The right of the people to keep and bear arms is non-negotiable.
The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not intended as a perk for hunters and sportsmen. Nor is it a privilege to be doled out, infringed upon, or rescinded at the whim of government.
Rather the 2nd Amendment is a fundamental and unalienable right that exists apart from governmental powers and authority. In fact, it is rooted in the natural rights of both self-defense and personal liberty.
In a letter written in 1823, Thomas Jefferson aptly quoted an Italian criminologist on the matter of self-defense, writing: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants.“
However, as the statements of other Founders indicate, the logic and value of the 2nd Amendment extends far deeper than personal protection from common criminals.
In the Federalist Papers (#46), James Madison observed that Americans possessed an advantage over every other nation of the time, in that they were armed. He rightly noted that goverment in other nations feared an armed citizenry. Why? Because an armed citizenry would possess the means to end the tyranny those governments imposed upon them. Madison makes a clear connection, then, between an armed citizenry and the preservation of true liberty for all.
George Mason–along with Madison, a “father” of our Bill of Rights–put the matter even more succinctly in a debate, stating that “to disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them.“
Yet, over the decades, we have allowed a slow creep of federal infringement on our 2nd Amendment rights. It is time to halt and reverse that infringement.
BOLD SOLUTION: Restore Authority over Firearms Policy to the States
When this nation was established, the states were intended to have greater decision-making authority than the federal government in nearly all respects. The federal government was, in fact, strictly limited in the powers it could exercise and the decisions it could make on behalf of all citizens.
The Constitution grants no specific authority to the federal government to set firearms policy of any sort. Furthermore, there is no reason to assume that the federal goverment is better equipped to make such decisions than the states. Quite the opposite is true.
It is therefore time to respect the 10th Amendment, repeal any federal level legislation that wrongly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and restore the matter of firearms policy more fully to the states.
Restoring firearms policy to the states would achieve at least four important aims:
- End infringement by the federal government upon the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
- Restore vital states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to California and all other states.
- Push debate surrounding firearms policy to a state government level where the people have a more immediate interest and voice in determining the outcomes that will work best for them.
- Begin to restore constitutional balance and the proper authority of the people over their state and local governments.
Using this solution, the people of every state, including California, would still need to ensure that their state and local governments did not infringe upon 2nd Amendment rights. However, the people would no longer have to deal with unconstitutional federal overreach.