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Maybe Congress shouldn't do anything
Author: TriSec    Date: 04/13/2013 12:24:20


It's all about the guns. Like the saying goes, "God, Guns, and Gays". For whatever reason, the national GOP has cornered the market on these things. Every piece of legislation, every proposal, even the merest thought of anything, needs to be viewed through this odd prism.

I could go on about the path towards Christian Sharia we're on, or how soon the gays will be shuffled off to Tule Lake, but that's not what this is about today.


Fortunately, I live in a northeast state that seems to have some common sense about these things. Like most of America, it took me days to get past the Sandy Hook massacre. Hell, whenever I see a Tiger Scout it still makes me pause and think for a minute. But time is transient. It might be no less a sad thing when it happens, but come June 2024, I hope we see this community back in the news as we remember what would have been their high school graduation, but I digress.

After a national tragedy, there is often a clarion call for Congress to "do something". The trouble is, I wonder if they actually can? Not because of the usual set of roadblocks, or ideological opposition, or the fact that the NRA Lobby really runs the place, but because of something else the Framers wrote. It’s the Tenth Ammendment.

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.

"But wait a second, TriSec, of course guns are in the Constitution, right in the Second Amendment!", I can hear you all saying. Well, of course they are. But the powers concerning that "well-regulated militia" are not!

Excuse me while I put my fundamentalist hat on….the only actual enumeration of the powers of Congress in the Bill of Rights come in the First Amendment, where it clearly states "Congress shall make no law", but that concerns religion, freedom of speech, peacable assembly, and government petition.

In fact, if you read the entire Bill of Rights and think of it in terms of grade school English, seven of the amendments have specific things that are being protected, excluded, preserved, or otherwise.

Three of them don't. Number 9 states "The enumeration of certain rights shall not deny or disparage others….

Number 10 references The powers not delegated to the United States [Federal government] are reserved to the states.

And of course, pesky #2. the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

So instead of writing reams more about how Congress should be "doing something", perhaps a different approach might better suit us all. Fortunately, this seems to be happening already. If you keep up with the good Dr. Maddow, you know she's been keeping a running total of states that are changing their own laws. So far, I think it's 6. Looking over the Constitution again, let's do an old-school proof:

1. A massacre happens in one of the several states.
2. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
3. Congress was not specifically empowered to legislate on this matter.
4. The powers not delegated to the United States are reserved to the states.

Therefore, the power to legislate a well-regulated militia lies at the state level.

Perhaps it always has.

And in a post-script, let's take a brief look at "infringe". Like "enumerate", it's one of those words that seems to be used in the Constitution and nowhere else. But what does it mean, exactly?

Definition of INFRINGE
transitive verb
1 to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another
2 obsolete : defeat, frustrate

So, keeping my fundamentalist hat on, any law of any kind that restricts "the right to keep and bear arms" is infringement, and therefore unconstitutional. Is that really what the Framers meant?

6 comments (Latest Comment: 04/14/2013 14:21:24 by Scoopster)
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