By Dan A. Mefford, D.C.
On Tuesday November 29, 2011 the Petition for the “Constitutional Carry of Arms” ordinance of Pike County was submitted to the Pike County Clerk. I along with Rick Rodhouse, of Pl. Hill, IL, presented the petition to Clerk Donnie Apps who reviewed it page by page and then accepted it. It is public record and therefore subject to review by the public for a period of time.
The petition came about following the highly significant US Supreme Court cases Washington DC vs. Heller and McDonald vs Chicago. In essence Heller confirms that 2nd Amendment (2A) secures right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms, while McDonald stated that the 2A applies to the states. This is important legal precedent since it now clears the way to challenge the Illinois Constitution at Article 1 Section 22 which states: “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed [emphasis mine].” The term “police power” refers to the power of legally constituted governments to make laws to preserve public safety and health etc. The term does not refer to the power of police to enforce law.
I have reviewed all four of the Illinois Constitutions and could find no reference to the bearing of arms in the first three. Only the fourth constitution had any phrase regarding arms that I was able to see.
The concept of passing the ordinance was conceived by me while the authoring of the ordinance was a collaboration of several people including myself, Dick Metcalf of Barry, IL, a constitutional scholar and historian who taught on the history of the Constitution at Cornell University, and some others, who reviewed our work.
The petition quickly became a popular one in Pike County since there are so many self reliant and independent minded people. Volunteers to collect signatures came from all parts of the County and collected an amazing 1300 plus signatures in just a few weeks. What these people seem to have in common is the desire to have the same rights as the founding fathers had and that criminals have today. That is the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, friends, and property.
Criminals do not ask permission of government to keep and bear an arm. They are not subject to a waiting period, a caliber, or particular style of weapon. They do not ask permission to carry a knife or gun or baseball bat. When a criminal needs to defend himself he does not need to call 911, since he is already armed. Only the law abiding people need to jump through the hoops to see if they are fit to keep and bear an arm.
Illinois is the last state in the entire Union of States to not have a concealed carry law. Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming have joined Vermont in the Constitutional Carry of Arms, which is in essence no infringement at all. Other states are considering this as well. The Constitutional Carry of Arms refers to the acceptance that the founders intended that there be no infringement of the people to carry arms. That is what the simple language, “shall not be infringed” means. I am not sure how you interpret “shall not be infringed” other than, “shall not be infringed.” In the 2A the founders did not choose to say, “shall not be infringed very much.”
What the people must understand here is that we are dealing with what the founders termed an unalienable right. That is a right endowed by our Creator or a right that you are born with. It is a right that is natural and fundamental to be able to live in Liberty. It is no different than the right to breathe air. The very fact that we have unalienable rights denotes that we have a right to defend those rights.
Tim Nerenze, a libertarian, states in his blog: “…guns are the only product or service mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. While we also clearly have a right to keep and bear food, healthcare, clothing, shelter, and many other necessary things, the framers did not deem any of them important enough to warn the government against any form of infringement – only guns. Think about that.”
We are the only country in the world that I know of who recognizes that unalienable rights are granted at birth and not by government. What a government can grant, government can take away. In Illinois the Chicago Machine leads the People by the nose. It is time for them to leave us alone. Remember the Second Amendment does not say “Subject to the police power!”