James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution because of his pivotal role in the document’s drafting as well as its ratification. Madison also drafted the first 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights.–The Library of Congress.
Mr. Madison had also been a close adviser to President George Washington and was consulted regularly concerning all questions about the meaning and intent of our Constitution. In the following you will discover the actual historical truth of just what was intended when our Bill of Rights was sent to the States for Ratification. This is how the preamble to the Bill of Rights appeared as it was written and presented by Mr. Madison:
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
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 ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution. . . .
. . . Amendment II
DECLARATORY clause; [Common Defense]
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,
(Limited power over which was already delegated in the original Constitution: Art. 1, Section 8 – Clauses; 14, 15, 16, & Art. 2, Section 2 – Clause 1. That being the only delegated authority over arms – in the hands of the militia. And even that only when: governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States.)
the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall NOT be infringed. . . .
. . . ATTEST,
Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives
John Adams, Vice-President of the United States, and President of the Senate
John Beckley, Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Sam. A Otis Secretary of the Senate
[For a view of the original, (and more legible), page from the Library of Congress click here.]
In addition, the preamble and amendments had later been published to the general public as was seen in; the Gazette of the United-States on Wednesday, September 23, 1789, No. XLVII. Pg. 1:
As a representative in the First Federal Congress, James Madison ushered seventeen amendments to the Constitution through the House of Representatives. These amendments were subsequently reduced to the twelve amendments passed by Congress and sent to the states on September 25, 1789. The first two proposed amendments, concerning the number of constituents for each representative and the compensation of members of Congress, were not ratified. By December 15, 1791, articles three through twelve were ratified by the required number of states and became known as the Bill of Rights.–Today in History – December 15, The Bill of Rights, Library Of Congress.
As is clearly seen above, there was no delegated authority granted to congress over the right of We The People to keep and bear our own private arms. And when no power is expressly delegated – none can be Constitutionally exercised, as will be seen in the following. Rather, there is an express prohibition upon them from enacting any law whatsoever concerning that specific right.
Mr. Madison explains precisely what was intended on the subject in a report he had made concerning the Alien And Sedition Laws. First we’ll discover how Mr. Madison had explained the actual intended meaning of the preamble, as well as the necessary and proper clause in our Constitution. Which means, as can readily be seen, that it cannot be used in justification for exercising powers not expressly delegated in We The People’s Constitution:
They will waste but little time on the attempt to cover the act by the preamble to the constitution; it being contrary to every acknowledged rule of construction, to set up this part of an instrument, in opposition to the plain meaning, expressed in the body of the instrument. A preamble usually contains the general motives or reasons, for the particular regulations or measures which follow it; and is always understood to be explained and limited by them. In the present instance, a contrary interpretation would have the inadmissable effect, of rendering nugatory or improper, every part of the constitution which succeeds the preamble. . . .
The plain import of this clause is, that Congress shall have all the incidental or instrumental powers, necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the express powers; whether they be vested in the government of the United States, more collectively, or in the several departments, or officers thereof. It is not a grant of new powers to Congress, but merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution, those otherwise granted, are included in the grant.
Which coincidentally, is the very same thing that Mr. Madison had declared earlier in congress:
He begged the gentleman to read the clauses which gave the power of exclusive legislation, and he might see that nothing could be done without the consent of the states. With respect to the supposed operation of what was denominated the sweeping clause, [“necessary and proper“] the gentleman, he said, was mistaken: for it only extended to the enumerated powers. Should Congress attempt to extend it to any power not enumerated, it would not be warranted by the clause.–James Madison, June 15, 1788, The Debates In The Convention Of The State Of Virginia, On The Adoption Of The Federal Constitution. [Elliot’s Debates, Vol. III, Pg. 455]
It is plain for all to see that no new authority or power can be gathered by our government from either of the above. Both of which however have been held up as justification by the federal government for exercising powers that not only were never delegated, but expressly denied. Mr. Madison continues in his report:
In pursuance of the wishes thus expressed, the first Congress that assembled under the constitution, proposed certain amendments which have since, by the necessary ratifications, been made a part of it; among which amendments is the article containing, among other prohibitions on the Congress, an express declaration that they should make no law abridging the freedom of the press.
Without tracing farther the evidence on this subject, it would seem scarcely possible to doubt, that no power whatever over the press, was supposed to be delegated by the constitution, as it originally stood; and that the amendment was intended as a positive and absolute reservation of it.
But the evidence is still stronger. The proposition of amendments made by Congress, is introduced in the following terms: “The Conventions of a number of the states having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstructions 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 ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
Here is the most satisfactory and authentic proof, that the several amendments proposed, were to be considered as either declaratory or restrictive; and whether the one or the other, as corresponding with the desire expressed by a number of the states, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government.
Under any other construction of the amendment relating to the press, than that it declared the press to be wholly exempt from the power of Congress, the amendment could neither be said to correspond with the desire expressed by a number of the states, nor be calculated to extend the ground of public confidence in the government.
Nay more; the construction employed to justify the “sedition act,” would exhibit a phenomenon, without a parallel in the political world. It would exhibit a number of respectable states, as denying first that any power over the press was delegated by the constitution; as proposing next, that an amendment to it, should explicitly declare that no such power was delegated; and finally, as concurring in an amendment actually recognizing or delegating such a power.
Is then the federal government, it will be asked, destitute of every authority for restraining the licentiousness of the press, and for shielding itself against the libellous attacks which may be made on those who administer it?
The constitution alone can answer this question.
For clarification of Mr. Madison’s point, the following is inserted:
U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 18:
Congress has the power . . .
. . . To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
If no such power be expressly delegated, and it be not both necessary and proper to carry into execution an express power; above all, if it be expressly forbidden by a declaratory amendment to the constitution, the answer must be, that the federal government is destitute of all such authority.
[Elliot’s Debates (on the Library of Congress website) contains a section (Pgs. 528- 580) on the response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, including the text of the Virginia Resolution, responses to the Virginia Resolution from other states, the Kentucky Resolution, and James Madison’s report on the Virginia Resolution. It should also be noted that Thomas Jefferson embraced the report, and it became the unofficial Democratic-Republican platform for the 1800 election.]
And here is a ringing endorsement of the above Report by Mr. Madison, made by the Democratic Party in their, (Solidly Pro-Slavery), 1856 Platform:
4. That the Democratic party will faithfully abide by and uphold, the principles laid down in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798, and in the report of Mr. Madison, in 1799; that it adopts those principles as constituting one of the main foundations of its political creed, and is resolved to carry them out in their obvious meaning and import.
Mr. Madison had also made a conclusive argument against the use of the common law by the courts in regard to our rights in the above Report, which Mr. Hamilton also proves in the Federalist.
Mr. Justice Story explains the intended purpose of a Preamble in the following:
§ 459. The importance of examining the preamble, for the purpose of expounding the language of a statute, has been long felt, and universally conceded in all juridical discussions. It is an admitted maxim in the ordinary course of the administration of justice, that the preamble of a statute is a key to open the mind of the makers, as to the mischiefs, which are to be remedied, and the objects, which are to be accomplished by the provisions of the statute.
§ 462. And, here, we must guard ourselves against an error, which is too often allowed to creep into the discussions upon this subject. The preamble never can be resorted to, to enlarge the powers confided to the general government, or any of its departments. It cannot confer any power per se; it can never amount, by implication, to an enlargement of any power expressly given. It can never be the legitimate source of any implied power, when otherwise withdrawn from the constitution. Its true office is to expound the nature, and extent, and application of the powers actually conferred by the constitution, and not substantively to create them. . . .
–Joseph Story, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1:§§ 459, 462–63, 1833.
When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.–Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, The Rights of the Colonists, Nov. 20, 1772.
The U.S. Senate makes the distinction concerning the role of the militia for the common defense, and We The People’s right to keep and bear arms here:
On motion to amend article the fifth, by inserting these words, ‘for the common defence,’ next to the words ‘bear arms:’ It passed in the negative.
As was clearly seen, the federal government was delegated no authority to enact any laws which govern the right of We The People to keep and bear our own private arms. In fact they were expressly forbidden from enacting any legislation whatsoever concerning our right. And this was obviously well known to the general public at the time:
There are other things so clearly out of the power of Congress, that the bare recital of them is sufficient. I mean “rights of conscience, or religious liberty ― the rights of bearing arms for defence, or for killing game ― the liberty of fowling, hunting and fishing.
[Winchester Gazette, (Virginia), Feb. 22, 1788; quoted from: Stephen P. Halbrook, The Right of The People or the Power of the State: Bearing Arms, Arming militias, and the Second Amendment, 26 Val. U.L. Rev 131, 150-51 (1991).]
And here is how the committee from the State of Virginia, in part consisting of: Mr. [James] Madison, [4th President of the U.S.] . . . Mr. John Marshall, [4th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court] Mr. Monroe [5th President of the U.S.] had proposed our right to be secured by amendment to the Federal Constitution on June 27th, 1788:
DO in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives acting in any capacity, by the President or any department or officer of the United States . . . 17th. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state. . . .
The following U.S. Supreme Court decisions give a good example of actual correct rulings by the court on the subject:
The national government is one of enumerated powers, and a power enumerated and delegated by the Constitution to Congress is comprehensive and complete, without other limitations than those found in the Constitution itself….
…The Constitution is a written instrument, and, as such, its meaning does not alter. Its language, as a grant of power to the national government, is general and, as changes come in social and political life, it embraces all new conditions within the scope of the powers conferred.
In interpreting the Constitution, recourse must be had to the common law and also to the position of the framers of the instrument and what they must have understood to be the meaning and scope of the grants of power contained therein must be considered….
‘It is not only the same in words, but the same in meaning, and delegates the same powers to the government, and reserves and secures the same rights and privileges to the citizen; and as long as it continues to exist in its present form, it speaks not only in the same words, but with the same meaning and intent with which it spoke when it came from the hands of its framers, and was voted on and adopted by the people of the United States. Any other rule of construction would abrogate the judicial character of this court, and make it the mere reflex of the popular opinion or passion of the day.’–Mr. Chief Justice Taney in Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 426, 15 L. ed. 691, 709.
–Mr. Justice Brewer deliver[ing] the opinion of the court, U.S. Supreme Court,
Mr. Chief Justice Taney goes on further in the above referenced decision that had been quoted by Mr. Justice Brewer:
Nor can Congress deny to the people the right to keep and bear arms, nor the right to trial by jury, nor compel anyone to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding.
For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police [Page 60 U. S. 417] regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. . . . and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.
And even the more recent court agrees:
Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad.
–U.S. Supreme Court. [Heller, 554 U.S. at 634–35.]
This extremely qualified gentleman had provided a very good argument for inclusion of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution:
This seemed to him to demonstrate most clearly the necessity of restraining them, by a bill of rights, from infringing our unalienable rights. It was immaterial whether the bill of rights was by itself, or included in the Constitution. But he contended for it one way or the other. It would be justified by our own example and that of England….
–John Tyler*, June 17, 1788.
(*John Tyler, Sr. served: twice as a Judge of the Court of Admiralty, in the Virginia House of Delegates, as Speaker of the House of Delegates, in the Annapolis Convention, in the Constitutional Convention, as Vice-President of the Virginia Convention of 1788, in the Virginia General Court, as Virginia Governor, and Federal District Court Judge for Virginia)
Here is what Mr. Madison had declared in the U.S. Congress concerning our Bill of Rights:
There is a great body of the people falling under this description, who as present feel much inclined to join their support to the cause of federalism, if they were satisfied in this one point: We ought not to disregard their inclination, but, on principles of amity and moderation, conform to their wishes, and expressly declare the great rights of mankind secured under this constitution. . . .
But I will candidly acknowledge, that, over and above all these considerations, I do conceive that the constitution may be amended; that is to say, if all power is subject to abuse, that then it is possible the abuse of the powers of the general government may be guarded against in a more secure manner than is now done . . .
But I do wish to see a door opened to consider, so far as to incorporate those provisions for the security of rights, against which I believe no serious objection has been made by any class of our constituents, such as would be likely to meet with the concurrence of two-thirds of both houses, and the approbation of three-fourths of the state legislatures. I will not propose a single alteration which I do not wish to see take place, as intrinsically proper in itself, or proper because it is wished for by a respectable number of my fellow citizens; and therefore I shall not propose a single alteration but is likely to meet the concurrence required by the constitution. . . .
I know some respectable characters who opposed this government on these grounds; but I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed it, disliked it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercised the sovereign power: nor ought we to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow citizens think these securities necessary.
It has been a fortunate thing that the objection to the government has been made on the ground I stated; because it will be practicable on that ground to obviate the objection, so far as to satisfy the public mind that their liberties will be perpetual, and this without endangering any part of the constitution, which is considered as essential to the existence of the government by those who promoted its adoption.
The amendments which have occurred to me, proper to be recommended by congress to the state legislatures are these: . . .
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person. . . .
In some instances they assert those rights which are exercised by the people in forming and establishing a plan of government. In other instances, they specify those rights which are retained when particular powers are given up to be exercised by the legislature. In other instances, they specify positive rights, which may seem to result from the nature of the compact. Trial by jury cannot be considered as a natural right, but a right resulting from the social compact which regulates the action of the community, but is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature. . . .
But whatever may be [the] form which the several states have adopted in making declarations in favor of particular rights, the great object in view is to limit and qualify the powers of government, by excepting out of the grant of power those cases in which the government ought not to act, or to act only in a particular mode. They point these exceptions sometimes against the abuse of the executive power, sometimes against the legislative, and, in some cases, against the community itself; or, in other words, against the majority in favor of the minority.
In our government it is, perhaps, less necessary to guard against the abuse in the executive department than any other; because it is not the stronger branch of the system, but the weaker: It therefore must be levelled against the legislative, for it is the most powerful, and most likely to be abused, because it is under the least controul; hence, so far as a declaration of rights can tend to prevent the exercise of undue power, it cannot be doubted but such declaration is proper. But I confess that I do conceive, that in a government modified like this of the United States, the great danger lies rather in the abuse of the community than in the legislative body. The prescriptions in favor of liberty, ought to be levelled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power: But this [is] not found in either the executive or legislative departments of government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority. . . .
It may be said, because it has been said, that a bill of rights is not necessary, because the establishment of this government has not repealed those declarations of rights which are added to the several state constitutions: that those rights of the people, which had been established by the most solemn act, could not be annihilated by a subsequent act of the people, who meant, and declared at the head of the instrument, that they ordained and established a new system, for the express purpose of securing to themselves and posterity the liberties they had gained by an arduous conflict.
I admit the force of this observation, but I do not look upon it to be conclusive. In the first place, it is too uncertain ground to leave this provision upon, if a provision is at all necessary to secure rights so important as many of those I have mentioned are conceived to be, by the public in general, as well as those in particular who opposed the adoption of this constitution. Beside some states have no bills of rights, there are others provided with very defective ones, and there are others whose bills of rights are not only defective, but absolutely improper; instead of securing some in the full extent which republican principles would require, they limit them too much to agree with the common ideas of liberty. . . .
I think there is more danger of those powers being abused by the state governments than by the government of the United States. The same may be said of other powers which they possess, if not controuled by the general principle, that laws are unconstitutional which infringe the rights of the community. . . .
It had been under those impressions that We The People instructed our servants in the house and senate to adopt the Bill of Rights. And it was only after a promise that future amendments would be passed (in the form of a Bill of Rights) that many of We The People adopted the original constitution to begin with.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms not being infringed upon was demanded because of what had just recently transpired in the state of Massachusetts at that time. That had concerned a law which had been passed disarming for a period of three years those that had participated in Shay’s rebellion. And that law brought fellow armed citizens running from all of the surrounding states to Massachusetts – almost resulting in another Revolution. This of course made the state of Massachusetts rescind the law and restore the arms to those that had rebelled. These events had occurred just prior to, and even during, the first Constitutional Convention. Those that had participated in Shay’s Rebellion were guilty of treason – one of the highest felonies that can be perpetrated. All of which gives us a good understanding of just what was intended by the words; shall not be infringed. Thus proving beyond all shadow of doubt that all state and federal felon in possession as well as other prohibitive laws are unconstitutional. For those laws most assuredly violate the clear intent of the amendment.
The following is what Mr. Thomas Jefferson had to state on the subject:
The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.
—Thomas Jefferson to William S. Smith*, Nov. 13, 1787. (*William S. Smith, U.S. Representative, Diplomat and First U.S. Marshal of New York.)
This is what Mr. Noah Webster had to state about the definition of the word infringe in his 1828 Dictionary:
INFRINGE, verb transitive infrinj’. [Latin infringo; in and frango, to break. See Break.]
1. To break, as contracts; to violate, either positively by contravention, or negatively by non-fulfillment or neglect of performance. A prince or a private person infringes an agreement or covenant by neglecting to perform its conditions, as well as by doing what is stipulated not to be done.
2. To break; to violate; to transgress; to neglect to fulfill or obey; as, to infringe a law.
3. To destroy or hinder; as, to infringe efficacy. [Little used.]
That is, by the way, the same dictionary that the U.S. Supreme Court employs when attempting to determine original intent.
And speaking of Mr. Webster, we have the following from him:
Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command: for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
[Noah Webster to Benjamin Franklin, Oct. 10, 1787, An Examination into the leading principles of the Federal Constitution, (Written under the pseudonym “By a Citizen of America”).]
Here we have an interesting quotation from a very highly recognized early American legal authority:
This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty . . . 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. In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights* seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorise the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty.
–St. George Tucker, Blackstone’s Commentaries, U.S. District Court Judge, July 10, 1752 – Nov. 10, 1827.
So it is plain to see that We The People of the American colonies already had the right to arms apart from the militia prior to our present constitution being adopted and still living under British rule:
* “By causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law . . . That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law”–English Bill of Rights 1689.
The following is what an early American Congress had declared:
Our words have ever avowed it,–our conduct has ever been consistent with it. We condemn, and with arms in our hands,–a resource which Freemen will never part with,–we oppose the claim and exercise of unconstitutional powers, to which neither the Crown nor Parliament were ever entitled. By the British Constitution, our best inheritance, rights, as well as duties, descend upon us: We cannot violate the latter by defending the former: We should act in diametrical opposition to both, if we permitted the claims of the British Parliament to be established, and the measures pursued in consequence of those claims to be carried into execution among us. Our sagacious ancestors provided mounds against the inundation of tyranny and lawless power on one side, as well as against that of faction and licentiousness on the other. On which side has the breach been made? Is it objected against us by the most inveterate and the most uncandid of our enemies, that we have opposed any of the just prerogatives of the Crown, or any legal exertion of those prerogatives? Why then are we accused of forgetting our allegiance? We have performed our duty: We have resisted in those cases, in which the right to resist is stipulated as expressly on our part, as the right to govern is, in other cases, stipulated on the part of the Crown. The breach of allegiance is removed from our resistance as far as tyranny is removed from legal government.–Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, Pg. 410, Wednesday, December 6, 1775.
So it is equally as plain to see that all of We The People retained that right when we had become citizens of the United States of America. Which of course makes that right the same in each and every State of the Union.
It should be noted that Mr. Tucker was at the debates concerning our proposed Bill of Rights:
Mr. Tucker hoped the words would not struck out, for he considered them of importance; besides, they were recommended by States of Virginia and North Carolina, he noticed that the most material part by those States was omitted, which was, a declaration that the people should have a right instruct their representatives. He would to have those words inserted as soon as the motion for striking out was decided.
[The Debates And Proceedings In The Congress Of The United States; With An Appendix, Containing Important State Papers And Public Documents, And All The Laws Of A Public Nature; With A Copious Index. Volume I. Comprising (With Volume II) The Period From March 3, 1789, To March 3, 1791, Inclusive. Compiled From Authentic Materials, By Joseph Gales, Senior. Washington: Printed And Published By Gales And Seaton. 1834. Pg. 760]
Mr. Tucker again makes another very interesting legal observation here:
. . . Judge [St. George] Tucker’s Lectures on the Judiciary of the United States, as delivered by him as Professor of Law at this University [William & Mary] . . .
. . . And here we cannot but observe, that the judiciary power cannot of itself oppress the citizen: The executive must lend its aid in every case where oppression can ensue from its decisions: but its decisions in favor of the citizen are carried into instantaneous effect by delivering him from the coercion of the executive officer the moment that judgment of acquittal is pronounced; and herein consists the excellence of our constitution, that no individual can be oppressed, whilst this branch of the government remains uncorrupted: it being a necessary check upon the encroachments of power by either of the other. Thus, if the legislature should pass a law dangerous to the liberties of the people, the judiciary are to pronounce, not only whether the party accused be guilty of a violation thereof, but whether such law be permitted by the constitution. If, for example, a law were passed prohibiting the free exercise of religion; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to assemble peaceably, or to keep and bear arms, it would be the province of the judiciary to decide that the power of the legislature did not extend to the making of such law, and consequently to acquit the prisoner from any penalty which might be annexed to the breach of such an unconstitutional law. . . .
(Mr. Tucker was a Lawyer and Professor of law at the College of William and Mary. He was appointed one of the committee to revise the laws of Virginia, and he served with James Madison and Edmund Randolph as Virginia commissioners to the Annapolis Convention. In 1803 Tucker became a judge of the highest court in Virginia. In 1813 he was appointed by President James Madison to be the United States District Court Judge for Virginia. Tucker also, as District Court Judge, sat with Chief Justice John Marshall on the U.S. Circuit Court in Richmond.)
And to prove beyond all contention that the right to keep and bear arms was indeed intended and understood to be an individual right. We have the Bill to create the District of Columbia, (Washington, D.C.), where it is clearly seen that the militia isn’t even mentioned at all in relation to our right:
For establishing the government of the Territory of Columbia. [Washington District of Columbia; (D.C.)]
[Now before the House of Representatives.]
Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the government of the territory of Columbia, (with a reservation of the constitutional authority of Congress over the same,) shall be exercised in the manner following. . . .
. . . . Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That no law shall be made respecting any establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, otherwise than by a liability to private action for falshood in point of fact; or abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition for a redress of grievances; nor shall the right of the people to keep and bear arms be infringed . . .
We then have the following from a scholarly early U.S. Senator that had been at the debates concerning the constitution. This is what he later had to state about our right:
From among the rights retained by our policy, we have selected those of self defence or bearing arms, of conscience, and of free inquiry, for two purposes; one, to shew the vast superiority of our policy, in being able to keep natural rights necessary for liberty and happiness, out of the hands of governments; the other, to shew that this ability is the effect of its principles, and beyond the reach of Mr. Adams’s system, or of any other, unable to reserve to the people, and to withhold from governments, a variety of rights.
[John Taylor, U.S. Senator, (1792 – 94, 1803, 1822 – 24). An Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States: Section the Sixth; The Good Moral Principles Of The Government Of The United States, (1814).]
From the above it is evident that our governments were delegated the authority to enact laws for governing the militia, when in actual service, for the common defense. As that authority had already been delegated in the original constitution. It is equally as clear that they were expressly forbidden from enacting any law that governs the use of arms for We The People’s own self-defense. And that includes the use of arms by We The People against our own governments in the event they betray us.
Our governments can only legally pass laws providing punishment for abuse or misuse of that right. But by no means can Congress enact any law that disarms a free American citizen, for they are expressly forbidden from doing any such thing by our Constitution. That this was previously well known to those in the federal government is made very apparent by the fact that they didn’t enact any gun control laws until 1934 – 145 years after the Bill of Rights. Other than legislation which had supported the right of freed African American slaves to keep and bear arms after the Civil War, and for the people of states such as Kansas when joining the Union.
And here Mr. Hamilton shows how that We The People’s Constitution is binding upon ALL of We The People of the United States of America, regardless of what state we reside in:
Though I trust the friends of the proposed Constitution will never concur with its enemies, in questioning that fundamental principle of republican government, which admits the right of the people to alter or abolish the established Constitution, whenever they find it inconsistent with their happiness, yet it is not to be inferred from this principle, that the representatives of the people, whenever a momentary inclination happens to lay hold of a majority of their constituents, incompatible with the provisions in the existing Constitution, would, on that account, be justifiable in a violation of those provisions; or that the courts would be under a greater obligation to connive at infractions in this shape, than when they had proceeded wholly from the cabals of the representative body. Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act.
In the District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 case the U.S. Supreme Court was finally forced to admit that the right of the people to keep and bear arms was indeed a right of all of We The People. And that the right is not dependent upon being part of the militia mentioned in the declaratory clause of the amendment.
What the court still refuses to acknowledge however; is the restrictive clause of the amendment. Which is of course that the right of the people shall not be infringed. In fact, the court ruled that longstanding infringements were to still be left standing! How can that possibly be? For it is very clear from the language of the preamble to the Bill of Rights that it specifically restricts our governments from enacting any law whatsoever that contravenes that right. The court has repeatedly ruled in favor of plainly unconstitutional laws. And Mr. Hamilton makes this fact crystal clear here:
. . . There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their WILL to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.
Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental. . . .
. . . If, then, the courts of justice are to be considered as the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments, this consideration will afford a strong argument for the permanent tenure of judicial offices, since nothing will contribute so much as this to that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty.
This independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community. . . .
Then Mr. Hamilton makes it very clear that not only do we have a right that is paramount to all forms of positive government. But that We The People must rush to arms if our representatives betray us!:
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.
–Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers: No. 28, For the Independent Journal.
And here Mr. Hamilton explains exactly what was intended by both the necessary and proper and supremacy clauses:
THE residue of the argument against the provisions of the Constitution in respect to taxation is ingrafted upon the following clause. The last clause of the eighth section of the first article of the plan under consideration authorizes the national legislature “to make all laws which shall be NECESSARY and PROPER for carrying into execution THE POWERS by that Constitution vested in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof”; and the second clause of the sixth article declares, “that the Constitution and the laws of the United States made IN PURSUANCE THEREOF, and the treaties made by their authority shall be the SUPREME LAW of the land, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”
These two clauses have been the source of much virulent invective and petulant declamation against the proposed Constitution. They have been held up to the people in all the exaggerated colors of misrepresentation as the pernicious engines by which their local governments were to be destroyed and their liberties exterminated; as the hideous monster whose devouring jaws would spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane; and yet, strange as it may appear, after all this clamor, to those who may not have happened to contemplate them in the same light, it may be affirmed with perfect confidence that the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same, if these clauses were entirely obliterated, as if they were repeated in every article. They are only declaratory of a truth which would have resulted by necessary and unavoidable implication from the very act of constituting a federal government, and vesting it with certain specified powers. This is so clear a proposition, that moderation itself can scarcely listen to the railings which have been so copiously vented against this part of the plan, without emotions that disturb its equanimity.
What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing? What is the ability to do a thing, but the power of employing the MEANS necessary to its execution? What is a LEGISLATIVE power, but a power of making LAWS? What are the MEANS to execute a LEGISLATIVE power but LAWS? What is the power of laying and collecting taxes, but a LEGISLATIVE POWER, or a power of MAKING LAWS, to lay and collect taxes? What are the propermeans of executing such a power, but NECESSARY and PROPER laws?
This simple train of inquiry furnishes us at once with a test by which to judge of the true nature of the clause complained of. It conducts us to this palpable truth, that a power to lay and collect taxes must be a power to pass all laws NECESSARY and PROPER for the execution of that power; and what does the unfortunate and culumniated provision in question do more than declare the same truth, to wit, that the national legislature, to whom the power of laying and collecting taxes had been previously given, might, in the execution of that power, pass all laws NECESSARY and PROPER to carry it into effect? I have applied these observations thus particularly to the power of taxation, because it is the immediate subject under consideration, and because it is the most important of the authorities proposed to be conferred upon the Union. But the same process will lead to the same result, in relation to all other powers declared in the Constitution. And it is EXPRESSLY to execute these powers that the sweeping clause, as it has been affectedly called, authorizes the national legislature to pass all NECESSARY and PROPER laws. If there is any thing exceptionable, it must be sought for in the specific powers upon which this general declaration is predicated. The declaration itself, though it may be chargeable with tautology or redundancy, is at least perfectly harmless.
But SUSPICION may ask, Why then was it introduced? The answer is, that it could only have been done for greater caution, and to guard against all cavilling refinements in those who might hereafter feel a disposition to curtail and evade the legitimatb authorities of the Union. The Convention probably foresaw, what it has been a principal aim of these papers to inculcate, that the danger which most threatens our political welfare is that the State governments will finally sap the foundations of the Union; and might therefore think it necessary, in so cardinal a point, to leave nothing to construction. Whatever may have been the inducement to it, the wisdom of the precaution is evident from the cry which has been raised against it; as that very cry betrays a disposition to question the great and essential truth which it is manifestly the object of that provision to declare.
But it may be again asked, Who is to judge of the NECESSITY and PROPRIETY of the laws to be passed for executing the powers of the Union? I answer, first, that this question arises as well and as fully upon the simple grant of those powers as upon the declaratory clause; and I answer, in the second place, that the national government, like every other, must judge, in the first instance, of the proper exercise of its powers, and its constituents in the last. If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. The propriety of a law, in a constitutional light, must always be determined by the nature of the powers upon which it is founded. Suppose, by some forced constructions of its authority (which, indeed, cannot easily be imagined), the Federal legislature should attempt to vary the law of descent in any State, would it not be evident that, in making such an attempt, it had exceeded its jurisdiction, and infringed upon that of the State? Suppose, again, that upon the pretense of an interference with its revenues, it should undertake to abrogate a landtax imposed by the authority of a State; would it not be equally evident that this was an invasion of that concurrent jurisdiction in respect to this species of tax, which its Constitution plainly supposes to exist in the State governments? If there ever should be a doubt on this head, the credit of it will be entirely due to those reasoners who, in the imprudent zeal of their animosity to the plan of the convention, have labored to envelop it in a cloud calculated to obscure the plainest and simplest truths.
But it is said that the laws of the Union are to be the SUPREME LAW of the land. But what inference can be drawn from this, or what would they amount to, if they were not to be supreme? It is evident they would amount to nothing. A LAW, by the very meaning of the term, includes supremacy. It is a rule which those to whom it is prescribed are bound to observe. This results from every political association. If individuals enter into a state of society, the laws of that society must be the supreme regulator of their conduct. If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers intrusted to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies, and the individuals of whom they are composed. It would otherwise be a mere treaty, dependent on the good faith of the parties, and not a goverment, which is only another word for POLITICAL POWER AND SUPREMACY. But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. Hence we perceive that the clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union, like the one we have just before considered, only declares a truth, which flows immediately and necessarily from the institution of a federal government. It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it EXPRESSLY confines this supremacy to laws made PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTION; which I mention merely as an instance of caution in the convention; since that limitation would have been to be understood, though it had not been expressed.
–Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers No. 33, Daily Advertiser, Jan. 3, 1788.
Here is what Mr. James Madison had to state about our right:
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.
Mr. Hamilton then makes it absolutely clear that the federal government was delegated no authority to regulate arms in the hands of We The People. And this even before our Bill of Rights was adopted:
It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are, in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgements of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince. Such was MAGNA CHARTA, obtained by the barons, sword in hand, from King John. Such were the subsequent confirmations of that charter by succeeding princes. Such was the PETITION OF RIGHT assented to by Charles I., in the beginning of his reign. Such, also, was the Declaration of Right presented by the Lords and Commons to the Prince of Orange in 1688, and afterwards thrown into the form of an act of parliament called the Bill of Rights. It is evident, therefore, that, according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. “WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ORDAIN and ESTABLISH this Constitution for the United States of America.” Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.
But a minute detail of particular rights is certainly far less applicable to a Constitution like that under consideration, which is merely intended to regulate the general political interests of the nation, than to a constitution which has the regulation of every species of personal and private concerns. If, therefore, the loud clamors against the plan of the convention, on this score, are well founded, no epithets of reprobation will be too strong for the constitution of this State. But the truth is, that both of them contain all which, in relation to their objects, is reasonably to be desired.
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.
On the subject of the liberty of the press, as much as has been said, I cannot forbear adding a remark or two: in the first place, I observe, that there is not a syllable concerning it in the constitution of this State; in the next, I contend, that whatever has been said about it in that of any other State, amounts to nothing. What signifies a declaration, that “the liberty of the press shall be inviolably preserved”? What is the liberty of the press? Who can give it any definition which would not leave the utmost latitude for evasion? I hold it to be impracticable; and from this I infer, that its security, whatever fine declarations may be inserted in any constitution respecting it, must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government. And here, after all, as is intimated upon another occasion, must we seek for the only solid basis of all our rights.
There remains but one other view of this matter to conclude the point. The truth is, after all the declamations we have heard, that the Constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS. The several bills of rights in Great Britain form its Constitution, and conversely the constitution of each State is its bill of rights. And the proposed Constitution, if adopted, will be the bill of rights of the Union. Is it one object of a bill of rights to declare and specify the political privileges of the citizens in the structure and administration of the government? This is done in the most ample and precise manner in the plan of the convention; comprehending various precautions for the public security, which are not to be found in any of the State constitutions. Is another object of a bill of rights to define certain immunities and modes of proceeding, which are relative to personal and private concerns? This we have seen has also been attended to, in a variety of cases, in the same plan. Adverting therefore to the substantial meaning of a bill of rights, it is absurd to allege that it is not to be found in the work of the convention. It may be said that it does not go far enough, though it will not be easy to make this appear; but it can with no propriety be contended that there is no such thing. It certainly must be immaterial what mode is observed as to the order of declaring the rights of the citizens, if they are to be found in any part of the instrument which establishes the government. And hence it must be apparent, that much of what has been said on this subject rests merely on verbal and nominal distinctions, entirely foreign from the substance of the thing.
The Federalist Papers were the means employed to give a clause by clause explanation of the meaning of our new constitution to We The People. The series of 85 papers were written and published by: Alexander Hamilton (1, 6-9, 11-13, 15-17, 21-36, 59-61, 65-85), John Jay (2, 3, 4, 5, and 64), (Mr. Jay was later 1st Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court) and James Madison (10, 14, 18, 18, 20, 37-58, 62, 63). The Federalist had been made public in order to induce We The People to instruct our representatives to adopt the new constitution. So the writings make it invaluable in arriving at the correct understanding of the intentions of the proposed Constitution. It therefore cannot be dismissed as being irrelevant, as is most clearly evidenced below:
It is a rule of law that, in order to ascertain the import of a contract, the evident intention of the parties, at the time of forming it, is principally to be regarded. Previous to the formation of this Constitution, there existed certain principles of the law of nature and nations, consecrated by time and experience, in conformity to which the Constitution was formed.
–Mr. [James] Elliot, Debate in U.S. House of Representatives, Oct. 25, 1803.
The opinion of the Federalist has always been considered as of great authority. It is a complete commentary on our Constitution; and is appealed to by all parties in the questions to which that instrument has given birth. Its intrinsic merit entitles it to this high rank; and the part two of its authors performed in framing the constitution, put it very much in their power to explain the views with which it was framed…
–John Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In my judgment, the language of the authors of the Federalist proves that they, at least, understood, that the protection of personal security, and of private rights, from the despotic and iniquitous operation of retrospective legislation, was, itself, and alone, the grand principle intended to be established.
–Justice Robert Trimble, U.S Supreme Court,
Mr. Hamilton, in the thirty-second number of The Federalist, says there is an exclusive delegation of power by the States to the federal government in three cases:-1. Where in express terms an exclusive authority is granted; 2. Where the power granted is inhibited to the States; and 3. Where the exercise of an authority granted to the Union by a State would be “contradictory and repugnant.”
–Justice John McLean, U.S. Supreme Court,
[I]f the judiciary at times seems to fill the important station of a check in the government, it is rather a check on the legislature, who may attempt to pass laws contrary to the Constitution, or on the executive, who may violate both the laws and Constitution, than on the people themselves in their primary capacity as makers and amenders of the constitutions.
–Justice Levi Woodbury quoting from Federalist # 77, U.S. Supreme Court,
The Federalist is regarded as the highest contemporary authority on the construction of the Constitution….
–Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In one of the numbers of the Federalist [No. 59], Mr. Hamilton, in defending the adoption of the clause in the Constitution, uses this language:
Suppose an article had been introduced into the Constitution empowering the United States to regulate the elections for the particular States, would any man have hesitated to condemn it, both as an unwarrantable transposition of power, and as a premeditated engine for the destruction of the State governments?
—Chief Justice Field in dissent, quoting Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers, (The Court concluded that The Federalist justified increased federal regulation of state elections despite its explicit language to the contrary.), Chief Justice Field’s arguments later prevailed in Newberry v. United States. [256 U.S. 232 (1921).]
Mr. Chief Justice Fuller, after stating the case as above reported. delivered the opinion of the court. . . .
. . . The Federalist demonstrates the value attached by Hamilton, [Page 157 U. S. 559] Madison, and Jay to historical experience, and shows that they had made a careful study of many forms of government. Many of the framers were particularly versed in the literature of the period, Franklin, Wilson, and Hamilton, for example. . . .
. . . The situation and the result are thus described by Mr. Chief Justice Chase in Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall. 71, 74 U. S. 76: . . . To them, nearly the whole charge of interior regulation is committed or left; to them and to the people, all powers not expressly delegated to the national government are reserved. The general condition was well stated by Mr. Madison in the Federalist, thus:”
“The Federal and state governments are, in fact, but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers and designated for different purposes.” . . .
. . . The establishment of the same rule for the apportionment of taxes as for regulating the proportion of representatives, observed Mr. Madison in No. 54 of the Federalist, was by no means founded on the same principle, for, as to the former, it had reference to the proportion of wealth, and although in respect of that it was, in ordinary cases, a very unfit measure, it “had too recently obtained the general sanction of America not to have found a ready preference with the convention,” while the opposite interests of the States, balancing each other, would produce impartiality in enumeration. By prescribing this rule, Hamilton wrote (Federalist, No. 36) that the door was shut “to partiality or oppression,” and “the abuse of this power of taxation to have been provided against with guarded circumspection;” . . .
Mr. Justice Paterson, in the same case, said:” . . . “The reasoning of the Federalist seems to lead to the same result.”
—Chief Justice Fuller, U.S. Supreme Court,
Undoubtedly what went before the adoption of the Constitution may be resorted to for the purpose of throwing light on its provisions.
–Edward Douglass White, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Speaking of the need of a federal power to regulate ‘commerce,’ Hamilton had earlier said, ‘It is, indeed, evident, on the most superficial view, that there is no object, either as it respects the interests of trade or finance, that more strongly demands a federal superintendence.’* Justice Black had also quoted Madison’s acknowledgment in The Federalist of the “unavoidable inaccuracy” of the Constitution’s language and of the need for time to fully define the law.
–Justice Black, U.S. Supreme Court,
[United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Ass’n, 322 U.S. 533, 539 n.9 (1944) (quoting *The Federalist, supra note 1, No. 22 at 143-44 (A. Hamilton)).] (See: The Most Sacred Text: The Supreme Court’s Use of The Federalist Papers, By James G. Wilson, Cleveland State University, 1985.)
The Federalist Papers have been quoted or referenced by the U.S. Supreme Court in well over 200 of their cases. And their reliance upon the Federalist in justification of the doctrine of judicial review is quoted on their own website:
While the function of judicial review is not explicitly provided in the Constitution, it had been anticipated before the adoption of that document. Prior to 1789, state courts had already overturned legislative acts which conflicted with state constitutions. Moreover, many of the Founding Fathers expected the Supreme Court to assume this role in regard to the Constitution; Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, for example, had underlined the importance of judicial review in the Federalist Papers, which urged adoption of the Constitution.–The Court and Constitutional Interpretation.
The Federalist Gideon Edition in PDF format can be either downloaded or viewed here.
The Federalist was written in order that all of We The People would have a clear understanding of the supreme law of the land:
U.S. Constitution, Article VI:
. . . This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
So we could clearly be able to discern when any government employee makes or enforces any law that interferes with the right of We The People to keep and bear arms, or any of our other rights. That they would in fact be guilty of violating the solemn oath that they have sworn.
The current U.S. Supreme Court, in blatant error, denies the usage of Obiter dictum when quoting from any court decision. Yet the remarks a judge or justice employs when giving the opinion of the court are an obvious explanation or justification of the reasoning employed to arrive at that decision which has been made. So the denial of its use by the court is clearly nothing more than a subterfuge, especially when that Obiter dictum relates to fundamental law. And even worse, the court employs Stare decisis; “to stand by things decided”. As well as prior court cases; or precedent when deciding on CONSTITUTIONAL cases. Which totally destroys the whole meaning and intent of a written constitution. They are clearly charged to base their decisions on the FUNDAMENTAL law; our Constitution. Which they have taken a solemn oath to uphold and defend. And yet they clearly are not. Instead they are playing games with our rights and betraying us at every opportunity. And it is equally as evident that both the Executive and Legislative branches are involved with the court in playing the same game, which of course makes it an ongoing conspiracy on a grand scale. What other possible explanation can there be for the dismissal of such obvious facts?
One of the perverse methods those who are betraying us employ to justify their treason is shown in U.S. Senate Report 93-549 [Which states: “That since March 09, 1933 the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency.”] This proclamation, (No. 2039), was declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The declared national emergency has never been revoked, and has even been codified into the US Code (12 U.S.C. 95a and b). And presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have all extended and/or expanded upon this perversion. It had been F.D.R. that had signed into law the first treasonous acts against our right in 1934 and 1938, for all intensive purposes as a dictator. Prior to those unconstitutional laws there had been zero federal gun control. The ignorant fools don’t realize that the Constitution is to be obeyed despite whatever dictates might issue forth from a treasonous president. For it is the Supreme law of the land regardless of what edict might be issued. The president is nothing more than a creature of the Constitution, just as are judges, justices and legislators. The constitution is still Supreme regardless of any subsequent; acts, bills, decisions, declarations, edicts, judgments or proclamations. The creature can never be above the creator. All that these traitors have accomplished, is to make themselves appear as fools by thinking that they could fool the American people for very long.
Communis Error Facit Jus.
(common error makes law.)
Mr. Jefferson seemed to be fully aware of how that the judiciary would betray us:
But all this will show the original error of establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will.
–Thomas Jefferson, To John W. Eppes. FORD ED., ix, 68. (W., May 1807.). (Jeffersonian Cyclopedia).
And here is how it is supposed to be, from one of the courts own brethren:
What is a constitution? it is the form of government, delineated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain first principles or fundamental laws are established. The constitution is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the people, and is the supreme law of the land; it is paramount to the power of the legislature, and can be revoked or altered only by the authority that made it.–What are legislatures? creatures of the constitution, they owe their existence to the constitution–they derive their powers from the constitution.–It is their commission, and therefore all their acts must be conformable to it, or else void. The constitution is the work or will of the people themselves, in their original, sovereign, and unlimited capacity. Law is the work or will of the legislature in their derivative capacity.
–Judge [U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice William] Patterson’s Charge to the Jury in the Wyoming case of Vanhorne’s Lessee v. Dorrance; tried at the circuit-court for the United States, held at Philadelphia, April term, 1795. Pg. 182.
[Pamphlets On The Constitution Of The United States, Published During Its Discussion By The People 1787-1788. Edited With Notes And A Bibliography By Paul Leicester Ford. Brooklyn, N.Y.: 1888. (Index)]
And another of the courts brethren makes a very good explanation of correct original intent here:
The second amendment provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
…We shall pursue this subject no further, in its bearing on the political rights of the states composing the union–in recalling your attention to these rights, which are the subject of this controversy, we declare to you as the law of the case, that they are inherent and unalienable–so recognised by all our fundamental laws.
The constitution of the state or union is not the source of these rights, or the others to which we have referred you, they existed in their plenitude before any constitutions, which do not create but protect and secure them against any violation by the legislatures or courts, in making, expounding or administering laws.
The nature of this case, its history, and the course of the argument, call on us to declare explicitly what is the effect of a constitutional protection or guarantee of any right, or the injunction of any duty. The twenty sixth section of the bill of rights in the constitution of Pennsylvania, is in these words; “to guard against transgressions of the high powers we have delegated we declare [we the people of Pennsylvania], that every thing in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall for ever remain inviolate.” A higher power declares this constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme laws of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding” Const U.S., art. 6, clause 2.
An amendment of the constitution is of still higher authority, for it has the effect of controlling and repealing the express provisions of the constitution authorizing a power to be exercised, by a declaration that it shall not be construed to give such power. 3 Dall 382.
We have stated to you the various provisions of the constitution of the United States and its amendments, as well as that of this state; you see their authority and obligation to be supreme over any laws or regulations which are repugnant to them, or which violate, infringe or impair any right thereby secured; the conclusions which result are too obvious to be more than stated.
–Hon. Henry Baldwin, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Charge to the Jury, [Pennsylvania April Term 1833, Johnson v. Tompkins (13 F. Cas. 840 (C.C.E.D. Pa. 1833)), and others.]
The courts current claim of the following is absolutely ludicrous:
This power of “judicial review” has given the Court a crucial responsibility in assuring individual rights, as well as in maintaining a “living Constitution” whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations.–The Court and Constitutional Interpretation.
As seen by quotations from their brethren; The constitution is certain and fixed. It is intended to be changed only by an amendment to that supreme law. Not altered by judicial, legislative or executive decisions.
Now the real reason our public servants are perversely attempting to limit or outright disarm us is readily observable. And they have actively been working at it for almost a century. They are betraying the trust which We The People have placed in them.
It is very plain to see that all gun control laws; local, state, federal – past, present and future, are constitutionally null and void. And yes people, that most certainly applies to so-called assault weapons as well. As our governments were expressly forbidden from enacting any such laws. That is a fact that cannot possibly be denied in light of the historical legal evidence. Even the U.S. Supreme Court itself in the recent past recognized this fact at one time:
The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures — Boards of Education not excepted. These have, of course, important, delicate, and highly discretionary functions, but none that they may not perform within the limits of the Bill of Rights. . . .
. . . The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.
–Mr. Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson, delivering the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The compelling answer to this contention is that constitutional rights may not be denied simply because of hostility to their assertion or exercise. See Wright v. Georgia, 373 U.S. 284, 83 S.Ct. 1240; Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, 300, 75 S.Ct. 753, 756, 99 L.Ed. 1083. Cf. Taylor v. Louisiana, 370 U.S. 154, 82 S.Ct. 1188, 8 L.Ed.2d 395. . . . Desirable as his is, and important as is the preservation of the public peace, this aim cannot be accomplished by laws or ordinances which deny rights created or protected by the federal Constitution.’ 245 U.S., at 81, 38 S.Ct., at 20, 62 L.Ed. 149. . . . Beyond this, however, neither the asserted fears of violence and tumult nor the asserted inability to preserve the peace was demonstrated at trial to be anything more than personal speculations or vague disquietudes of city officials. . . . More significantly, however, it is obvious that vindication of conceded constitutional rights cannot be made dependent upon any theory that it is less expensive to deny than to afford them.
–Mr. Justice Goldberg delivered the opinion of the Court, U.S. Supreme Court.
Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.
(Those that believe our right to keep and bear arms can be amended away need to look up the original meaning of the word abrogated.)
If a state converts a liberty into a privilege the citizen can engage in the right with impunity.
Whatever may be the case in other countries, yet in this there can be no doubt, that every act of the Legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, as absolutely void. . . . I shall close the discourse with a brief recapitulation of its leading points.
1. The confirming act is unconstitutional and void. It was invalid from the beginning, had no life or operation, and is precisely in the same state, as if it had not been made.
The U.S. Supreme Court had itself also acknowledged that the Federal Government has NO power to enact any gun control laws in their decision in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875). Here is how the Jury in the original case was charged:
The United States vs William J. Cruikshank and others–Judge Woods, [later associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1880–87)], charged the jury as follows:
. . . The right to bear arms is also a right protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Every citizen of the United States has the right to bear arms, provided it is done for a lawful purpose and in a lawful manner. A man who carries his arms openly, and for his own protection, or for any other lawful purpose, has as clear a right to do so as to carry his own watch or wear his own hat.
–Circuit Court of the United States Fifth Circuit and District of Louisiana, The United States vs. William J Cruikshank et al. [United States v. Cruikshank, 25 F. Cas. 707 (1 Woods, 308) (C.C.D. La. 1874) (No. 14,897), aff’d, 92 U.S. 542 (1876).]
Then Mr. Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Bradley opines here:
The people of the states do not ask congress to protect the right, but demand that it shall not interfere with it. Has anything since occurred to give congress legislative power over the subject matter? . . . Grant that this prohibition now prevents the states from interfering with the right . . . Power to enforce the amendment is all that is given to congress. If the amendment is not violated, it has no power over the subject. . . . . in their right to bear arms.–U.S. Supreme Court Justice Bradley. AFFIRMED, (United States v. Cruikshank), 92 U.S. 542 (1876).
And this is what U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Waite had to state when affirming the above:
It is the duty of a State to see that its citizens are protected in the right to peacefully assemble for peaceful and lawful purposes. The Constitution forbids the government from abridging this right. The right of bearing arms for lawful purposes must be seen to by the States, the Constitution simply providing that Congress shall not infringe its rights. The sovereignty to protect lives and property lies exclusively in the States. . . .
The fourteenth amendment prohibits States from depriving any person of certain rights, but this adds nothing to the rights of one citizen as against another. The only obligation of the United States is to see that the States do not deny the right. The amendment guarantees that, and no more. The power of the United States is limited to enforcement of the guarantee.
The first section of the fourteenth amendment reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws.
It will certainly not be claimed that the United States have the power to perform mere police duty within the States.
Which fact was reaffirmed in Presser v. Illinois in 1886, and also referenced in the infamous United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). Has anything changed in our constitution to alter that fact since then? No, it most certainly has not.
It is easily seen that the courts have not been following, nor honoring, the fundamental law – the constitution, (which includes the Bill of Rights). Instead, the courts have ruled in favor of unconstitutional laws. Which is in direct violation of their solemn oaths to uphold and defend the constitution. The courts have been and continue to betray We The People.
The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.
[16 American Jurisprudence 2d, Section 177; later 2d, Section 256]
Our hired servants in the U.S. Supreme court are not charged with determining what infringements are plausible and can therefore be enacted against our right to keep and bear arms. They are charged by solemn oath to ensure that our right shall not be infringed PERIOD. What the Supreme court has done, or failed to do, is nothing short of evil incarnate. For the court first (rightly) opines that our governments are under no obligation to provide for the defense of the individual. Then the court turns around and allows a massive amount of infringements that insure that We The People cannot effectively exercise our right to self-defense. The court thus fails to do its Constitutionally sworn duty to uphold and defend our Constitution and the rights secured by that Supreme instrument. And this despite the fact that our Constitution had expressly secured our right to do just that. What else can that be called other than pure evil?
The ordinance is founded, not on the indefeasible right of resisting acts which are plainly unconstitutional, and too oppressive to be endured, but on the strange position that any one state may not only declare an act of Congress void, but prohibit its execution; that they may do this consistently with the Constitution; that the true construction of that instrument permits a state to retain its place in the Union, and yet be bound by no other of its laws than those it may choose to consider as constitutional. . . . If it should be said that public opinion is a sufficient check against the abuse of this power, it may be asked why it is not deemed a sufficient guard against the passage of an unconstitutional act by Congress. There is, however, a restraint, in this last case, which makes the assumed power of a state more indefensible, and which does not exist in the other. There are two appeals from an unconstitutional act passed by Congress–one to the judiciary, the other to the people and the states.
–President Andrew Jackson, Dec. 10, 1833.
[President Jackson’s Proclamation, Of the 10th December, 1833, Concerning The Ordinance Of South Carolina. On The Subject Of The TariffF, On The 24th November, 1832. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution Elliot’s Debates, Volume 4]
According to existing law, the conspiracy to deprive We The People of our right is punishable by law:
This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).
It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so secured.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be sentenced to death.
Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242 – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law
This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.
This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.
Acts under “color of any law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under “color of any law,” the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
And according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice the above is enforced.
Here is what President Lincoln had to state on the subject:
All profess to be content in the Union, if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right, plainly written in the Constitution, has been denied? I think not. Happily the human mind is so constituted, that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force of numbers, a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution — certainly would, if such right were a vital one.
–President Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861, Washington, D.C.
The number of mass shootings that have occurred in our nation is very sad indeed. But it is no excuse for further violation of our constitutionally secured right. However, it must be pointed out that these cowardly shootings didn’t start happening until after unconstitutional gun control laws had been passed on the local, state and federal levels. And the historical crime rate tables prove this contention beyond all shadow of doubt. So it is plain for all to see that gun control laws have not solved anything; rather they only make matters worse.
The true answer is to rescind all of the past infringements; local, state and federal. And return to what really works; which is We The People being at all times armed [Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. (And in that same letter Jefferson also states; nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.)] If We The People of the United States were armed as is constitutionally intended. Then the likelihood of further mass shootings would drop down dramatically. For the potential perpetrator would know that they would face immediate, and possibly fatal, consequences for their intended act of cowardice.
This State Supreme Court Chief Justice concurs:
Jackson, Miss., Nov. 28, 1895.
Editor of The Times-Democrat;
Reading your editorial on car[r]ying concealed weapons leads me to write that, after an experience of nearly a half century, in active connection with the enforcement of laws, my judgment is that all laws against carrying weapons are wrong and should be repealed. They cannot be enforced, and for that reason should not exist. They operate unequally and harmfully, by being a restraint on those in whose hands the weapons would be harmless and often useful, and imposing no restraint on those in whose hands they are dangerous and often destructive.
My view is that all should be free to carry arms, as they please, and that every girl especially should be taught to use them expertly. We would then hear less of rapes, and burglaries, and such crimes as so often occur, and there would not be a crime more by reason of the unrestrained right to carry arms.
It would prevent rather than promote crime. The man disposed to commit crime is never restrained by the law against carrying concealed weapons, while the good citizen ofted is, and is thus placed at a disadvantage, being at the mercy of the villain who assails him and is emboldened to do it by the confidence that his victim is unarmed.
* – Supreme Court of Mississippi Chief Justice J.A.P., (Josiah Arthur Patterson), Campbell. Chief Justice Campbell served 18 years on the Mississippi Supreme Court – 1876 to 1894. He wrote the Mississippi Code of Law which established legal and official White Supremacy. Chief Justice Campbell had both a white and black family, and spent most of the last 27 years of his life with his Black family teaching them how to break the system of White Supremacy. [See: The Father of White Supremacy by James Meredith, whom is the African American great grandson of Justice Campbell]
And here is what the Director of the Bureau of Investigation for the U.S. Dept. of Justice had to state on the subject:
. . . So, in spite of the Bar Association’s findings, it is not always firearms that are responsible for homicides and the way to stop murder is not by prohibiting the manufacture and sale of weapons–a thing which cannot possibly be effectively done–but by putting a strong curb on the murder impulse. . . .
. . . In any legislation, however, care should be taken to avoid the mistakes of New York State’s notorious Sullivan law. This measure, according to Assemblyman Louis A. Cuvillier of the New York Legislature, “has caused more murders in New York City by reason of the fact that a highwayman or burglar well knows when he goes into a dwelling or a store, or engages in a hold-up or stick-up, that his victim is unarmed. . . .
. . . Prompt and drastic administration of justice will reduce murders to a minimum. Nothing will absolutely prevent them and certainly additional laws prohibiting this or that weapon will have no effect whatever. A murderer is one to whom law means nothing. Deprive him of one means and he will use another. Make his punishment swift and hard and the next in line will think twice before he yields to the homicidal impulse. In nine cases out of ten, that second thought will prevent him from becoming a murderer.
–William J. Burns, Director, Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Dept. of Justice. Article titled: “Weapons of the Crook”.
This former Governor, and an Inspector General, echoes the sentiment of the above Chief Justice:
. . .Former Governor William J. Northen expresses himself as follows: “My first suggestion is that all homes should be made miniature arsenals, at least to the extent of one good Winchester and one good pistol; that women be allowed to carry weapons upon their persons, concealed, if so desired, and that they be taught the use and handling of firearms, so that they may become their own protectors in the absence of the husband and master of the house. . . .
. . . Inspector General O’Bear: “The Sheriff of each county should organize a regular posse of competent and determined men, who would be ready at a moment’s notice to respond to his call and in addition thereto should maintain a pack of trained dogs to follow the trail when a crime is committed in his county. No expense or effort should be spared to discover the criminal and bring him to justice. Women may assist in their own protection by becoming familiar with the use of firearms, and having them at hand when the occasion demands. It is not the duty of the militia to hunt crimes, but to assist the civil authorities in protecting them when called upon.
[The Record-Union, Sacramento, Tuesday Morning, April 25, 1899. Volume 97.–No. 63. Pg. 1 – Excerpted from under sub-headline; “People Of Georgia Greatly Stirred. Atlanta, April 24.”]
And this English commentator seems to understand the matter perfectly as well:
But in all countries where personal freedom is valued, however much each individual may rely on legal redress, the right of each to carry arms–and these the best and the sharpest for his own protection in case of extremity, is a right of nature indelible and irrepressible, and the more it is sought to be repressed the more it will recur.
[Commentaries On The Liberty Of The Subject, By James Paterson, 1877.]
Perhaps the current justices would do well to pay attention to what other Judges and Justices in our American legal system have stated throughout the years. For there are many, including Chief Justices, that have ruled constitutionally. And here’s what Mr. Madison had to state about that subject:
If they are incorporated into the Constitution, independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves in a peculiar manner the guardians of those rights; they will be an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the Legislative or Executive; they will be naturally led to resist every encroachment upon rights expressly stipulated for in the Constitution by the declaration of rights.
–James Madison, [U.S.] House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution, June 8, 1789.
And here is from one of the most highly respected Chief Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. A man that was also at the debates concerning the adoption of our Constitution:
Those then who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered, in court as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only law.
This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written Constitutions . . . It would be giving to the legislature a practical and real omnipotence, with the same breath, which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.
That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on political institutions–a written Constitution–would of itself be sufficient, in America, where written Constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting the Constitution.
All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void.
–Chief Justice Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court.
And even a more current court agrees:
An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation as inoperative as though it had never been passed.–U.S. Supreme Court, Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425 (1886).
Even the U.S. House of Representatives provided a remedy:
Resolved . . . . That, when the governors of any people shall have betrayed the confidence reposed in them, and shall have exercised that authority with which they have been clothed for the general welfare, to promote their own private ends, under the basest motives, and to the public detriment, it is the unalienable right of a People, so circumstanced, to revoke the authority thus abused, to resume the rights thus attempted to be bartered, and to abrogate the act thus endeavoring to betray them….
— Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Feb. 20, 1804. (Concerning an act done by the Legislature of the State of Georgia).
Please explain to us what has happened, your honors? Why are you violating your oaths and taking part in the conspiracy to betray We The People?
We never heard of such a thing as “mass shootings” when more of We The People were armed as constitutionally intended. In addition, we need to return firearms education into the public schools so that our youth are taught the right manner in which to exercise their constitutionally secured right to keep and bear arms:
To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them.
–Richard Henry Lee, Jan. 25, 1788. [Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124. Univ. of Alabama Press,1975]
(Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732 – June 19, 1794) was an American statesman and Founding Father from Virginia. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation, and his “resolution for independency” of June 1776 led to the United States Declaration of Independence, which Lee signed. He also served a one-year term as the President of the Congress of the Confederation, and was a United States Senator from Virginia from 1789 to 1792, serving during part of that time as the second President pro tempore of the upper house.)
In teaching your citizens to make use of that instrument which they should understand. A man wears out his gun in learning to take aim at an enemy; for if he learn to shoot at smaller marks, he will not miss his enemy when he has occasion to shoot at one. I have heard the same argument used against a boy using his book, because by so doing, he might soil it; to avoid which it was covered up so nicely that it could not be opened; as is the case in some libraries arranged for show, and the arms in our arsenals. If you look at them you will find them very nice, not soiled in the least–because no one uses them. But I do not choose to have to look at like a library so finely bound and gilt that it is not calculated for use; I would have them so that they can be used—for the child to learn as well as the father, and by the time he comes of age he will understand their use as well as the father himself.
–Mr. John Randolph, U.S. House of Representatives, April 16, 1808.
Washington, D. C. Dec. 6.–While making no mention of his retirement from the cabinet at the middle of February, Elihu Root, secretary of war, in his annual report, just made to the president, takes occasion to express his “keen and grateful appreciation of the kindness, generous loyalty and sincere effort which, with rare exceptions have characterized the chiefs of bureaus.” The “rare exception” was the attitude of former Lieutenant General Miles. He says: “A country is fortunate which has such officers to rely upon in the time of need.
The secretary makes a strong recommendation for a suitable appropriation with which to carry on target practice and says: “I know of nothing more important in preparing for war than teaching the young men of the country to shoot straight. It is especially important to the efficiency of our volunteer armies in the future. It is of no use to pay, equip, subsist, or transport a soldier to the battle field unless he can hit an enemy when he shoots at him. Two recent changes in conditions require that we should make continuous and active progress. One is the change of modern rifles which determines battles while the combatants are at great distances from each other, and which makes practice more necessary for good marksmanship than ever before. The other is the decline In the use of firearms among the greater part of our people. Formerly when our population was scattered and game was abundant in all parts of the country every house had its rifle or Its shotgun, and every boy learned to shoot them. Now it is probable that a majority of the young men in the thickly settled parts of the country have never fired a gun and would be quite harmless to an enemy until taught to shoot. The time to give that instruction is now. We ought not to wait until we are actually engaged in hostilities. When that times comes they will not wait for us to give the instructions.
[The Stark County Democrat, Canton, Ohio, Tuesday, December 08, 1903. Vol. 70 No. 53. Pg. 7. Excerpted from the article: Root Roasts Miles On Eve Of His Retirement Former Lieutenant General “Rare Exception.” But Public Likes Him]
. . . Captain Earl W. Hill of Company B started the movement for a rifle club at the high school. He has talked over the matter with a number of the students and is certain that there will be no trouble in obtaining enough members to take advantage of the government’s offer to supply high school rifle clubs with guns, ammunition and other equipment. The senior students seem to be particularly enthusiastic.
One of the laws recently passed by congress provides that any high school may organize a rifle team of not less than twenty members and be equipped at government expense. Such clubs are supplied with Krag Jorgenson rifles of the type used by the regular army and the national guard before the new Springfields were issued. It is also provided that the school boys shall have the privilege of using any national guard rifle range in their vicinity.
This law was passed in conformity with the general sentiment prevailing throughout the country that the boys and young men of America should be taught the use of firearms, that they may be better equipped to fight for their country in time of need. During the last few years rifle practice has been taken up by the regular army, national guard, navy and private citizens with a zest and ardor never before approached. Rifle and gun clubs have been formed all over the country. . . .
Here we see that the federal government used to provide rifles and ammunition free of charge to Rifle Clubs throughout the nation:
1000 Rifle Clubs Are Shooting;
35,000 Men To Become Experts
Federal Government Provides Arms and Ammunition,
Specifying Members Must Devote a Certain Time to
Shooting Over Given Ranges, But Not Obligating
the Members to Military Service at Any Time.
Never before in the history of rifle shooting in this country has there been such general interest or enthusiasm in the sport as there is at the present time. Everywhere shooting clubs are being formed, and not a day goes by that does not bring word of some new clubs just organized. Besides, a large number of indoor and outdoor shooting ranges have been built, and many are now under construction for the coming outdoor season.
Figures compiled since January 15 showed approximately 1000 clubs in existence at that time. These clubs were organized primarily for the sport of rifle shooting and carry a total membership of 15,000 sportsmen, each of whom is animated with a desire to excel in rifle shooting at targets.
Of the 1000 clubs mentioned, 471 came into existence during the year 1915 which, to say the least, is a remarkable showing when it is taken into consideration that for many years previous to the year 1914 the total number of clubs was 500, or less.
During the first three months of the present year, January, February and March, a total of 168 clubs was organized. The figures mentioned here are quite correct as they are from official records of the National Rifle Assciation of America with which all of the clubs referred to are affiliated.
There are, too, a great many unattached shooting clubs scattered in all sections of the country, but it is practically impossible to give a correct estimate of their number. However, a conservative figure would place the total at 1000. Totaling both of these classes of clubs we find that there are approximately 2000 shooting clubs organized at the present time with the number increasing daily.
The government has made it possible for newly formed organizations to secure, absolutely free from the government, rifles and ammunition in quantities proportionate to the number of members carried on the rolls of the club. The clubs, however, must conform to certain requirements, and these, it might be stated, are not restrictive in any sense of the word.
No Military Obligation.
There is no military obligation imposed upon shooting clubs that receive rifles and ammunition. The government simply desires that the equipment shall be used by the members in such a way that all who shoot these rifles and ammunition shall become familiar with firearms and learn to shoot straight to the mark.
All practice and contest shooting by these clubs is carried on at distances ranging from twenty-five yards up to and including 1000 yards. Most of the shooting, however, is done at 100 yards, though considerable practice is carried on at 200, 300, 500 and 600 yards.
The main reason, perhaps, for the sudden revival in shooting interest may be traced directly to the liberality of the government. Whatever the reason, it is a patent fact that rifle shooting as a sport is coming into its own, and at such a pace that the future of the sport is assured.
That is what worked for our forebears and we need to return to what really works – in the constitutionally intended manner. Further violations of our constitution is most certainly not the answer.
The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them. The government is administered by the representatives of the people, voluntarily and freely chosen.
Under these circumstances, should any one attempt to establish their own system, in prejudice of the rest, they would be universally detested and opposed, and easily frustrated.
–Mr. Zachariah Johnson, Wednesday, June 25, 1788.
And the above, ladies and gentlemen, are the actual Constitutional FACTS concerning our right to keep and bear arms. It cannot legally be argued against nor denied; for that is what was intended in our Supreme fundamental law.
Governments have historically used fear in order to strip people of their rights. Whether it’s fear over real or imagined; domestic or foreign, threats. All gun control laws are unconstitutional and based upon fear. For they know that one of the base natures of mankind is to be governed by fear. And they capitalize on that fear in order to advance their steady and continuous march of eroding all of our rights. Of course under the guise that they are only trying to protect us. And that was one of the very things that a very wise man in our history had written about:
In fine, we have the most sensible Concern for the poor distressed Inhabitants of the Frontiers. We have taken every Step in our Power, consistent with the just Rights of the Freemen of Pennsylvania, for their Relief, and we have Reason to believe, that in the Midst of their Distresses they themselves do not wish us to go farther. Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Such as were inclined to defend themselves, but unable to purchase Arms and Ammunition, have, as we are informed, been supplied with both, as far as Arms could be procured, out of Monies given by the last Assembly for the King’s Use; and the large Supply of Money offered by this Bill, might enable the Governor to do every Thing else that should be judged necessary for their farther Security, if he shall think fit to accept it.
Can it now finally be admitted that criminals are not stopped or even hindered by cowardly unconstitutional gun control laws? Rather, they are hindered and stopped by an armed populace that is at all times ready to defend themselves. For an armed people are a free and safe people.
Let it be remembered finally, that it has ever been the pride and boast of America, that the rights for which she contended, were the rights of human nature. By the blessing of the author of these rights, on the means exerted for their defence, they have prevailed against all opposition, and form at this time the basis of thirteen independent states. No instance has heretofore occurred, nor can any instance be expected hereafter to occur, in which the unadulterated forms of Republican government can pretend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves by their fruits. In this view the citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude and all the other virtues qualities which ennoble the character of a nation, and fulfil the ends of government, be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and lustre which it has never yet enjoyed; and an example will be set which cannot fail to but have the most favourable influence on the rights of mankind. If on the other side, our governments should be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal and essential qualities virtues, the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate will be dishonored and betrayed; the last and fairest experiment in favour of the rights of human nature will be turned against them, and their patrons and friends exposed to be insulted and silenced by the sycophants votaries of tyranny and usurpation.
–James Madison, April 6, 1783. Address To The States, By The United States In Congress Assembled.
Any newly discovered historical information concerning our right to keep and bear arms will be posted on the Blog