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Unpopular Speech vs. Unconstitutional Reins on the 1st Amendment:
Do we see a parallel in the Current Emotional Fray
to Suppress the 2nd Amendment Limits on Government?

©2001 by Clifford D. Weiss, CPO

Most of us support free speech as intended by our Bill of Rights.  We all understand that free speech ends just short of the prank of shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater.  If this exceptional speech is carried out and people are injured as a result, then the shouter is liable to accept responsibility for his reckless and dangerous behavior.  The same responsibility must be accepted by the person who spreads a falsehood harming another person’s reputation by verbal statement or print.  He is guilty of the crime of slander or libel respectively.  And again, deceptive product claims and breach of contract may be considered unacceptable “speech.”  We have no qualm regarding regulation in these instances.  But, when regulation is used preemptively and enforcement is used afterwards to infringe upon the free speech protections of unpopular people with unpopular views, the American Civil Liberties Union will be the first to come to the rescue of the “oppressed” individual.  Most of us would have no problem with their provision of legal assistance.

Article I of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the
United States of America:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

*************
Amendment XIV” (actual amendment IV) of the Constitution of the
United States of America (the original civil rights act of 1868):

“Section 1.  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

*************

To be intimately familiar and completely understanding of the meaning of the “First Amendment” it is important to note that the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights only protect the people from abuse by the government - federal or state.  There is no “freedom of speech” protection from individuals, employers, or corporations (or radio talk shows, newspaper editors, etc.).  By the Founding Father’s design it is a document restricting government.

Why then do we encourage the opposite treatment for the 2nd Amendment?  Just because it has become unfashionable today to be in support of gun rights does not necessarily mean that these rights are any less legitimate than our cherished and passionately protected free speech rights.

Please note that I will now, and forever, refer to what most people call the “Second Amendment” to the Constitution by its true designation:  “Article II of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States.”

*************
Article II of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the
United States of America:

“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.” [KABA NOTE]

*************

Please remember that the U.S. Constitution would never have been ratified without the commitment that a Bill of Rights be included.  It was considered to be an intrinsic part of the Constitution - not some afterthought list of amendments.  It was only due to the urgency and need for expediency during the perilous and chaotic early days of our nation’s fragile existence that it was allowable to haggle over the exact wording of the Bill of Rights, while first accepting the main body of the Constitution in order to set up an acceptable and functional government.  After the failure of the first government and its Articles of Confederation it was necessary to allow the first constitutional congress to proceed to form a new government in order to hold the “United States” together.

As per the comment of Jon Roland, a constitutional scholar currently researching the history of the ratification of our Constitution, my statement in the prior paragraph on this page is confirmed.  See the quote of his personal communication below:

“As it happens we are just now rendering the debates in the several state conventions on the ratification of the Constitution. I have completed New York and Pennsylvania, and am now working on Massachusetts, and a few other states for which a complete record of debates is not available. They confirm your thesis about the Bill of Rights.  See http://www.constitution.org/elliot.htm.”

======================================================

Constitution Society, 1731 Howe Av  #370, Sacramento, CA  95825
916/568-1022, 916/450-7941  VM  Date:  09/10/99  Time: 10:52:55
http://www.constitution.org/  mail to:  jon.roland@constitution.org

======================================================

It is unfortunate that the American people have been indoctrinated (conned - as in Hitler's method - that a lie repeated sufficiently and thus perpetuated eventually becomes accepted as truth by the masses) into believing that the precious Bill of Rights is just the first ten amendments to our Constitution.  I hope we would not be so foolish as to allow our own Bill of Rights to be amended away!  Be aware that if you or I loath that guns have traditionally existed as part of our culture, or even if a majority of the people decide that guns should be banned - what notion grants us the moral and ethical remedy to tell other Americans, that do not happen to agree with us, that we can apply “Civil Rights control/Bill of Rights control” over their lives?  You may not wish to own a firearm at this time, or even foresee the need or desire to own one at any other time, but do you want your right abolished to have that option in the future?  As it is better to have a fire extinguisher and not need one, than to need one and not be allowed to have one - would you not say the same for firearms?  It is not my right, nor anyone else's, to tell you that you must, may, or cannot own a firearm.  Although, it has been well established and accepted that the government may require that you own a functioning firearm with all of the necessary accessories for the defense of the state.

When an individual abuses his “right to keep and bear arms,” in the same way that a violent criminal does, there are always constitutional provisions in American law available to deal with that situation.  It does not matter if an automobile, gun, knife, club, or a fist is used as the instrument of bodily harm.  We have always had a variety of acceptable, effective, and constitutional laws to prosecute the violent offender.

Shame on the American Civil Liberty Union’s neglect of the defense of the rest of the Bill of Rights.


KABA NOTE:  There are more than a few patriotic liberty advocates questioning whether the text of Article II of the Bill of Rights -- commonly called "the second amendment" -- contains one comma or three. We have researched this issue at length. Included in the research has been the discovery of federal government archives that show the text in both ways... with one comma, and with three.  Second Amendment Foundation put together a simple page that links to some of the documentation showing the "one comma" version. If this topic is of interest to you, go see for yourself here: http://www.saf.org/Constitutions.html. Whether there be one comma or three, the Founders' intentions in drafting and seeing to ratification our Bill of Rights were and still are quite clear: your right to keep and bear arms is inalienable -- but you may one day have to enforce it.

 

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When you sit down to negotiate on what you already have, you lose. —REP. MARIE PARENTE

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