Guest Columnist; The 2nd Amendment- A Fundamental Principle of American Liberty

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By Tim Norris,

Tim Norris

The Florida Department of Agriculture’s recent closing of the processing of concealed carry permits due to Covid-19 has opened some eyes and more debates. New applications need to have fingerprints provided from either of two locations,  law enforcement or Tax Collectors offices. Most of these offices have been closed or have very limited hours of operation. Is this a time when Government agencies begin to control and limit your 2nd Amendment rights?   A Florida Representative, Rep. Donna Shalala,  wants firearm owners to quarantine  firearms from its ammunition and then lock them up. “While we stay home and socially distance, it is imperative for gun owners to make sure their firearms are unloaded, separated from ammunition, and locked up” she says. What would be the point of having a firearm for home and self-defense if it’s not ready to be used at a moment’s notice?  Why is It our rights are never more threatened than in the midst of a crisis? So please, allow me to voice an opinion: Freedom, in the form of our God-given rights once squandered are not easily regained.

The Second Amendment to our Constitution reads, “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.”

The origins of the Second Amendment is well-documented in English and American history from the late 17th century through the American Revolution; The right to “keep and bear Arms” was included as a means to accomplish the objective of a “well regulated Militia”—to provide for the defense of the nation, to provide a well-trained and disciplined force and to check federal tyranny. The founders were aiming for a balance of power shared equally among the people, the states, and the federal government. At the founding, all rights not specifically enumerated, were reserved for “The People.” In the 21st century- not so much!

In his classic work popular with the Founders, “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” William Blackstone referred to the right of having arms as a “natural right of resistance and self preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”  Today, what our Founders considered a “natural right” of self-defense is considered by many to be violent in and of itself!

In 2008, the Supreme Court acted, In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court examined the meaning of the Second Amendment for the first time. The justices overturned Washington, D.C.’s ban on residents keeping handguns in their homes, affirming the individual’s right to keep and bear those weapons in common use for self-defense and other lawful purposes.

Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment’s individual right throughout the country, finding it “a fundamental principle of American liberty.”

Despite these decisions, debate continues. Both landmark opinions affirming the right of Americans to keep and bear arms were passed by 5-4 majorities, with the dissenting justices asking that they be overturned. Further, some judges are choosing to ignore the high court. Moves to protect and expand the right to be armed are, however, rapidly advancing in the states. Forty-four state constitutions include a right to be armed, and only nine of the 50 states have restrictive rules to prevent residents from carrying a concealed weapon, while 11 states permit any resident who lawfully owns a firearm to carry it concealed without further requirements. Millions of Americans own and use firearms peacefully. Despite the recent uptick in gun violence in a few cities, the past 20 years have seen a dramatic drop in gun crime and gun homicides. The Second Amendment affords Americans a right and ability to protect themselves and their loved ones. It places ultimate trust in the good sense of the American people, as the Founders intended.

Tim Norris, a long-time Panhandle resident is past Chairman of the Walton County Republican Party and is the current Republican Party of Florida’s State Committeeman for Walton County. Tim Resides in Santa Rosa Beach with his wife Nancy. The couple have 3 daughters, Calli, Hannah and Piper.

2nd Amendment- A Fundamental Principle of American Liberty

In light of the Florida Department of Agriculture closing the processing of concealed carry permits due to Covid-19 restrictions has opened some eyes and more debates.   New applications need to have finger prints provided from either of two locations,  law enforcement or Tax Collectors offices.  So most of these offices have been closed or have very limited hours of operation.   Is this a time when Government agencies begin to control your 2nd Amendment rights?   Gun sales have spiked across the nation during this time!  What is going on!   Just as firearm sales are on the rise, the crime rate is down, except for acts of domestic violence, which have increased.

A Florida Representative wants firearm owners to quarantine their firearms from its ammunition and then lock them up. “While we stay home and socially distance, it is imperative for gun owners to make sure that their firearms are unloaded, separated from ammunition, and locked up.”  What would be the point of having a firearm for home and self-defense if it’s not ready to be used at a second’s notice?

If the Federal Government was to cut the Military budget again as it did at times from 2008 -2016 decreasing the size and potency of the US Military, should the citizens be prepared to defend ourselves?

The Second Amendment reads, “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.

The origins of the Second Amendment can be traced to ancient Roman and Florentine times, but its English origins developed in the late 16th century when Queen Elizabeth I instituted a national militia in which individuals of all classes were required by law to take part to defend the Kingdom.   Although Elizabeth’s attempt to establish a national militia failed miserably, the ideology of the militia would be used as a political tool up to the mid-18th century. The political debate over the establishment and control of the militia was a contributing factor in both the English Civil Wars (1642–51) and the Glorious Revolution (1688–89).

The framers of the U.S. Constitution undoubtedly had in mind the English allowance to “have arms” when drafting the Second Amendment. The constitutional significance of a “well regulated Militia” is well documented in English and American history from the late 17th century through the American Revolution; it was included in the Articles of Confederation (1781), the country’s first constitution, and was even noted at the Constitutional Convention that drafted the new U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787. The right to “keep and bear Arms” was thus included as a means to accomplish the objective of a “well regulated Militia”—to provide for the defense of the nation, to provide a well-trained and disciplined force to check federal tyranny, and to bring constitutional balance by distributing the power of the sword equally among the people, the states, and the federal government.

Like other rights Americans derived from England, the original English right to have arms had restrictions — in this case religious and class limits, although these fell away by the early 19th century. In his classic work popular with the Founders, “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” William Blackstone referred to the right of having arms as a “natural right of resistance and self preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”   What about today’s Religion and gun rights?   Recently a Study by Matt Kelly, Xavier University was done on religion and gun ownership (mainly Protestant and Catholic, due to the religions longevity in America) and party identity.

Gun Ownership and Religion for Party ID

Dem./Gun in house – Protestant 27.4%, Catholic 18.2%

Rep./ Gun in house – Protestant 52.2%, Catholic 39.8%

Ind./Gun in house – Protestant 32.1%, Catholic 17.7%

Other/Gun in house – Protestant 37.5%, Catholic 25.0%

Gun Ownership and Religion for Region

South/Gun in house – Protestant 43.8%, Catholic 22.3%

Non-South/Gun in house – Protestant 33.5%, Catholic 24.9%

In 2008 the Supreme Court acted, In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court examined the meaning of the Second Amendment for the first time.   The justices overturned Washington, D.C.’s ban on residents keeping handguns in their homes, affirming the individual’s right to keep and bear those weapons in common use for self-defense and other lawful purposes.

Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment’s individual right throughout the country, finding it “a fundamental principle of American liberty.”

Despite these decisions, debate continues. Both landmark opinions affirming the right of Americans to keep and bear arms were passed by 5-4 majorities, with the dissenting justices asking that they be overturned. Further, some judges are choosing to ignore the high court.

Moves to protect and expand the right to be armed are, however, rapidly advancing in the states. Forty-four state constitutions include a right to be armed, and only nine of the 50 states have restrictive rules to prevent residents from carrying a concealed weapon, while 11 states permit any resident who lawfully owns a firearm to carry it concealed without further requirements.

Millions of Americans own and use firearms peacefully. Despite the recent uptick in gun violence in a few cities, the past 20 years have seen a dramatic drop in gun crime and gun homicides.

The Second Amendment affords Americans a right and ability to protect themselves and their loved ones. It places ultimate trust in the good sense of the American people, as the Founders intended.

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