Friday, February 14, 2014

Second Amendment, Politicians, Courts, And Veterans

The Second Amendment debate hits the news again.

Despite claims of ablative punctuation marks, the meaning is fairly clear.

The Second Amendment remarks that the federal government and individual states get militias.

Because of the necessity of militias to keep the peace (police and law enforcement officers) and protect the nation (State militia, state guards, the National Guard, The US Armed Forces both active and reserves), the citizens are allowed to own and carry firearms. The federal government, state governments, and municipalities are forbidden from infringing upon that right.

That right accomplishes three major necessities.

First, it arms the populace against enemies, foreign or domestic, and emboldens our nation's ability to protect itself.

Second, it allows citizens to protect themselves, their property, their family, and their communities from criminal threats and invaders. Police can do only so much. As citizens, we each have a duty to do our share. If we are ready to protect ourselves and assist our neighbors in doing the same, police are free to investigate those crimes the citizens could not deter, prevent or abate themselves. Several federal court cases such as Castle Rock vs. Gonzalez further this base tenet of our society.

Third, if one bothers to read The Federalist Papers, you would know that an armed populace is key to mitigating corruption and abuse of power by elected and appointed government officials. This includes the unelected bureaucrats. If citizens are armed, it is much more difficult for power-hungry politicians to become tyrants. It is a deterrent against that tyranny.

Still, states and municipalities seek to attempt to redefine what is and isn't allowed under the Second Amendment.

For example, San Diego, California made a law that required an applicant for a concealed handgun license prove a legitimate need to exercise a basic natural right that is protected by the Second Amendment. The case went to the federal courts. The 9th US District Court, considered the most left-wing-biased federal court in the nation, ruled the law violates the Second Amendment.

Their decision seems to opine that a state can restrict concealed carry or open carry but not both. They struck down the law. California is appealing to the Supreme Court.

Here is a quick excerpt from the majority opinion and ruling (emphasis added):

The Second Amendment secures the right not only to “keep” arms but also to “bear” them — the verb whose original meaning is key in this case. Saving us the trouble of pulling the eighteenth-century dictionaries ourselves, the Court already has supplied the word's plain meaning: “At the time of the founding, as now, 'to bear’ meant to ‘carry.’ ” Heller, 554 U.S. at 584.3 Yet, not “carry” in the ordinary sense of “convey[ing] or transport[ing]” an object, as one might carry groceries to the check-out counter or garments to the laundromat, but “carry for a particular purpose — confrontation.” Id. The “natural meaning of ‘bear arms,’ ”according to the Heller majority, was best articulated by Justice Ginsburg in her dissenting opinion in Muscarello v. United States, 524 U.S. 125 (1998): to “‘wear, bear, or carry. . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose. . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in case of conflict with another person.’” Heller, 554 U.S. at 584 (quoting Muscarello, 524 U.S. at 143 (Ginsburg, J., dissenting)

Of note, Texas restricts both. Open Carry of handguns is illegal in Texas. Concealed Carry is by permit only.  It appears this decision favors Arizona's current laws. Arizona is a constitutional carry state. There are some restrictions for carrying a firearm without a concealed permit. However, a law abiding citizen may carry, open or concealed, in most places without needing a permit.

Along with several key cases in recent years, such as the Heller v DC case, this raises several questions regarding the legality of issuance of concealed (or open) carry permits as well as anti-open-carry laws.

It also questions the necessity of some proposed legislation such as the bill Sen. John Cornyn is currently propagating as a feather in his hat during his re-election campaign. Cornyn has previously stated that he opposes open carry. Yet he sponsored a bill that would make it federal law for all states to recognize a concealed carry permit issued in any state. It sounds great. However, the law just may end up unnecessary. Cornyn may be better served by presenting legislation that better clarifies the Second Amendment and reinstates individual constitutional carry rights nationwide, making all permits unnecessary infringements. So much for his claims of being a "conservative".

Speaking of politicians' banter in Texas, Texas Democrat Darling Wendy "Abortion Barbie" Davis finds herself caught in her own lies yet again.

Many recall when Davis's ex-husband gave an interview concerning Davis's "official biography". It turned out Davis lied about being a single teen mother who struggled to make it on her own. First, she wasn't a teen when she became a single mom. She was a single mom for only a few months before she found a sugar-daddy. That sugar-daddy supported her and her kid through her undergrad degree. She lived in a rather affluent neighborhood near Dallas. That sugar-daddy married her then paid for her Harvard Law degree. Then her infidelity came to light and they divorced. He got custody of the kids. She was more like a weekend-parent than a hard-working single-mom. But, like her hero Obama, she created a "composite character". The difference is that she was the composite character instead of a nonexistent girlfriend.

This time around, Davis claimed she is all in support of Texas law allowing for open carry of firearms.

It turned out to be a lie. First, she may be in favor of open-carry, but only to those select few deemed worthy of a handgun license. She disregards the fact that handgun licenses are infringements of the Second Amendment in the first place. It is sort of like a poll tax, even though there is no directly stated right to vote in the constitution (and it is implied only in regards to US Congressional and Senatorial elections). 

To show her stance to be even further from supporting the Second Amendment, she also stated that she believes the US Constitution doesn't have any sovereignty over municipalities in regards to the Bill of Rights. She stated that cities have the right to make up their own gun laws and restrictions, to include banning guns from all but those select few the municipalities deem worthy. This begs one simple question:  if the rights to own and carry weapons are subject to the whims of elected municipal politicians, does this apply to the other amendments as well? Does this include the Civil Rights Act? Does this include the 14th Amendment? How about the 1st? Considering the laws and actions of some of Davis's corrupt comrades in places such as San Antonio, it would appear to be the case.

Since we are on the subject of infringements of constitutional rights and abuses of power, let's take a look at abuses of power by bureaucrats in the federal executive branch. The Veterans' Administration under democrat lap-dog Gen. Shinseki has decided it has the power to invoke court orders without a judge.

It has been doing so for some time. If a veteran has TBI or PTSD and has somebody helping them with financial matters, the VA believes it has the right to revoke Second Amendment rights. If one actually reads the US Constitution, only a judge with a jury verdict can declare incompetency or felonious conduct and suspend constitutional rights. The VA is doing so without due process, without a hearing, and without court orders. It is so bad that the US Congress has a bill sitting in limbo that would cease this. The bill should not need to even be passed. It should be a no-brainer.

The VA claims they only do this if a fiduciary is mandated by a court order. However, that is not the case in reality.

Meanwhile, the VA continues to arbitrarily, unilaterally, and unconstitutionally "revoke" veterans' Second Amendment rights.

Most of the recent cases concerned Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI) or Post-Combat Stress (often incorrectly referred to as "PTSD"). The vets go to the VA seeking screening or help. In return they receive a letter from the VA stating that the VA has decided to illegally take away their Second Amendment rights. However, a more recent case involves a Vietnam War veteran. Pat Kirby has struggled with PTSD since the Vietnam War. He has also been a responsible gun owner for decades. His wife, like many wives, manages the finances and books for the household. Pat went to the VA. The VA said that he is incompetent, because his wife handles the finances, and has PTSD, therefore he is no longer allowed to own any firearms.

This is nothing less than complete injustice.

Watch this video about Mr. Kirby:

The VA is currently headed by Shinseki. Shinseki is the joker who had no faith in the US Military. He said we could not topple Saddam's regime in Iraq with the forces available to deploy. He was wrong, obviously. He also thought that US Army Soldiers would be proud to all wear the Ranger's black beret, only with a United Nations flash. Somehow he thought we'd be proud of the symbolism of bending our knee and giving up our national sovereignty to the UN. Again, he was wrong.

Here is an open letter to Shinseki that I posted not too long ago:

Dear Gen Shinseki.

The last I checked, the VA, just like the Army, is part of the executive branch. You may want to review that part of the US Constitution. You do remember that document, correct? It's one you swore an oath to support and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. Well, the illegal infringements and abuse of power your cabinet department is committing are those of domestic enemies. You may want to reel them in a bit.

As a bureaucracy under the executive branch, you do not have the authority to strip constitutional rights or protections. Those require a court order (and usually a conviction by a jury). Those are not powers that we, the people, have granted to the executive branch.

It's time to stop this illegal and immoral policy and abuse of perceived (yet legally nonexistent) authority. It is disgraceful and brings dishonor upon the very Soldiers and veterans you claim to be helping.

P-G Matuszak
SFC, US Army