"At the time of the founding" eighteenth century political philosopher James Burgh would write,
Some things are right in theory, for instance, but not in practice, and contrariwise… In a country which pretends to be free, and where, consequently, the people ought to have weight in the government, it is peculiarly necessary that the people be possessed of just notions of the interest of their country, and be qualified to distinguish between those who are faithful to them, and those who betray them. [Burgh, J. (1971). POLITICAL DISQUISITIONS: OR, An ENQUIRY into public ERRORS, DEFECTS, and ABUSES. Illustrated by, and established upon FACTS and REMARKS extracted from a Variety of AUTHORS, ancient and modern. CALCULATED To draw the timely ATTENTION of GOVERNMENT and PEOPLE (Vol. I). New York: Da Capo Press. Page xi.]
The question for us as Second Amendment supporters is, how do we properly explain the true meaning of the Second Amendment to “those who betray the be interests of their country”?
Fourteen years before he died, James Madison would write:
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives… Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. [James Madison to W. T. Barry, 4 Aug. 1822. Volume 1, Chapter 18, Document 35. (1987). Retrieved 7 18, 2008, from The Founders' Constitution: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/print_documents/v1ch18s35.html]
There are many people who claim that they know what the Second Amendment truly means but just are not fully armed with the power of knowledge. Few can explain in one sentence what the Amendment means and fewer still, who have actually "studied the subject like students."
It is no answer to say:
- "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."
- "Gun control is holding your gun with two hands."
- "What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t you understand?"
But how do we “throw that light over the public mind” and "prevent dangerous encroachments on the public liberty?” How do we properly explain the Second Amendment?
Like Burgh’s Political Disquisitions, this essay is an exploration into 350 years of facts into an attempt to distinguish between truth and fiction in the right to bear arms. Burgh would quote Sir William Temple and write,
None can be said to know things well, who do not know them in their beginnings.
Knowing the facts from the beginning is how this essay came to be in 2003. Like Burgh, “I was sure that there was a right and wrong in government, as in other things.” [Burgh, DISQUISITIONS (Vol. I). Pg. v.] What you are about to read is the culmination of 15 years of investigating the truth.
John Adams would note in A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America that,
We often hear and read of free states, a free people, a free nation, a free country, a free kingdom, and even of free republics; and we understand, in general, what is intended, although every man may not be qualified to enter into philosophical disquisitions concerning the meaning of the word liberty, or to give a logical definition of it. [Adams, J. (1797). A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. Philadelphia: Budd and Bartman. Page 122. All citations of this work are from the Law Book Exchange Reprint. Union NJ, (2001)]
Adams uses the phrase free state four times in the first volume, several more times in the second & third volumes and actually gives the definition a free state in the later.
Aside from being a member of both the First and Second Continental Congresses, a signer of The Declaration of Independence (hereinafter Declaration) and the second President of the United States, Adams was the Vice President under Washington when the Bill of Rights was ratified. Yet Adams’ definition goes virtually un-noticed “by students of the subject.” [See Burton v. Sills 248 A. 2d 521 - NJ: Supreme Court 1968 at 97 (calling Second Amendment Law Review authors who erroneously claimed that “the language of the Second amendment … refers to the collective right … which today is characterized as the state National Guard ... students of the subject.")]
In his third volume Adams asks,
What is a free state? It is plain our author means a single assembly of representatives of the people, periodically elected, and vested with the supreme power. This is denied to be a free state. [Adams A Defence supra, Vol. III Pg. 292. (Referring to Marchamont Needham as “our author.”)]
No New Jersey Court gives the logical definition of the free state included with their theory that the Second Amendment is a collective right, or that Heller only allows arms to be borne in the home.
New Jersey Courts continue to maintain that even though Heller rejected Burton’s “the militia is the National Guard” and even though McDonald applies the right to bear arms to the State of New Jersey, that there is no difference in the keep arms and bear arms clauses in the 2nd Amendment.
But we don’t even need to argue over the operative clause in the Second Amendment to prove that we as the "fit elements of society" [See Burton at 97 & 105] have a right to be issued a 2C:58-4 Permit to Carry a Handgun (as long as we pass(ed) the 2C:58-3 background checks and our need is “lawful.” [See Heller at 2787 and 2818 (the core lawful purpose of the Second Amendment is self-defense.)]
As Sir William Temple said, “to know thing well we must know them in their beginnings.” So here we go. The definition of a free state was available nearly 350 years before Christ. The New Jersey Supreme Court has continuously failed to understand what a free state is. And although touching on it, the Heller Court only spent one page on its explanation, leaving the meaning of a free state over simplified with ‘(t)he phrase “security of a free state” meant “security of a free polity,” not security of each of the several States…’ [Heller at 2800.]
Aristotle in A Treatise of Government would not only give several explanations of the definition of a free state, Aristotle would use the term on fifty-nine separate occasions. The opponents of the right to bear arms call themselves, “students on the subject,” [Burton at 97 citing Feller and Gotting (claiming the Militia of the Second Amendment is the National Guard)] and,
shelter themselves under the fashion of the times, and join the general censure of Aristotle as a blockhead*; when, if they were pressed to know from what part of his writings they formed so decisive an opinion, they would be forced (and surely with a blush) to acknowledge, that they never read a single page in any of them, from whence to form a judgment from their own experience.” [Aristotle. (1776). A Treatise on Government. (A. William Ellis, Trans.) London: T. Payne, B. White, T. Cadel. Page v-vi. (John Adams Library copy.) (* Reads, “Aristotle, whom I don’t take to be so great a blockhead as those do who never read him.” Citing Fielding’s Tom Jones.)]
Who is the blockhead? Aristotle who gave the definition to the founders or the New Jersey Courts who never actually read any first source historical sources and relied on Feller and Gotting who claimed the militia of the Second Amendment is the National Guard, an appendage of the standing Army?
Another signer of the Declaration, twice elected to the Continental Congress, and signer of the Constitution who became, not President, but an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, was James Wilson who also clearly gives the definition of a free state, and tells us that,
In this study all men are interested: it is rich in delight: it is inestimable in importance: its maxims should he known by every citizen of every free state… [Wilson, J. (1804). The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, L.L.D. Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, Printed for Bronson and Chauncey. Page XXXX. ]
Wilson goes on to explain why the maxims of a free state should he known by every citizen in one:
Reasons, and very sufficient ones, were suggested, why this should be the case. A new reason, striking and illustrious, now appears, why the maxims of this law ought to be particularly known and studied by every citizen of the United States. To every citizen of the United States, this law is not only a rule of conduct, but may be a rule of decision. As judges and as jurors, the administration of this law is, in many important instances, committed to their care. [Wilson, J. (1804). The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, L.L.D. Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, Printed for Bronson and Chauncey. Page XXXX. See also Tucker T 308.]
Like Wilson, Adams testified the same truth (citing Florence) in that these maxims concern every person:
since the interest of “monarchy" (that is, arbitrary power, or the government of men) may reside in a consul as well as in a king; in a dictator as well as in a consul; in the hands of many as well as of a single person; and that its custom hath been to lurk under every form, in the various turns of government; it concerns every people, in a state of freedom, to keep close to the rules of a free state for the turning out of monarchy, whether simple or compound, both name and thing, in one or many ; so they ought ever to have a reverend and noble respect of such founders of free states and commonwealths, as shall block up the way against monarchic tyranny, by declaring for the liberty of the people, as it consists in a due and orderly succession of authority in their supreme assemblies… It is very true, that a people who have declared themselves a free state, should know what freedom is, and have it represented in all its lively and lovely features, that they may grow zealous and jealous over it. They should also be made acquainted, and thoroughly instructed in the means and rules of its preservation against the adulterous wiles and rapes of any projecting sophisters that may arise. [Adams, J. (1797). A Defence supra (Vol. III). Page 413 Emphasis by Factor.]
Adams uses sophisters here as one using sophistry, a method of argumentation that seems clever but is actually flawed or dishonest. [Encarta Dictionary: English (North America).] So we have to seriously consider Adams' application of sophister when reading JUSTICE JACOBS’ decisions in both Burton and Siccardi v. State, 284 A. 2d 533 - NJ: Supreme Court 1971. Or when Loretta Weinberg tells us that “urgent necessity is legislative intent”.
In his Heller dissent, JUSTICE STEVENS would mock JUSTICE SCALIA’S opinion,
Thus, the proeme, or preamble, is often called in to help the construction of an act of parliament.”* In light of the Court’s invocation of Blackstone as “‘the preeminent authority on English law for the founding generation,’”** its disregard for his guidance on matters of interpretation is striking. [Heller post at 2838-39, STEVENS, J., dissenting. Citing at * 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 59–60 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone). At ** citing 2798 quoting Alden v. Maine, 527 U. S. 706, 715 (1999)).]
What is so striking is that STEVENS must have missed that Blackstone wrote,
In a land of liberty, it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitution, which is that of governing by fear: but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms, but with a view to defend his country and it's laws: he puts not off the citizen when he enters the camp; but it is because he is a citizen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier. The laws therefore and constitution of these kingdoms know no such state as that of a perpetual standing soldier, bred up to no other profession than that of war: and it was not till the reign of Henry VII, that the kings of England had so much as a guard about their persons. [Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765--1769. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. Vol. 1, pg. 395.]
STEVENS obviously completely missed Blackstone’s comparison of an absolute monarchy with a free state, But we do know this from Blackstone, in free states citizens take up arms to defend the country and it's laws.
Remember, what John Adams said, "as judges and as jurors, the administration of this law is, in many important instances, committed to our care." In order to fully understand the Second Amendment and to refute any claim, by STEVENS or anyone else, that “the text of the Amendment” leaves “no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution,” [Heller post at 2822 STEVENS, J., dissenting.] as well as to completely understand the difference between keep arms and bear arms; we as citizens, and the Courts, must fully understand the definition of a free state. And to understand the definition we must remember that Adams told us there were "rules of a free state" and we "need to keep them close for the turning out of monarchy."
The rules of a free state are:
I. where the legislative adheres strictly to the laws of nature, and calculates every one of its regulations for improving society, and promoting industry and honesty among the people, [Mason, J. (1979). Anglo-American Anti-military Tracts 1697-1830. (R. H. Kohn, Ed.) New York: Arno Press. Page 144. Note †, Taken from, ORATION DELIVERED AT BOSTON, MARCH 6, 1780 By Mr. Jonathan Mason, Jun. pages 129-145. See also Henry Home, L. K. (2007). Sketches of the History of Man (Vol. II). (J. A. Harris, Ed.) Indianapolis: The Liberty Fund Inc. Page 378. See also Adams J. (the other) (1995/1789) Curious Thoughts on the History of Man Cheifly abridged from the Celebrated Works of Lord Kames, Lord MonBoddo, Dr. Dunbar and the Immortal Montestquieu Bristol/London: Thoemmes Press/G.Kearsley. Page 203-204; See Samuel Adams letter to The Honorable Henry Seymour Conway in Wells, W. V. (1865-1969). The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (Vol. I). Freeport: Books for Libraries Press. Page 159; Sam Adams letter to Lord Camden in Wells, W. V. (1865-1969). The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (Vol. I). Freeport: Books for Libraries Press. Page 160; Samuel Adams, Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men, in Wells, W. V. (1865-1969). The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (Vol. I). Freeport: Books for Libraries Press. Pgs 502 and 506.]
(So when I say Loretta claims "urgent necessity" is legislative intent it can't be as it interferes with the first law of nature viz., self preservation and therefore we can't actually be in a free state if the legislature created as rule that interferes with the first law of nature.)
II. where the sovereign or supreme power resides in the people; where the law of nations is the law of the people … who are under the most sacred obligations to exercise that power, or to delegate it to such as will exercise it, in a manner agreeable to those rules and maxims, [Wilson Works supra Vol. I). Page 153-154.]
III. where there is equal participation of every citizen in government, [Needham, M. (1767). The Excellencie of a Free State. London: A. Millar, T. Cadell in the Strand; G. Kearsly in ludgate Street, and H. parker in Cornhill. Page 112. Adams, J. A Defence supra Vol. III., Page 287, 310, 313, 334, 345, 349, 361. Adams J. (the other) Curious Thoughts supra Page 27, 112, “All men are, by nature, equal in rank.” Aristotle. (1776). A Treatise on Government. supra Page 184, 188, 194. See also pages 19 & 38, (“Now in the generality of free States, the Governors, and the Governed, alternately change place ; for an equality without any Preference is what Nature chuses;”); page 48, ((“so also in Civil Society, where -it is possible, it would be better that the Government should continue in the same hands; but where it is not (as Nature has made all men equal, and therefore it is just, be the admmiftration good or bad, that all should partake of it) there it is best to observe a Rotation, and let thofe who are their equals, by turns submit to thofe who are at that time Magiftrates, as they will, in their turns, alternately be governors and governed, as if they were different Men : by the same Method different Persons will execute different Offices.”))]
(So if the government claims only police officers defend the public and enforce the laws and therefore only police officers can carry handguns in public, then there is not equal participation in government.)
IV. where everyone enjoys that equality he has a Right to, and fully possesses what is his own. [Aristotle. A Treatise supra pgs. 184, 188, 194]
V. Where the law is supreme over all things. [Aristotle. A Treatise supra pgs. 184, 188, 194]
VI. Where the Constitution is fixed; it is from thence that the legislative derives its authority; therefore it cannot change the Constitution without destroying its own foundation. [Samuel Adams letter to the Earl of Shelburne; Samuel Adams to the Marquis of Rockingham, in Wells, W. V. (1865-1969). The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (Vol. I). Freeport: Books for Libraries Press. Pgs. 158 & 159.]
VII. Where the legislative has no right to absolute, arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people. [Samuel Adams, The Rights of Colonists as Subjects in The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams supra Vol. I Page 505-506.]
VIII. Where Citizens have the right of judging when their privileges are invaded, and of using all prudent measures for preserving them. [Dickinson, J. (1903). Letters From a FARMER in Pennsylvania. (R. Halsey, Ed.) New York: The Outlook Company. Letter VI., Page 66.]
IX. Contains the principle of free and equal elections. [Wilson, J. Works supra Page 123.
X. Where taxes are exactly proportioned to the abilities of those who are to pay them. [Dickinson, J. Letters From a FARMER supra Letter X., Page 112.]
XI. A perpetual jealousy respecting liberty is absolutely requisite in all free states. [Dickinson, J. (1903). Letters From a FARMER supra letter XI. Page 117.]
XII. and where perfect equality [in law] is the end. [Adams, J. A Defence supra Vol. II Page 6. NB: Adams did not write in law, however, Adams did not mean all men were equal in knowledge, wealth or property for he never wrote such a thing. What Adams means here is that all men are equal in their liberty and thus their ability to pursue knowledge, wealth and property. See also, Adams J. (the other) Curious Thoughts supra Page 231.]
Upon processing The Rules of a Free State, the Second Amendment takes on a meaning so far above and beyond a collective militia right or an exclusively in the home right that every single argument made by the opponents of the individual right, based on
the National Guard,
the police power,
the “we as a people are too advanced for guns,” theories or,
STEVENS’ dissent in Heller that “there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution”,
completely fall apart.
Consequently the inclusion of the free state rules crush any argument Justices STEVENS and BREYER had in Heller [BREYER J dissenting Heller post at 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 & 23] or JUSTICE JACOBS may have had in Burton or Siccardi with regard to:
- crime statistics,
- the “interpretation of the legislators,” or
- the “awareness of the dangers inherent in the carrying of handguns and the urgent necessity for their regulation” (which came from the Police Chief testimony in Siccardi,)
as reasoning for any judiciary to circumvent the right to bear arms by only allowing the bearing of arms to take place in the home. (NB Samuel Adams in free state rule #1 and #7 supra.)
On November 20th, 1772, Sam Adams would write The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting to assert the Rights of the Colonists as Men and it would soon afterwards be published by Ben Franklin. In the first and fourth paragraphs respectively, Sam Adams would write:
Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. Those are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature… [Cushing, H. A. (Ed.). (1907). The Writings of Samuel Adams (Vol. III). New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. Pgs. 350-369.]
Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains. [Cushing supra pg. 352.]
Sam Adams points out that life, liberty and property, go hand in hand with “the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.” And that this right to support and defend life liberty and property is a branch of “the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.”
And if the first rule of a free state is “where the legislative adheres strictly to the laws of nature,” JUSTICE STEVENS was completely wrong that there is “no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” If the founders did not want to enshrine the common law right of self defense in the Constitution, they would not have used the terminology free state in the Second Amendment. [See Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137 - Supreme Court 1803 at 174 (It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect.)]
Carrying a handgun with a 2C:58-4 permit in New Jersey is not about killing. It is about not dying which would be, as per Blackstone, "defending the laws." And here Sam Adams’ “right to support and defend life in the best manner,” can only be read as the right to defend those laws viz., preserve life, with arms.
We must note here that the Heller Court pointed out that:
St. George Tucker’s version of Blackstone’s Commentaries … conceived of the Blackstonian arms right as necessary for self-defense. He equated that right, absent the religious and class-based restrictions, with the Second Amendment. See 2 Tucker’s Blackstone 143. In Note D, entitled, “View of the Constitution of the United States,” Tucker elaborated on the Second Amendment: “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty … The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible. [Heller at 2805. First ellipsis by Factor, second in original by JUSTICE SCALIA]
The Heller Court equated Sam Adams' "first law of nature" to both Tucker and Blackstone’s (t)he right to self-defence is the first law of nature, which then conceived the right to arms as necessary for that defense.
As the New Jersey Courts are trying to limit the right to bear arms to an “in the home reading” or at the very least determining the right on a case-by-case basis using the Siccardi Rule's “urgent necessity” definition, [See In re Preis, 573 A. 2d 148 - NJ: Supreme Court 1990 at 571 (Under the Siccardi rule there must be "an urgent necessity for self-protection." The requirement is of specific threats or previous attacks demonstrating a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by other means.) In re Application of Borinsky, 830 A. 2d 507 - NJ: App. Div. 2003 at 516. (holding that "justifiable need" must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis on a determination…") Citing Preis supra. at 573.] we must understand that JUSTICE SCALIA pointed out via Tucker thru Blackstone that “in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible.” Certainly, New Jersey’s “in the home” approach limiting 2C:58-4 Permits is the narrowest limit possible and does not take into consideration The Rules of Free State.
So now that we "know things well because we know them in their beginnings" as per Sir William Temple, and are "fully instructed" to "know these maxims," i.e. the rules of a free state, from this point forward when an anti-Second Amendment person asks us why we need a handgun? Why we need an AR15? Why we need a 2C:58-4 Permit to Carry a Handgun in Public &c. &c., the answer, in one sentence is:
THE FIRST RULE OF A FREE STATE IS WHERE THE LAWS OF NATURE ARE STRICTLY ADHERED TO AND THE FIRST LAW OF NATURE IS THE DUTY OF SELF-PRESERVATION TOGETHER WITH THE RIGHT TO SUPPORT AND DEFEND IT IN THE BEST MANNER WE CAN.
And this is how we preserve our free state and Right to Bear Arms "against the adulterous wiles and rapes of any projecting sophisters."