Currently, I am reading The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams. Chapter by chapter I will seek to highlight critical points and add some analysis for practical application in the defense of the right to bear arms. Thus far it has been a magnificent book, and in the Foreword and Introduction alone some truly profound points are made.
Here are just a few:
The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams (Introduction-page 5)
Chief Justice Rehnquist defines “the people”
“…‘the people’ protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom the rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of person who are part of a national community (United States of America)…”
Chief Justice William Rehnquist is one of the great legal minds of the modern age and is known to write with great precision. He does not use words idly or without a full understanding of the implications. His choice of words here is quite intentional, and his inclusion of the Second Amendment, deliberate. “The People” protected under all of the Amendments are the same people, and no one would argue that the First Amendment does not protect the individual right to free speech, religion, assembly, press, and petition. It would also be widely agreed upon that the Fourth Amendment protects the individual citizen from unreasonable search and seizure. Yet, there are those who would have us believe that our founders, who took such great care and whose foresight has stood the test of time, used ambiguous language and were unclear in this one instance whether they spoke of an “individual” or “collective” right to keep and bear arms.
The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams (Introduction-page 7)
“…the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratifies and preserves for every citizen the right to keep and bear arms; and, moreover, that Congress or any other instrumentality of the federal government is constitutionally barred from infringing that right.”
An individual right, ratified and preserved in the Constitution, is protected from the molestation of the federal government.
The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams (Introduction-page 14 excerpt from Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm)
“…The American Congress is not sovereign, or Constitution is. The Constitution has a clear procedure for altering its contents – amendment. If the government and people in their wisdom come to the conclusion that no need for the right of the people to be armed exists, or that such a right does more harm than good, then amendment is the course that should be followed. While it is unconstitutional to legislate a right out of existence, this particular right is threatened with misinterpretation to the point of meaninglessness. Granted, this is a far easier method of elimination than amendment, being much quicker and not requiring the same rigid consensus or forthright discussion of its constitutional relevancy. But it is also the way of danger. For to ignore all evidence of the meaning and intent of one of those rights included in the Bill of Rights is to create the most dangerous sort of precedent, one whose consequences could flow far beyond this one issue and endanger the fabric of liberty.”
Let us bring this debate out of the shadows and have it in the light for all to hear and see. If you are of the persuasion that the right to bear arms is archaic and must be altered or stricken all together from our most sacred documents, there is a procedure for this express purpose – amendment. Let us have an all-encompassing debate in order to come to a comprehensive understanding of the right to keep and bear arms. Leaving no stone unturned, no piece of history in the dark. I can think of no greater threat to liberty than to remain silent as our government legislates, taxes, and regulates an individual right out of existence.
The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams (Introduction-page 15 excerpt from Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm)
“…We are not forced into lockstep with our forefathers. But we owe them our considered attention before we disregard a right they felt it imperative to bestow upon us.”
In nearly all cases, our forefathers got it right. The conversation we should be having is not about guns its about freedom. It was individual liberty that the founders sought to enshrine and protect in such a manner to stand against all trials and ages to come. We should not be quick to doubt their wisdom.