Shall Not Be Infringed

No one is surprised that I am covering the Supreme Court decision today.  In DC vs Heller, the individual’s right to keep and bear arms has been confirmed.  I am reading through the entire opinion and will update when I have finished.  If you want to take on the 157 pages, you can find it here.  I find it especially interesting that the courts opinion is that the right to keep and bear arms is not granted by the Constitution, but rather a pre-existing right that shall not be infringed. (Emphasis, of course, mine)

Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed

Basically they have afirmed that self defense is a basic human right.  They have now placed in the pages of history that any man (using ‘man’ as a generic and not a gender specific term) has the basic right to defend himself and his home. It is not at all tied to military service, but instead the basic human right of self-preservation.

Americans understood the “right of self-preservation” as permitting a citizen to “repe[l] force by force” when “the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury.”

or “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

The phrase “shall not be infringed” is an interesting one.  In light of the abuses of power by the tyrannical government, the founding fathers felt it of utmost importance that this basic human right is not granted but instead cannot be limited by the government.

I celebrate today’s decision not only as person on the pro-gun side of the argument, but as a human being.  I celebrate it as a confirmation of basic human rights.

This decision is being covered on several other blogs as well.  Here is a very non-exhaustive listing.  I’m very anxious to see how the bleeding heart liberal dissenters react.

Boots & Sabers

Rachel Lucas

The Other Side of Kim

The Rott

21 thoughts on “Shall Not Be Infringed”

  1. “The US already HAS a well regulated militia – it’s called the US armed forces!”

    …and that’s run and maintained by the individual states, eh? Have you even read the Second Amendment of the Constitution?

    And about the whole self-defense issue – how many G. I.’s do you have posted at your front door? How many escort you around in your daily life to take care of the bad guys before law enforcement can get to you? I don’t think I want to rely on that plan.

    Will, if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other countries that have more than adequate gun control that you could migrate to. Try England. Their crime rates are nice.

  2. One of the first things the English did to the colonists to subdue them was disarm them. The second amendment was written precisely to prevent it from happening again. The US armed forces works for the government. I suppose being Canadian, you aren’t so familiar with that concept.

  3. I see – you are going to overthrow which government? I presume you mean a tyrannical US government?

    Or doesn’t that belong in the constitution now – or, was it that your founding fathers foresaw the state of the US as is today and that is why you were allowed to own guns.

    I love that personal protection stuff – but that’s not really being ready to defend the state is it? I could be wrong of course.

  4. Will,

    I don’t presume to have a full understanding of your culture – full of “spanners”, “boots and bonnets”, and eating “pudding” with every meal. Similarly, I don’t expect you to fully understand my culture with my “personal responsibility”, “accountability”, “right and wrong”, or “manliness”.

  5. Actually yes, I do mean the potentially tyrannical US government. The founding fathers wrote it in as a ‘just in case.’ They had just overthrown a tyrannical government and wanted to make sure the citizens could do it again if need be. The intent is to give the power to the people and not the governing body.

  6. Jennifer – do you really think your pea-shooter of a weapon will have any effect against a tank?

    I think not – but again I could be wrong, when you buy your gun do they offer guerilla tactics training now?

    Michael, it is refreshing to read that a citizen of the US admit they don’t understand English culture, whether truly manly or other-wise. But equating all that responsibility to manliness is a way for judging ones size of manhood to ones gun, is it not?

    Or am I stereotyping the typical American gun-toting male?

  7. LOL and touché!

    Are you stereotyping, yes. But no more so than I. As I said on your blog, what a wonderful world we live in where we can disagree so openly. I may vehemently disagree with your views and opinions, but I think I kind of like you, Will! I’m glad we in the U. S. have our guns for a variety of reasons. Many have argued that the Second Amendment is the final form of check and balance against the government, and I tend to adhere to this stance.

    True, not even my .44 Magnum will pierce the skin of an armored vehicle. However, if the government became too oppressive, a 100% uprising would be successful despite the weaponry of the military. That is a battle that we could win by sheer numbers much like the North did during the American Civil War.

    Armed people are citizens and disarmed people are subjects. Democracy is two sheep and a wolf voting on what to have for lunch, and liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the decision. I have never harmed another human being with a weapon, and never intend to. We have worked far too hard to be subjects and victims, and we should move to keep it that way.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the stance that you take seems to be that people with guns are dangerous. I believe that EVIL people with guns are dangerous. Believe it or not, I am not evil.

    If you came to my house for dinner, I would have a gun on my hip. Would you fear me shooting you? I’ve never shot anyone before, and have no intent to. Why would I start with you? Then again, while we were eating our meat-pies and pudding, or whatever, and a terrorist busted through the front door with a scimitar or an AK47 or whatever, he would quickly become a DEAD terrorist, and you would live another day.

    Ergo, the bad guys are less likely to break into houses in an area where they know that there is a high likelihood that there are trained, practiced, and armed inhabitants. My wife and I are trained, practiced, and armed.

    In 44 States, they have Open Carry provisions for citizens. Oklahoma is a Shall Issue conceal carry state. When this law was passed, nay-sayers preached that the streets would be flowing with the blood of innocents. What they failed to recognize is that law-abiding citizens who were responsible enough to get the training/background checks/certification that the law enabled didn’t WANT to shoot anyone.

    I should not have snarked at you, and for that I apologize. But, you appear to have a very flawed understanding of U. S. gun culture. If you are ever in the Midwest, drop us a line and you can come to the gun range with us. I promise we won’t shoot you, and you can see it for yourself. It was a surprise to me the first time I saw it, and I would guarantee that it’s not what you expect either. Regards,

    Michael

  8. LOL
    True Will, my .357 will not pierce the armor of a tank.
    Michael said it well so I won’t add to his response. I appreciate your dissenting view here.

  9. Oh, don’t apologize to him Michael. He is running on the standard liberal mentality that does not see any difference between wolves and wolfhounds.

    To him, anyone with a gun is a bad guy. And the second amendment was about more than just a militia force, it was about citizens having the right to defend themselves.

    I’ve also notice that gun related killings have been on the rise in Great Britain even though they have some of the strictest laws around. So please explain to me how your ‘no-guns’ policy works so well??

  10. I, too, like the way you think and are willing to discuss matters such as this, Michael.

    To the last poster – I am certainly not a “typical” liberal.

    Back to Michael – I don’t doubt your sincerity one bit – I do believe that you are one of the few who would use a weapon with the respect that that weapon deserves. I do have to disagree with you slightly about the only people to watch are the evil ones. Very good intentioned people with guns can, but not always, be just as trigger happy and an innocent can die because of that. There lays my bone of contention.

    I have seen in American politics of late a divide in that good country that I have never seen – I would like to think that you would have a 100% uprising, I just doubt it would happen. Even with an uprising so large you would still be fighting against the most powerful and, indeed, well equipped armed forces the world has ever seen. That, I do doubt, could be over come by citizens of the US alone. I would back the people at that point and would offer my help as much as feasibly possible.

    I am a democrat who believes in the power of government that is in fear of the people, not by force but by the ballot paper, I may be way off mark there – but that is how I feel.

    I won’t go into all the things I believe in but I would suggest we are a like in many ways, yet very different in others – as has been proven by this point – that is the ilk of politics.

    Jennifer – no problem in debating on your blog – I do enjoy reading other peoples opinions, I, like you, have a policy of allowing posts without moderation because I do believe in the freedom to express oneself. And it is good to make yours, and Michaels acquaintance.

    Instinct –

    I’ve also notice that gun related killings have been on the rise in Great Britain even though they have some of the strictest laws around. So please explain to me how your ‘no-guns’ policy works so well??

    If you wish to engage in utilising figures could I ask you to bring to the table verifiable figures and not just propagandist figures.

    The rise in the murder rates in the UK are down to the weapons smuggled into that nation through the ex-soviet countries such as Estonia and Latvia. As Michael will back me up I think – if the bad guys want to get weapons they will – there again they will also offer them for profit.

    When you get more illegal guns, gun crime goes up.

    Sorry for such a long post.

  11. Jen-Well I thought I’d drop in for the news, and found this interesting bit of posting.

    Honestly, this brings to mind the, “What if it were you? Meaning, if someone broke into your home while your family was sleeping and you could have prevented an assault on children or your spouse with a gun, will you regret not having one later?” I honestly believe gun ownership is a responsibility to yourself and your family. Put security around it, teach children not to play with it and be smart. I don’t personally own a gun and I don’t live in a great neighborhood, and I often wonder if it’s a good choice or not…being best buds with Jen, makes me think maybe not.

  12. If I may chime in.

    I think the Founding Fathers understood that absolute power corrupts absolutely. And they wrote some checks and balances into the Constitution so that no part of the government could become too powerful and that there would always be accountability. And they tried to consider all the methods by which a tyrranical government could suppress its citizens, no doubt based on their own past experiences. And they wrote twelve amendments to the Constitution, ten of which were ratified and became known as the Bill of Rights.

    I can’t help but think that they wrote, or at least assembled, these amendments in some order of priority. The fact that the right to keep and bear arms was number two of the original ten ratified means something. As Stingray notes here, it’s second only to the right to speak your mind.

  13. Jenni,

    Sorry for hijacking your blog comments.

    Instinct,

    Some things and some people may not be as they first appear. I don’t think that Will is exactly the cookie-cutter Liberal we first thought he was. That’s why I apologized. I will welcome intelligent, free discussion with people that disagree with me. Life would be less interesting if everyone agreed on everything!

    Mon,

    Hi!

    Gator,

    Welcome to the discussion. I think I would leave it at “power corrupts.” This is simply true, and the absolutes are only a logical progression from there. I think you are absolutely right, though.

    Will,

    The way I look at it is this: If a gun is mishandled, someone will be injured or killed. Period. If an automobile is mishandled, someone will be injured or killed. Nobody proposes a ban on cars. On the contrary, there are systems in place, both private and government run that educate, train, and certify people to be able to properly handle an automobile. Similarly, there are systems in place for gun safety.

    I am not an anomaly here. What you would find is that MOST gun owners are responsible with their weapons. They are sobering devices that demand respect. Most shooters could recite to you the four rules of gun safety:

    1) Treat every gun as if it is loaded and ready to fire, even if you know that it is not.
    2) Never point the gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy.
    3) Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4) Be sure that you have properly identified your target.

    There are others, but these are the “Cardinal Rules” that every shooter MUST know. Will, on the rare occasion that it has been appropriate, I have seen strangers correct each other on these. It’s a big deal to shooters. And just think about it. If everyone who handles a gun follows these four rules that are drilled into them by every gun organization from the hulking NRA all the way down to the microcosm of Bubba’s local range, the accidents will be eliminated. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, gunfire accounts for 1.6% of the accidental deaths in the U. S. That means that you are more likely to drown, burn up in a fire, or die of medical malpractice here than you are to get shot by a careless shooter. (Thanks a lot, Dick Cheney!)

    As far as what you say about my proposed uprising is concerned, I agree completely. Things would have to get a whole lot worse than they are now to cause a near-100% uprising. Current American society is honestly too fat and lazy to get too excited about a little bit of tyranny. We like our security and comfort – or fast food and heated seats. The beautiful part is that we don’t need an uprising until things get really bad. If the government knows this, they will not get that tyrannical, or they will disarm us first. The Supreme Court confirming the Second Amendment in the Heller case shows me that they have no intention of disarming us – for the time being.

    Furthermore, the U. S. Military is made up of citizens, and there would be rebels even in its ranks. No one would have to fight the unified armed forces in such a scenario. I don’t want to uprise. I want things to be easier than that. The world that I am using as an example of the reasons for the checks and balances is a dark and alien one that I hope that I, or my children, or my children’s children never have to know.

    From your comments, I take it that you are an extremely conservative Democrat in many ways. Is that untrue?

  14. Michael, I fully understand your logic and to a certain extent I agree with it and you. What is always the binding factor in things such as your rules of use, is people do not follow that four basic rules.

    If the use of a gun were seen as dangerous as the use of a car I could move closer to your understanding – it is the laxness of training and forethought by those who issue and use guns that is, at the very least, the reason why I believe that guns should not be as freely available as they are.

    I am anti tyrannical governments – all I want a government to do is govern the least it has to and be done with it. This “We only do this to keep you safe” is pure narcissism to me on their part – I can make my own judgement call on that one, thank-you-very-much.

    Again, I agree with you that there are those who would revolt who are in the armed forces yet that still would not mean those who did would be enough – it would then come down to other nations coming to the aid of those who were oppressed either in or without the US border. I can only reiterate that I would do what I could to help in that scenario.

    If you had to put me into a category then you could shoehorn me in to the left of centre – whether you would call that a conservative liberal I would leave that up to you. I am against big government who intrude into peoples lives too much but I do believe that we are a society and we need each other to move forward and I wouldn’t leave anyone in society out.

    I believe in certain fundamental rights for people but gun ownership isn’t one. I do believe that the government should be obliged to protect its citizens – once, in my belief, it becomes down to the citizen having to protect themselves I feel that society has fallen apart.

  15. Very interesting Will. Your last paragraph illustrates the core difference in our ideas. I believe that the government should be obliged to protect the society, but obligation to protect the individual citizen rests with the individual.
    The local police should be doing everything within their power to combat gang violence. That is good for society. It would not be good to issue me a personal guard to escort me to my car because I happen to work in a dangerous neighborhood. Having a gun is certainly not the only precaution I would take. It really means nothing if I do not pay attention to my surroundings. The responsibility to protect myself is mine alone.

  16. I apololgize for jumping into this scrap-fest late, but I just has to counter “Will Rhodes” snarky comments about “do you really think your pea-shooter of a weapon will have any effect against a tank?”

    History tells us that we can stop a whole column of tanks with no arms at all. See below.

    http://www.ctv.ca/mar/photo.html?pname=http://images.ctv.ca/archives/CTVNews/img2/20060713/tianasquare_tank.jpg&win_width=869.0&description=A Chinese man stands in front of a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Cangan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square June 5, 1989. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener)&slug=tiananmen_six_four_040603

    Still, I love the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9 in the morning! 😀

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