Are non-citizens entitled to the same protection of their constitutionally-protected natural rights that U.S. citizens receive? That is the crux of the issue in the matter of Messmer v. Harrison. On Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina answered in the affirmative with respect to the right to keep and bear arms. The plaintiff, Kirsten Messmer, is a legal permanent resident residing in Wake County, North Carolina, but a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany . . .

She wanted to obtain a North Carolina concealed handgun permit for self-defense purposes. Ms. Messmer was barred, however, from obtaining such a permit by North Carolina General Statute §14.415-12, which reads, in pertinent part:

(a) The sheriff shall issue a [concealed handgun] permit to an applicant if the applicant qualifies under the following criteria:
(1) The applicant is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident of the State 30 days or longer immediately preceding the filing of the application.

Ms. Messmer brought suit in federal court, arguing that §14.415-12 violated her Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the law.

The District Court agreed. Judge Terrence W. Boyle held:

It is abundantly clear that resident aliens possess many of the same Constitutional rights as citizens in a variety of other situations. Moreover, other courts to consider this issue have ruled that resident aliens possess Second Amendment rights. Two federal courts have actually ruled that similar, though not identical, statutes violated the Second Amendment. Additionally, a federal court found that a very similar state statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause….

The Court further finds that in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief, plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm. The deprivation of a constitutional right, even if only briefly, constitutes irreparable harm….

Traditional legal remedies are inadequate to relieve the harm in this case. The inability to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense cannot be quantified by money damages any more than can the experience of being discriminated against solely based on one’s citizenship status. In contrast, the harm to defendants if an injunction is granted is virtually nonexistent.

Compliance with the law is not a cognizable hardship on a defendant. Carandola, 303 F.3d at 521 (“[A] state is in no way harmed by issuance of a preliminary injunction which prevents the state from enforcing restrictions likely to be found unconstitutional. If anything, the system is improved by such an injunction.”).

(See pp. 2-4 of Messmer; rather extensive citations to other court decisions by Judge Boyle are omitted.)

The Judge went on to say that the defendants did not offer a strong argument to limit the North Carolina permitting regime to citizens, and Sheriff Donnie Harrison, the lead defendant, “stated that he agreed with plaintiff that the law at issue in this case was unconstitutional.” If that wasn’t enough, “resident aliens are allowed to possess firearms on their premises and are even allowed to carry firearms openly in North Carolina.” Judge Boyle therefore granted the plaintiff’s preliminary injunction, stopping the Sheriff or other North Carolina officials from enforcing §14.415-12.

Overall, a good result and one which I think is eminently reasonable. I think there’s three things worth considering about this case going forward.

(1) Sometimes it’s the local elections that make a real difference. It’s the local elections that put the people in office that are most likely to have a direct impact on your day-to-day lives. Messmer is an excellent example of this. Sherrif Harrison could have fought this tooth-and-nail. Instead, it appears that he recognized an unconstitutional law when he saw it and offered no defense for it when challenged in court. As a result, the original complaint was filed in March, and the preliminary injunction was granted at the end of April. Instead of trying to drag out the fight, Illinois-style, the local officials frankly acknowledged the issue with the law, and let the chips fall where they may.

(2) If it’s unconstitutional to deny a resident alien the equal protection of firearms laws, how can it be constitutional to deny a non-resident U.S. citizen that same protection? Constitutionally, it’s one thing for Illinois to say (for instance): we’re not going to recognize your Pennsylvania license to carry firearms because Pennsylvania doesn’t have a training requirement, while the firearms experts in Illinois have concluded that ordinary citizens should only carry a firearm after a 16-hour training course. It’s quite another for Illinois to say that, and then deny everyone except the residents of four states the opportunity to take the 16-hour training course and jump through the other administrative hoops just like Illinois residents.

(3) As Professor Volokh discusses on his blog, bans on firearms carry by illegal aliens have been uniformly upheld. But, I’m starting to wonder…why? An illegal immigrant is subject to apprehension, incarceration and deportation for the the misdemeanor offense of improper entry (with a maximum punishment for first-time offenders of 6 months in prison,) not necessarily for committing a violent crime. Pew Research Center estimates that there are 11.2 million illegal immigrants in the country, constituting 3.5% of the population, and 5.1% of the labor force. If the right to keep and bear arms, like the other rights specified in the Bill of Rights is a natural civil right predating the Constitution, is it right to deny illegal aliens this right, if they’re otherwise not guilty any other crime?

(Hat tip: Felix F.)

 

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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171 Responses to Do Non-Citizens Have the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

  1. I don’t think they have a constitutional protected RKBA. But I think every human is entitled to use any means accessible to them to defend themselves.

    • Self defense is a human right. Our 2nd amendment rights are codified into our founding government document as not coming from the government, but from a higher power intrinsic to our individual person-hood (or God, whatever.) The sooner this gets accepted, the sooner we can get rid of the fact that my 2nd amendment right to legally purchase a firearm for whatever reason stops at the border of my home state.

      • The Supreme Court has ruled that the 2nd Amendment applies to ALL U.S. persons and your state boundaries have no bearing on it.
        .

        • So a resident of Florida can buy a handgun from an FFL in Virginia without having to ship it to an FFL in Florida? Thought not.

        • Because if you need that firearm to defend yourself on the way back to FL, tough shit. A CLEAR violation of the RKBA, and a denial of the human right to self defense. It is also clear that states and the fed government are ignoring the SCOTUS decision by playing word games. Of course, you can buy an AR to defend yourself on the way back to FL, but that does not erase the infringement.

    • Your statement seems contradictory. The Constitution is requires the Government to protect natural rights that are universal and self evident. Rights that apply to everyone.

      The right to be armed is a natural human right that is universal. It’s fundamental to who we are as a species. We would have gone extinct a million years ago had it not been for our large brains AND the manual dexterity to fashion and use tools; principally, weapons.

      In the modern World, that means firearms.

      • UNLESS they are in the US illegally (a capital crime) in which case the ONLY obligation the US has is to promptly deport them. To somewhere. Iraq perhaps.

        • Being in the U.S. illegally IS NOT a capital crime.
          I’m not even sure it’s a criminal offense on the first time.
          .
          After the first deportation it is a criminal offense to return.
          .

        • Correction. Per the US laws we don’t really do anything for being an illegal alien which is a joke. However, if you go to Mexico illegally by their constitutional law you are subject to immediate deportation or imprisonment. now let that sink in for a minute.

        • Insofar as illegals are concerned (or anyone else), we weren’t discussing any “obligation” of the government other than to get out of the way. If they’re illegal, deport them, fine. Otherwise, they should have the same rights that they were born with as anyone else in the US or this world.

    • if their here legally and a resident… yes.

      illegals hell no. tourists no. on business no. unless they get special permission. us Cops cant carry in other countries unless they get department permissions.

      but legal residents yes they should be able to get CCW.

      • Persons LEGALLY in the U.S. should not have to get “permission” to own, keep, or carry in any manner, a firearm nor should citizens!
        .
        What other countries do is not our business.
        .

        • It’s always fun to argue, but is this one rational? A foreigner is not going to be able to pass a NICS check to purchase a gun here (no record of birth, no SSN, etc), so he’d have to bring a gun with him, from what country would that be possible? If a friend LENDS him a gun, fine, otherwise not a question.

        • >> It’s always fun to argue, but is this one rational? A foreigner is not going to be able to pass a NICS check to purchase a gun here (no record of birth, no SSN, etc), so he’d have to bring a gun with him, from what country would that be possible? If a friend LENDS him a gun, fine, otherwise not a question.

          That’s plainly not true – you don’t require a record of birth or an SSN to pass a NICS check (and pretty much any legal immigrant can get an SSN, and even illegals can get an ITIN).

          I’m not even a green card holder, and I’ve purchased and now own over 30 guns in US, all legally, most through 4473 transfers.

        • You have a misconception of how the NICS check works. Donald Duck could pass a NICS check. NICS has no database of existent persons who enjoy their 2A rights; only a database of persons known to have lost their 2A rights.

        • For non-resident aliens (i.e. no green card), it’s actually a bit more involved – they do also verify our visa/permit for validity and expiration. This seems to be a manual process, too, for which they have to go to CBP (or USCIS?) databases – which is why the check is always delayed, sometimes for 30 minutes, sometimes for a few days, and occasionally they don’t get back to you at all (and you get to take the gun when their allotted time period runs out). Also, they occasionally mess it up and come back with a denial by mistake – I was denied twice that way, and had to wade through the associated red tape to set things straight.

        • Int19h, that’s interesting. So, I take it, that if you are a legal non-resident alien you are not automatically barred from buying a gun at an FFL. You fill out the 4473 form honestly and identify yourself as a non-resident alien. That puts you in a really peculiar category where you have to be run through another Federal database. In that case, they really do identify you as an existent person known to exist and to have been granted a visa that has not expired.
          Apparently, the Federal database check doesn’t work very well; but, in principle, it works and your RKBA is not – at present – infringed when the database check works well. The Feds are not barring you from your natural right – who would-a thunk?!!!

          Now, then, doesn’t that make it even more absurd that a former citizen who renounced his citizenship is designated a prohibited person?

          Moreover, how about the active citizen who is resident outside the United States? Under present law, he is forbidden from buying a handgun from an FFL because there is no State where he is resident.

          If we the PotG fronted the money for the SAF we could keep the Feds and States tied-up in lawsuits for a very long time.

        • It’s a bit more complicated. The feds do ban non-resident aliens from possession by default, but they allow for certain exceptions that you have to explicitly claim (if you have form 4473 in front of you, that’s question 12). One of those that most people in my situation use is having a valid unexpired hunting license issued by any one of the states.

          Personally I get mine from Alaska, even though I reside in Washington, because AK lets you get it online for $30, no questions asked and no exams etc – unlike WA, where you need to pass an exam to get the license. It’s all a bit silly, obviously, and is effectively a tax on RKBA, but it’s just like you said regarding the AOW tax stamp – it’s not onerous enough to bother pursuing at this stage, not when the states charge hundreds of dollars for a carry license.

          And yeah, the prohibition on people who have renounced their citizenship makes zero sense to me. Though that just goes on the long list of Uncle Sam’s small vindictive ways to get at his ex-subjects… I mean, even the renunciation itself is not a trivial process, and they expect you to pay several thousand dollars for the “privilege” of voluntarily withdrawing yourself from US jurisdiction. Talk about the Land of the Free!

        • Thank you for your elaboration. So, I take it, that if you merely wish to maintain your marksmanship skills, participate in competitions or like activities you must buy a hunting license from some State, any State will do. If you wish to arm yourself in your home for self-defense you must buy a hunting license.

          If you lived in a suitable jurisdiction (Constitutional Carry or a State with a Shall-Issue law with no reference to citizenship) then you could carry a handgun for self-defense, but you would need to buy a hunting license.

          Sounds like another point to note on a list and see where it fits into some greater argument.

        • Yes, that all sounds right. Thankfully WA is shall-issue, including for non-citizens (thanks to SAF – they spearheaded the case that reversed the de facto ban on non-citizen ownership of firearms here back in 2008). The only catch is that on state level here, aliens also need a special license for mere possession, called “alien firearm license”, which is separate from a carry license (that de facto ban that I mentioned earlier was not legislative in nature – the state licensing department simply refused to issue AFL to anyone who applied). So to carry concealed, I need a hunting license to get past federal restrictions on ownership, then the state AFL to be able to possess a firearm in the first place, and then the state CPL to actually carry concealed. Needless to say, I have all three and do carry when and where I can 🙂

      • Why exactly tourists and those on business visas are any different from residents? Can you point out the part of the Second Amendment where it excludes any such?

    • I don’t think they have a constitutional protected RKBA.

      Are you familiar with how the Constitution works? It does not grant people rights, with all other powers going to the state. It grants the federal government a finite number of limited powers, with any power not granted to the federal government reserved for the people. Nowhere does the Constitution grant the government the authority to regulate ownership of firearms for any people, citizens or not. Therefore, it does not, and cannot, have that power.

      The Bill of Rights places further restrictions on the government. Restricting the government from interfering with the rights of people, not citizens. The particular wording of the Constitution is intentional. When something applies to citizens only, such as qualifications for election, it uses the word citizen. When something applies to all people, such as protecting rights, it uses the word people.

      • It surprises me how many people (esp. right wing) don’t understand the simple concept that constitutional rights are applicable to all people under US jurisdiction, not just citizens. It would seem straightforward, given that it is the obvious literal reading of the constitution (“the right of people …” etc).

    • IF YOU ARE STARTING “WONDER” ABOUT giving gun rights to illegal aliens because they are similar to alien residents STOP RIGHT THERE!!!!
      1, illegal aliens are FUGITIVES FROM JUSTICE. And fugitives from justice ARE BARRED FROM OWNING A GUN
      2. Many illegal aliens come to this country for the same reason many Americans hide out in Mexico. Because they are guilty of crimes like rape, murder, child molestation and are trying to escape the law.
      But unlike a child molester here in the US….there is no record of their felonies in our system. We can’t do a background check of illegal aliens. So giving illegal alien child molestor the right to own guns when they cross the border into the US is like giving a child molestor the US the right to own a gun

      I’m amazed how many gun owners want to put guns into the hands of EVERYONE without even thinking

    • The author bordering on the absurd
      He reasons : An illegal immigrant is subject to apprehension, incarceration and deportation for the the misdemeanor offense of improper entry (with a maximum punishment for first-time offenders of 6 months in prison,) not necessarily for committing a violent crime. If the right to keep and bear arms, like the other rights specified in the Bill of Rights is a natural civil right predating the Constitution, is it right to deny illegal aliens this right, if they’re otherwise not guilty any other crime?”

      This is what happens to people’s thinking when they start talking about owning a gun like it was a God Given right and entitled to all people like the FIRST AMENDMENT

      Gun ownership is a PRIVILEGE that is restricted to

      1. US residents…
      2. who have NOT been convicted of a felony.
      3. who are not under indictment for a crime
      4. who are not unlawful users of controlled substances
      5. who have not been declared mentally defective
      6. who have not been committed to a mental institution
      7. who have not been dishonorably discharged from the armed services
      8. who have not renounced their US citizenship
      9. who do not have restraining orders placed on them
      10. who have not been convicted of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

      If you keep listening to people like the author pretty soon you are going to have EVERYONE owning a gun
      1 suspected terrorists
      2.child molesters who have served their time in jail and are released
      3.the totally blind
      4.illegal aliens
      5.foreign students (like the 9/11 hijackers)

      • Yup.

        And once again I am reminded of how dumb I think so many other posters are.

        I wonder if most of the people making these comments know they they sound exactly like the gun control statists.

        Criminals will already have guns. The 2nd amendment is a natural right – it is not granted by the government, it is granted by God/nature/life.

        Why in the hell shouldn’t non citizens have the legal right to self defense?

        • We have already had foreign tourists targeted, attacked, robbed and killed in this country, the assumption was that the attackers knew that they would be unarmed. Perhaps along with a visa they should be *issued* arms.

    • Theyre already being given damn near everything else, might as well finish it off too right? Granted I am of the unalienable, you are a human so you have certain rights period crowd, but the US constitution (restricting .gov intrusion on rights as it does) should not apply to non US citizens. Kind of a mucky situation.

      • Why should it not apply to non-citizens? Legal non-citizens should have no recognized rights, even as they pay taxes?

      • The people who wrote said Constitution disagreed, seeing how they used the word “people” for most of the rights they have decided to explicitly protect, and the word “citizens” only for those rights specific to citizens (mostly to do with voting and holding public office).

        Anyway, you should stop for a moment and think about what you’re advocating. If Constitution doesn’t apply to non-citizens, does it mean that the feds can arbitrarily search and detain them, no warrants required? Does due process not apply at all, and if so then can the feds imprison or even execute non-citizens by executive fiat with no court involvement? No freedom of speech, either?

        • The people who wrote said Constitution disagreed, seeing how they used the word “people” for most of the rights they have decided to explicitly protect, and the word “citizens” only for those rights specific to citizens (mostly to do with voting and holding public office).

          So, non-citizens get to vote for Representatives and Senators? After all, the constitution uses the phrase “elected by the people” for both offices.

          I quoted every use of the people as found in the constitution, above. Perhaps you should review that usage.

        • Also, for completeness, you should also cite the parts of the constitution that do use the word “citizen” in lieu of “people” or “person”. You’ll see then that some things were clearly meant to be reserved to citizens, while others not so much.

        • Drawing the line at citizenship does a disservice to those living here under green-cards. E.g., my wife lived here for 20 years under her green card. She bore us 2 children and brought them to teenage years as a green-card holder. Do you hold that she had no right to the means of an effective self-defense, nor of the defense of her American-citizen children, merely because she was not yet a (naturalized) citizen?

          My wife did not undertake the naturalization process by choice; she could have done so a few years after getting her green-card. During those few years, do you hold that she had no right KBA?

          How about newly-weds; an alien and an American citizen. Perhaps they have already had an American-citizen child together; but the alien has not yet applied-for – or completed – the green-card application process? Although he has a duty to protect his American wife and American child, does he have no right KBA?

          I would prefer to begin from as broad a casting of the net over the extent of liberty to KBA and then argue about restricting that right in certain cases. E.g., an alien on the terrorist watch list might be present in the US under a valid visa. Would it be reasonable for the Executive – acting under a duly adopted law – to deprive him of the RKBA? How about if that individual were under application for a green-card? How about if he were granted a green-card? How about if he were naturalized?

        • Since I was in high school, I have understood that the rules for election of senators and congressmen are decided by the states they represent, as are the votes of electors for the president (en bloc or allocated). Which is what the quoted passage of the constitution says.

    • Those who intend to carry illegally already do. Your phrasing sounds like it’s directly from the MDA facebook. “NRA is arming criminals!” Seriously? Clutching pearls over illegal immigrants is just more panty-wetting of a slightly different stripe.

    • It isn’t a question of arming anyone. The question is if our government has the authority to disarm them. The answer clearly is no. Depriving a man the natural right to keep and bear arms is morally and ethically repugnant in a free society.

    • whats next arm the illegals too?

      How about make them not illegal?
      Many other western countries have a guest worker program. Anyone who walks up to a border checkpoint, or the proper counter at an international port, should be able to fill out some paperwork, prove a fitness to work in the US and a clean criminal history. At that point, he should get a guest worker ID card, not a green card and not citizenship (although that should be an optional path after a few productive years).

      If that was the situation, then there would be no reason for an immigrant who wishes to be a positive member of the community (like the vast majority of illegals) to try to sneak in. Illegal border crossings would be much rarer, and limited almost exclusively to people with bad intentions.

      • How about make them not illegal?

        The constitution provides a means for enacting legislation, and such duly enacted legislation regarding the country’s immigration policy exists. If you wish to change those laws, you should again avail yourself of the constitutional means to do so.

        However, for about 30 million illegal immigrants, no law will change their behavior. Immigration laws should be written to the benefit of the people of the United States, not to the benefit of scofflaws.

        • are you saying that you believe that there are 30 million illegals in this country who are other than simply existing under the status of illegal are known criminals? I would like to see your numbers. 30 million criminals committing a single noteworthy crime a year would outstrip all the crimes committed in the US total. By about three times.

          In other words, the vast majority of immigrants illegal or not are otherwise law abiding. There are not enough crimes committed total for even a majority of illegals to commit even a single crime.

          Numbers show that in areas such as drug use Mexican illegals partake at a far lesser rate than US citizens.

        • Drew, you make good points.

          Suppose for illustration that 2% of our citizens were criminals to a greater or lesser degree; and, then, suppose that 4% of illegal immigrants were criminals to that same greater/lesser degree. To TAR ALL illegal immigrants with the same brush of criminality on the sole basis of their illegal immigration status does NOTHING to inform our understanding of violent crime.

          This is to say nothing of the load illegal immigrants place on the social infrastructure (use of schools, emergency rooms and unlawful use of welfare resources.) Illegal immigrants make some contribution of labor, produce some contribution to GNP, pay some taxes, and consume social resources. I assume a net negative that’s not trivial.

          Nevertheless, it is inevitable that many of these illegal immigrants will become legalized (if by no other means, sponsorship by their adult American born children). We will face these immigrants (and their children) at the polling place. We ought not to make any more enemies in their communities than necessary.

          Let us PotG advocate for vigorous deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes. That is certainly the place to start. Let’s advocate to stem the ongoing inflow. Let’s advocate for a humane enforcement of the immigration law. It’s not necessary – nor desirable – to alienate that substantial portion of the community that is NOT engaged in violent crime.

  2. Why not? They can already vote. That’s the pithy reply, anyway. Armed self defense is a human right. I wish more non-Americans realized this and started changing their own governments and countries for the better.

    • They cannot vote in all cases. They cannot vote at all in national elections, and only in some local and state ones. Attempting to do so is a crime and can result in deportation and lose of green card.

    • You meant to say ” why not? Historically the U.S. As designed by the founders allowed voting and citizenship with practically no interference nor extraneous requirements from the government. People moved to a place known as a US territory made a home and in short order were recognized as fully fledged citizens.”

      By current laws how many people of note in our nations history would have been cast out or criminalized?

      • Their mere presence in our country constitutes a crime. Thus, the total crime committed merely due to the presence of illegal aliens is 1 x [# of illegal aliens].

        I make no claims regarding the total number of *other* crimes committed by illegal aliens.

  3. The Constitution (and its amendments, including the second) apply to ALL “U.S. persons”, which encompasses all persons legally present on U.S. soil.
    .

    • So Our creator only bestowed certain people with inalienable rights? Rights that as you seem to believe are very much alienable, rights that are effectively granted by the government I assume you love above all.

      • Yes, this application of ALL vs NONE doesn’t work very well. So, we catch an illegal immigrant on our soil. He has no rights to due-process; we can subject him to cruel and unusual punishment and then serve-up the chum to the sharks. No? Didn’t think so.

        There is quite a bit of jurisprudence that attempts – not always successfully – to apply each right to the Constitutionally entitled class according to the text and an understanding of the underlying intent.

  4. the way this government is going if the find illegals with guns they will be released and given a case of ammo for their trouble

  5. I’ve voted for Donnie Harrison every time he’s come up for re-election. In NC the offices that issue CCW and pistol purchase permits fall under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff, and the office at the Wake County Sheriff’s Dept. in downtown Raleigh is well-run and efficient, with helpful and friendly staff. When I first applied for my concealed carry permit ten years ago, Sheriff Harrison’s office had 90 days to grant the license or deny it with reason. I was informed that my license was granted and ready for pickup 14 days after submitting the application.

  6. Since 1971, “alienage” has been a “suspect class,” meaning that state laws discriminating against legal aliens are subject to strict scrutiny, which means that they almost always are struck down. State laws involving illegal (undocumented) aliens are usually subject to rational basis scrutiny, so they are almost always upheld.

    The Federal government has full Constitutional power to regulate immigration, so Federal laws regarding aliens receive rational basis scrutiny.

    The upshot is that laws restricting the 2A rights of legal, documented aliens (resident aliens, not tourists or students) cannot stand. Even the ATF has changed its rules on the purchase of firearms by legal aliens. Before last year, they were prohibited. Now, they’re not.

    • The ATF “Rules” regarding the purchase of firearms by LEGAL aliens were unconstitutional !
      .
      As are most of ATF’s “Rules”
      .

    • It has never been illegal under federal law for a permanent resident alien to possess firearms. In many states, they are eligible for concealed carry permits. An applicant has to show his green card on application to prove he is a legal resident. What’s happening is that meaningless, arbitrary restrictions on legal non-citizens are being ruled unconstitutional. For example, there used to a law in one state forbidding non-citizens to own pets. The restrictions that will survive are those related to political activity and national security.

      • I never said that it was illegal for aliens to OWN or POSSESS a gun. Prior to 2013, one of the questions on Form 4473 related to citizenship. If the purchaser stated that he or she was not a citizen even though he or she was a legal resident, he or she could not PURCHASE a gun from an FFL.

        • Answering “no” to that question on 4473 does not disqualify one from the transfer. If you read the fine print in the form, it says that answering “yes” to questions 11B to 11K is disqualifying, but none of those questions touch on citizenship or immigration status. Question 11L does touch on it, and the fine print says that answering “yes” to it disqualifies unless you also answer “yes” to question 12, which lists the exceptions.

          Note also that question 11l is not about citizenship, but about non-resident alien status. This is basically everyone except for green card holders, who are considered resident aliens (and therefore would answer “no” to 11L, and don’t have to specify any exceptions in 12).

          Now as to the exceptions, basically, as a non-resident alien, you need to have a hunting license issued by some US state (there are other exceptions, but they are much more narrow). With that, you answer “no” to 11L and “yes” to 12 and go on to buy your gun.

    • >> Even the ATF has changed its rules on the purchase of firearms by legal aliens. Before last year, they were prohibited. Now, they’re not.

      They were not prohibited – indeed, form 4437 has a whole bunch of stuff on it dedicated to the hoops that legal aliens (esp if they are “non-resident”, i.e. no green card) have to jump through; and that stuff was there long before last year.

  7. Yes! Today’s residents are tomorrow’s citizens and future voters. We definitely want them to practice and cherish their RKBA to keep the rights alive.

  8. It should be easy enough to cross the border legally that only bad actors would do otherwise. It’d be easier to identify the bad apples that way.

  9. Any person, if they are outside the boundaries of a jail; illegal alien, felon or american citizen should be able to carry a weapon for self-defense.

    But, once an illegal alien is discovered, they should be arrested, weapon confiscated, put in jail, and then deported back to their country of origin. Once they are back in their home country, they get their gun back. Of course, their home country probably will arrest them for having a weapon.

    • Poo on their home country, release them penniless and disarmed in the geographic center of Mexico city.

  10. Permanent resident with a CHL here, I think it’s obvious that the 2nd Amendment applies to anyone inside the US, just as the 1st and 5th and all the other Amendments apply. I do, however, find it “reasonable” (I know how much we all love that word within the context of the 2nd Amendment, but just bear with me for a sec) to impose somewhat stricter requirements for gun ownership for non-citizens. Specifically, by their “grade”, such that permanent residents should get the same rights regarding purchase and carry, but tourists and temporary visitors (like, someone’s grandparents from the Old Country who’s visiting for 6 months) can be more of a toss-up. Probably somewhere in between for international students.

    But that’s just me. Heck, more tourists and temporary visitors who get to buy guns and visit the range to shoot them might actually be good for gun rights in the long run, as they’ll return to their old country and never again be able to look at the anti-gun ignorance there the same way. Baby steps…

    • That opinion is not in line with the idea upon which this nation was founded; all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. All persons, including those here illegally, have a basic right to keep and bear arms. Our government is prohibited from infringing upon that. Just because it currently does infringe, doesn’t make it right. Our government has gotten things horribly wrong and will continue to do so. However, it is repugnant to the notion of a free society to debar someone the exercise of their individual right to keep and bear arms. Taking baby steps, we would still be British subjects, or worse. No thank you.

      • Question for you: should I, as a non-citizen, have the right to vote?

        Because it seems like if you support the notion that I should be able to buy whatever guns I like just like any other American citizen on the basis that rights apply to people regardless of citizenship status, then you should support allowing me to vote.

        Sidenote: “baby steps” up there refers to converting people from other countries, such that they go home and potentially convert their own countries into being more gun-friendly. It’s one thing to hear about this crazy land of America where everyone has a gun and shoot each other ever hour on the hour, it’s another to come here and discover that’s not the case. In short, it’s a hypothetical argument in favor of expanding gun rights even for tourists and temporary residents.

        • Question for you: should I, as a non-citizen, have the right to vote?

          Voting on a politician to represent you, on a tax, etc have nothing to do with the natural right to keep and bear arms. Voting is not a natural right and I’m not sure that voting has ever really been a proper right (is it a right at all?). Additionally, when an individual is keeping and bearing arms, he is not changing law, the makeup of the representative government, etc. He is simply keeping and bearing arms. Your comparison of voting and the RKBA is nonsense.

          Because it seems like if you support the notion that I should be able to buy whatever guns I like just like any other American citizen on the basis that rights apply to people regardless of citizenship status, then you should support allowing me to vote.

          Any “right” to vote is not a natural right. It would be a construct. The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right. It exists with or without government. People have rights regardless of citizenship status. Do you not understand, all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights? I never made the claim that people are entitled to the privileges and protection of the United States government regardless of citizenship status. I am asserting that the US government is prohibited from infringing upon the individual right to keep and bear arms. That is different than how you are misstating my position. So, no. They would not be able to vote. Then again, we might just go back to only property owning citizens being able to vote. That, too, is something I might support.

          Sidenote: “baby steps” up there refers to converting people from other countries, such that they go home and potentially convert their own countries into being more gun-friendly.

          And it will probably fail miserably in the long run if the government there is indoctrinating the youth in a different direction. The United States of America has been around how long and how many countries still can’t get unalienable individual rights through their heads? (Hell, even America has backslid away from the notion.)

          It’s one thing to hear about this crazy land of America where everyone has a gun and shoot each other ever hour on the hour, it’s another to come here and discover that’s not the case. In short, it’s a hypothetical argument in favor of expanding gun rights even for tourists and temporary residents.

          I don’t give a damn about tourists and other countries. That’s not my problem and not my concern. Let them fight a revolution and fix their own problems their own way. If they choose not to then they deserve their servitude.

        • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_rights_in_the_United_States

          The “right to vote” is not explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution except in the above referenced amendments, and only in reference to the fact that the franchise cannot be denied or abridged based solely on the aforementioned qualifications. In other words, the “right to vote” is perhaps better understood, in layman’s terms, as only prohibiting certain forms of legal discrimination in establishing qualifications for suffrage. States may deny the “right to vote” for other reasons.

  11. Sure why not…please don’t use Illinois as an example. THe price for 16hours of “training” has dropped precipitiously(saw one for $100 including ammo.range time and gun rental). Except for finger printing…There are many worse places now. Which is sad…

    • IL has finally been a good example for the country and the world in one thing. They took the SCOTUS ruling and ran with it. They did not play word games and dodge their responsibility as, for example, D.C.is still doing, along with CA, etc. I hope LOTS of agencies are standing by with spare shirts and boots and movie cameras, waiting for the wild west gunfights and the blood in the streets, because they will get bored.

  12. Alien here, been living in the country for more than a decade always completely legally, even if not “permanent resident” (…long story). Nevada does allow everybody legally living in the country (i.e. with a valid social security number) to apply and obtain a concealed carry permit. And I had mine several years ago…

  13. The right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    The founders used the word “people” not citizens for a reason.

    • I did a similar thought experiment.

      1. “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms…”

      2. “We the people of the United States…
      3. Article I, Section. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States
      4. Amendment I: “… or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”
      5. Amendment IV: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons…”
      6. Amendment IX: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
      7. Amendment X: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
      8. Amendment XVII: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof…”
      9. Amendment XVII: “…That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election…”

      When the Constitution uses the people, it is referring to the people of the United States, i.e. citizens.

      Now, let’s look at this clause from the Fourteenth amendment:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

      The equal protection clause does not use the term the people; rather, it uses – and differentiates between – citizens and any person. Equal protection of the law and due process are constitutionally protected not just for the people (i.e. citizens), but also for any person (i.e. citizen or not).

      • That line of reasoning turns unmanageably circular in an instant.

        It’s one thing, and good, to proclaim that everyone is entitled to equal protection of the law. It’s quite another to declare that the law may not treat different classes of people differently. The law allows for vertical discrimination, between higher and lower classes of people, while simultaneously barring horizontal discrimination, by demanding equal protection of the law for people of the same class. Equal protection comes after the law, which itself may be unequal in the first place.

        For example, naturalized citizens are not merely residents or persons within the jurisdiction of a state, but are citizens themselves. Yet, they’re ineligible to be president, because they are a different class of person. All naturalized citizens are treated equally, and that treatment is not equal to that of natural born citizens.

        Minors have constitutionally protected rights, but only up to a point, and that point comes much sooner than for adults. For example, no warrant is required to search a minor’s room, providing his parent has consented to the search.

        Hell, it wasn’t until the 1950s that even U.S. citizens had full constitutional protection outside of U.S. territory. (See Reid v. Covert.) If the Constitution could for nearly two centuries diminish the protection of actual citizens, based on geography, then surely it could diminish the protection of non-citizens, also based on geography.

        Even for foreign nationals within the U.S., the Constitution allows for dissimilar treatment, specifically with regard to the 5th amendment. Federal law mandates detention of foreign nationals charged with being deportable for having committed certain crimes. A person, without individual assessment and simply by virtue of being a noncitizen, must be held in detention (jail) pending the outcome of their deportation hearing. This is so even if they pose no flight risk or danger, and even if the government agrees detention is unnecessary.

        See Demore v. Kim (2003), where the SC acknowledged that “Congress regularly makes rules that would be unacceptable if applied to citizens.” In other cases, post-14th amendment, the SC has held that a foreign national can be expelled simply on the basis of race! (Chinese in Chae Chan Ping v. U.S., Japanese in Yamata v. Fisher.)

        At the very least, Chip, can we agree that the Constitution is not as clear on this topic as some would suggest, and that this nation’s approach to this topic has been more ambivalent than some would prefer?

        • At the very least, Chip, can we agree that the Constitution is not as clear on this topic as some would suggest, and that this nation’s approach to this topic has been more ambivalent than some would prefer?

          Certainly.

          The main points I was trying to make:

          1. “The people” refers to US citizens
          2. The constitution protects the rights of US citizens, unless otherwise specified
          3. The constitution, through the 14th amendment, extends equal protection/due process under laws to all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike
          4. Therefore, the rights protected in the constitution extend to non-citizens

          People who do not respect the rights and individual liberties of others will find ample room for mayhem in the (intentional) ambivalence of the constitution.

        • Of course, the Constitution is murky on the matter. However, the notion of all men being created equal, being endowed with inalienable rights along with the concept that no free man ought be barred the use of arms tips the scales for me towards none being deprived their right to keep and bear arms. Besides, if our government was behaving as it should and kept in its little box, it wouldn’t have the capability nor even the first inclination to disarm those who aren’t in lawful, legitimate custody. Disarming someone on US soil ought to be out of our government’s reach except incident to arrest (short term) and then after due process (while in custody, long term). For me, that’s the big picture. When we have disarmament of a whole class of persons in country, government must have an apparatus to do that. If we remove the legitimacy of any such apparatus, we remove the number one threat to the individual RKBA. IMHO, thoughts along those lines are what spurred the 2A in the first place.

        • Yes, I got that. It’s just a restatement of your own argument and an avoidance of my counterargument, which dismantled yours.

          What you’re failing to see in your steps 1 through 4 argument, is step 0: the premise. You’re assuming that rights protected by the Constitution are absolute and equally applicable to begin with. In fact, they are not. Hence, your entire argument flows from a false premise and is equally fallacious.

          The proof? Every right comes with a responsibility, often in the form of a prohibition against violating someone else’s rights. Well. Now you have a right defined in terms of another, which itself is defined in terms of another, which itself…….and so on. By their very nature, rights conflict and rights collide, and like plate tectonics, some kind of give and take is inevitable. They aren’t absolute. The Framers recognized this and allowed for some elasticity:

          In the 3rd amendment, they leave it open-ended with “…..in a manner to be prescribed by law.” How can one argue a right is absolute as written, when it is explicitly TBD?

          In the 4th amendment, the rights are protection against “unreasonable” searche/seizure and property taken without “just” compensation. Unreasonable? Just? By whose standard? In what era? I don’t know and the Constitution is silent, other throwing it over to the courts. Evolving standards beget evolving rights; hardly the stuff of an absolute right.

          In the 6th and 8th amendments, “speedy” trial and “excessive” bail and fines? Come on. Says who?

          What’s really funny, aside from your false premise, is your attention to each and every word of the BoR. You do know, don’t you, that the Framers didn’t even intend for the BoR to apply to citizens, in relation to the states, let alone noncitizens. That was considered and rejected at the time, opting only to bind the federal government.

          Now, I get it, the Constitution is subject to amendment and the 14th did just that. Still, it’s disingenuous to argue word by word of the original amendments, in the context of a much later amendment. It’s a mashup that lends itself to this type of argument based on a faulty premise.

        • Yes, I got that. It’s just a restatement of your own argument and an avoidance of my counterargument, which dismantled yours.

          I actually agreed with you – which you might have noticed, if you were interested in a discussion, rather than winning a pissing match. I have no interest in the latter.

          What you’re failing to see in your steps 1 through 4 argument, is step 0: the premise. You’re assuming that rights protected by the Constitution are absolute and equally applicable to begin with. In fact, they are not. Hence, your entire argument flows from a false premise and is equally fallacious.

          I agree with our forefathers, and our founding document:

          We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governedWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

          So, the premise – which I never claimed was necessary for the points I was making, but which you ascribed in straw-man fashion – is not faulty at all.

          Now, I get it, the Constitution is subject to amendment and the 14th did just that. Still, it’s disingenuous to argue word by word of the original amendments, in the context of a much later amendment. It’s a mashup that lends itself to this type of argument based on a faulty premise.

          So, it is disingenuous to interpret/understand original intent, in the context of later amendments? I can’t say I agree with that.

        • I disagree with your example of the presidency having anything to do with equal application of the law, between natural-born citizens vs immigrants. There is no such law, it is the Constitution itself which requires natural-born in the equation. Lacking another example of legal distinction between natural-born citizens vs immigrants (I don’t recall that there is one), I think your assertion is invalid.

      • If the original constitution uses “people” to mean “citizens”, then why does it actually use the word “citizen” in a few places, seemingly quite deliberately to restrict those rights to citizens alone?

        • Here are all the references to “citizen” in the constitution:

          1. Art. I, Sec. 2: “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States…”

          2. Art. I, Sec. 3: “No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States…”

          3. Art. II, Sec. 1: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”

          4. Art. III, Sec. 2: “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—[between a State and Citizens of another State,]—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, [and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.]”

          (Note: modified by Amendment XI.)

          5. Art. IV, Sec. 2: “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

          6. Amendment XI: “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”

          7. Amendment XIV: (generally defining citizenship)

          8. Amendment XV, Sec. 1: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

          9: Amendment XIX, Sec. 1: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

          10. Amendment XXIV, Sec. 1: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.”

          11: Amendment XXVI, Sec. 1: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”

          I see no contradictions here. The term “citizen” is used, almost exclusively, in the context of eligibility for elected office, or for voting. The term “the people” is used, in all cases, as the collective citizenry.

        • A more straightforward – I would even say, literal – interpretation is that “citizen” is used to mean citizen, and “people” or “person” is used to mean, well, all human beings who happen to be under the jurisdiction where the Constitution applies. There’s no contradiction there, either – rights related to voting and being elected are mostly restricted to citizens, and other rights are universal.

  14. “The deprivation of a constitutional right, even if only briefly, constitutes irreparable harm….”

    Good, now how to use that to our advantage?

  15. Did Ms. Messmer really say “violated HER second amendment rights?? Like her forefathers fought to get those rights. I don’t think so, even though she may in the end, be entitled to a CCW permit.

    • She was standing here, wasn’t she? If so, then that is also HER right protected from government infringement; HER Second Amendment right. Ancestors have no bearing on it.

      • I know one half of my ancestors arrived in the US in the late 1800s, and have no clue as to the other half. I was still born with those rights, even before *I* fought for this country, and she was afforded those rights when she stepped off the boat, just as it has been for a couple hundred years.

    • To be fair, most people in the US do not descend from the forefathers you are talking about. That includes you.

      Also rights have nothing to do with the actions of those that came before you, they are innate and inalienable. That is why we call them rights, and not privileges.

  16. Non-citizens’ rights should not be as strong as a US citizen. Should a non-citizen be allowed to hunt? Yes. Sport shooting? Yes. But, the right to keep and bear arms to overthrow a corrupt government? – that is a right that should be reserved for us citizens.

    • Tell me where in the constitution is says the rights are for the “citizens”. Quick hint, it ‘aint there. It’s the Right of the “people” to keep and bear arms, not the right of the “citizen”. Because somehow if they are not a citizen you don’t think they are living by the same rules and have to put up with the same issues as you? Like you are somehow better then them because of where you happen to have been born.

      It’s also pretty easy to start stripping people of their citizenship in order to keep them from having guns and start oppressing them. It’s been done over and over. That was one of the main tactics of the apartheid government to keep blacks from being able to vote and have rights. So let’s try not to repeat that.

      • Yes, the “people”.

        “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

        Are illegal immigrants from Central America who don’t even speak Spanish part of the posterity of Adams, Franklin, Madison, and Franklin? Not by any real definition they ain’t.

        • It is clear that an immigrant is not – NECESSARILY – a member of the class contemplated by the phrase “the People”. E.g., on the first occasions my wife entered the US she traveled on a tourist visa. She was not a member of “the People” when – on each such occasion – she set foot on US soil and presented her passport to US Immigration inspectors. Eventually, we married. Arguably, upon saying “I do” she might have become a member of that class. A stronger argument could be made that she became a member of that class when she handed the Immigration officer her immigrant visa (actually, better described as her immigration file) on crossing the boarder on one particular occasion.
          An exceedingly stringent argument (which I would disagree with) might be made that she did not become a member of “the People” until she applied for naturalization; or, until she was granted her naturalization certificate. That didn’t occur until 20 years following her obtaining a green card.

          Suffice it to say that the 2A means whatever it says – as written – and a key phrase is “the People”. The Federal government is proscribed from “infringing” upon “the right” to KBA only as respects the class defined by “the People”. We are obliged to figure out what class “the People” constitutes. It is very unlikely to constitute the whole of mankind including the soldiers of our enemies.

          Some such individuals have a natural right to the means of self-defense; however, the Federal government is not going to refrain from infringing upon their right thereto if the Federal government decides that they are outside the class defined by the phrase “the People”.

        • Don’t you feel like there’s something wrong if you have to write three long paragraphs to explain what a very simple term like “the people” means? Doesn’t it remind you of how anti-gunners write treatises on the “actual” meaning of every word in “shall not be infringed”?

          Constitution is not a complicated document. You don’t need to do in-depth linguistic analysis to figure out what it says. If it says “the people”, chances are good that it means the people in general, and not some arcane legal definition of a “class”.

        • “Don’t you feel like there’s something wrong if you have to write three long paragraphs to explain what a very simple term . . . ” No, actually, I consider myself very successful if I can confine my response to a question to three paragraphs. Generally, I’m not much interested in any question that can be successfully answered in a single sentence. The world I live in is rather more complicated than that.
          Moreover, I don’t really envy those who live in a world that is so simplistic that they are able to come up with single word/sentence answers to every question.

          Observe that it took the founding fathers many weeks to thrash-out their differences on the basic text of the Constitution. It took a couple of years for the People as a whole to thrash-out the merits and demerits of that structure. Read, for example, the Federalist Papers and the collection of works more casually referred to as the Anti-Federalist Papers. They viewed the issues in terms of considerable complexity in the 18th Century. Our lives are not less complex today.

        • @MarkPA:

          Our lives are not less complex today.

          But we have further advantage of their works, the works that they researched, and a long experience in the system that was only theoretical for them at the time. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel with every question when we have such advantage.

        • I didn’t say that our lives were less complex today; our lives are more complex today. “The world I live in is rather more complicated than that.” For example, traffic in the 18’th century consisted of pedestrians, horses and carriages/wagons. Today we have, in addition, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and trucks. Now we have to deal with issues such as whether pedestrians should be allowed on Interstate highways. A bridge near where I live has a sign prohibiting horses from crossing it. We mandate the Amish display Slow-Moving Vehicles on their carriages.

          The Constitution was written at a time where there was a sporting chance that people reading it could figure out how it applied to their familiar circumstances. Notwithstanding the relatively simple task they had to face, there was incredible controversy during the ratification period. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists fiercely debated how the Constitution would apply to them in their familiar circumstances. (The Federalist Papers are recommended reading.) If interpreting the Constitution were simplistic then there would have been no such debate during ratification.
          As one example of the difficulty, we now agree that we have freedom of the press and of speech. Nevertheless, we tolerate regulation of the radio wave spectrum. To transmit a radio/television signal one must have a license from the Federal government. Is this not a law abridging the freedom of the press and of speech?
          During WW I radio transmissions were heavily regulated as a war measure. After WW I Congress seriously considered a bill granting the Navy exclusive control over all radio transmissions. We owe it to Hiram Maxim’s son the liberty of radio under a scheme of regulation of the spectrum into bands and channels under Federal license. (To say nothing of the firearm silencer.) Had there been no licensing of the spectrum I find it hard to imagine the growth of this technology over the succeeding century. (I hasten to add that the assignment of spectrum has been mostly managed by the radio industry under the authority of the FCC.)

          “. . . we have further advantage of their works, the works that they researched, and a long experience in the system that was only theoretical for them at the time. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel with every question when we have such advantage.” In this you are quite right. Our task in the generations since the founding is to apply the principles of the Constitution to the problems we face as new issues arise. In the area of our keen interest, arms, this should be a relatively simple task albeit not necessarily a trivial task.

          As one example, the Antis point to the founding era mandates that militiamen reveal their arms and ammunition to their officer in compliance with governmental regulation of the militia. This they easily extrapolate to universal gun registration. To us it is clear from the penumbras and emanations of the 2A that universal gun registration would be antithetical to the most compelling reason that right was guaranteed by Constitutional amendment. It is a non-trivial task to reason one’s way from the text of the 2A and contemporary militia regulation practice to an apparently opposite conclusion opposing registration. Nevertheless, reason we must and it’s entirely obvious by our reasoning that registration is incompatible with the 2A.

          Our problem – I believe – is that our nation’s culture has gradually lost touch with these founding principles. There is no longer a deep consensus that understands and accepts “our system of ordered liberty”. Today’s voter is seduced by the politician who promises “wealth redistribution” into the pockets of whomsoever that voter deems deserving (be that himself or someone in great need.) Tyranny becomes the means to the utopian end.

          It was a huge mistake to turn-over the education of children to State-run “public schools”. While these schools have a veneer of local control they are – in fact – run by a national cabal of colleges of education that dictate political orthodoxy. As one illustrative examples, text books are selected by a State board in Texas which constitutes a commercial market large enough to influence strongly the content of textbooks throughout the entire nation. We would be far better off with competition among multiple sects of parochial schools and locally-instituted autonomous boards of public and secular private schools.

        • You have shown who “ordained and established” the constitution, but that has nothing to do with defining who the constitution applies to, that is in the body of the document. You’re giving too much credence to a preamble, ignoring the actual document.

        • @MarkPA: I realized that you weren’t stating that our lives are less complex today. I was trying to quote something and only ended up with the final sentence. What I was responding to was:

          Observe that it took the founding fathers many weeks to thrash-out their differences on the basic text of the Constitution. It took a couple of years for the People as a whole to thrash-out the merits and demerits of that structure

          You strike me as an attorney. There is no profit and no ego in a simpler model of rights. The grave is too close for me to waste my time. “Uncle!” I say, MarkPA. I won’t argue with you.

  17. Nobody should have their right to keep and bear arms infringed by our government; citizen or not, legal or illegal. Rights do not spring from a constitution. All men are created equal and are endowed with inalienable rights. Our Constitution was put in place to create our government and limits our government by enumerating specific powers delegated to it and emphasizing a few rights which were to be especially respected by it.

    I really agree with what you’ve written. Good article!

  18. I’m not sure about other states but here in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia, legal aliens(think green card) ARE allowed to bear arm given they pass the background check …at the mercy of our Queen Kamala Harris

  19. Do I think they should have the right? Yes. is it protected by the US Constitution? I guess so given this case. Does that make me happy? Yes. Is there really any such thing as rights? Not really. You only have a “right” to whatever you can take, and only as long as you can hold against being taken.

  20. Is it right to deny people engaged in breaking and entering into your nation the right to resist their responsibility to get on a bus back to where they belong? Well, yes. For much the same reason other aggressors lose their rights until they stop attacking.

  21. In our country, no, they do not, as the Constitution is written for citizens. And I’d like to keep it that way, as our border is wide open and there’s nothing stopping a cartel from starting sleeper cells within our country. Granted having a law against it won’t keep it from happening, but in general, no, illegals ought to have their guns confiscated and then get deported on sight.

    • “In our country, no, they do not, as the Constitution is written for citizens”
      .
      If the “our country” you are referring to is the United States, you are WRONG!
      .

      • Can you point at any part of the Constitution where it says that it’s written for citizens?

        Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the first seven words of the constitution: We the People of the United States…

        • “We the People of the United States” says who established it (as is clear by the rest of that paragraph). It doesn’t say anything about whom it applies to.

        • It says more than merely who wrote it:

          We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

          It asserts that the authority of the constitution comes from the people of the United States, and that constitution is written for the people of the United States, as an enumeration of authority rightfully belonging to the people of the United States, to the government established by the people of the United States.

          The use of the people throughout the document reinforces the republican form of government being established.

        • >> It asserts that the authority of the constitution comes from the people of the United States,

          I don’t think anyone is denying that.

          >> and that constitution is written for the people of the United States

          Not really. “For the United States of America” is pretty different than “For the people of the United States of America”. The USA is a country, a state – not just a body of people. A law for a state is a law for anyone under the jurisdiction of that state, not just those who have a say in governing it.

          >> The use of the people throughout the document reinforces the republican form of government being established.

          Then I will reiterate the earlier question: why use the word “citizen” at all, then?

          Your argument seems to be hinging on the notion that “citizen” is basically used where it refers to individuals, and “people” is the collective. But that ignores the use of “person” (e.g. in 5A) which also clearly refers to individuals.

          To me, a more logical reading is that “citizen” refers to citizens, “person” refers to individuals who may or may not be citizens (indeed, the text specifically points out that not every “person” is a “citizen”), and “people” is a collective plural of “persons”.

        • “. . . “people” is a collective plural of “persons”.” That is probably not true. There is little likelihood that slaves were regarded as persons; and little that they had 2A rights. But what of free blacks? To some extent they were regarded as persons, but not necessarily fully entitled to citizenship. Free blacks were often (though not necessarily) disarmed in the early years of the Republic. Native Americans? They were persons but not (initially) citizens. Perhaps most importantly, how about the Loyalists? Or, alien invaders?

          When the Constitution uses the term “the People” it is arguably the case that they intended to include citizens and some immigrants but to exclude any persons who held allegiance to a foreign government.

        • >> There is little likelihood that slaves were regarded as persons

          It’s actually spelled out right there in the Constitution:

          “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

          So yeah, slaves were persons.

          >> and little that they had 2A rights

          One important thing to remember is that back then, the Constitution was seen primarily as a limitation of the authority of the federal government (or rather, an explicit grant of authority on some matters and limitation on everything else). There was no federal law prohibiting slaves from owning arms, and there was no attempt to pass such a law, so we don’t know how they would interpret 2A in that context. But all actual laws that restricted slaves’ rights were state laws, and SCOTUS in that time period has repeatedly ruled that Bill of Rights does not limit the states in any way.

          >> But what of free blacks? To some extent they were regarded as persons, but not necessarily fully entitled to citizenship.

          It varied from state to state until Dred Scott. However, early on, state citizenship was considered as primary, and US citizenship stemming from that (i.e. states themselves were to decide who their citizens are, and the citizen of any US state would then automatically be the citizen of the USA). While the Constitution granted Congress the right to define “uniform rules of naturalization” from the get go, they didn’t really do much there until late 19th century.

          >> Native Americans? They were persons but not (initially) citizens.

          Native Americans were treated as separate nations in their right, so the first question there was that of US jurisdiction in the first place.

          >> Perhaps most importantly, how about the Loyalists? Or, alien invaders?

          Loyalists, to the extent that they actually supported the British war efforts, would be traitors under the definition of the Constitution, and therefore subject to arrest and the associated loss of rights, up to and including the right to life. Same goes for any armed invasion (or armed rebellion, for that matter), though that area is somewhat more murky in that there’s no clear wording anywhere in the Constitution that some rights do not apply in that case – it’s largely in precedent and case law. It would be nice to properly codify it, though.

        • You have fleshed this out very nicely. On one point, I would quibble:

          ‘ “three fifths of all other Persons.” So yeah, slaves were persons.” ‘ I’d hold that the use of the word “persons” in this case was an inadvertent choice. Personhood means one who holds rights, obligations or both. I doubt that, in the 18th century, there was any widespread notion of slaves having any rights of any consequence of interest to civil society.

          As to native Americans; yes, there was a question of jurisdiction. Nevertheless, there was plenty of interaction between Indians and colonists. It was routine to either allow trade in arms with Indians at times and in places; and, to prohibit such trade in times and places. Clearly, the colonists had jurisdiction over their own members and could punish them for trading in arms with Indians against local laws. The Indians had no recourse to recover their right to buy and repair their arms. I think you would be hard-pressed to produce persuasive evidence that the founding generation acknowledged that Indians enjoyed a 2A right to buy and repair arms or to bear them while transiting non-Indian precincts.

        • I don’t think it was a misspelling, because it’s not a one-off thing. The constitution speaks of “persons held to bondage or labor” in the Fugitive Slave Clause also, and that clearly applied to slaves (as well as indentured servants). You can find other legal documents from that era that use similar terminology – clearly, it was a widespread euphemism for “slave”.

          Now this is pure guesswork, but I suspect it had more to do with slavery starting to be regarded as morally suspect in European countries, and the apologetics of it shifting from pure property rights argument to the notion that being slave is a “natural state” for some, in which they are “most happy”, which dominated the discourse around slavery in the 19th century. Basically, that viewpoint recognized slaves as persons because it was no longer viable to refuse to do so, and then claimed that slavery is normal because it is to the advantage of those persons.

          As to Native Americans, the legal framework around them was such a mess in general that it’s hard to draw any conclusions from it. It was basically a permanent conflict between the idealized notion of “Indian nations” that were supposed to be state actors interacting with the United States as a state in its own right, and the reality on the ground that white colonists (which, collectively, defined American policies) saw Indians as savages not entitled to anything, and whose land and property could be taken at will. The infamous Worcester v. Georgia case, where SCOTUS ruled in favor of, effectively, Indian sovereignty, but president Jackson simply overrode that decision by executive fiat, was a good example of how that worked out.

          Anyway, if we accept the idealized legal argument of the time that Indians are citizens of their own respective nations and not of US, it makes perfect sense that US can control the trade of its own citizens with those nations – it would be foreign trade, subject to any such tariffs, fees or embargos as the Congress would see fit. And of course, under that interpretation, US Constitution wouldn’t be applicable to the Indian nations in general, seeing them as sovereign states in their own right (and so the question of the rights of individual citizens of those nations wouldn’t even arise).

          With respect to the rights of Indians to carry weapons around on territory undeniably under US jurisdiction, I’m not aware of any federal prohibition of such. I would be quite surprised if there were no state laws to that effect, but, again, such state laws wouldn’t be covered by the federal-only Second Amendment at that time, so we don’t really have any precedent to refer to here.

          Of course, given how the feds have treated Native Americans in practice, I have no doubt that they would trample over any rights they might have had, regardless of where those rights would be stemming from.

        • “I doubt that, in the 18th century, there was any widespread notion of slaves having any rights of any consequence of interest to civil society.”

          Or the 19th century, for that matter, even after they were no longer slaves.

        • If you read your history, you will find that many (certainly not all) of the Founders had a great distain for slavery itself.
          .
          Thus rhe careful wording in the Constitution to “talk around it” and still maintain a viable country.
          .
          Remember, the Constitutional Convention was originally convened not to write a constitution, but to revise the Articles of Confederation into a more workable document.
          .
          The delegates very soon found that the original intent was impossible to accomplish.
          .
          Thus, by accident, we have a Constitution which allowed for the abolition of Slavery a mere 60 years after it’s ratification (not to mention a war (The Civil War) which in terms of lives lost, affected a greater percentage of our population than all the wars the U.S. has actively participated in since, put together)!
          .
          And thus I must ask of all those “anti-war” folks out there:
          .
          “Was it worth it?”
          .

  22. Does it matter? US citizens have the Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, and yet numerous states arrogantly deny that right. You can claim Constitutional protection all you want, but when the lawless fascists laugh at you, all you have to fall back on is a piece of paper the vast majority of Americans take for granted.

  23. All people have a natural right to keep and bear arms, derived from the right to self-defense, which is derived from the right to life.

    That said, only the law-abiding enjoy free exercise of rights. All who are in our country legally, comporting themselves lawfully, enjoy equal protection under the law, including the constitutional protection against infringement of the right to keep and bear arms. That includes citizens and non-citizens alike.

    Those here illegally? They are criminals, and when found, should not be allowed to remain here long enough that exercise of the right to keep and bear arms is an issue.

  24. So then, would it be logical to think there would be a strong argument to take someone who renounces their US citizenship off the prohibited persons list for possession of guns and ammunition?

      • “We should see to that right after we air-drop them into Cuba without wasting a parachute.”

        I respectfully suggest to readers of this blog consider the case of a former US citizen renouncing that citizenship as a useful exercise in sorting out the principles we CLAIM to espouse. The quoted remark summarily disparages all such individuals as a class.

        Why disparage the individual members of a class? Because they are members of that class? Or, because they are individuals deserving of condemnation? E.g., do we disparage members of a race, religion or political belief because of their race/religion/belief or because they have done something we disparage?

        There are numerous reasons for an individual to renounce US citizenship. Is EVERY ONE of such reasons deserving of moral condemnation? Likely the most popular today is to lawfully stop filing US income tax returns. We have witnessed a wave of lawful immigration from India (among other countries) where individuals who were reared to their adult years in that foreign land came to America legally, became citizens, and eventually returned to their homeland. Do we disparage that conduct? If we love the land of our birth, why shouldn’t they do so as well? Why should they not wish to live among their friends and family? So long as they hold US citizenship they are obliged to file annual income tax returns even though they may be free of any US tax liability (because they have no unearned income; or, not enough unearned income to be subject to US taxation.) It is a nuisance and costly to file US income tax returns; so, some of these individuals see fit to renounce US citizenship.
        Even so, such a former-citizen may acquire a US visa for tourism or business in the US. While in the US, why should we deny any such former citizen the inalienable natural right of self-defense? What rationale ought we to use to deny a natural right?
        Imagine a parallel case, the alien who comes to the US and lives here under a green card without becoming naturalized. He returns home and gives-up his green card. He is – for all practical purposes – in precisely the same position as the naturalized citizen who renounces his US citizenship; yet, the former green card holder does not become a prohibited person.
        This class of persons (who renounce US citizenship) is not large enough to constitute a population worth agonizing over. They are not politically significant in any way. Nevertheless, they are an excellent example for us PotG to think about to clarify our sentiments and purity-of-thought concerning the RKBA under our 2A. If we can think-through this case we are well on our way to solving the much more challenging cases such as illegal immigrants and individuals on the No-Fly list, etc.

        I fear too many of us PotG can’t resolve the cognitive dissonance raised by the renunciation-of-citizen scenario; so, they refused to think about it.

  25. They have a human right to self-defense, of course. If they want that right constitutionally protected, then I suggest they get off their butts, get back to whatever failed state hell hole they escaped, and work to craft a constitution there that does so.

    I’m sick and tired of everyone, even Americans, bitching for rights, but not doing any of the work to secure them. Anything handed to you will always be taken for granted. Anything taken for granted will eventually be taken away. Having never worked to secure it in the first place, you won’t know how to preserve it or reclaim it.

    To hell with the foreigners. Let them teaverse the existing, legal path to citizenship, then they can have that right guaranteed by the Constitution. Until then, take it up with ISIS or your Parliament or whomever else.

    • >> If they want that right constitutionally protected, then I suggest they get off their butts, get back to whatever failed state hell hole they escaped, and work to craft a constitution there that does so.

      You’re so magnanimous. Would you also give the same advice to, say, Cuban immigrants who escaped from Castro, or South Vietnamese who escaped from Viet Kong?

      >> Having never worked to secure it in the first place, you won’t know how to preserve it or reclaim it.

      What makes you believe that immigrants have “never worked to secure it in the first place”. I’m an immigrant. I’ve celebrated my birthday this year on the steps of the State Capitol in Olympia, in the crowd protesting I-594. How many Americans weren’t there?

      >> To hell with the foreigners. Let them teaverse the existing, legal path to citizenship, then they can have that right guaranteed by the Constitution.

      This right is guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone – you know, the part where it says “the right of people“. It’s rather ironic how you rant about the Constitution, only to ignore what it actually says in the end.

      • Yes, same advice to the Cubans and Vietnamese.

        And no, you didn’t secure these rights. These were in place and constitutionally protected long before you sauntered in. Waving a flag every now and then, when the heavy lifting was done generations ago, is not the same thing as remaining in your home country and securing your rights there.

        “How many Americans weren’t there?” That’s cute. Never mind that I already mentioned lazy Americans, you slip in that snide and redundant remark. *Yawn* Another America-hater, fresh off the boat from a failed state, here to tell us what’s what…….

        Look, I’ll concede that Americans today were born on third base and think they hit a triple, if you’ll stipulate that you only waltzed in during an already-winning season.

        As for the rest of your pouty little rant, I’ve already addressed that “the right of the People” part elsewhere on this thread, demolishing another equally deluded absolutist. Go look it up, get educated, wipe your snotty nose, and come back with an actual counterargument, instead of cloying personal stories.

        • >> And no, you didn’t secure these rights. These were in place and constitutionally protected long before you sauntered in. Waving a flag every now and then, when the heavy lifting was done generations ago, is not the same thing as remaining in your home country and securing your rights there.

          Fine, but the same applies to every single American living today just the same. Every single person in US today has “sauntered in” (whether across the border or through his mother’s womb) and didn’t partake in that heavy lifting that you mention. So why the sudden distinction?

          >> “How many Americans weren’t there?” That’s cute. Never mind that I already mentioned lazy Americans, you slip in that snide and redundant remark. *Yawn* Another America-hater, fresh off the boat from a failed state, here to tell us what’s what…….

          It’s unfortunate that so many of you guys don’t know what’s what about your own country to the point where foreigners have to tell you such things, or stand in for citizens to fight for basic constitutional rights, but I fail to see how pointing that out makes me an “America hater”.

          >> Look, I’ll concede that Americans today were born on third base and think they hit a triple, if you’ll stipulate that you only waltzed in during an already-winning season.

          I didn’t deny it. But, like I said above, so did you and every other American citizen living today. So as far as I’m concerned, we’re all on even ground here.

          >> As for the rest of your pouty little rant, I’ve already addressed that “the right of the People” part elsewhere on this thread, demolishing another equally deluded absolutist. Go look it up, get educated, wipe your snotty nose, and come back with an actual counterargument, instead of cloying personal stories.

          You would do well to heed your own advice. It might also be worth the effort to try to actually be polite to people you’re talking to, if you expect a reply.

        • No, sir, you don’t get to claim the moral high ground. You drew first blood by calling my post a “rant”, which was offensive and disrespectful. You set the tone, so don’t cry now about politeness.

          Equal footing? No, sir. My right to be here was bequeathed by my American parents. You sauntered in on your own. Completely different. I know, your next comeback is “but what about their parents,….and theirs……?”

          I’m not playing “Name That Ancient, Irrelevant Grievance ” with you. Focus on the here and now and direct relations, and leave that tribal mentality in the Old Country. Or don’t. America is as full of ungratefu,l America-hating immigrants as the world is of America-hating American-wannabes. You’re a special little snowflake, just like all of the others.

  26. The right to bear arms is a human right, not just an American one, so your citizenship status should not affect it in any way.

    Part of why the background check system is flawed is that it intentionally reserves universal rights for the privileged. As the number of disqualifying factors increases the circle of the approved becomes smaller and more elite.
    Today its keeping felons and illegals from owning guns, tomorrow its blocking everyone else who couldn’t make the approved list because they were caught smoke a joint or got a parking ticket.
    The anti-gun crowd doesn’t care what the reason is so long as it stops you.

  27. “. . . bans on firearms carry by illegal aliens have been uniformly upheld. But, I’m starting to wonder…why?” The absolutists have an opportunity to think-through their absolutism here when dealing with non-citizens and legal non-immagrant aliens. The most challenging class is – of course – the illegal aliens class.

    The problem of illegal aliens is a mess that Congress has allowed to fester beyond any easy-to-implement solution. Yes, the Federal government has the POWER to deport any illegal alien; whether it exercises that power is a separate matter. Lots of these illegal aliens have established themselves in US communities and raised American-born children. American voters are not prepared to deport these families wholesale; watching the illegal parents take their young children with them. As a political matter, it isn’t going to happen.

    While America indulges the presence of illegal aliens we have to deal with their natural rights. Should they be deprived of their liberty to speak, write, assemble or worship as they wish? Should they be vulnerable to unreasonable searches and seizures? Should they be vulnerable to cruel and unusual punishments? If not, then may they be deprived of the right of defense of self and their American born children?

    We might wonder why Madison used the term of art “the People” rather than phrasing the 2A in a more general way applicable to all persons. My conjecture is that he intended to exclude “Loyalists” and the like. During the Revolution Loyalists were often disarmed. Following the Revolution Loyalists were often treated badly by the legal system.

    In considering the security of a free state, the founders probably wondered whether the right of a popular militia to disarm individuals supporting a tyranny ought to trump the right of self-defense of those so disarmed.

    Arguably, it is one thing to disarm an alien jihadi (whether legally present or not) while it is another to disarm an illegal alien with no criminal record and established ties to the American community.

    • …an illegal alien with no criminal record…

      An illegal alien, by definition, is a per se criminal. There is no such thing as an illegal alien with no criminal record.

      • Well, that is a silly statement, you know as well as I that a “criminal record” refers to something like arrest, prosecution, identification, conviction, mug shots, SOMETHING! A kid who swims the Rio Grande and walks out the other side is an illegal alien. He could be referred to as a criminal, though that’s probably a stretch. But he by no means has a criminal record until he has some kind of a record, at all. If he stays and keeps his nose clean for 20-30 years, he is still an illegal alien, you can still refer to him as a criminal, but if he has never interacted with the law, if no one in any branch of government even knows he exists, then he does not have a criminal record.

        • Well, that is a silly statement, you know as well as I that a “criminal record” refers to something like arrest, prosecution, identification, conviction, mug shots, SOMETHING!

          No, what is silly is bringing up a criminal record as if it has any meaning in this context. An illegal alien, when found, should be deported, not prosecuted. There should never be time or opportunity for an illegal alien to incur a criminal record.

    • There’s nothing really challenging about how this all applies to illegal immigrants. By definition, being illegal means breaking the law, and so the state can rightfully detain them (which implies denial of certain rights).

      • Very well; and, what of those cases where government authorities decide NOT to detain someone who is an illegal immigrant?

        E.g., I heard of a case where a recent illegal immigrant was staying with a relative, another illegal immigrant of longstanding. The recent illegal immigrant had been deported on a prior occasion; his host had not been deported. The recent illegal immigrant was picked up by ICE and was persuaded to disclose his address. ICE came to the address, introduced themselves, observed the host, hostess and their children, and then left them in peace making no attempt whatsoever to arrest them.

        The horrible situation we have gotten ourselves into is that most of our governments (Federal, State and municipal) have reached the point where they will not move against the crime of illegal immigration in the vast majority of cases. I agree with you that if they arrested every illegal immigrant than their 2A rights (if any) would be rendered moot. Yet, clearly, we are in no such place today.

        IF someone is an illegal immigrant who has established deep and irrevocable ties to the American body politic; and, his continued presence is endured by a conscious government and body-politic, then, does he have any right of self-defense? If so, does he have any right to the means of a successful self-defense?

        It’s not easy to trivialize an answer to such a question by way of a flat Yes/No response.

  28. As Chip said, yes, it’s only citizens of the United States. One huge problem with illegal immigration as a whole in our country is that we make it far too comfortable for them to get away with doing (other than not enforcing it, but save that for some other time). They should get zero entitlements and zero rights (not that we would treat them without respect, but that they’re not citizens), not all our entitlements and all our rights.

    Again, it’s far too dangerous to give illegals gun rights here (and the US Constitution, being written by and for citizens, doesn’t give them any). Again, sleeper cells. We already have major crime problems which are the result of major gangs operating in our country, some of whom have a very high percentage of illegals in their ranks. If properly mobilized, these could very well constitute a small army. This is why illegals should not be allowed to have guns until they’re citizens: they could bring us down. If they don’t like it, tough: one more reason for them to become citizens.

    Though, to be honest, anyone who is trying to be a citizen of the USA only for our benefits and rights isn’t the type person we want to begin with. We want people who are going to pledge their loyalty and devotion to our country and making it a better place, not moochers who are fleeing a perfectly good country because it’s too inconvenient for them to do something about it.

    When we didn’t like how our country (Britain) was treating us, we fought for our independence. They should do the same, not flee here because they’re too lazy to fix it. I say this, exempting people who had no means or way to resist who fled for their lives. For them, humanitarian relief already exists.

    • They should get zero entitlements and zero rights (not that we would treat them without respect, but that they’re not citizens), not all our entitlements and all our rights.

      Like it or not, they already have inalienable rights. What is being discussed is if our government is to respect their natural right to keep and bear arms or not.

      Nobody should be receiving government entitlements. Our government isn’t even supposed to be large enough to offer such. It has suffered from mission creep to the point of tyranny.

      Again, it’s far too dangerous to give illegals gun rights here

      Nobody gives them that right because they are born with it, citizen and non-citizen, as a result of being human. Do you want to “feel” safe or do you want to be free?

      (and the US Constitution, being written by and for citizens, doesn’t give them any).

      The Constitution doesn’t give rights to anyone. It can’t give that which it does not posses. People have inalienable rights and they lend PRIVILEGE for government to govern. Government has no rights. You have the whole flow of power backwards. Limited, specific power flows from the People to government and not the other way around. Also, that power is only on loan.

      Again, sleeper cells. We already have major crime problems which are the result of major gangs operating in our country, some of whom have a very high percentage of illegals in their ranks. If properly mobilized, these could very well constitute a small army.

      Trading Liberty for perceived safety. This is a direct route to servitude.

      This is why illegals should not be allowed to have guns until they’re citizens: they could bring us down.

      The pro-gun argument is that criminals will get guns anyway. Why doesn’t it apply in this case? The argument is exactly the same.

      • John, you have argued eloquently.

        I wonder what the intersection is between the Absolutist camp of Constitutional interpretation and the Aliens-have-NO-2A-Rights camp. Are Absoluteists mostly No-Guns-for-Aliens advocates? If so, they really need to reconcile these two firmly-held positions and articulate the rationale.

        In particular, I’d like to see a rational line drawn among the various subsets of aliens.
        – natural-born or naturalized former US citizens who have renounced their citizenship
        – aliens in the US on temporary (tourist, student, business) visas
        – aliens in the US on the visa waiver program
        – aliens married to US spouses who are just beginning the process of applying for green cards
        – aliens who have applied for green cards who are not yet eligible for naturalization
        – aliens who are eligible for naturalization who have not applied for naturalization
        – dual citizens
        Color all of the foregoing with and without evidence to criminal activities in their home countries; with and without evidence of threats to US security.
        The analysis becomes a convoluted mess. The only path out of this mess is – I believe – to separate the moral and civil principles. Yes, each human has a natural right to arms; and, yes, each body politic may adopt a constitution denying that right to some while guaranteeing it to others. Such a separation is difficult to accomplish from an Absolutist principle.

      • “They should get zero entitlements and zero rights (not that we would treat them without respect, but that they’re not citizens), not all our entitlements and all our rights.”
        .
        But can we hunt them?
        Will there be a special season, or will it be open all year ’round?
        Caliber restrictions?

      • “Nobody should be receiving government entitlements”

        John, that is the ground floor of all arguments, one way or the other. We are told we have to give up one right or another because otherwise it will cost too much in entitlements, as opposed to dropping the entitlements because they are too expensive. The first question I heard when Osama began discussing his executive amnesty plan (other than how that would be unconstitutional and illegal, I mean) was “who’s going to pay for the entitlements”? Eliminate the entitlements and a lot of questions (and probably illegals) would go away.

        What is an entitlement? It is any benefits awarded by the government which is not available to every person in the country. I can’t “qualify” for food stamps, therefore it is a benefit not available to me and should be eliminated. All welfare should be gone. Last I looked, unemployment passes the test, even a rich man follows the same rules, qualifies for unemployment. Now we’re hearing about “means testing” (the latest fad) for things like Social Security. “Means testing” equates to “if you are one of those who paid for it, you are not entitled to it.” Absolute, pure socialism. The Interstate Highway System is a good example of a government program available equally to everyone, rich, poor, or in between. The military defends everybody’s shores, not just those of the poor. The more votes are bought, the farther down the road to disaster we go.

        rant off/sorry.

      • @MarkPA: I won’t argue with you. Life is too short. I will, however, make one pass at clarifying something…

        The model is simple. The mere exercise of the natural individual right to keep and bear arms harms no one. Government ought not infringe with it; write laws, regulations, in any sense touch it.

        So, the TL;DR comment you made is moot in light of the model I support. Convolution and introduction of constructed complications into that simple model might make bank for attorneys, judges, and jailers, but it does individual Liberty and a free society a grave disservice.

        • “. . . the TL;DR comment you made . . . ” John, sorry to trouble you one last time; but I don’t recognize the acronyms “TL” or “DR”. Sometimes I’m a little dense; I’m sure they are legit, but I don’t get them. In the short time of life you have remaining, please spell-out.

          “The model is simple. The mere exercise of the natural individual right to keep and bear arms harms no one. Government ought not infringe with it; write laws, regulations, in any sense touch it.” I agree that the mere exercise of the RKBA that harms no one ought not to be infringed upon. The kink is with the blanket renunciation of any law/regulation/touch.

          There is some evidence from the founding era that some people’s rights to keep or bear arms were limited and that this seemed acceptable; i.e., non-controversial. Samuel Adams spoke of “peaceable citizens”. Apparently, some law breakers were disarmed. Boston had an ordinance about keeping loaded arms inside buildings.

          Personally, I do NOT take seriously any SINGLE example. To illustrate, the Boston ordnance concerning loaded firearms in buildings. A Heller dissent would have us believe that that example alone is sufficient to justify “reasonable regulation” within the prohibition against “infringement”. I reject such an argument. If that argument were to stand we would have to be so excessively jealous about every minute infringement on any liberty; our civilization would stop. We should have to object to parking meters because they infringe upon the right of free travel. If – some day – we discover parking meters to infringe on the right of travel we must reserve the right to assert that Constitutional argument if-and-when it occurs to us.

          Conversely, if a carefully researched record could be assembled that violent people were disarmed upon due process throughout the colonies/States in the 18’th century then I think we would have to concede that the founding generation did not regard such a practice as an infringement on the right of the People.

          Taxation is another example. Is the application of a State’s sales tax an “infringement”? If it is no higher than the tax on any other product then I doubt that a case could be sustained that it is an infringement. How about a Federal excise tax? The lawyers who drafted the NFA of ’34 concluded that even the onerous tax of $200 was Constitutional. Personally, I do NOT agree that it was Constitutional at that time due to the high rate.

          Now consider the Federal excise taxes on non-NFA guns and ammunition which are in the vicinity of 11% (IIRC). Are these onerous? They are ear-marked to be distributed to the States for wildlife conservation; as such, I infer that they were adopted by Congress with the consent of those citizens who were affected – consent of the governed. Were such excise taxes (at moderate and ordinary levels) “infringements” at the time they were adopted?

          What of the mandate on manufacturers to stamp a maker’s mark and serial number on guns? Is this an infringement? It does not apply to individuals who make guns for their personal use.

          What of the licensing of manufacturers, importers/exporters, distributors and dealers operating in interstate commerce? Is this licensing requirement an “infringement”?

          The huge difficulty with the phrase “. . . in any sense touch it.” is that it sets-up a standard that could easily be defeated. Suppose you discover a single exception; e.g., by:
          – 5 SCOTUS justices
          – a majority of the Congress with the consent of the President;
          – 38 State legislatures
          – a near consensus of registered voters throughout the nation
          Now, your whole defense of the 2A is shattered with a single blow! Naturally, neither you nor I will be persuaded by the opinion of 5 SCOTUS justices nor by Congress as respects – e.g., national registration. Nevertheless, we could not stand our ground (politically) against 38 State legislatures having the power to amend the Constitution; nor against a consensus of registered voters.

          “. . . in any sense touch it.” is an incredibly dangerous place to argue from in that a single exception admitted to by a politically formidable foe knocks us out of our righteous perch.

          Instead, it makes far more sense to argue-away individual specific cases that we can claim are “infringements” because of the severity of their impact or some inherent principle (e.g., self-defense in the home). E.g., the $200 tax on silencers is an egregious infringement whereas the $5 AOW tax – as a tax – is not egregious enough to object to. (We might say that we would acquiesce if we could buy $5 AOW stamps at the post office and mail in a Form 1 with the USPS receipt.)
          More significantly, it makes more sense to argue that any May-Issue that amounts to Won’t-Issue is an egregious infringement and a violation of principle of self-defense without any justifying principle. The cases that endanger the RKBA are the most serious, NOT the LEAST serious.

          Bear in mind, civil rights such as not being discriminated against on race in registering to vote were not upheld rigorously for nearly 100 years. It really took that long to build the political will nation-wide to fully secure the right of Blacks to vote. It took longer to secure the right of women to vote; still longer for 18-year-olds.

          We PotG have allowed the public sentiment for the RKBA to atrophy for very long time – say, from the time of the end of Reconstruction to the dawn of Shall-Issue in Florida. It has been a long hard fight to get Right-to-Carry in 40 States today. It’s going to take another decade or two to build a political 3’rd rail around the 2A. Once such a 3’rd rail is in place it will be much easier to strike-down the $5 AOW tax. To claim today that the $5 AOW tax is the lynchpin of 2A liberty is to found our struggle on a non-starter.

  29. It is interesting to see how the various pro-gun organizations tackle this. SAF is of the strong opinion that it is a right, and they have pursued numerous cases all across the country in support of that (so far as I know, having not lost a single one yet). I haven’t heard NRA voicing any specific opinion in general, but they helped litigate some of those SAF cases, so it seems that they’re broadly in favor. GOA has made claims that they believe all rights to be for citizens only in the past, but they have backtracked from it later; still, I’m not aware of them coming out in support, either.

    Also of note, such cases are one of the few where ACLU enters the gun rights fight arena. They see it as an broad equality issue, rather than specifically a gun rights issue, but the end result is that they end up on the pro-gun side in legal cases on the matter. Basically most such cases have SAF and ACLU backing the pro-gun cause side by side.

  30. There are whole groups of people that can be denied the right to own a gun…

    1. Felons

    2. the mentally insane

    3.Persons under indictment for, or convicted of, any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding on year.

    4. Fugitives from justice;

    5.Persons who are unlawful users of, or addicted to, any controlled substance;

    6.Persons who have been declared by a court as mental defectives or have been committed to a mental institution;

    7.Illegal aliens, or

    8. aliens who were admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa;

    9.Persons who have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces

    10.Persons who have renounced their United States citizenship;

    11..Persons subject to certain types of restraining orders;

    12.Persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

    Gun ownership is not an inalienable right

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