We all know the Second Amendment. We can recite it by heart. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
But it is infringed. It’s infringed every day. From the President to the line police officer, laws are passed, regulations are promulgated, judicial decisions are written, all of which are enforced with the very guns citizens should have full and equal access to own and carry, to resist the unconstitutional laws and force that are not only infringing on the Second Amendment, but reversing it. It might as well read ” A well equipped government, being necessary for security and order, the right of the government to be ultimately armed against the disarmed citizenry, shall not be infringed.”
In the final line of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson writes: “We mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” It is that belief that honor is sacred, that a man’s word was his bond, that once honor was lost it could never be regained, that caused our founders to believe that once they wrote the Constitution, and put the limits of government down on paper, that when ratified by the states and it became the supreme law of the land, that sacred honor would demand that moral men and women would follow the supreme law of the land, or amend it as per the prescribed procedure.
That kind of honor no longer exists. Which is why everything now has to be verified by computer. We have credit ratings, computerized bank accounts, employee records, tax records, criminal records, military records, job performance records, college records, everything is written down, recorded, and kept somewhere on a computer file, all because there is no sacred honor, and a lie to get you what you want is perfectly acceptable. So now we verify everything. Because there is no sacred honor, there is no reason to honor the oath to support and defend the Constitution. Because there is no penalty for violating the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, it is violated all the time, without conscience, by elected and appointed officials who have no sense of honor. So how do we bring an 18th century Constitution written with sacred honor, into a 21st century world without honor, and get compliance with the Constitution, where officials who swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution actually do so? We do it like we do for everything else now. We amend the Constitution to include fines and prison time for not only non-compliance, but lack of active enforcement.
What if the Second Amendment had a IIA clause, a IIB clause, and a IIC clause? What if the Constitution looked like this?
Amendment II. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Amendment IIA. “Congress and the state legislatures shall make no law, nor allow any law to stand, which touches, limits, regulates, or controls, the individual right to own and carry any firearm. The President and the governors shall issue no executive order, nor promulgate or enforce any regulation, nor allow any such to stand, which touches, limits, regulates, or controls, the individual right to own and carry any firearm. The Supreme Court and all inferior courts shall make no decision which interprets the Constitution so as to touch, limit, regulate, or control, the individual right to own and carry any firearm.”
Amendment IIB. “Failure to fully enforce the Second Amendment within six months of starting any elected or appointed term of office shall be punishable by immediate removal from office or automatic and immediate impeachment. In the case of impeachment, trial shall be complete before the end of the seventh month of the accused’s term by the Senate or state legislature. If convicted, appropriate punishment, which shall not be less than treble damages above all compensation and benefits paid during the current term of office, nor less than ten years imprisonment, shall be handed down swiftly.”
Amendment IIC. “The right to bear arms being a guarantee of the public retaining the ability to oppose tyranny by the government, no law enforcement agency or entity shall have access to or be permitted to use any weapon not available to the general public or have weapons modified in a manner not available to the general public.”
(Amendment IIC came from a comment when this article was posted previously.)
I want to know what it’s like to live as a free American, with all the hope, the joy, the possibilities and the limited government that existed at the ratification of our Constitution. I want to know this in my lifetime. The only way I believe this will happen is the installation of fines and prison terms for violating what we call the supreme law of the land. We have to make it that way with supreme penalties. In current society a parking ticket carries infinitely more penalty than breaking the Constitution. That is insane. I’m not sure how to make an ironclad Constitution with pure and simple language that can cover every contingency. But this, at least, is a start. We have to move from simply supporting our Constitution, and demanding our elected and appointed officials support it, to actively arresting and prosecuting those who not only fail to defend it, but fail to enforce it.
A constitutional change to introduce penalties and enforcement where no compliance penalty currently exists is a fundamental change that would take years of legal consideration and exploration before possible ratification, and even then it is certainly not guaranteed. So, better to plant the seeds in everyone’s minds now and get the process started. During all that time of enforcement and penalty consideration our Second Amendment rights will be abused, abrogated, denied, suppressed, oppressed and systematically infringed with colorful language of “reasonable restrictions,” and “common sense laws,” or my favorite line from judicial decisions, “this law that restricts or controls (fill in the blank) does not violate the Second Amendment,” even though clearly it does. Fortunately there already is a remedy in Federal Law. From the FBI website Civil Rights section, comes this summary: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/federal-statutes
Check out Title 18, USC, Section 241- Conspiracy Against Rights. Here is the important language of this 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). Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both.”
Consider the power of this law as applied to the Second Amendment. Two or more persons could be any part of a police force, members of state legislatures, members of Congress, the Department of Justice, the President and White House staff, a governor and their staff, any of the offices of Attorney General, any SWAT or other law enforcement team at any level, or any branch of any government from local to federal. Any of these conspiracy groups listed above which injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen from the – and here are the key words – “free exercise or enjoyment” of any right or privilege secured by the Constitution, is guilty of violating federal civil rights law.
Intimidating any citizen out of freely exercising and enjoying the owning and carrying of firearms is done, every day, with every law, regulation, judicial decision and police enforcement action that infringes on the Second Amendment. Why then are the above categories of persons not considered for arrest for breaking federal civil rights law? Why is this not being used as a legal remedy? There is no shelter because the civil rights violations occurred under the official cover of government procedure, nor the trappings of high office. Does not the 14th Amendment guarantee equal protection of all laws, and the equal enforcement of all laws? A conspiracy is a conspiracy, regardless of the status or title of the perpetrators. It’s just made all the worse when the perpetrators hold office or public trust, and so the penalty should be all the more severe.
To freely exercise and enjoy the Second Amendment requires full access to all small arms, both commercial and military, regardless of characteristics, capacity, operation or action, or country of origin, and the ability to both own and carry them. It requires that merely the act of owning and carrying firearms is not in itself a crime, nor the supposition that a crime is intended, until the normal due process, rules of evidence and probable cause are followed, and an actual crime is established through the behavior, intent or action of a person, violating a specific criminal law.
Injury, oppression, threats and intimidation of the free exercise of the Second Amendment comes in the form of non “shall issue” concealed carry permits, carry permits no one ever gets, restrictions on what can be owned and carried, limiting imports of firearms, international treaties, taxes, registration, licenses, permits, regulations, waiting periods, intrusive background checks, restrictions on ammunition capacity and other firearm characteristics, increasing categories of prohibited persons, and an infinite variety of other laws, regulations, decisions and enforcement actions. The appropriate punishment therefore for these violations, under Section 241, are fines and up to ten years imprisonment.
Federal civil rights law has never been applied properly to the Second Amendment that I can find. It has never been used by the NRA or any other gun group supposedly fighting for our rights. So the time has come to invoke this law and use it to the full extent. Whether the government arrests and prosecutes its own, or whether citizens have to demand enforcement of Section 241, or perform citizens arrests of the offenders ourselves, something must be done to restore the supreme law of the land, and the ability of all citizens to freely exercise and enjoy it.
We have no sacred honor anymore. So simply stating on paper that the government shall be limited has no effect. But we have this legal tool on our side to arrest and prosecute anyone, of any office, who violates our constitutional rights. The time is now. Enforce Title 18, USC, Section 241. We just need to agree now on an orderly procedure for carrying this out. Then put to Congress and the states, Amendments IIA, IIB and IIC. Let’s give back to our elected and appointed officials, and enforcement officers and agents, the sacred honor that they so freely pledged and swore by oath, by enforcing the civil rights laws that they so freely passed and signed.
This article first appeared on Canada Free Press at: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/62087
This article became the basis of a Question of the Day from The Truth About Guns at: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/03/robert-farago/question-of-the-day-time-for-a-new-and-improved-second-amendment/