Rights cannot be denied only infringed

Whenever someone says something to the effect that the Bill of Rights grants something or another or the Constitution gives the average person something I have a strong urge to swat them alongside the head. The Constitution only gives the government certain enumerated powers. I correct people that make such mistakes and will not converse further with them on the topic of politics until they acknowledge the truth of that. Once they verify the correctness of my remembrance of the wording of the BOR and the Constitution we can then have a meaningful discussion even if we disagree on a few particulars.

This means, as it was stated in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 551 (1876), “This is not a right granted by the Constitution.  Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.  The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed;…”

I’m reminded of this because people in the UK are exercising their rights to keep and bear arms even though it has been severely infringed. Thanks to The War on Guns for pointing this out:

A widow who lives alone in a Wiltshire farmhouse has taken to sleeping with a Smith & Wesson Saturday Night Special under her pillow. It belonged to her husband and is more than capable of stopping an intruder, of which she has had three in the last two years.

When she goes shopping in Swindon, she slips a can of Mace into her handbag in case of assault. “Bought it at the ironmongers in Bergerac,” she says. “Much more effective than an Asbo.”

A senior civil servant, now retired and living in a remote house near Losthwithiel in Cornwall, believes in the efficacy of a small-calibre .22 pistol. It was easy to buy without a licence or proof of identity in rural France, where they are used to kill vermin.

…increasingly they are brought back from Europe by car.

HM Revenue and Customs figures confirm this, showing an increase in weaponry seized at ports. For instance, 842 stun guns were intercepted by searches in 2005, an eight-fold increase year on year.

Most weapons seized are from respectable people worried about their security. Mace, pepper spray and metal-spring batons, illegal here, are easily and lawfully acquired in Europe, while high-calibre pistols can be bought in the Czech Republic.

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