2nd Amendment – “rights and privileges are opposites”


by Kerri Rehmeyer

There have been several gun law related controversies in Parker County recently to which I propose a simple solution — look to the Constitution and the intent of the founders.

The 2nd Amendment says: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The 2nd amendment enumerates an inherent unalienable RIGHT to protect yourself.  Period.  Inherent meaning it cannot be extracted.  Inherent meaning you were endowed with that right by your creator, not granted that right by any man or piece of paper including the Constitution.  Constitutional scholar, Michael Badnarik, defines “a right as something you can do without asking for permission.  The opposite of a right, therefore, is something you cannot do without asking for permission.  Anytime you need permission to do something it is a privilege.”  This means that “rights and privileges are opposites.”

Protecting my life, liberty and property is not a privilege to be granted by the government and on the whim of bureaucrats, it is my RIGHT to do so.  The unquestionable right to bear arms was widely enjoyed by Americans until the 1960s.  With the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, gun control advocates were able to stir up enough support for their cause to pass the “Safe Streets and Crime Control Act” and  the “Gun Control Act” in 1968.  These acts contained the most significant restrictions on firearms since Congress enacted the National Firearms Act in 1934.  And so it started, but this was only the beginning.  Unsurprisingly, laws like this are passed all the time, now without so much as a whimper from most of the general populace.  Heck, some even beg for it, as was the case with the recent enactment of an ordinance banning recreational shooting on lots of less than 10 acres in Parker County.

We continue to allow our rights to be redefined as privileges.  Privileges can be granted, and taken away, at any time.  And don’t forget, throughout history, governments have always been the biggest threat to life, liberty and property.  The worst atrocities and genocides have happened under the auspices of government.  Thomas Jefferson said, “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

So what does this have to do with whether or not a student can carry a concealed weapon on the campus of Weatherford College? Or whether my friend with 8 acres may target shoot on her own property?  Or whether I can take my handgun with me when I go hiking in the woods?  Everything, because according to the “law”, the student can’t, my friend can’t and I can’t unless of course we want to take the chance on being labeled “criminals”.  You know, criminals, the people that aren’t allowed to have guns .

Some proponents of these types of ordinances insist that we must give up some of our rights to ensure the safety of the community.  I can understand their sentiment, but also know it is very dangerous to promote the idea of “community rights”.  Rights are individual not collective.  The only limitation on your rights, are the equal rights of other individuals.  We’ve been led by our “leaders” and “education system” to believe that we live in a democracy, which rules by the will of the majority (or sometimes by a vocal minority).  Fortunately, we were founded as a Constitutional Republic, where the government cannot impose the will of the majority by trampling on the rights of the individual.  The Supreme Law of the Land (the Constitution) was written to restrain the government, not the people.  Again, I agree with Jefferson who said he “would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

The fact is, any policy, law or statute that infringes upon the Bill of Rights is Unconstitutional.  And there are thousands of them.  According to former Sheriff Richard Mack, who won a Supreme Court decision (Printz, Mack vs. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) challenging the Brady Bill, “statutes that require the registering of guns, safety locks, waiting periods, background checks, limits on ammunition, or the amounts of guns you’re allowed to purchase, or how you keep a gun in your car, or mental health evaluations for soldiers returning from combat, or prohibition of gun ownership by those convicted of domestic violence 25 years ago, (which is an ex post facto law, also disallowed by the Constitution) and YES, concealed carry permits, are likewise, unconstitutional! Asking government for permission to do that which is already guaranteed by the Constitution is wrong, and we should not be doing it.”

Many people in Parker County can see a clear and present danger to their right to bear arms now that a known gun control advocate occupies the White House.  But don’t forget that it was Bush that signed into law some of the most Draconian gun legislation including HR 2640, which many refer to as the Veteran’s Disarmament Act.  Most people also know that the County Sheriff is the County’s top lawman.  But I wonder if many people, even Sheriff’s for that matter, know that the top means THE TOP.  Over and above ANY federal authority or agency.  I believe it is their right and duty to uphold the oath they have sworn to the Constitution.  If something is unconstitutional, how can it justifiably be enforced?”  In his book, “The County Sheriff, America’s Last Hope”, Richard Mack says “Sheriff, you are the sworn protector. You cannot shrink from that duty merely because the violator comes to town with a three-piece suit and a fancy attache case.”  My intuition, research and opinion greatly support exactly what Sheriff Mack has said.  I believe all of our elected public officials in Parker County need to be held accountable for their decisions, actions and rulings that are contrary to their oaths.  It’s easy to understand how even they might be confused on what is correct with the runaway government we all suffer under today.  That is why I say one only need to look to the Constitution and study the intent of the founders for their answer.

13 responses

  1. Dead-on.

  2. Amen. It is time for the common man to take back government. The folks in government are not smarter in fact most are confused. They adopt these policies which take away our rights in the interest of the greater good. I am not interested in the greater good if it denies me the right as provided to me by God and the Constitution. The pressure from the liberal faction of our community and country is at this time more prevalent than the conservative. It is time for conservatives to stand up and let their voices be heard and remove the current government officials from office and vote in individuals that will protect our God given rights.

  3. Your thoughts just reinforce why we’ve been friends for so long. Perfectly written!

    I am so outraged Kerri…..why can’t our voices be heard.
    I so hope for a revolt in this country.

  4. You NEED to run for office!!!

  5. You hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, we hear what great ideas Obama has come up with. All the while we barely acknowledge quite possibly the greatest single document in American history; The Bill of Rights. Our children only hear about it in passing. They have dumbed down the future (our kids) of this once great nation to the point that we accept, hell–some have actually voted in favor of socialistic policies. Vladmir Putin warned the USA & the UK 2 years ago of the destructive nature of Socialism/Marxism. Russia should know, they endured 70 years of the system. We are now following the same road. National health care? When asked whether he would trust his family to his OWN national health care system, Obama ignored the question. Our government MUST be reeled in. The Bill of Rights is our protection, yet as you eloquently point out, it has been ignored. Our government has passed hundreds, no thousands of laws in direct violation of our unalienable rights! Who will govern the government? Until we elect leaders such as yourself, Kerri, who can work on a local level to reeducate society, and uphold the rights that our forefathers died to defend and uphold, we are headed for disaster. You got my vote!

  6. Very good article! Please don’t lump all elected officials together…especially on this issue. I was the only “NO” vote on the gun order in Parker County. I believe this order was a bad decision for many reasons.

  7. It’s time for gun owners to join the NRA and get ready for a jihad battle. This congress will test us over and over again.

  8. Kerri,well written and obviously carefully considered. However, the Parker County gun ordinance, contrary to those who oppose it, is not a 2nd Amendment issue. As a member of the NRA, I fully support the 2nd Amendment, and also Texas’ Right to Carry Laws.It is unfortunate, that so many careless people caused the issue to come up. It took character and leadership- to do the right thing for the community knowing how how most of us feel about our guns. It is always easy to “duck and run” with controversy. That is now what you elect people for. Thank you for your comments.

    1. Judge Riley, I didn’t look it up, but don’t we already have laws against recklessly endangering others. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but if my neighbor was shooting on their property and bullets were whizzing by my head on my own property, couldn’t they have been charged with endangerment or something similar before this ordinance? Why should everyone be restricted because some people are irresponsible. I don’t believe you can legislate common sense just as you can’t legislate morality. If this is not a 2nd Amendment issue, it is definitely a private property issue. This is beside the point, but 10 acres is just an arbitrary number. There are some people that live on 3 or 4 acres that have a place to shoot where there is nothing behind their targets and it’s not unsafe and there are cases where someone might have 20 acres but the way it’s set up would be unsafe to shoot. By the way, I’m not directly affected by this ordinance as I live in a neighborhood on only 2 acres where it’s clearly unsafe to shoot and I wouldn’t do it except in a case of self defense, but I am indirectly affected because with every ordinance like this, a little more of all of our freedoms are chipped away. I also have to disagree with you on the “community rights” thing and I’m going to put a short passage from the book “Good to Be King” to illustrate that:

      “The phrase community rights is always used as a justification for depriving one or more individuals of the rights they would ordinarily expect to have. The community has a right to live in a nice neighborhood so the homeowners’ association prevents you from painting your house pink, or leaving your boat in the driveway. The community has a right to a smoke-free environment so we force business owners to prohibit smoking in their establishments, thus violating not only the right of smokers, but also the rights of the business owners who think they own their property, but really don’t.
      Another phrase used to promote “community rights” is “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Please note: This is the philosophical basis for communism. Let’s take this policy to the inevitable extreme. You live in a community of twenty people, however there is only enough food for nineteen.. It would be for the greater good of the community if one of the members was eliminated to prevent the remaining members from going hungry. Do you really believe the majority can vote to put one of its members to death simply because it is for the greater good? It is impossible to protect individual rights by claiming that community rights can supersede or nullify them. The only way to promote the good of the community is to unerringly protect the rights of the individual.”

      Please don’t take my comments the wrong way. I know a lot of people feel the way you do, I just happen to disagree.

  9. Cary McKay for Parker County Judge

    Kerri I enjoyed reading both your blogs I COMPLETELY agree with you. We constantly are losing or having to fight even so called Republicans against the take over of or personal property rights. This belief that our county government knows what’s best for us is out of hand. Yes I read what my opponent said on this issue and frankly I’m ASTONISHED he spoke about a election issue prior to January 2010. I believe he is dead on when he talks about careless people caused this to happen. He is right Jim Webster, George Conley, Joe Brinkley and Judge Riley are those care- a- less republicans that took it away. The Remuda Ranch homeowners mostly democrats or moderates new they had allies in our county government and went to them to solve an assiociation problem. Now you know their true colors. If police reports, evidence were shown it was never brought up. For his second time as Judge of Parker County he took our rights away but this time he’s been caught. “Standing shoulder to shoulder with the citzens” was the saying in his last of several Press Releases his Press Secretary has been spewing out since I announced to run against him. March 2010 is coming it’s time “We The People” take our government back. Here’s thought if you want to get your mind off of this issue, just go get in your car and drive around the county enjoy the GRIDLOCK, you’ll just be mad about something else. You and I are witnessing a lack of a true vision for this county; our leaders have failed.

  10. I personally feel there are sufficient laws on the books at all levels of government to deal with the irresponsible use of guns.

    We need to recognize though that the second amendment prohibits only the federal government from infringing on the right of the people to own and bear arms.

    The resent action by the Parker County Commissioners Court while legal, once again demonstrated the desire of elected officials to avoid the true issue. Has anyone noticed lately the number of bullet holes in the mailboxes and road signs of Parker County? Does not common sense tell us this sort of vandalism presents a much greater danger to the general public than the actions of a responsible gun owner who will take care not to endanger his neighbor?

    Not a word out of our elected officials about this well demonstrated danger. Why have we not seen any preemptive action by the county to address the random shooting problem? Likely because it is not easy to solve, and would probably involve the need for a reward system to identify perpetrators. It is much easier to pass an ordinance prohibiting alleged danger than to take action with respect to danger that clearly exists but requires some thought and common sense to solve. I for one am tired of elected officials who let the desire for reelection drive their every decision. Their own self-interest always seems to come first.

    1. parkercountyblog

      Excellent comment Frank – thanks.

    2. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t only inhibit the Federal government, does it? The Constitution is the Supreme law of the land. Don’t all State, County and local laws ultimately have to be Constitutional? I’m not sure what the solution to a vandalism problem is (didn’t even really know there was a big one) but I sure hope it doesn’t result in another unconstitutional “law”.

%d bloggers like this: