By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right. Generally, government has no authority to infringe upon that right. Based on the language of the 2nd Amendment, the federal government cannot infringe upon our right to keep and bear arms in any way, shape, or form. Therefore, all federal laws of any kind dealing with firearms are unconstitutional, including background checks.
Federalist #45 addresses how laws regarding our rights can be applied. According to James Madison in that essay, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government."
While all federal gun laws are unconstitutional, all State gun laws are not. However, while some gun laws by the States are necessary in order to promote the internal order of the State, the State government is also not supposed to completely outlaw the ability of the citizen to keep and bear arms.
To illustrate what I mean, let me use a roadway intersection as an example.
The right to drive through an intersection shall not be infringed upon in any way by the federal government. It is none of the federal government's business whether or not I should decide to drive through a particular intersection in my neighborhood. However, in order to preserve the internal order of my region, the State and/or local government may put up stop signs or stop lights at intersections, not to take away my ability to go through the intersections, but to protect the internal order of the State so that we may navigate the intersections without crashing into each other. While my ability to move quickly through the intersection may be impeded slightly, the overall right to travel through the intersections has not been totally taken away.
The same applies to guns. It is none of the federal government's business whether or not I should decide to own a firearm, or whether or not I should be able to carry that firearm on my person. However, in order to preserve the internal order of my region, the State and/or local government may establish certain gun laws, not to take away my ability to keep and bear arms, but to protect the internal order of the State so that we don't have situations where people who may misuse their firearm either because they have a criminal record, or because they are too young or mentally unstable have access to a firearm through legal purchase and/or carry laws. While my ability to secure my firearm may be impeded slightly, unless keeping and bearing a firearm can be an obvious danger to myself and/or those around me, the overall right to keep and bear arms has not been totally taken away.
Therefore, while I understand Justice Thomas' defense of the 2nd Amendment and the desire to make sure California has not gone too far when it comes to gun laws (and trust me, I live in California, and they have gone way too far regarding our natural right to keep and bear arms), the U.S. Supreme Court acted properly by not taking the case in question. In short, State gun laws are none of the federal government's business.
So, what should we do as citizens when States are not abiding by Natural Law?
Since our right to keep and bear a firearm is a Natural Right, States are not supposed to overdo it when it comes to gun laws. And, according to the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause in Article IV., Section 1, Concealed Carry Permits must be recognized in each State. According to that clause, Congress can make a law requiring the States to abide by that clause, so Trump's call for a countrywide recognition of concealed carry permits is a constitutional one.
As citizens of our States, it is our responsibility that our States do not infringe upon our Natural Rights. Therefore, as impossible as it may seem, sometimes (especially with the Democrats holding a supermajority in California), it is our responsibility to stop a State's egregious gun laws, and to defend our right to keep and bear arms by influencing our representatives in the State legislature, using our various tools to affect change, or leaving the State and moving to a State that abides by the rule of Natural Law, if necessary.
For argument's sake, let's follow a logical pathway to a conclusion that may have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court did decide to take on the case in question regarding California's gun laws. Let's imagine that the justices examined the evidence, consulted the Constitution, and predictably voted 5-4 in favor of our gun rights and struck down California's gun laws in question.
If that had happened, my phone would be ringing off the hook and my inbox would be exploding with messages essentially stating, "Hey, Doug, it's a win for gun rights."
My response would be, in that situation, and as it was with McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, "Don't be so sure. What just happened is a federal court just dictated to a State what it can or can't do regarding our gun rights. Do we really want to give the federal government that kind of blanket power? Does the Constitution grant to the federal government that kind of blanket power?"
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