U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging gun control Initiative 1639 in Washington State, on several grounds,” an SAF press release advises. “The lawsuit challenges the measure on the grounds that it violates the commerce clause by banning sales of rifles to non-residents, and that it unconstitutionally impairs the rights guaranteed by the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments, and Article I Section 24 of the Washington State constitution by preventing the sale to otherwise qualified adults under age 21 of certain rifles.”
As matters of historical perspective, Audie Murphy would have been deemed “too young” to be trusted with a rifle at the time his legendary heroics earned him recognition as the most decorated combat soldier of WWII. It also flies in the face of 10 U.S. Code § 246 – Militia: composition and classes:
“(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard. (b) The classes of the militia are— (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”
There are more fundamental considerations here, though, that goes to the heart of what rights are, and just how far democracy can go until it becomes a tyranny of the majority.
What is a right? Is it something that is granted by a government authority? If so, how does that differ from a privilege? Can something that is granted be withheld? Can something which is licensed be revoked?
Are not rights unalienable? Do they not precede the establishment of government? Are they not, in fact, outside the authority of government?
Recognizing the dangers of mob rule, our Bill of Rights defined some of the areas where the individual would be immune to the will of the collective. What this means is, no matter how many of us disagree with you, we cannot lawfully use force to shut you up, to suppress your political views, or to make you worship in the way we see fit. We cannot break into your house and search your property without cause and a legal warrant. We can't torture you into confessing to a crime. Barring behaviors on your part to disqualify yourself, we cannot strip you of your ability to keep and bear arms.
No matter how many of us vote on it.
Rights are meant to protect the minority. Accepting that in turn protects the majority, whether that is realized and appreciated or not.
Someone once defined pure democracy as wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. The denial of the right to keep and bear arms mandated by I-1639 is every bit as illegitimate and intolerable. It merits being defied and resisted by whatever means necessary, a choice we all must face when the only other option being offered is abject surrender.
Appealing to the courts is a first step. It’s only the last if everyone agrees their rights are subject to the votes of others.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and a contributor to Firearms News, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.