US Judges Display Little Respect For Second Amendment Rights
By Jeff Knox
Manassas, VA –-(Ammoland.com)- It can be argued that the only personal property specifically protected by the US Constitution is firearms.
While the Fourth Amendment promises “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” and requires a sworn warrant “describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,” it does specifically allow for such seizure if the “i’s” are properly dotted and the “t’s” correctly crossed.
Similarly the Fifth Amendment guarantees against a person being “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” but again, it recognizes a process for such deprivation and taking.
The Second Amendment contains no such provisions for circumvention.
While I would not argue that the Second Amendment precludes society from ever restricting arms in any circumstance – such as to inmates in prison or briefly while police sort out the good guys from the bad guys at an incident – I do believe that it places firearms in a very special and protected place under law; a place where any deprivation of the right should receive special scrutiny and careful consideration. But our judicial system seems to take the exact opposite view. In any legal issue firearms are typically the first thing taken away and the last thing returned – if they are ever returned at all.
A couple of recent cases renewed my concern about the attitude that the courts routinely exhibit toward guns.
In Nevada last October Al DiCicco made the mistake of taking political speech a bit too far when he expressed his dislike for a local Family Court judge by backing his truck into one of the judge’s reelection campaign signs. A local police officer happened to see the vandalism and Al found himself under arrest for a gross misdemeanor. During the arrest a loaded lever-action rifle was discovered in DiCicco’s truck. That’s another misdemeanor. The police seized the rifle and a .32 caliber pistol which was legally carried.
After resolution of the citations the judge declared that she was not going to return DiCicco’s guns – even though Nevada law does not provide for forfeiture of the rifle under the circumstances and the pistol was not connected to any crime. Now DiCicco, who is disabled and lives on a small, fixed income, is left with the option of either allowing his guns to be illegally forfeited or trying to scrape together the funds to stage a challenge to the unlawful taking.
In a different incident that illustrates the same issue, Joe Winslow, a member of the Quartzsite, Arizona Town Council, has sworn out a protective order complaint against a local political activist. He claimed that he thought the activist was headed toward violence and requested that the judge ban the man from City Hall and prohibit him from possessing firearms or ammunition. The judge granted his request. (She subsequently vacated that decision after exposure in the Knox Report on WND.com and ensuing public outrage.)
Consider the ramifications of this court order. The court forbid a person from the immediate vicinity of a public servant and suspended the constituent’s constitutional rights – anywhere – indefinitely. He could go bird hunting in Argentina and be cited for violating the terms of the protective order. All based on an unsubstantiated suspicion.
These are but two among thousands of examples of courts displaying utter disdain for the Second Amendment and the individual right to arms. I personally have had to do battle with a judge when the .22 rifle my father gave me for my 10th birthday (a most treasured possession) was stolen and criminally misused. When the criminal proceedings ended and I expected my gun to be returned, the judge declared that the gun was to be forfeited as if it belonged to the criminal. Were it not for the assistance of a City Prosecutor I don’t think I would have been able to recover that precious family heirloom. And this happened at a time when I was a very prominent member of the business community and had just come within a few hundred votes of winning a seat in the state legislature. I seriously doubt that someone less well-connected could have gotten the gun back.
The primary mission of government is to ensure the blessings of liberty to the citizens. The primary mission of the courts is to uphold the rule of law toward that end. For the courts to dismiss core tenets of the law and disregard a fundamental, enumerated right as if it were a government-granted privilege is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. We elect these judges or elect the people who appoint them. It’s up to us to hold them accountable for their lack of respect for the Constitution.
Copyright © 2011 Neal Knox Associates – The most trusted name in the rights movement.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org