Tuesday, March 6, 2012



The Constitution of The United States of America is basically a contract between the Federal Government and the several states, those states that constituted The United States of America, not the people as individuals.  The Constitution states, in the tenth amendment “ The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In order that certain rights and freedoms were protected to the individual, several amendments were added to the constitution.  Those amendments, known commonly as the “Bill of Rights” contain a list of personal rights that are protected by Constitutional Law.

The second amendment to the constitution guarantees the right of the individual to own firearms. “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 individual states, however, have the power to make laws concerning some things while other things are not subject to any interference.  That power stems from the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution that reserves to the states any power not otherwise given to the Federal Government.  For example, Indiana cannot pass a law that allows police to enter and search your home without probable cause and proper authorization from the courts.  Any such law would violate the letter and spirit of the fourth amendment.  That amendment is part of the contract that directly protects the individual.
*(Since the original version of this statement, The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that an individual may not interfere with the police who are attempting to enter their home, without a search warrant!  It will be interesting to see how the United States Supreme Court rules on this issue.)

On the other hand, while the federal government cannot prohibit private ownership of arms and ammunition, the various states may pass laws that regulate gun ownership.  Even though established precedents support the right of the individual states to regulate gun ownership, none have ever passed, or to my limited knowledge, attempted to pass a law regulating gun ownership.  To an extent the federal government does exert some control over weapon ownership.  Anyone can own a high power rifle, assuming there is no state law against such ownership, but none of us may own an atomic bomb.  At least I have not found a specific court ruling allowing a private citizen to own a weapon of mass destruction.

I support the second amendment and believe that private gun ownership is an issue between the individual states and that state’s citizens.  If the constitution was changed and ceded to the federal government the right to regulate private gun ownership, the guidelines that would be developed and imposed would be far too generic to be effective.  Consider the difference between the need and use of firearms in Montana and New Jersey.  If federal laws regulating gun ownership were ever enacted, the various states would need the authority, out of necessity and of common sense, to tailor those laws to conditions in each state. If a particular state decided to debate the issue, the question of a law making sense if it were applied consistently across the state comes to the surface the same as if it were a generic federal law.  Consider California; regulation considerations would be much different in Los Angeles then in the towns, villages, ranches, and mines that dot the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  So, once again, a sensible law that addressed the needs of all citizens and communities is virtually impossible.

A generic federal law concerning the ownership of firearms, again with the caveat that weapons of mass destruction, which can easily be described and enforced with a federal law, should not be in the hands of an individual, would not be enforceable.  If a law is unenforceable, it should and would not be passed.

There is a need, however, in the United States to find a way to control who has weapons and what kind of weapon they have.  First; there is the need to have citizen militias to protect against the central government becoming an oppressive monarchy or a totalitarian dictatorship, and lets face it, there are those who are working very hard to destroy our country and reshape it based on their own narrow visions.  If the constitutional government should ever be changed, it will not come from outside the government, it will take place through the election process, it will come from extremists finding their way into the government and toppling the legitimate government and imposing their narrow will on every American.  Freedom, for all but a select few, will vanish. Second; there is the practical need for firearms.  I spent several years living in Utah and California and spending untold days and nights in wilderness or desolate areas prospecting and mining small claims. I could not imagine that life style without protection in the form of a firearm.  Snakes, wild animals, strange creatures lay in wait for humans to show up and get their due for disturbing their private sanctuary.  Of course, for those who chose to live in the wilderness for an extended period of time, there is the need for food.  Fish are usually available year round but man, or woman, does not live by fish alone.  Wild game is plentiful in the wilderness areas and can provide meat, skins to take to a tanner, and useful products from the uneatable parts.  Game should be killed only when necessary for food or when one’s life is threatened, not just for sport.  There is also the need for protection of one’s home and family.  There is, however, a great need to make training go hand in hand with gun ownership.  It may sound intrusive but mandatory basic training would prevent a lot of mistakes with owners getting hurt because they did not know how to use and care for their weapon.

At some point, some type of regulation, which can and will be vigorously enforced, will need to be enacted either by the states or by local governments.  The volume and type of weapons ending up in the arsenals of the gangs of this country is appalling and is on the verge of putting the whole country at risk.  Soon, I fear, we will be like Mexico where the drug cartels and gangs have larger standing armies and are more well armed than the government.  If the power of the gangs grow to the point where law enforcement is unable to control them, every citizen will be in danger and will attain weapons with witch to protect themselves.  Open conflict will break out and the good guys will lose.  We need to provide law enforcement and legitimate militias with the tools to bring the gang situation back under control.  The courts need to step up and do their part to end the gang control of the streets so that citizens can once again feel safe in their homes and on the streets.       

Sometimes something sounds so absurd that it can confuse, and scare the pants off of, some of us “normal” citizens.

Recently I read about some city or state introducing a bill that would not restrict gun ownership but if you were to own a gun, you must have it disassembled and stored in a locked gun safe.  So, lets see.  Someone breaks into my home and means to do me harm.  They are on their way to my bedroom where my wife and I sleep.  I hear them coming.  I jump out of bed and holler, "Hold on a minute guys while I go unlock my gun safe and assemble my gun, then we can go from there."  How far do you think that bill will go?  Some of these things go beyond my ability to comprehend.

I will again remind everyone that I am a Liberal and the person who made the poster that Liberals want to take away guns is all wrong.  There are people on the right and left that would like to see gun legislation to outlaw gun ownership.  Most on the right and the left, like me, want only to make sure we can keep weapons out of the hands of those who mean to do us harm.

I, like most Liberals, will not give up my right to own guns easily.  Conservative and liberals will stand together on this issue.

Sometime I will write an essay questioning if there really is an issue.


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