What Does a Free People Do After Silveira?(Dec. 14, 2003) If the People are disarmed, can they protect their country from their government? Can a People be free if they do not possess the means to defend freedom?
On December 1, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to disturb a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held, in effect, that the 2nd Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms is NOT an unalienable Right that belongs to individuals, but rather it is a right that belongs to the "State" i.e., it is a "privilege" to be granted to, or taken from, the individual by government fiat.
With this decision, our government has taken another significant step toward total disarmament of the People and the demise of our constitutional Republic.
Will the People acquiesce? Will the People enforce their Right to Keep and Bear Arms?
In 2000, California attorney Gary Gorski brought suit in the Eastern District of California against California in Silveira v. Lockyer. The suit argued for the individual right of the People to keep and bear arms under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. The case sought to overturn California's arbitrary ban on semi-automatic rifles -- a gun ban based on the ergonomic and safety features the firearms possess.
The Silveira lawsuit lost in the Eastern District court and was subsequently appealed to the Ninth Circuit, where it also lost. According to Angel Shamaya, founder and Executive Director of KeepAndBear Arms.com, "That loss included a lengthy, wildly inaccurate rant from an often-overturned judge who reiterated the absurd notion that the right of the people is a right of the States. The plaintiffs then sought an en banc (full court) rehearing in the Ninth Circuit. While it failed to get that rehearing, six dissents were included, in support of the individual right of the people to keep and bear arms. The case was then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court -- on July 3, 2003."
To put it mildly, the decision has angered many of the leaders of the groups that have been attempting to stop the erosion and infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed Right of the individual to keep and bear arms. Please see the important article by California Attorney, Peter Mancus, titled, "Reflections Upon The U.S. Supreme Courts Rejection of Silveira" and the introduction to the Mancus article by Angel Shamaya.
Since this controversial decision, we have detected a marked increase in frustration among the 2nd Amendment protectors i.e., significantly more "lock and load" chatter.
The gun rights defenders have Petitioned the Executive and Legislative branches for a Redress of their grievances and have been rejected. Now they have tested the attitude of the judiciary and have been rejected. How can this explicit, unalienable Right be peacefully secured?
As part of our Give Me Liberty 2004 January conference and our ongoing initiative to re-institutionalize our Right to Petition to secure redress, we have reached out to the leadership of the 2nd Amendment defenders. We have asked them to consider Jeffersons words, "The privilege of giving or withholding moneys is an important barrier against the undue exertion of prerogative which if left altogether without control may be exercised to our great oppression; and all history shows how efficacious its intercession for redress of grievances and reestablishment of rights, and how improvident would be the surrender of so powerful a mediator."
These leaders have now formally committed to convene in Washington as part of our GML 2004 conference to publicly explore the matter of the battle for the 2nd Amendment and utilizing the Right to Petition and to withhold taxes to reestablish the 2nd Amendment as our Founding Fathers intended it: as the final "check and balance" to insure that the People will never lose their sovereignty to their servant government.
Our conference will now feature a full-length panel discussion on "The Constitution v. Gun Control". The discussion will consider the original intent of the Founders, the recent decision by the Supreme Court to leave undisturbed the 9th Circuit decision in Silveira denying individuals the Right to keep and bear arms, the utilization of the Right of Petition and a program for nation-wide activism to reclaim this unalienable Right.
The moderator of the group will be Joseph Sobran, nationally syndicated columnist, author and publisher. The panel currently includes: Attorney Peter Mancus, author, "Reflections Upon the U.S. Supreme Court's Rejection of Silveira"; Larry Pratt, Executive Director, Gun Owners of America; Angel Shamaya, founder, Keep and Bear Arms.com; Aaron Zelman, Executive Director, Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc. Also invited is John Lott, professor and author, "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws."
WTP is also contacting several other gun rights groups to invite them to participate. Additional changes to the conference agenda regarding content and schedule will be announced soon.
Reminder! Early Discount registrations end midnight, Monday (EST)
Please visit the following websites to learn more about the 9th
Circuit 2nd Amendment ruling:
www.gunowners.org, the web site of Gun Owners Of America.
www.jpfo.org, the web site of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
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