It is my belief, in conjunction with the belief of the Founding Fathers that any piece of proposed legislation has a certain hierarchy or order in which the bill must be considered.
When considering any legislation, whether it be from a town selectman's proposal, a state legislator's bill, a House Resolution offered in the United States House of Representatives or a bill offered in a United States Senate Committee, it must be evaluted in a certain order.
First, the proposed bill must be held up to the blinding white light that radiates from the Bill of Rights.
"I hope, therefore, a bill of rights will be formed to guard the people against the Federal government as they are already guarded against their State governments, in most instances."
Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1788.
If the proposed legislation passes this test and completely complies with the Bill of Rights, then the offered legislation should be held up to and closely compared with the rest of the United States Constitution.
"We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land nor, perhaps, the sun and stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. The chart is the Constitution."
"An act against the Constitution is void. An act against natural equity is void."
James Otis (1725-1783)
"On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invent against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
Thomas Jefferson June 12, 1823
If the offered legislation complies with the United States Constitution, then it must be compared with the individual state constitutions and it must then be determined if it complies with the articles found there.
Kentucky: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. (1792)
Vermont: [T]he people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power. (1777)
Pennsylvania: That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination, to, and governed by, the civil power. (1776)
Maine: Article 1 Section 16. To keep and bear arms. Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.
If any proposed local, state or federal law, stands up to the Bill of Rights, the remaining seventeen amendments of the Constitution and the indivdual state constitutions for state and local bills, then and ONLY then, may it be considered further.
Next, the bills may be considered according to what grave and serious problem they help to solve. Legislation should never be considered simply in order for the Congress or the legislatures of the fifty states to keep busy and have something to do. Regulation and restriction of the people's freedom, liberty and independence should ALWAYS be very carefully weighed against any benefit derived from proposed legislation.
Then the representatives of the people have the duty to carefully weigh and deliberate upon the desires and opinions of their constituents. They can then request any available data to help them arrive at an equitable and fair decision upon whether or not to co-sponsor and/or support the bill at hand.
I have spoken with many legislators who consider offered legislation without first holding it up to the Bill of Rights and the remaining hierarchy I have described above. If we don't hold our representatives in government responsible for observing the Bill of Rights and the federal and state constitutions first, we're not doing our duty as Americans.
The average world democracy lasts about two hundred years.
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
John Adams (1735-1826) Second President of the United States.
I don't own a fully automatic machine gun. I don't own a paramilitary semi-automatic rifle with a bayonet either. Neither do I own a .50 caliber rifle.
Because I don't own any of these types of firearms, I'm often asked by people what I'm afraid of. I respond that I'm not afraid of anything that walks the face of the Earth. Neither am I afraid of death itself.
What I fear is that my descendents in future generations of America may have to live under the heavy chains of tyranny, dictatorship and despotism, simply because I stood idly by while I allowed the Bill of Rights to be dismantled by my own government.
Whether people find it distasteful or not, it doesn't matter. The Second Amendment was specifically designed to protect the people from their own government and to keep the door to tyranny forever locked. I will staunchly oppose any attempt whatsoever that may unlock that door. It has nothing to do with hunting.
"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us."
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776.
Thank you for listening to me today and reading my latest blog.
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P.S. Is it a surprise that I'm actually related to Samuel Adams, John Adams and John Quncy Adams? :-)