Quote of the day–James H. Warner

On July 6, 1775, after Lexington and Concord, after General Gage had declared martial law in Boston on June 12 of that year, Congress issued the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms. In the Declaration the Congress states, as one of the reasons for taking up arms, that Gage had disarmed the people of Boston and seized their weapons. Finally, one year after the Declaration of Causes, the Continental Congress concluded that it was forced to declare independence.

It would seem strange if the authors of the Bill of Rights were to insist upon protecting other rights against government interference yet exclude from that protection the auxiliary right which is necessary to protect the most fundamental of all rights, the right to life. Recall that the confiscation of private arms was list as one of the causes for taking up arms against the Crown. Recall that the Declaration of Right asserted that we are entitled to the protection of the laws of England, including the right to arms for self-defense, which was declared to be our birthright which was restored by act of parliament. Would they have written such amendments to protect against oppressive government, having recently experienced oppressive government, without protecting the auxiliary right which is necessary to protect the one right without which no other right may be enjoyed? Of course, as we have said, contemporary thinkers believed that this right had been secured in the Second Amendment.

At the time Madison wrote the Second Amendment, there was a right of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense. This right was believed, by the Framers, to be an right inalienable. Every word of the Constitution, and the articles of amendment, was written, approved, and ratified by men who believed this.

James H. Warner
February 2008
Brief for amici curiae Disabled Veterans for Self-Defense and Kestra Childers in support of respondent.
[Only one more day until oral arguments.–Joe]