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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Fundamental Rights

I was very disturbed to see this story today (via Say Anything):

(12-15) 17:14 PST SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco supervisors want voters to approve a sweeping handgun ban that would prohibit almost everyone except law enforcement officers, security guards and military members from possessing firearms in the city.
Here's why...

There are a few rights that were recognized by our Founders as being fundamental to all people. Jefferson's famous Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness immortalized in the Declaration of Independence sums them up quite nicely. Each of these is recognized and protected (if not by different names) in the Bill of Rights. Although these Rights are certainly the most fundamental, there is another Right that is equally important: The Right of self-defense.

Why? Simply because a piece of paper with some words expressing ideas, no matter how perfect the phrasing, is worth absolutely nothing unless human beings are willing and able to defend it. At the advent of this country, our Founding Fathers recognized that political power should flow from the People to Government and not the other way around. So, they wrote the Constitution in which they delineated exactly the powers they wanted reserved for the Federal Government. Then, they wrote the Bill of Rights to express the most fundamental Rights of the People. All other powers were then reserved for the states and people (and notice that it is "states" and not "States" in the Tenth Amendment).

Since the Founders were far from stupid, it is safe to assume that they said what they meant and in the order in which they meant to say it. This is especially true for the Bill of Rights. Therefore, they recognized the most important Rights held by the People (and therefore the most fundamental restriction on the Government) in the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
While these Rights are recognized as the most important, their recognition means nothing without the Second Amendment:

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.
The Founders understood only too well that without weapons it is impossible for the People to assert their will over an oppressive Government. And, since they were realists, they understood that their own best efforts to create a "more perfect union" notwithstanding, it was a near certainty that the will of the People would eventually falter and allow the Government to become oppressive. At that point, in Jefferson's own words, change would be necessary:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
As we know Governments don't like to be "throw[n] off" and so the People must retain basic Right of self defense and the physical ability to assert that Right.

There are those who will argue that the Second Amendment only gives people the right to "keep and bear arms" in the service of a Militia organized by the State. This is an absolutely outrageous argument. Find me one other example in the Bill of Rights that restricts the Rights of the People and endows the "States" (not "states") with any right whatsoever. Or, don't waste your time...there are not such examples. (See this excellent essay for a more complete discussion.)

There are others that will accept that the Second Amendment recognizes the right of the People to "keep and bear arms" individually but only those that have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia." While this was a court ruling, I have to disagree. Try asking a soldier, Marine, seaman or airman whether they would go into battle without their sidearm.

Regardless, there is no reason to think that the Second Amendment is a collective right of the People nor a right of the State. The fact is that the Founders saw the Militia as the entire armed citizenry, independent of being part of a permanent military organization and as I've said, the Bill of Rights recognizes preexisting Rights of the People endowed by our Creator.

So please, do what you can to preserve this most basic and fundamental Right of the People lest we become completely subservient to our masters in the Government.


All right, that's the theory. I'll post later on the practical issues relating to why an armed citizenry is a good thing.


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