The thing about the Constitution is that, in many cases, it’s very cut and dry. The founders didn’t write it to list out all the rights citizens have and then government can kinda legislate anything they want around the those rights. Rather, they wrote the Constitution as a fortress, built around government power directing it to legislate within that fortress and nowhere else.
That’s what the Constitution is–it’s a fortress containing what could be the the country’s greatest potential villain. However, as long as the villain stays within that fortress, it serves its purpose for the country.
Remember, for those of you who have never read my work, the reason it’s so important for our government to stay in the fortress–to follow the Constitution–is because as soon as the government goes outside of it’s clearly defined limitations, it can do anything. Limitless power is not kind of limitless, it’s just limitless. To use the analogy again. Once the villain creates a crack in the fortress that allows it to go outside the fortress–that villain can go anywhere. It’s not “kind of” confined since most of the fortress remains. No, if it can find a way out in one place, that’s all it need to wreak havoc. It can go anywhere. It’s now unconfined.
Do you follow me?
So, when addressing the question of the Constitutionality of something, this is how we should look at it. It’s not a question of whether we think this villain actually be good and will do good for the outside world. No.
It’s always the simple question of, does this government behavior come from the specific powers given to government by the Constitution, or does it not? If it doesn’t, then that power comes from nowhere and is therefore arbitrary, unconfined and limitless. Unconstitutional behavior is a crack in the fortress allowing government free rein.
The new Protecting Our Kids Act that Congress is currently mulling over needs to be assessed from this lens. Not a, “I hate guns or love guns lens” or “I hate kids or love kids lens”. (Also, notice the name. So, if someone votes against this act, they don’t want to protect kids?)
I will say, the timing of this act is painfully political and manipulative. The framers created our government to be slow and cumbersome, with a bunch of roadblocks to legislation, precisely to avoid any rash decisions being made in the height of emotion. Anyone will tell you that important decisions should never be made when someone is highly emotional.
So, the government, who is likely NOT highly emotional but rather frothing at the mouth for power as it always does, is taking advantage of the emotional state of the citizenry right now. It’s always a game for them friends. If they really cared they’d fight to keep themselves and their power contained by the Constitution.
What’s in the Act?
Ok, so the act consists of seven different titles–parts. Here they are:
- Raise the age requirement for selling and delivering certain semiautomatic centerfire rifles or semiautomatic centerfire shotguns to 21.
- Prevention of gun trafficking
- Requirement that all firearms be traceable and modernization of the prohibition of undetectable firearms.
- Increased restrictions on secure gun storage by owners as well as increased awareness and training
- Adding “bump stock” into Section 5845 of the IRS Code of 1986
- Increased restrictions on any large capacity ammunition feedings devices in or affected interstate or foreign commerce
- After a year, the Attorney General shall submit a report of the demographic data of persons who were determiend to be ineleglible to purchase a firearm based on a background check performed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, including race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, age, disability, average annual income, and English language proficiency, if available.
Is It Constitutional?
Ah, government is sneaky. While reading though this act, I noticed the continual use of the words “interstate or foreign commerce”. Remember the article I wrote on the commerce clause? The government has taken and twisted the clause into something it was never meant to be used for–a justification for unchecked power while still claiming to follow the Constitution.
Based on that precedent then, the drafters of this law attempted to look as if they were trying to stay within the confines of the Constitution.
And yet, according to Article 1, Section 8 and the actual meaning of the commerce clause, this law is patently unconstitutional.
It’s as simple as this: the federal government was not given the power to legislate anything surrounding how the citizenry uses or doesn’t use “arms” and the Second Amendment further clarifies what the Constitution already established.
Any step outside the confines of the Constitution is a full embrace of arbitrary power. We, as Americans, really need to grab a hold of this. It doesn’t matter what our personal feelings about the topic are and we must be able to look at government behavior without the cloud of emotions impairing our Constitutional judgement.
For instance, those on the right may look at drug policy with fondness because of their personal aversion to drugs, while those on the left may look at gun control policy with fondness because of their personal aversion to guns. And yet, in both cases that personal aversion has clouded the judgement of both political preferences because neither of these policies are justified by the Constitution. And if these government behaviors aren’t justified by the Constitution, I ask–by what are they justified?
And that’s just it, isn’t’ it?
They’re justified by nothing, or perhaps by government being government and doing what it wants… exactly what the founders labored so hard to avoid. The Constitution was created to prevent arbitrary power, limitless power… of any flavor and kind because once government’s justification for acting is simply because “it’s government”, America has shifted back into the ancient and outdated forms of arbitrary governments of the past–Kings, Emperors, Czars–a government that needs only itself to justify it’s own actions.
Visualize that fortress. Government has broken out of it and is now free to do whatever it wants and it needs no justification for its actions.
See, the Constitution forces government to say, “I’m qualified, I’m justified in doing this to the citizenry because the citizenry included this action in my job description”. However, when government acts outside its job description–the thing protecting us from government–the government has no justification other than “Hey, I’m government. Get over it”.
This act is highly unconstitutional according to the Constitution, without even considering the Second Amendment.
My friends, if the federal government can require all firearms to be traceable and require an age limit on the purchase of firearms, they can do anything. They can require that all firearms be abolished. They can require that everyone must have a firearm and must use it on a certain group of people. The point isn’t the firearm–the point is the source of government’s power to regulate in this way. Since the source of government’s power in this law is itself, it can arbitrarily decide to do whatever it sees fit in the moment.
And friends, a government that can legislate and govern based on its own arbitrary whims is a truly terrifying government indeed.
And yet, how many Americans approach this law or any government behavior from this perspective?
Truly, be honest.
Until we do, I fear we’re left with a government who’s power truly is limitless. Without the employers requiring that their employee—government–know and follow its job description, its job description truly has no power.
The Liberty Belle