Twenty-six Americans gunned down in a Public Elementary School, many of them so torn apart by the hail of bullets that they were almost unrecognizable. A military assault weapon with several hundred round drums of ammunition, containing special bullets that are more highly destructive as they hit human flesh did that. Yes, the young man pulled the trigger but had he been armed with a black powder muzzle-loading, smooth bore Brown Bess Musket with a flintlock to honor the state of the Second Amendment at the time the Founders creating that portion of the Constitution most if not all of those people would be alive and well tonight.
But Gun Rights advocates see any attempt to regulate firearms as an unwarranted intrusion by the Federal Government in violation of their Second Amendment Rights. They view the Obama Administration as tyrannical, warranting full-fledged armed insurrection, with the President guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors requiring his impeachment, conviction in the Senate, and removal from office.
Six States, all of them Red States and almost entirely in the old Confederacy are acting to enact legislation that would make it illegal to enforce Federal gun laws in those states.
Republican Senator Rand Paul has indicated he will join with other members of Congress to challenge the 23 Executive Orders signed by the President this week and to oppose any proposed legislation that might alter the situation as it was prior to the Newtown Shooting.
What this is really all about is that Gun Rights, right-wing insurrectionist, nullification and impeachment of the President mania has replaced Birtherism as the means to express the continuing racially based hatred for President Barrack Obama and the failed attempt to defeat him in a Constitutionally sound and fair, free, democratic election last November 6th.
It should be pointedly noted that not one of the President’s executive orders or proposed legislation would confiscate a single firearm or detain or imprison a single law-abiding citizen who possesses firearms and wishes to stand on their Second Amendment rights. A full range of hand guns, shotguns, and rifles are fully legal and remain so even with everything the President has proposed this week. Concealed carry laws in force in any state where they exist are unaffected.
What is are full and universal background checks to make sure every single gun purchase or exchange are between law-abiding citizens of sound mind. The guns the United States armed forces and our principal enemies over the globe employ to kill people would be banned along with the large magazines of thirty or even a hundred rounds of ammunition of a highly destructive character.
After all, military assault rifles are designed for war zones where the object is to kill as many of the enemy in large numbers and quickly. General Stanley McCrystal, our former commander in Afghanistan told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this past week that these weapons are not needed and are in fact dangerous for private citizens who are civilians to possess and carry. Other military veterans have pointed out that such weapons are typically stored locked in armories and not carried routinely everywhere soldiers go.
The calls for armed insurrection are particularly alarmist and irresponsible. Calling for the impeachment of President Obama even if all 23 of his recent Executive Orders are unconstitutional acts by a sitting Chief Magistrate of the United States ignores the obvious and proper first recourse to take the Executive Branch to the Federal courts where challenges to the new orders can be quickly mounted just as those opposing Obama care were. It should be noted we have just passed the 150th Anniversary of one of President Lincoln’s Executive Orders—the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Federal District, Appellate, and in the case of urgency the United States Supreme Court can hear these cases rapidly and directly on a writ of certiorari. Senator Paul and his allies in Congress can rightly oppose the Executive Branch by enacting legislation contrary to what the President is doing and passing that legislation over a likely Presidential Veto.
Meanwhile, a good number of Americans might like to see thirty round magazines for hand guns and hundred round drums of ammunition for semi-automatic rapid firing rifles of tremendous hitting power banned. These silly thoughts come to us when we drop off our children at school now, or when we attend a movie at a theater, or perhaps simply stop by the local mall to shop. It even must be contemplated when we attend our houses of worship.
This country already has more guns per person than any nation on the face of the Earth. We have the most liberal gun laws in the world. And the nation is less safe from gun violence now than it ever has been.
No one is contemplating banning all guns or harming one single law-abiding gun owner. But the deadly nexus of criminals, mentally deranged individuals, and terrorists with the weaponry used by armies in the field make our streets and public places frightening and distinctly dangerous today.
The President of the United States is in part charged with protecting the public safety and defending the United States of America from armed assault. The Preamble to the Supreme Law of the United States says that the Constitution has as one of its primary purposes to “insure domestic tranquility.”
Right-wing Gun nut male Phallus symbol deficient temper tantrums, the continued hatred for, vilification of, and disrespect for the office of the President and the person holding that office are not appropriate in the present circumstances. Were the Federal government to confiscate guns from people who have not broken the law and are of sound mind then we could and all would contemplate more drastic action. But that is not happening and will not happen.
Perhaps the most silly conversation yet was between MSNBC’s Al Sharpton Friday evening and a Tennessee legislator proposing one of the laws to make it a crime in his state to enforce Federal gun laws. He asserted State Sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution as the basis for the lawfulness of such legislation at the state level.
Let’s look at the Tenth Amendment: “The powers NOT (emphasis and italics mine) delegated to the United States, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The law here is clear enough. If the Federal government does not have the power granted to it in the Constitution of the United States then it is as the so-called Gentleman argued to Al Sharpton a matter of State’s Rights and State Sovereignty. Even the people of his state on their own might retain this authority.
But wait. We have to look over the Constitution of the United States to see what powers ARE (emphasis and italics mine) granted to the Federal Government in the document.
Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States says this: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, SHALL BE THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND: and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
And, the Supremacy Clause remains part of the Constitution this very night. It has not been repealed. And as early as 1832, President Andrew Jackson warned the State of South Carolina that it could not nullify Federal tariff law. We fought a terrible Civil War in the mid nineteenth-century partly over secession and State’s rights where nullification and State interposition were ranged against the Federal government and Union led by Abraham Lincoln.
In case you missed it, the insurgents who had formed a confederacy were completely defeated and were legally and under the U.S. Constitution guilty of treason against the United States. Further, the Texas vs. White Supreme Court decision of 1875 declared secession in that form of State Sovereignty to be unconstitutional and void.
Any citizen or group of citizens always retain the right of outright revolution against the government as an appeal to God in the last resort against a tyranny that takes away their liberties and property. But they must carefully weigh when that desperate action mentioned in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, is truly justified. For if armed revolution is undertaken, it is serious business as the American Civil War shows us. If you lose the revolution, you stand to lose all and violence is a distinct possibility if not a certainty.
Struggles for Justice believes there is absolutely no justification for resorting to revolution at this time. Nor do we see it likely in the foreseeable future.
Students of law, political science or simply civic minded knowledgeable citizens will recognize this portion of the Constitution as the Supremacy Clause. A simple way of understanding this long taught in both public and private school civics classes as early as the 9th Grade tell us that when a State law conflicts with Federal law, the national or Federal law is Supreme.
And we have to say that in addition to that, all of the legal jurisprudence and additional amendments to the grand old document laying out a plan for our form of republican democratic government over the past two hundred and twenty-five plus years must be considered.
The Fourteenth Amendment makes it abundantly clear that State laws must give way to Federal laws concerning the civil rights of black Americans which were a prominent feature in defeating the attempts of Southern States to continue Jim Crow Segregation laws which were highly discriminatory.
The National Rifle Association has now even put the President’s family in its gun sights, vowing the “fight of the century.” Shame be upon them for threatening the President’s family and daughters in a cheap ad.
Tea Party Republicans and foaming at the mouth Obama Haters nationwide have gone on the offensive and behaved abominably.
The very worst thing about this behavior and these actions by so many Gun Rights advocates is that they fail to see reality in terms of protecting our very children. And they display a glaring lack of faith in our Constitutional system of government in place since 1789.
The United States Constitution has survived a number of wars, legal challenges, periods of great social tensions and economic distress with only Twenty-seven Amendments. It has been the envy of the world. And that world knows that we Americans have the most freedom and liberty of any people anywhere despite all the dangers we face in that world today.
Struggles for Justice condemns the opposition to sensible gun safety legislation for the benefit of our children. And we stand aghast at the incredible lack of faith in the peaceful and lawful working out of democracy shown by these horrid people who deign to call themselves Americans.