I’ve been absent from posting these last few days because I’ve been actively trying to start up a dialog with my local representatives in my state about measures we can take to thwart any unconstitutional attempt by the government to restrict our right to bear arms. I must say their response to my proposal has been a bit disappointing. Even though they agree with me, there appears to be very little desire to pursue any such actions. My district senator fears that any such legislation to protect the gun rights of our citizens would be challenged and ruled unconstitutional. Below is the the email exchange I had with my senator.
I’m contacting you in regards to gun rights and protecting those rights of North Dakota gun owners against federal regulation and any attempt to ban specific weapons or high capacity clips in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. I understand that a terrible event like the one that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December can stir deep emotions in the public; however we must not compromise our liberties with a knee jerk reaction that is based on emotions. Losing our liberties is in itself a tragedy. Because once liberty is lost, we never regain it. The Newtown shootings occurred in spite of some of the strictest gun laws in the land and now anti-gun groups see an opportunity to advance their agenda.
The Constitution of the United States prohibits the federal government from crafting any law that bans the right of the people to bear arms. If I decide the weapon of choice for me is a semi-automatic model and that type is banned how is that not violating my 2nd amendment rights? The Founders believed that people had the right to defend their life, liberty, and property against any entity to include the government if that government became a threat to these rights. Contrary to popular belief the 2nd amendment is not about hunting. It’s about the right of the people to have the ability to defend themselves no matter who threatens them or their rights and we would be derelict in our duties as citizens not to take steps to thwart any unconstitutional attempt by our federal government to ban specific types of weapons.
I believe the model to protect our gun rights in North Dakota can be found in the Montana Firearms Freedom Act that was signed into law in April 2009. This law basically declares that any firearms manufactured and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the states. After the enactment of Montana’s law other similar laws were enacted in South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, and Tennessee and over 20 states have introduced similar bills in their legislatures. These states are taking the necessary steps to protect their citizens from unconstitutional bans or regulation on guns by the federal government. My question is what do we need to do to get this ball rolling so the gun rights of our citizens can be afforded the same protections found in these other states? Do you feel there is any interest in Bismarck to address this concern? Can you sponsor a bill or do we need to get a petition going? If we do nothing I fear we are leaving ourselves extremely vulnerable to the very real possibility of new gun regulations crafted by and imposed on us by the federal government.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help with this.
His response to me.
Thanks John. I agree with you, but the Montana law you describe is clearly unconstitutional. I wish the states could decide what commerce is within the reach of the federal government, but they can’t. Our best strategy is to make voices heard in Congress.
I in-turn responded.
I want to thank you for the quick response on this issue. I understand your reservations about the Firearms Freedom Act in regards to the constitutionality of it and I do see your point in regards to the commerce clause. The commerce clause has been abused by congress throughout our history as justification to impose its will on the states. This is why I do not believe the solution to this problem can be found in the halls of congress. Instead in accordance with the 10th amendment, the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively. This is a states’ rights issue because the constitution expressly forbids the government from crafting legislation that bans the individual right to bear arms. So in this case the commerce clause does not apply because the state is exercising powers in regards to protecting the rights of its citizens to bear arms. These powers are expressly reserved to the states.
Our own state constitution Article I, Declaration of Rights, Section 1 states; All individuals are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation; pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness; and to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringe.
Our state’s position on this matter is very clear. No law can be enacted on the state or federal level that prohibits the right of our citizens to keep and bear arms. And if the federal government attempts to ban guns outside the scope of its constitutional authority, then North Dakota must take action to thwart this unconstitutional act. The Supremacy Clause would not apply in this instance because its only is valid with laws enacted within the parameters of the 17 enumerated powers granted to congress. And as I stated earlier the commerce clause cannot be used as an end around the 2nd amendment because it expressly forbids the federal government from crafting legislation that prohibits the right of the people to bear arms.
Other states are moving forward with this legislation. The South Carolina legislature will consider a bill that would nullify a considerable amount of assumed federal power over firearms – the Firearms Freedom Act. You can read the entire article at the following link: http://planet.infowars.com/guns/the-south-carolina-legislature-will-consider-a-bill-that-would-nullify-a-considerable-amount-of-assumed-federal-power-over-firearms-the-firearms-freedom-act. If this is not the best way forward then let’s find a way forward that doesn’t involve the commerce clause. Let’s think outside of the box and get this done.
I know a number of people who share these same concerns. I feel that now more than ever our gun rights are in jeopardy from an out of control federal government that desires to restrict them. I ask that you please consider these words.
Thank you for your time.
So as you can see, my senator has automatically defaulted to the commerce clause and believes the best option is by seeking a federal solution. Now I believe my senator is a good person, he has just been condition to think that all matters like this default to the federal government when just the opposite is true. Unfortunately this is how most state officials across the nation seem react when you ask them to stand up for state rights. My position is the commerce clause is not applicable in this instance because the constitution expressly forbids the government from crafting legislation that prohibits the right to bear arms. So they have no power to regulate this area. They never have had this power. We’ve just let them get away with it in the past. I would be interested to know what my readers think.
Citizens who believe we as a people have a right to bear arms and this right is protected by the 2nd amendment need to step up and contact their local officials. Ask them what their plan is to protect those rights at the state level from the coming unconstitutional overreach by the federal government. Remind them that this issue falls within the purview of the state’s authority, because the 10th amendment says it does. I’m still waiting to hear back from my senator. My hope is I made a strong enough argument to spark a serious discussion on this issue and perhaps the sponsorship of legislation that enhances the protection of my gun rights. We shall see.
Liberty forever, freedom forever!