Category: Bill of Rights

The Four Liberty Boxes

There are four major liberties inscribed in the United States Constitution: our rights as citizens to vote for those persons we want to represent us in government, the guarantee of free speech along with the right to petition, the rule of law with the guarantee of our ability to challenge injustices in the courts and failing all these the right to protect ourselves and families from an oppressive government. These rights are essential for the preservation of a free society.

In a Republic such as ours every citizen not only has a right but a duty to vote for their representatives. Unfortunately, on average close to 40% of eligible voters stay away from the ballot box in every presidential election, much more in off year elections. This is a sad fact that a small majority of the electorate decide who will represent the American people. Just over one hundred years ago roughly 80% of eligible voters voted in presidential elections. For some reason even though over the years we have made voting easier then it has ever been with absentee ballots, early voting and dozens of organizations that will shuttle people to the voting booth, voter participation has declined.

I believe that part of the problem for voter apathy is that many people feel that our elected officials are not representing the people but are beholding to special interests. There are numerous polls that indicate that most people believe their representatives vote against the will of the people and answer to those that fund their campaigns.

Fortunately, because of the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of free speech we can bring attention to areas of the government that we feel are ignoring the will of the people. In this country we can use many different forms of social media as well as radio, television and editorials to bring attention to what we feel are unjust laws and regulations that our representatives have passed. We live in one of only a handful of countries where this can happen.

Another great aspect of our country is that we as individuals or groups can challenge what we feel are unjust or unconstitutional laws in the courts. If a person or entity feels that their freedoms are being violated, they have the right according to the Constitution to challenge their oppressor in court. To see just how important this ability to challenge oppressive laws and rulings just look at the Colorado Baker whose case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The last box of liberty which may be the most important one is the box that represents our 2nd Amendment and that is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. If you were to read some of the founder’s thoughts on this amendment you will realize that this was put into the Constitution because they wanted the citizens to have the ability to defend themselves against an oppressive government. Remember this quote from our Declaration of Independence:

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

One of the early skirmishes of the Revolutionary War was the Battle of Lexington and Concord when the British were sent to confiscate guns from the colonists. I am sure that when the 2nd Amendment was added to the Constitution that this was still in the minds of the founders. Besides we only have to look at recent history to see what happens to a people that are not allowed to defend themselves against oppressive governments.

Without our 2nd Amendment it would be easy for our other freedoms to be chipped away at, if not completely taken. We remain free not by the good graces of our government but because for now the people still have the power to defend their freedoms. If we give up the right to defend those freedoms they will disappear very quickly.

Northam Calls Special Session To Promote Gun Control

Governor Northam what is it about “shall not be infringed” that you don’t understand?

Governor Ralph “Infanticide” Northam has called a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to address gun control legislation. This comes less than a week after the tragic mass shooting in Virginia Beach. A couple of bill’s that he is hoping to have brought up are restrictions on high capacity magazines,  a ban on silencers ( which already take a special license to purchase), mandating universal background checks, limiting handgun purchases to one gun a month and what I feel is the worse violation of not only our 2nd Amendment rights but also those rights covered by the 4th  and 5th Amendments and that is the introduction of Red Flag Laws.

None of these proposed laws would have altered the outcome of this tragedy in Virginia Beach. DeWayne Craddock had purchased the two handguns he used on separate occasions months apart. So, a one handgun a month law would not have made a difference. He also had to pass an FBI and Virginia State Police background check both times so a universal background check would not have made a difference. The silencer he used on the handgun as far as I know was purchased legally and requires an even more extensive background check that can take up to 6 months to process and is expensive, and as far as I can tell this is the first time a silencer has been used in a mass shooting in recent history. To ban high capacity magazines which seems to mean anything over ten rounds would also make little difference to anyone who has any experience with semi-auto handguns. It just takes one or two seconds to change out an empty magazine. However a ban on these magazines would negatively affect anyone relying on a gun for self-defense. Most people I know who carry concealed cannot always carry extra magazines and therefore rely on a weapon that has a higher capacity.

Finally, the biggest problem I have with Northam’s proposals is the one for Red Flag Laws, instituting these laws would be the equivalent of legalized swatting. It is supposed to allow people to report someone who they believe may do harm to others or themselves and without any reliable proof the authorities can seize the persons weapons without so much as a court order or allowing the accused to confront his accuser. In most cases the accused does not even know there is a problem until the police or in some cases the swat team is banging on their door. (Here is a previous post were I discuss the similarities of Red Flag Laws and swatting).

To summarize none of these new laws could have prevented the Virginia Beach shooting. The guns were legally purchased, and background checks were done. Magazines with 10 rounds or less would not have made this man decide against going on a shooting spree. The use of a silencer did not make the gun more deadly. The weapons were purchased months apart so the one gun a month law would not have been effective, and the Red Flag Law would not have made any difference since this man gave no sign of being a danger to others or himself. So, what we are looking at from our Governor is just another excuse to push his gun control agenda that he failed to get through during the last legislative session.

Has A No Handgun Sign Ever Stopped a Crime?

Progressive Crime Prevention

I visit the local ABC store here in Virginia on almost a weekly basis for wholesale purchases for my employer. I am intrigued by the no handgun sign posted on the door and have been tempted to ask the employee who waits on me if that sign means they never have to be worried about an armed robbery. If that’s the case, then all convenience stores and banks need to put these signs on their doors. As a matter of fact, the Bank of America that is located about a mile from me should put one on their door since they have been robbed twice in the last two years. Of course they know that this wouldn’t work and therefore on occasion have an armed security guard standing outside the bank, a much better deterrent to would be robbers.

However if one was to think rationally, it is obvious that criminals really don’t care about gun free zones, in fact they feel safer. To be truthful it boggles my mind that people think that signs and laws banning firearms in areas such as stores, places of worship, movie theaters and schools will prevent someone with bad intentions from committing crimes or atrocities in these locations.

To many times we see mass shootings in gun free zones and yet the typical response is for more laws even though multiple laws were already broken. But according to the gun grabbing crowd new laws are the answer. The whole logic behind restricting law-abiding citizens from purchasing the firearms and accessories that they feel they need for proper protection of themselves and their loved ones is completely absurd. This kind of irrational thought just puts more people in danger.

As someone who lawfully carries concealed I do obey these signs and laws but I do feel it puts me in greater danger. I am a responsible citizen and gun owner who practices with my firearms on an almost weekly basis. I would hope that if ever needed I would be able to stop a bad guy, but if I happen to be in a gun free zone I will be doing what everyone else is doing and hope the police arrive in time.

I believe that carrying a concealed weapon is like wearing a seat belt, it’s there if I need it but I hope to never have to use it.

4th Amendment Takes A Hit In Virginia

With the warm weather hitting our state I figured it was time to visit the local ABC store to purchase some gin to go with our tonic and limes. Upon approaching the counter the customer in front of me a 40 something woman was told that she needed to show her ID. I thought this a little strange since she was obviously over twenty-one but I didn’t think to much about it. That is when I heard the clerk say that as of July 1st all retailers that sold alcohol would be required to see ID from anyone purchasing these type of beverages. What bothered me however was not that requirement but the fact that at least at the ABC stores they are required to scan the ID’s, this serves no purpose but to gather information about the purchaser.

According to an official that I spoke with from the regional ABC office he stated the only reason that they scan the ID’s is to verify the date of birth. A date of birth which is clearly stated on the ID. Now I am sure that this scanning procedure is supposed to filter out altered ID’s but why then is it necessary for someone like myself to provide proof of age and have it scanned when it is quit apparent that I am several decades passed the minimum age to purchase alcohol? If anything I would alter an ID to make me younger not older.

Maybe I am a little paranoid but with states passing Red Flag Laws (Are Red Flag Laws Much Different Than Swatting), what is to stop someone or the government from using your history of alcohol purchases against you? This information could be used any number of ways, in civil suits, divorce proceedings, child custody cases or violating your 2nd Amendment rights via Red Flag Laws. The state and federal government already compile to much information about us and we need to try and stop them even on what may be considered an inconsequential ID scan.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.