Letters to the Editor

Thursday, Feb 07 2013 04:40 PM

Codifying a pre-existing right

By The Bakersfield Californian

A Jan. 31 letter, "We're always balancing rights of one vs. many," censured Ric Llewellyn's Jan. 26 column, arguing the First, Second and Fourth amendments to the Constitution should not be cavalierly modified. The writer then made the indefensible statement, "We the people have come together in agreement that we must give up our absolute rights and allow for the protection of the whole of our society." (I must have missed that memo.)

The writer asks, "Anyone read the Preamble lately?," as if that somehow supports the statement. I taught Constitutional law on the college level and practiced it as an attorney and judge for nearly four decades. The Preamble may begin with "We the people" but in no way can it be read as the writer argues, but precisely the opposite. The operative phrase is that the purpose of the Consttution is "... to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity ...". Note it does not say "to grant"; it says "to secure."

The Supreme Court's Heller opinion explained "liberty" means "right" and held, "It has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth, codified a pre-existing right ."

The states wouldn't have ratified the Constitution unless they were assured that a Bill of Rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, would be added. The Revolution had just been fought against a tyrannical government, which denied the colonists of their historical rights.

Washington, Jefferson and Madison, among others, stated a freeman disarmed was no better than a slave.

Romero Jon Moench

Taft

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