The 2nd and 10th Amendments: The Right and Power of States to Protect Life and Defend Liberty

It is extremely troubling to note the inappropriate, or just basically wrong, responses of, supposedly, knowledgeable federal and State government officers to ignorant U.S. citizens who act and speak irresponsibly as though they know nothing at all about the U.S. Constitution and its timely purpose in today’s 21st Century society. In the wake of mass murders committed by mentally deranged human beings using firearms, there are presently individuals, and groups of individuals, around the republic clamoring for the federal government to create laws, decrees, and orders that will alter and diminish the right of the sane, reasonable, and responsible citizens of the USA to keep and bear arms, meaning firearms under the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights. My friend, attorney Mark Levin, was totally correct when he recently stated that “no one, it seems, wants to meaningfully discuss the U.S. Constitution today in its correct context.” Yet, that’s exactly what I want to do in this essay article, regarding the sacred right to keep and bear arms.

The honored Framers of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, including James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams, with Thomas Jefferson advising from France, were not devoid of wisdom when they crafted, and the State legislatures ratified, the Bill of Rights, which were the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. A majority of that Convention refused to even discuss a constitution without assurance that a Bill of Rights would be included. Nine of the twenty-six provisions stated within the Bill of Rights were crafted from the articles of the great Magna Carta, or the Great Charter, drafted in 1215 by the Archbishop of Canterbury and signed by King John of England in June of that year, and the right to keep and bear arms was one of those articles. Of course, bows, arrows, spears, knives, and swords were the only weapons of war available at that time to the common Englishman, but as times changed, weapons, or arms, changed and improved in their lethal effectiveness. The U.S. Constitution was, as James Madison exclaimed in his “Federalist 44,” to specifically limit the federal government in its power, and to generally empower the rights of the State governments, or the People. This principle of federalism was delineated very specifically in the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which very few of the literate citizens of the USA currently understand and comprehend. The 10th Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This 10th Amendment has been called by some the exclusive 10th Amendment police power of the States, or the People, because it provides for an open-ended opportunity for the States to craft their own laws in order to properly police and protect their People in accordance with the specific prohibitions concerning their powers within the Constitution. In other words, the States have the power to legislate any State laws to benefit their people which are not specifically denied to them by the U.S. Constitution. For instance, a State cannot conduct foreign affairs with a foreign power, such as Mexico or Japan. This is a power specifically delegated to the federal government’s Executive branch in the Constitution. Yet, States have the power to create their own money as legal tender for payment of debts, providing that that money is in the form of gold or silver coins. This is what might be called a joint power with the federal government, since Article 1, Section 8 specifically states that the federal government has the only power to “print” federal paper money for use throughout the USA as legal tender for purchases and debts. The State of Utah is one of the States that has created its own gold currency through a State legislated law.

Now, what about the 2nd Amendment in regard to the 10th Amendment police power of the States? The 2nd Amendment simply affirms that, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This constraint applies to both the federal government and the State governments; yet, if considered properly, a very interesting application proceeds from it. The federal government “cannot” diminish to any degree, or infringe upon, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, which it has illegally done by passing legislation to impose gun registration laws upon the States. Nonetheless, the States have the open-ended power to expand those laws, as does the federal government, extending greater rights to the People to keep and bear arms. For instance, the States have the right to allow their People to openly carry handguns, and to pass laws setting age restrictions for purchasing, owning, and carrying handguns; but for a State, or a federal district, to pass laws flatly denying its citizens the right to purchase, possess, and carry firearms is a blatant infringement of the 2nd Amendment. In other words, the federal government cannot denigrate, to any degree, by legislation, the right of the People to keep and bear arms. It can, however, promote the welfare of the States by promoting, or encouraging, the States to pass laws that will provide the greatest safety for the People through the purchasing, keeping, and bearing firearms.

At this juncture in this article, the practicable and utilitarian example of the State of Texas’ use of their 10th Amendment police power has an important application to all of the fifty American States. The legendary Texas Rangers were a force to be reckoned-with during an early period of prevailing lawlessness on a Republic of Texas’ frontier, and as a newly annexed State; and the Rangers continue to be a formidable means of effective law enforcement in the 21st Century. The old expression still applies as a basic truism in Texas, “one riot, one Texas Ranger,” where the audacious, yet prudent, power and authority of a good stern person wielding a handgun for the sake of justice, law, and order is confirmed in the minds of the lawless. The States, all of the States, have an open-ended power to train and arm anyone it so chooses to protect their people. The federal government, on the other hand, has no Constitutional power, whatsoever, to place armed federal police, or military personnel, in the cities and towns of the States to enforce State or federal laws. When people from other States drive into a Texas town and see a sign in bold letters at the city-limits that says, “Beware murderers, bank robbers, thieves, and rapists… Our school teachers, store-owners, and most of our citizens are armed and know how to use their weapons very effectively. So, don’t mess with us,” it goes a long way in driving-home the reality that the people of that town are very serious about protecting their own. And they have a God-given right to do so. Any sign along a Texas highway boldly saying, “Don’t Mess With Texas,” goes way beyond the warning and penalties for littering. On the other hand, if you every see a sign in a city or town saying, “Beware, the FBI is on the job here,” you are witnessing an expression of federal intimidation through the unconstitutional use of federal power. Federal law enforcement, the FBI, U.S. Marshalls, the Secret Service, etc. can never legally impose itself on State, county, and local law enforcement; that is, unless a federal crime has been committed, or if invited by a State to assist in an investigation.

So, when the crowds of ignorant and disingenuous people, both U.S. Citizens, legally visiting aliens, and illegal aliens, petition in front of the White House, the federal Capitol Building, and the U.S. Supreme Court for federal Executive orders, federal legislations, and U.S. Supreme Court activism to create unconstitutional laws restricting the right of the People, under the 2nd Amendment, to keep and bear arms, the reasonable and prudent People of the republic, and the news media in support of those reasonable citizens, should immediately decry such unconstitutional demonstrations and vociferously proclaim the Constitutional right of the States to police and protect their citizens under the 2nd Amendment and the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. All State school systems, by State legislation of laws, should very discriminately choose responsible and caring teachers, and guards, to be trained and armed with handguns to carry, and use when necessary, while on-duty in their schools, in order to protect the lives of the students and unarmed faculty from deranged murderers who steal onto their campuses. There is no doubt that, if responsible guards and teacher(s), both men and women, had been trained, armed, and present on the campuses, in the classrooms and hallways where mass-murders have been committed in the schools around the USA, the probability would have been very high that the deranged assailants would have been quickly neutralized before they would have done any lethal harm.

There are many other reasons for caring and responsible men and women to be effectively trained to carry and use handguns, as there are many good reasons for keeping rifles and handguns in the homes of law-abiding families, many more reasons than not keeping and bearing firearms. One very important truth should always be remembered when considering the importance of keeping and bearing firearms. If the good and decent citizens of the republic are restricted by unconstitutional government action from keeping and bearing arms in defense of their families, friends, communities, and the common law, the only people who will end-up possessing handguns, rifles, and shotguns will be those sinister people with criminal intents and purposes who will use the tens of millions of black-marketed firearms available to them for murderous and illegitimate purposes. It is good to also remember that the militia, as defined by the 2nd Amendment and by James Madison in his “Federalist 46,” are the men, women, and adolescents of mature age, the People of the USA, who keep and bear arms in the republic.

Now we arrive at probably the most provocative element of the awful misuse of the 10th Amendment police power by the States. This has been the copycat effect of the States following federal action in imposing, over the decades of the 20th Century, unnecessary exorbitant taxation upon the People, and then woefully misusing it. This unlawful effect is inexorably prevalent in the 21st Century and has been so since 1913, when the sordid 16th Amendment was, supposedly, legally ratified by the State legislatures. For reasons contrary to the astute wisdom of the Framers, the federal government saw pragmatic purpose in making what was totally unconstitutional in 1912 apparently constitutional in 1913, that being un-apportioned taxation in the form of a federal income tax. As the proverbial apple does not, in most cases, fall far from its parent tree, the parent example of the federal government imposing un-apportioned taxation upon the States gave most of the States an incentive over time to do the same horrible thing to its own citizens. By the mid-20th Century, most the States had pragmatically legislated State income taxes upon their electorates, and by 1960, the States were taxing their hardworking People 2,000 percent more than King George III had unlawfully taxed the American colonists in 1775. Of course, King George III had taxed the colonists without their representation in the British Parliament, while the State legislatures pompously claimed that they were producing necessary taxation through a process based upon the proper representation of their citizens. This totally unsubstantiated claim of representation and support of the State electorates was, and still is, without merit, and was founded totally upon a false perception of what small wealthy minorities of overtaxed State electorates have claimed is being done with the exorbitant tax revenue obtained by forced collection. As it still stands since 1913, the popular desire of the great majority of the State electorates is the abrogation of all state and federal income tax through repeal of the 16th Amendment.

As the “security” of the “blessings of liberty and natural law” was the purposed end-result of the establishment of the American Constitution, as proclaimed in its often forgotten Preamble, the 10th Amendment police power was predicated upon the protection of those liberties and freedoms by the States. Moreover, the honorable Framer James Madison wrote extensively upon the sacredness of the money, the income, earned by citizens of the American republic, and the evil of a federal government effort to tax it. He fully delineated, in the “Federalist Papers” the reason why federal and State government should always seek to limit, instead of expanding, it’s taxing authority upon the People.

Yet, while the States maddeningly pursue the unmitigated taxation of their People, their misuse of that exorbitant tax money in not providing for the protection of their people is, yet, another salient issue. Most of the State, county, and municipal governments use great amounts of tax money to maintain their law enforcement agencies. The standard expression used by most governors, county commissioners, mayors, and city managers, “let the police deal with violent crime that exists,” and to a reasonable degree this is wise counsel, as far as the investigation, apprehension, and arrest of criminal perpetrators are concerned, after the commission of violent crimes. Yet, the 2nd Amendment was set in place as a preventive deterrent to crime, and as a protective means for the People, or the States, in order to ensure their safety and liberty; since the State, county, and municipal police cannot, in most cases, be on the scene all of the time to prevent all crimes (murders, burglaries, rapes) from happening.

While most of the States are, by far, following the unreasonable example of the federal government of legislating totally unnecessary and improper laws, their creation of their own superfluous laws and executive agencies for their execution illustrate what those State governments are not doing; that is, fully protecting their People. Since they, and they alone, have the Constitutional 10th Amendment power and responsibility to protect and serve the People, the passage of such laws by the State legislatures is essential. Most of the States are greatly over-taxing their citizens and then using that ill-gotten revenue for socialistic purposes while neglecting the need to protect their People. Those arcane 21st Century State, and federal, politicians who still stupidly insist that the honored Framers were, either, unable or unwilling to craft a meaningful U.S. Constitution for all the ages to come are doing great disservice to the republic through their blatant propaganda, which is sad evidence of their own ignorance of relevant history.

While, for example, the federal government is to, alone, provide for the common national defense by maintenance and use of the U.S. Military, the States, each and every one of them, are to, alone, provide for the maintenance of law enforcement and social order with them, through use of their open-ended police powers. In the same way that the Framers gave the States total control over the education of their People, civil rights, agriculture, abortion, and every other matter not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, those wise men (who were assuredly counseled and advised by their sagacious wives) essentially instructed the States through the explicit letter of the U.S. Constitution to do “whatever” was necessary, within their power, to protect their People from criminals and their criminally destructive ways. Nonetheless, as the States continue to flippantly and carelessly tax their people and build unnecessary government bureaucracies, funding them exorbitantly, the great majority of them are grossly deficient in producing legislation to adequately protect their citizens in an age of unbounding criminal conspiracies and social and political turmoil. The criminal upending of morality and the desecration of natural law by deliberate political design brings with it heinous consequences and their pernicious effect on the American family, the education of the youth of the States, and on the ultimate mission of the States to protect and perpetuate liberty.

Therefore, in the pure interest of preserving and protecting human life and for the perpetuation of liberty, the State governments should immediately cease their obeisance to, and deferential respect for, unconstitutional federal government Legislative, Executive, and Judicial actions and properly use the power bestowed by the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment upon them, or the People. There is nothing more grand and godly than the preservation of human life and liberty through the proper exercise and use of law; for, as the great John Adams so vehemently stated, “We are a nation of laws, and not of men.”