Alan Gura (courtesy examiner.com)

“Constitutional rights don’t mean different things in different states.” – Alan Gura quoted in Justice Anthony M. Kennedy may be the middleman in the gun rights debate [via washingtonpost.com]

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36 Responses to Quote of the Day: Who Knew? Edition

    • Yep, last I checked you were still an American citizen in those places, and those places are still part of America, so those rights of Americans would be protected there. My rights as an American are not subject to which part of America I currently find myself situated. Legally, anyways. Now if those places were part of Canada or Mexico, my rights may not be so recognized.

        • No, that just means the state doesn’t recognize it as being protected. It’s not a coincidence that their gun laws are the way they are.

        • Actually, it did mean something, prior to the “incorporation” of the Second Amendment in McDonald. IANAL (and didn’t even stay at a swank hotel last night), but the lack of a state RKBA meant something before the SCOTUS decided to apply their incorporation doctrine for the federal RKBA in the Second Amendment to trump state and local laws.

        • Only in the minds of politicos, lawyers and jurists who twisted the constitution.

      • That’s why there needs to be more court cases about this brought up to the supreme court. The NY and CA constitutions don’t mean jack shit when held up to the US constitution.

        • In my understanding of decisions and such, it would require people to open carry without permit or license. When they carry under a license or permit, courts tend to view it as a privilege subject to restrictions. Have there been any viable, no permit or license, cases before the Supreme Court? I don’t know if there have been any but, IMHO, the right case would have a better chance of having the court reveal its thinking. With a clear case of a non-prohibited person or persons, breaking no other laws, openly carrying a firearm; I think that the courts would have to spell it out once and for all.

        • The problem is inherently the whole concept of wanting the court to “think” about it or render an opinion on the matter. None is needed, if one can read, and nowhere were the courts granted authority to make such decisions.

        • @Paul G.: Aye! But, for people that want to play the Judicial Review game, I suggest the best way to find out and make the court put up or shut up is through a clean open carry case. Then again, I agree with your post, Paul G.

    • So that is the argument for states being able to infringe on rights. Is this the same argument New York made for stop and frisk? It just seems insane to me that the founders made this list of undeniable natural rights, along with the 10th giving the people and states all the rights not specifically granted to the fed. How do you infer from that that it gives the states the right to infringe on those natural rights?

      • I’m not sure who you’re commenting on, but I kinda suspect that given those states specifically do not recognize or protect an inherent right in existing, the feel free to try to restrict it as much as possible because they can get away with it (states rights and all that) until they get a federal hand slap like what happened in IL and DC. Point being, it’s interesting to me that the states that do not specifically mention protecting our right to bear and protect ourselves in their constitutions take strong measures to actively deny those rights – if it’s not specifically protected, it’s fair game to “regulate” it to whatever extent possible.

        Keep in mind, a state’s constitution is the supreme law of the state much like the federal constitution is the supreme law of the land. States rights will interpret the federal law to whatever degree they can for as much autonomy as they can get away with.

  1. Amen to that.

    I just took my Search and Seizure quarterly training update online. The opening pages showed a picture of the Constitution, with an advisement to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of California.

    In Washington DC, your rights mean nothing. Got a shell casing in your car? You can be arrested for that. In places where we have the most government, we have the least freedom.

    • “In places where we have the most government, we have the least freedom.”

      So true, and so sad that we have evolved to that reality.

  2. The problem is not the Constitution, it’s people…

    The Constitution is just an idea, written on paper, if the people don’t hold true to its principles, it means nothing.

    • Nicely stated! Your remark is a “keeper”! Today, peoples’ failure to know and understand the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution (apparently, particularly including the POTUS and his appointed/hired minions in the Executive Branch) underpin most of what is going/gone wrong in the United States of America.

  3. Gotta be picky.

    They’re not Constitutional rights, they’re human rights. They just enjoy (tenuous) Constitutional protection.

    A more accurate quote would be “Human rights don’t mean different things in different locations.” No matter your city, state, or country, you have a human right to armed self-defense.

    • “Human rights don’t mean different things in different locations. No matter your city, state, or country, you have a human right to armed self-defense.”

      If enough people would understand that and go against laws restricting their rights (DC. MD NY CA), there would be no way they could enforce the restrictions.

    • I don’t have a problem with the term “constitutional rights,” as long as it is understood to mean a natural right that is protected, by the constitution, from government infringement. Lawyers have used the term for a long time, and some of them even understand the premise.

      The term will continue to be used, and our task is to teach the next generations of Americans what it really means.

    • It is my understanding that the rights enumerated in the Constitution are a mix of “protected natural rights” and rights granted/created by the Republic, So, the trick is to know which are which. For starters I would say natural rights include:
      Freedom of Speech
      Freedom of Press
      Freedom to Assemble Peacefully
      Right to petition the Government for redress of grievances
      Right to Keep and Bear Arms
      Right to be secure in person, home, papers, effects from unreasonable search and seizure and no Warrants issued except by probable cause
      Right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination
      Amendment IX forbidding the infringement of rights not enumerated in the Constitution
      Amendment XIII forbidding Slavery

      The rest are granted rights particular to the Republic of the United States of America and necessary to the Governance and Just Rule of the Republic.

      I think the “Right” to Religion of Choice is debatable. Part of it seems granted, but in a very fundamental sense it seems natural because it affects how one views one’s Life and shapes how one thinks about it and everything else, so it has to do with freedom of thought, which seems intimately connected to freedom of speech and press, but never mentioned in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

      It is worth noting “The Declaration of Independence” enumerates some rights not mentioned in the Constitution specifically, but heavily implied, and the “The Declaration”, as such, is not Law as is The Constitution.

      Not holding I am 100% right about all this, just saying what I opine, and interested in differing point of view.

  4. “The Constitution is just an idea, written on paper, if the people don’t hold true to its principles, it means nothing.”

    Civic sticker of the day. What citizens are learning is the people employed by local, state & federal governments are infringing. Living their joy of making fellow citizens victims and feeding the frenzy of the next high profile murder.

  5. Sure they do…..to liberal judges in blue states, that is. Judges, who, for the most part, were brought up in left leaning or even extreme left environments, got a liberal education where they were taught that the Constitution is a living document, therefore it’s not really about enforcing it as much as it is about interpreting it. They were also taught that they know better what’s good for you and whatever they say – goes. And now these judges are reluctantly allowing the people to keep guns at home, albeit with restrictions on top of restrictions, of course. And to them the 2A is mostly about hunting anyway. So it’s no surprise that we find ourselves with places like NY, NJ, CT, MD, MA etc, where you’ll find every possible misinterpretation of the Constitution, as long as it’s as far from the original intent as possible.

  6. +1Rock On & Charles…I was typing something similar but way more radical. More along the lines of Bundy ranch defiance. I live in Cook County,Illinois & very well understand the government infringing on my rights. I’m also over 60 & see my country sliding down a slippery slope we may not recover from. Especially
    if Hildebeast is anointed. One more unelected judge…

  7. I HATE the phrase “our rights as an American.” That phrase is ENTIRELY wrong. It implies that our rights come from the government. Our rights are Inalienable as Human Beings, not as Americans. They come before, outside of, and above America. If America did not exist, our rights still would. The government is a mutually agreed upon contract in order to preserve those rights. It is only through ceding some part of our freedom for greater good that the government gains legitimacy.

    • The idea is our rights as recognized in the constitution of America, versus somewhere that fails to recognize them, regardless the wording.

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