A Case for Constitutional Open Carry of Firearms

April 26, 2016—January 1 of this year marked a historic day in my great home state of Texas, which became the 15th state in the union to allow for open carry of all hand guns with proper licensing.

In Texas, obtaining a license to carry a hand gun is a fairly simple process: complete a one-day class that’s even offered on Saturday, get a passing grade on a simple shooting test to demonstrate your ability, and pass a background test, then bam… you have yourself a license to keep and bear arms just like the Second Amendment guarantees.

 

“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.”
December 15, 1791, The Bill of Rights, The Second Amendment to the US Constitution

“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. …. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”
Thomas Jefferson

New_Hampshire_Open_Carry_2009Neither the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights nor the sentiments of founding father Thomas Jefferson express any belief that the government issues us our right to bear arms or issues us the right to take our arms with us. If Government issues us a right to carry our arms, then it’s not a right at all, it’s a privilege. We don’t have a government granted privilege to keep and bear arms, we have a right to keep and bears arms. Rights don’t come from other men, they are granted to us by our creator. Privileges are given to us by other men.

The phrase “the right of the people” appears over and over in the Bill of Rights. It’s not just used in the Second Amendment to refer to our right to keep and bear arms as it also appears in the First and the Fourth Amendments. If one argues that the states or other men have the right to limit our Second Amendment right to keep and bears arms, then one would also have to argue that the same would apply to the governments right to limit our First Amendment right to free speech, religion etc. etc. as well as our Fourth Amendment right, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Meaning states would be allowed to tell us what religions we are free to practice and what books we are free to read, and if certain religions or books are deemed unnecessary or dangerous the government could ban them through legislation or executive order. The same goes for the Fourth Amendment. If one believes that the right of the people to keep and bear arms can be limited by the states, then our Fourth Amendment rights are open to interpenetration. Perhaps one would argue only those with state issued licenses are exempt from unreasonable searches and seizures, and those without state issues licenses do not have these protections and are all on a general warrant to be searched at any time with or without cause.

There’s a difference between rights and privileges. A right is the sovereignty to act without the permission of others. Rights are inherit and are not granted to us by other men and thus cannot be taken away by other men. For example, I have a right to my life, and since no person granted me that right, no person can take that right away from me. I also have the right to protect the right. If rights can be taken away from you, they aren’t rights at all; they are privileges.

A privilege is defined as a special opportunity to do something, like driving a car. The Constitution guarantees no right to drive. This is an earned privileged, which is why states rightfully issue a driver’s license upon completion of typically a course or courses, a written test and a road test where you demonstrate your ability. Doesn’t that seem remarkably similar to what is required to get a carry license?

The states have blurred the lines between rights and privileges to the point where they are indistinguishable. Make no mistake, there’s a huge difference between a right and a privilege and make no mistake carrying a firearm is a right. Therefore, it is morally wrong to require someone to pass a test and a licensing process to carry a fire arm. We are already guaranteed that right by the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

Making an individual pass a written test sounds similar to reconstruction laws that made freed slaves pass literacy tests so they could vote. I often hear that this is a state’s issue and is best left to the individual states to limit what guns you can carry and who can carry them. Make no mistake, this is not a state’s rights issue either, or a Tenth Amendment issue. The Tenth Amendment refers to the powers that are not delegated in the Constitution. The right to bear arms is a delegated power in the constitution therefore its not left to the states, just like banning free speech or enacting slavery are not powers that are left to the states. These things are unconstitutional, thus illegal.

Not only is carrying a firearm constitutional, it is also practical. The more people carrying, the less crime there will be. Concealed or open carry reduces crime PERIOD! Since 2007, concealed carry licenses have increased almost threefold from about four-million to now over 12 million, and murder rates in the same time period have decreased by about 25%. In my state of Texas, citizens with concealed carry licenses are 14 times less likely to commit a crime. Additionally, carry license holders are five times less likely to commit a violent crime than the general public.

Believe it or not, Vermont has allowed constitutional carry since the 18th century and has consistently ranked as the first or second most peaceful state in America by the Institute for Economics and Peace. In 2012, there were a grand total of two, that’s right, two gun murders in the entire state.

When government has the power to decide who can keep and carry arms, they also have the power to decide who may not carry, they can apply this to political opposition, minorities or anything else government deems dangerous. World renowned civil rights activist and avid gun owner, Martin Luther King, Jr. used non-violence and peaceful means to bring about change. Despite his peaceful ways, he received countless death threats. So its came as no surprise that in 1956, King applied for a concealed weapons permit in Alabama, due to his receiving constant death threats and having his house bombed. He was denied. Several years later, an unarmed King was assassinated. The world lost a hero and a visionary in part because he was denied a license to protect his life. If a non-violent peace loving man like Martin Luther King, Jr. can be denied a license to carry a firearm, anyone can be.

The current permission slip style gun privileges we have today not only do not work and make law abiding citizens less safe, they also violate our human right to protect our life. Requiring licensing and fees to acquire a permission slip to carry a gun is not only immoral, it is also unconstitutional, thus illegal. And when fees are required for registration, or a fee to take a test, it disproportionately affects poor citizens, perhaps poor citizens that live in undesirable crime infested areas that need the protection to carry more than anyone.

The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to protect ourselves from tyrannical governments. If one is required to ask a tyrannical government for a permission slip to protect themselves from that very same tyrannical government, the tyrannical government will certainly deny their opposition the right to carry arms. Every law abiding American already has a concealed carry license, it’s the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and it’s about time this right is recognized and no longer treated like a privilege.

Do you open carry? Comment below!

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