Monday, August 8, 2011

What is the Meaning of "Shall Not Be Infringed?"

By Dan A. Mefford, D.C.
July 29, 2011
     Discussion about the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution began to rage in the 1930s when restrictive federal firearm legislation was passed.  Finally the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has made two very important recent findings in this regard.  Many within the gun culture who have studied this topic for years felt certain that due to the tremendous body of literature expressing the founders intent that the outcome of intense scrutiny by the Court would vindicate what we have been saying all along; 1. The right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, 2.  The right is a fundamental right applies via the 14th Amendment to the states, and 3. That the phrase, “shall not be infringed,” actually means what it says. 
     At this point in time the first two issues have been determined as they should have been based on the historical intent.  As I see it, this leaves us with one last major issue or phrase to deal with.  That is the phrase “shall not be infringed.”  The average person might actually believe that the founder’s intent was that the phrase meant what it says, however those who I call the enemies of liberty, would have us believe that the phrase actually means, “shall not be infringed, very much.”  The rules of legislative interpretation are fairly simple, in a complicated sort of way (grin).  The rules, in essence say, that the meaning is what it says in plain language.  Each word has meaning.  It should be clear that each word means what the common meaning is at the time the legislation was passed unless otherwise defined. 
     So I simply went to Black’s Law Dictionary (BLD) and looked up the word “infringe” to get started.  Well it is not in the latest edition of the premier legal dictionary in the U.S.  The latest issue of Mirriam-Webster might be close enough.  Somehow I don’t think this word has changed its meaning in the last couple of hundred years. 
     Infringe means: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another. So then what does the root of the word mean, “fringe?”  Several meanings here, but the ones that seems to apply are, ‘edge’ and ‘periphery.’ 
     The word ‘encroach’ seems important here as well so let’s have at it.  Encroach means: “1. To enter by gradual steps or stealth into the possession or rights of another, to trespass or intrude. 2. To gain or intrude unlawfully upon another’s lands, property, authority.”  (BLD).  I would have to say that to intrude on another’s “rights” could fit in right here. 
     I have said all of this to say that any scheme that would require an individual to get permission from government or jump through some government hoops is an “infringement” of a fundamental right to keep and bear arms.  Presently law abiding people are the only ones who obey the current FOID schemes and government schemes.  The criminal elements are going to continue to get their firearms the way they do now, through theft or straw purchases (purchased by another “legal” person).  Or as in the case recently, with the assistance of that trustworthy bunch in Washington, D.C., the BATFE.  Haven’t they just been caught helping criminals get guns to the Mexican Drug Cartel?  Let’s see, they don’t trust us?  Well I don’t trust them!
     Somehow I have trouble picturing our founding fathers, such as Samuel Adams, and George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, asking permission of the government for a FOID card in order to purchase an ‘arm’ or to carry or bear an ‘arm.’  William Pitt said, “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”  Slaves must go to their masters for permission to do anything.  Our Chicago Machine Rulers would have us believe that it is necessary for their minions to review or investigate each individual to see if they are fit to keep and bear a gun.  I say anyone should be able to obtain a gun without permission of government.  If one has forfeited his right through true violent crime against humanity, then when caught he should pay dearly.  Presently the violent criminal is armed anyway, it is the law abiding who are punished and inconvenienced by laws that do not disarm criminals.
     Forty-nine other states have a form of carry for self-defense purposes.  Only our Chicago Rulers seem to think the people in Illinois are not good enough, honorable enough, or responsible enough to carry a weapon.  Vermont has never had any restrictive legislation and now other states are beginning to follow suit.  Eight states at this point in time have adopted Constitutional or Vermont style carry as it is called.  There are people working diligently on solutions on several fronts.  This includes lawsuits against the State of Illinois challenging the Constitutionality of our present highly restrictive rulers.  There is movement on the County level as well.  Please watch the paper in the weeks to come for more information on other possible solutions.  This is a subject whose time has come.  If you would like to correspond with me on this contact me at:

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