This month I paid almost $500, under protest, for two concealed weapons permits. The reason I paid under protest was that the government was charging a fee for a right granted by our Constitution. Now, however you feel about the Second Amendment hear me out.
Even though the Second Amendment guarantees our right to bear arms, our local police will arrest anyone for disturbing the peace if they "bear arms" in public. This forces one to "bear arms" in a concealed manner. Our government has decided that they can charge a fee for this right. By this same logic, the government can allow free speech under the First Amendment, but only after you have paid a fee to speak out.
I will not even talk about the Fourth Amendment that states the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers & effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Further stating that no warrants shall be issued without probable cause supported by oath. Somehow, a simple act of Congress, without a vote of the States, has seemingly invalidated this amendment with the horribly misnamed "the Patriot Act".
There was quite a debate after the Constitution was written and several states refused to ratify the document. The Constitution spelled out in great detail the ONLY powers that the new Federal Government would be granted. That being said there were many people who feared government power creep. The Bill of Rights was added to try and prevent this potential power creep by the new central government. The Declaration of Independence stated a powerful concept when it said, "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." This clearly states that our rights as men are divine and granted by the Creator - not the State. This means that only the Creator and not the State can take them away.
Jefferson drew heavily from Arbroath Declaration of 1320, in which Scotland declared its independence from England. This document was addressed to the Pope and asserted the people of Scotland's right to choose their own government. The Scottish National Covenant of 1638 also challenged the King and declared that the right to make law rested solely with Parliament. Both of these documents were heavily drawn from, for both our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. The Scots believed that no one man was greater than the lowest man among them under the law. They further believed in the rights of the individual. The influence of Scots in the founding of the country is undeniable. They represented a small portion of the population at the time of our country's birth, but they were very well represented in the political arena at the time.
Thus, the reason for the Ninth Amendment that states, "The enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The Tenth Amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". The States were so fearful that the new central government would overstep its bounds that it went to great lengths not only to define the powers that the States were granting to the central government, but to clearly state that NO OTHER powers were to be granted to the central government. The power would clearly rest in the people and in the States.
In spite of their clear intentions and unmistakable language, we now have the juggernaut of Washington, D.C. in clear disregard for the limits put upon it by the States and the people as put forth in our Constitution. I suppose that certain states insisted on the Bill of Rights before they would sign the new constitution because they knew the dark side of human nature. In spite of the Bill of Rights, it appears that Hamilton and the Federalists have won beyond their wildest dreams.
And now, we have arrived at a point where the Bill of Rights, as well as much of our Constitution, has been swept aside by the D.C. power elite. I assert that my Second Amendment rights have been taken away and given back, only after the payment of a fee. I wonder how much we will have to pay for jury trials in the future?
Larry LaBorde, Silver Trading Company
22 Aug 2005