementally eroded if left unguarded by the people and totally entrusted to
the Machiavellian machinations of insidious politicians.
Madison had it pegged, "I believe there are more instances of the
abridgement of the freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of
those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
my uncompromising conviction that unless the people jealously guard our jewel at
every turn and strongly reject any attempt to incrementally infringe on
our freedom, we will eventually and unwittingly lose it—piece by little piece.
Once it’s gone however, it’s gone for generations—generations that
won’t even know what they’ve lost.
Just the view from my saddle…
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