Our Founders created the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to guarantee the American people certain freedoms, liberties and rights. Over the years, those rights have been trampled, manipulated and at times, grossly misinterpreted.
This series will focus on examples of just how many of our rights have virtually been lost.
The Second Amendment
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.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to meddle with a well-armed populace.
Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right, consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.
Some have stated that any and all subsequent laws pertaining to the second amendment are unconstitutional, but since its ratification in 1791, the federal government has created numerous laws and restrictions, as have the states and many local cities.
Although it’s been proven that areas with loose gun laws are the same areas with the least gun related crimes, our government continues its efforts to further restrict our access to guns, and in particular, our current administration is doing everything in its power to ban guns entirely.
In 2011, Christopher Baker, president of the Hawaii Defense Foundation, filed suit against the state and Honolulu stating that Hawaii’s license to carry statute and various other firearm regulations are unconstitutional. State law mandates that citizens may be provided licenses to carry only in “exceptional circumstance” or “where a need or urgency has been sufficiently indicated,” all at the discretion of the county’s Chief of Police. The complaint asserts that this language violates the Second Amendment, which secures the right of all responsible, law-abiding citizens to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense. Additionally, the complaint also addresses the use of non-lethal tools for self-defense such as electric guns, which are banned in in Hawaii.
Baker stated the obvious when he said “We must be allowed to carry the tools that give us a chance to protect ourselves from harm. We want criminals to have to think about the consequences of attacking someone, but right now, nothing serves as a deterrent to them – the odds are in their favor.”
Clearly, the second amendment says nothing about leaving that right open to the interpretation of the chief of police.
In a Maryland case, Charles F. Williams Jr. is challenging his 2008 conviction in Prince George’s County of violating the state’s prohibition on wearing, carrying or transporting a firearm in public without a permit. Williams had his legally acquired gun in a bag as he traveled from his girlfriend’s home to his own.
Williams acknowledges that he had not applied for a permit. But his attorney, Stephen Halbrook, says that shouldn’t matter: the Maryland law is so restrictive that it “basically says ordinary people can’t get one.” He argues in his petition that the law violates the Supreme Court’s “analyses and plain statements in Heller and McDonald that the right to bear arms exists outside the home.”
Especially if said gun is tucked away in a bag.
Our last example of stupid gun laws that violate the second amendment took place a couple of years ago when Aaron Tribble, a 36 year-old second year law student, sued the University of Idaho. Their rules state that guns of any type are prohibited, and people living on campus can store their weapons at the Police Campus Substation.
Tribble claims that he cannot lawfully possess a firearm in defense of his family without the threat of expulsion or other academic sanctions. As for moving to different housing not bound by the school’s policies, he points to the “pricing and location” of student housing as deciding factors in his living situation. He argued that his fundamental right of self-protection does not end at an arbitrary boundary.
There is that, and the fact that a gun locked up at a substation affords no protection whatsoever.