Right to Keep and Bear Arms Preceded U.S. Constitution

By AWR Hawkins

Thomas Jefferson
Right to Keep and Bear Arms Preceded U.S. Constitution
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Washington DC – -(Ammoland.com)-  The right to keep and bear arms preceded the U.S. Constitution, as our Founding Fathers “propounded” the right but did not create it. They enshrined it via the Bill of Rights, all the while knowing the origin of the right itself was to be found in “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God.”

Thomas Jefferson learned these things from Common Law commentators like William Blackstone. It was Blackstone who so clearly showed that the right to be armed was a natural right “that common law might propound but did not create and could not revoke.”  

Jefferson was by no means alone. In her book To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right, Joyce Lee Malcolm shows that the Founders and their contemporaries were of such a mind that some of them did not even push for a Bill of Rights: they saw no need to do so because the preexistence of the right to keep and bear arms was so obvious to them.

Even after the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, learned men like George Nicholas–a member of the Virginia ratifying convention–wrote: “A bill of rights is only an acknowledgement of the preexisting claim to rights in the people. [These rights] belong to us as much as if they had been asserted in the Constitution.” 

This is critical for our understanding, for there is a growing habit to speak as if the Constitution or its adjoining Bill of Rights created the right to keep and bear arms.

For example, when Justice Richard Posner wrote the majority opinion for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to strike down the Illinois ban on concealed carry, he suggested, “The Supreme Court has decided that the [2nd Amendment] confers a right to bear arms for self-defense.” 

But the message from our Founders and their contemporaries is quite the opposite of this. The 2nd Amendment did not create that right, it only “propounds” and protects a right that existed long before our constitution or Bill of Rights were even a thought in the minds of men.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.

About:
AWR Hawkins writes for all the BIG sites, for Pajamas Media, for RedCounty.com, for Townhall.com and now AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

His southern drawl is frequently heard discussing his take on current events on radio shows like America's Morning News, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, the Ken Pittman Show, and the NRA's Cam & Company, among others. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal (summer 2010), and he holds a PhD in military history from Texas Tech University.

If you have questions or comments, email him at [email protected] You can find him on facebook at www.facebook.com/awr.hawkins.

8
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
8 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
mikratChicago JoeStephen Ray HalePhil BronnerJohn Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
mikrat
Guest
mikrat

Your Right of Defense Against Unlawful Arrest “Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court stated: “Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if… Read more »

Chicago Joe
Guest

I’ve been shooting and handling guns for the past 50 years. Shoot my hand guns just to spend some time with my son at the range.

Since the IL carry law seems to be going in effect, I have a dilemma as whether to carry or not to carry.

Does anyone else have any such dilemma or thoughts on to carry or not to carry? Would listen to suggestions.

I

Stephen Ray Hale
Guest
Stephen Ray Hale

The right to self defense is indeed a natural law not conferred by anything or anyone but God, who insisted a murderer be put down by a fellow man. And it means no one has any right to deny a man whatever he deems to protect himself to be securely attached to him on any property, private or public. A responsible citizen of the community is just that…responsible, even for whatever mayhem is caused by his use of his weapon, namely for ill, and no property owner should be liable for anything that a guest with his right to bear… Read more »

Phil Bronner
Guest
Phil Bronner

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms goes all the way back to when the first bi-pedal humanoid picked up a rock or stick to protect himself and his family. “Rights” CANNOT be given by government, as “Rights” cannot be taken away. “Rights” are an integral component of the “human condition.” Anything “given” by the government is either a “benefit” or an “entitlement” (and thus can be altered, or taken away.) It is government’s job to PROTECT and GUARANTEE our rights….nothing less!

John
Guest
John

Acknowledging God validates the existence of those natural rights. The current regime, in many ways, tries to remove God from the public dialog in order to invalidate those rights.

Mark Are
Guest
Mark Are

Absolutely. The right to keep and bear arms stems from the right to your life, liberty and property. For to protect your life, liberty and property you need the means and the right to self defense and the right to protect your life can only stem from a right that exists from birth. NO ONE has the right to take a right from you. Jefferson called them UNalienable rights which are non negotiable rights that exist from birth.

Hopalong
Guest
Hopalong

I got the tar and feathers ready. Now where is the pesky, boom-boom hiding.

Dustin
Guest

I could not agree more. Thanks for the great article.