“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? … If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” – Patrick Henry
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Where were you when Charlton Heston raised his buffalo rifle overhead and stated…”From my cold, dead hands.” (NRA Convention, May 20, 2000, Charlotte, North Carolina)
Patrick Henry, as a delegate from Virginia, didn’t attend the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Said he, “I smell a rat in Philadelphia, tending toward the monarchy.” As an anti-federalist, Henry was extremely concerned about the limited guarantees of State and Individual rights drafted within the Supreme Document, that he, and fellow Virginian George Mason, refused to be a party to its signing. Later, in 1791, ten amendments to the constitution were ratified by Congress providing citizens of the new nation additional guarantees and rights. Among those amendments—the Second. Thank God for those Rights.
LANDMARK FIREARMS PROTECTION LEGISLATION
In 2009 and 2010 several states proposed and passed gun rights bills to limit federal encroachment of firearms manufacturing and use within state boundaries. Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, and Wyoming all passed bills restricting the federal government’s jurisdiction based on Constitutional arguments confirmed by the 9th and 10th Amendments, the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), the 2nd Amendment, each state’s Enabling Act, and each state’s constitution.
The Firearms Protection Acts were primarily drafted on the argument that the federal government has no power to enforce intrastate gun controls based on the Commerce Clause. Because specific parts of a firearm are manufactured and used within a specific state boundary, a weapon can only be regulated by that state and its legislative and judicial authorities. Effectively, the “nullification” of unconstitutionally related federal laws (which normally have supremacy) related to firearms have no force within a single state boundary.
PATRICK HENRY CAUCUS PUSHES FOR GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE
In 2010, SB11 Utah State-Made Firearms Protection Act (Sponsor Sen. Margaret Dayton, House Sponsor S. Sandstrom, PHC Co-Founder) was under threat of veto until the PHC stepped up and “persuaded” the governor to sign this important legislation. On February 26, 2010, the Utah State-Made Firearms Protection Act became law in the Beehive State.
This piece of landmark legislation made it impossible for the federal government to hide behind the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) to regulate the manufacturing, sales, and use of certain firearms within a single state boundary. If a weapon is manufactured within state boundaries, using significant in-state parts and equipment, sold in state, and “consumed” within the state, the federal government has no jurisdictional powers to regulate that weapon under the Commerce Clause.
STILL UNDER ATTACK
Every day the 2nd Amendment is under attack. The basic, fundamental right of the People to keep and bear arms is a fundamental constitutional principle. On this principle hang many others. The People must maintain the ability to protect themselves. They must not be afraid to secure themselves and their property. The People must not be constantly afraid that their government is trying to usurp such a basic constitutional right for its own egocentric purpose. Do you feel secure?
Recently, Wayne LaPierre, Executive VP of the NRA, made these observations about attacks on the 2nd Amendment by our current president (more specifically, Pres. Obama):
- Barak Obama has endorsed a total ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of all handguns
- He endorsed a ban on the sale or transfer of all semi-automatic firearms
- He backed a 500 percent increase in federal taxes on guns and ammunition
- He voted to ban single-shot, over-under, and side-by-side shotguns
- He even opposed efforts to protect Americans from prosecution if they used guns in their homes for self-defense
Said LaPierre, “That’s the unvarnished record of an anti-gun, anti-freedom, elitist politician.” (Wayne LaPierre, American Rifleman, June 2012, p. 47)
“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson
WHAT WE ARE DOING…
The Founders and members of the Patrick Henry Caucus continue to work with local and national groups to find newer and better ways to battle the constant encroachment of the federal government related to our 2nd Amendment rights.
Only a few states have passed the model legislation to ensure state supremacy for firearms protections. We are continuing to work with states that have not adopted this vital legislation. (See SB11 Firearms Protection Act language linked above.)
This fight isn’t about guns at all, really…it’s about Individual rights to property and protection.
WHAT WE NEED YOU TO DO…
Call your state lawmakers. (Here is the list in your state.) Begin with legislators you know are 2nd Amendment “friendly.” Invite them to open a bill file to start the debate in your state. Point them to the model legislation adopted by Utah in 2010. Organize citizens to assist legislators in their efforts to pass this vital piece of law. Many state legislators have limited time and resources (the blessing and curse of being a part-time lawmaker). YOU CAN BE the ground troops by providing time and resources for your legislators. Organize email lists and communications networks. When the time comes, provide reputable witnesses to speak in committee meetings and public hearings. Lawmakers appreciate thoughtful, reputable assistance by citizens.