Quote of the day—Stephen Halbrook

There is only one Second Amendment. It means what it meant in 1791. Although analysis of attitudes in 1868 is relevant to determining whether the Second Amendment is incorporated, that does not change the fact that what was incorporated was the pre-existing right to keep and bear arms. Post-1868 evidence cannot be used to contradict that original understanding.

Stephen Halbrook
December 14, 2022
Did the Fourteenth Amendment Alter the Meaning of the Second Amendment?
[Shouldn’t that be “Post-1791 evidence…”?—Joe]


4 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Stephen Halbrook

  1. It’s curious that Halbrook, of all people, doesn’t point out that the “incorporation” by the 14th Amendment was technically redundant, because the plain wording of the 2nd Amendment applies to all governments, not just the Federal one. After all, he cites a Texas state supreme court decision, from around 1850 or so, that made this point.
    Then again, as was pointed out around 1790, most of the Bill of Rights is redundant (at least with respect to Federal powers) because none of what it explicitly prohibits was authorized to the Federal government in the first place — none of it appears in Article 1 Section 8. And this was pointed out (also cited by Halbrook, I think) by the MA ratifying convention in its debates on whether to ratify the Bill of Rights.
    Unfortunately, we know all too well that even repeating a Constitutional restriction several times doesn’t make politicians obey. Which of course points out the silliness of suggesting the passing of laws that essentially just say “politicians must obey the laws that were put in place earlier”. (The recently passed “Respect for Marriage Act” is a case in point, since Article 4 Section 1 already required all that.)

  2. Indeed, the mental gymnastics of the Left to try and skirt one of the most nontechnical legal statues in human history never cease to amaze me. They pick at the expository clause desperate to find some prestidigitation of the acknowledgement of the individual right to arms somehow magically was giving the government the right of having an Army. Never mind that such power had already been given to Congress in Article I, Section 8, Clause 12, the so called ‘Army Clause.’

    Conversely, the next mental back flip of the Leftist is to argue about State Militia, but that is a non-starter as well thanks to the tenth amendment. The power of the creation of Armies is held by Congress and thus cannot be held by the States. I’ll refrain from the argument about the differences between Militia and Armies as they are academic in context of the subject and not actually relevant to the conversation on Individual Rights. The common body of citizens of the United States understood in 1791 AND 1866 that the Constitution acknowledged and guarenteed the right of any private person to secure any weapon he desired and could afford and to carry such arms on and about his person with impunity.

    Indeed, it is the hysteria about race wars and white massacres that where plainly touted from the newspapers of the day all the way to the infamous Dredd Scott ruling of the Supreme Court. Any curtailment of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has ALWAYS been in the effort to disarm the Black man and the so-called Native Americans.

    No, the Second Amendment means exactly what it says and everyone for 100 years understood that. Whatever you could afford, from a pocket knife to a full on war ship was your right as a human being and government had no say in it.

  3. In all this we are never asked to examine those proposing the laws and their intension to find criminality, to make criminal?
    To write and apply a law that was wrote only to make criminal that which “could be”, is a crime itself. If you can’t get a gun, you can’t shoot anyone, is the logic stream.
    But we do not have a gun problem. We have a problem with people who don’t know how to control themselves. Which we will always have.
    And which we already have laws against.
    As you have pointed out Joe, Having and shooting firearms for a lifetime without criminality. Now the intent is to make you a criminal for what you “could do” with your firearms.
    And that to me is what is explicitly forbidden all government under a 2A.

  4. True.

    But many, including virtually all Republicans who pretend to “support the second amendment”, would want us to believe that the meaning, relevance and importance of the 2A are matters of opinion, up for public debate. That in turn is a positive statement to the effect that the 2A (or any article of the constitution) is up for revision at any election or at any meeting of Congress, or any city council meeting in any backwater town. To wit, and here is the very best we’re going to get from the Party: consider the carefully parsed words;

    We know what we’d LIKE to hear from such a speech, but we must have the sobriety to consider what’s actually being said. And for the most part we do not.
    And if you understood my football/politics analogy, you’d understand why these things are so. Thus a speech from D Trump in which he has already come out in favor of nationalized medicine, but says something mildly approving about the 2A, or gives a vague insinuation that he might work to reduce illegal immigration slightly, will be met with loud cheers and celebrations and songs!

    The Supreme Law of the Land, understood as such, is not subject to anyone’s opinion, nor is it up for debate by scholars. Anyone even so much as insinuating that it is; you can rest assured that he is not in favor of it, and when the proverbial rubber meets the road he will not defend it. Like “a John McCain” (a term which should now be firmly ensconced in the political lexicon of the world) he will turn on you, angrily, hatefully, fearfully, and speak bitter insults at you, and strike like a snake. You should know in advance that he will do these things, because, as you should know by now, his office and title, and in many cases his very life, are given over to the enemies of liberty.

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

    But not all is lost. Prophesy assures us that we will have friends in high places. Unfortunately for many however, that specifically refers to the friends of the followers of Christ.

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