Unlike some of my legal-minded friends and colleagues, I think the doctrine of “incorporation” — applying federal constitutional restrictions to the states — is a little bit sketchy. The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; it says nothing about the state legislature of New Jersey. That doesn’t mean that our civil rights can be legitimately taken away by the states — it means that state constitutions need their own charters of rights, which, of course, most of them have.

The Texas bill of rights, for example, contains two separate provisions regarding religion (one securing freedom of worship, the other prohibiting “appropriations for sectarian purposes”), a free-speech guarantee, rules about searches and bail, etc. It also recognizes a right to keep and bear arms, one that is in some ways clearer than the one recognized by the Second Amendment: “Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”

Of course, the fact that the legislature may regulate the wearing of arms does not mean that it must, but it seems to me that there is some tension between the notion that unpermitted carry is a constitutional mandate and the Texas constitution’s reservation of regulatory discretion to the state. My own inclination is to treat the Second Amendment as though it means just what it says as a federal matter, while being a good federalist and making room for considerable variation in regulation at the state level.

I have lived in the South Bronx, and I have lived in a remote corner of Colorado with an elk-to-biped ratio of 24:1 — and I do not think that both places need to maintain precisely the same firearms laws. It is both constitutionally sound and prudent to maintain a good deal of local diversity, including within the states: Houston and Terlingua are not very much alike.

I’d love to sign off without reservation on constitutional carry, because I believe the right recognized (not granted) by the Second Amendment is an important one. “We win, you lose!” is always a satisfying outcome — but, sometimes, it is the wrong outcome.

— Kevin D. Williamson in ‘Constitutional’ Carry? Maybe Not

 

79 COMMENTS

  1. “If congress can’t take a gun away and President Obama can’t take a gun away but the mayor takes your gun away, you still don’t have a gun.”

    Alan Gura interview with Glenn Beck, 9/30/2009

    • What I am getting from the sneaky clown kevin d. williamson is if you are in an area of “White” Constitutional Carry may work but if you are in an area of “Black” not a chance.

      My questions for sneaky clown kevin d. williamson…What is the difference between Gun Control and a Noose? What is the difference between Gun Control and a Concentration Camp?

      Answer or stfu.

      • Stripped of all of the obfuscating words and window-dressing, Mr. Williams is clearly stating what the angst-ridden Rich White Liberals really feel about those semi-citizens who live in urban areas and who have really good tans, that they are akin to hothouse flowers, as yet unable to properly care for themselves, and certainly not able to possess dangerous things such as firearms. That being the case, they need nurturing and mentoring by Rich White Liberals who are far better equipped to make decisions FOR them, at least until they prove that they can be trusted.

        Witness the ‘racism of lowered expectations’ inherent in The System.

  2. “…and I do not think that both places need to maintain precisely the same firearms laws.”

    So my question would be: If we all keep referring back to the Constitution and the 2A’s command not to infringe (and so many states, including CA, expressly acknowledging that they recognize the USC as the supreme law of the land), why are there any firearms laws at all?

    • Laws against criminal behavior give police, prosecutors, juries and judges the basis to act against those criminals. Nothing wrong with a law that says if you use a gun in a crime, it’s a worse crime with a more severe punishment.

      But that’s pretty much the limit of usefulness in firearm laws. Providing the means of punishment for evil fucks that do bad things.

      Writing firearms laws that tie the hands of peaceful law abiding citizens, deny them firearms, doesn’t do shit about evil fucks that do bad things.

      Why are their any firearms laws at all, written as they are against normal decent citizens? Because foolish legislators actually, seriously, no kidding believe that guns cause people to behave like evil fucks.

      • “Because foolish legislators actually, seriously, no kidding believe that guns cause people to behave like evil fucks.”

        That might describe 20% of Republican legislators, the Democrats are largely evil fucks who want to destroy everyone who stands in the way of them achieving their Marxist utopia.

        • Just playing Satan’s lawyer, here:
          In the movies, it is always the man that could draw first(the quickest draw) that was the top dog. Most of the time he was a “bad” man, but sometimes he found the right path and did it for good. So, could that be about the “wearing of guns”? Would the state representatives think that could be a way to rein in bullies with guns(by forcing them to carry concealed, instead of on their hip)?
          I know that in the territories and later after statehood, the federal marshals and then the sheriffs had the men come check their guns before “whooping it up”. Yes, these men were in town flush with a season’s pay and looking for a good time, including the drinking of spirits.
          Checking your gun if you intend to drink could show you to be responsible

        • Rusty…enuf by his own pasty mouth habitual slandering and libeling the POTUS DJT plus his donation to Jim Crow Gun Control joe confirms enuf is by his own words and self serving actions an evil democRat Party lint licking f.

      • “Because foolish legislators actually, seriously, no kidding believe that guns cause people to behave like evil fucks.”*

        *Excepting the people that work for them. So it turns out, it isn’t really about guns at all. As a matter of fact, they LOVE guns under their control.

        • Case in point…nearly all our CA gun control laws exempt LEOs. We plebes cannot purchase new off-roster guns; LEOs can. We cannot buy/transfer new standard capacity magazines; LEOs can. We cannot purchase certain types of ammunition; LEOs can.

          Granted, our new ammo BGC law is a rare exception that doesn’t exempt LE, but my sworn friends tell me it doesn’t matter to them because they get ammo from their departments anyhow and seldom have any need to purchase out of their own pocket.

          They’re even allowed to drive with one hand while talking on a hand held cell phone…you and I get a citation, fine, and stern lecture about safety…

      • “Nothing wrong with a law that says if you use a gun in a crime, it’s a worse crime with a more severe punishment.”

        How is it a “worse” crime? If a mugger has a knife instead of a gun are you still not suffering the loss of your valuables? If a thug has a club instead of a gun are you still not dead when he bashes in your skull? “Firearm” enhancements are just as idiotic as “hate” enhancements. They do nothing but allow politicians to pretend to do something.

        • Using a gun in a felony should be the first chargeable offense, they should never be able to plea that down. People that misuse firearms in a criminal way, just like people that are diagnosed by a doctor as a danger to themselves and others, should not be able to legally have guns. There should be a process to get your rights back, but “you done messed up, bad” when you do something like that. Every time a gun is misused, it gives the grabbers more ammo against firearms. Punish the people that threaten or injure others through intentional criminal use. When we allow them to plea bargain these crimes away, we dismiss their actions and blame the gun.

        • No just a gun, but armed with any type of weapon while committing another felony.

          It used to be in CA that armed with any type of instrument that could be used as a weapon at the time of the commission of a crime or at the time of the arrest was a separate charging offense that upon conviction, required serving a 5 year minimum sentence before consideration for parole for the basic crime.

          That has been diluted to now be completely at the discretion of the judge as to whether he even imposes a sentence at all for the crime of being armed and it is now even treated as a minor misdemeanor.

          We have a recent example of a felon being apprehended four times in 3 years armed with a firearm. And he is still on the streets.

          No right guaranteed by any amendment should be at some individual’s discretion but should only be after a court hearing with the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty with the subject of the hearing being present at the hearing and being represented by competent legal defense.

          There are too many doctors who are anti-gun to allow that kind of decision to be a sui generis decision by a sole individual. If the doctor feels that way he should be willing to voice that opinion in open court subject to cross-examination.

      • I should get a more severe sentence for murdering someone with a gun then if I just bludgeoned them to death with a baseball bat? Sure makes perfect sense.

  3. If the Constitution doesn’t, shouldn’t or couldn’t apply equally sounds like maybe the states should break up.

    • All too many people do not understand the original concept of federalism in this country. The intent of the framers was that the States are the ultimate control over the central government. The States were to be left to work out their policies separately, except in those areas where the States delegated power to the central, federal government. The 14th amendment, and the modern concept of “incorporating” the federal restrictions onto the states screws up things.

      The posted article is an exhibition of federalism. Read through it again. It would also be good to find State constitutions as existed in the immediate era after the ratification of the US Constitution. We keep looking backward at our history. We keep being told that the federal government is supreme over the states (regardless of the actual words in the constitution).

      From the point of view of the FF, the author of the article is understanding the constitution, and federalism, correctly. Again, it is the 14th Amendment that overturned the concept of federalism. Essentially, all the author is saying is that federalism, as originally intended, should be the same today, as at the founding. There are some strong implications to applying original federalism.

      Mostly, we want “state’s rights” when it suits us, and federal supremacy when that suits us.

      • If I understand correctly, 14A incorporations just puts the restrictions on the fedgov as a floor of the restrictions on stategovs.

      • If Williamson really does believe that federalism should be the same today as it was at the founding (a notion that previous generations repudiated with the 16th and 17th amendments, btw), he’d be cheerleading Texas’ state-level decision to expand its citizens’ liberty, not casting it as “a solution in search of a problem.”

        With libertarians like this, who needs progressives?

        • “If Williamson really does believe that federalism should be the same today as it was at the founding…”

          Federalism doesn’t mean lack of different ideas. Under federalism, a state is not required to act only as an activist for one or another ideology. The original States were not of one mind about how politics in the different states must be. As noted, there are serious implications in federalism.

          In the original edition, it was possible, and totally within the “rights” of States to determine who could be armed. In modern terms, one state could remove voting rights for any criminal conviction, while another could decide to not remove voting rights, regardless of the crime. The States were not obligated to reach any preconceived notion of of “freedom”. One State could prosper “freedom to”, while another could prosper “freedom from”.

          Again, the US Constitution was a series of restrictions on the power of the central government, not the States (except as specifically delegated by the States). To put the smelly fish on the table, one State could prosper slavery, while another could ban slavery. The US Constitution did not delegate power to the central committee to eliminate slavery in the states…except by amending the Constitution to permit such.

          The States were not political subdivision, created by the federal government. The States were once independent (of each other) colonies. When the colonies became States, they were, for many purposes independent nations. It was that very independence that had to be surrendered, in limited cases, to the federal government.

          You will find nothing in the writings of the founders that the design and intent of the Constitution was to make the states generally (or absolutely) subordinate to the central committee.

          The founders were not fully of one mind about what/which powers the States surrendered, and which/what they retained. It took great effort to force the first ten amendments onto the Constitution. Federalists were of one mind about whether the Constitution was obvious on its face about the limits of the central government. The Anti-federalists were of another. If not for the suspicions of the Anti-federalists, we would not have a “Bill of Rights”.

          The Federalists and Anti-federalists represented different States, and had different ideas about how the relationship between the States and the central committee. The intent of both “factions” was to preserve “State’s Rights” to be different from one another; different from the federal government.

        • I do understand all that. My contention is that Williamson fails the liberty litmus test for two particular reasons, which make me wonder if he actually is committed in any serious way to either federalist principles or liberty.

          One is that if we value freedom — and if we value federalism — we should be unreservedly cheering for Texas right now, because what just happened there was a great example of both. The laws in Texas don’t have to be and should not be exactly the same as any other state’s.

          The fact that it exercised its own lawmaking prerogative to increase freedom inside its borders wouldn’t necessitate uncomfortable ponderation unless one were, in fact, uncomfortable with liberty or federalism — or both.

          The other goes along with something you just said: “It took great effort to force the first ten amendments onto the Constitution.”

          Yes, it did. And why was it so important for every state that existed then (well, 3/4 of them, anyway) and every one that has entered the compact since to agree to those enumerated rights and the restrictions they impose on government?

          It’s important because, if the rights protected by the first ten amendments are inherent to mankind — and important enough to be added to the compact that created this federation of states — allowing states the “right” to abrogate them violates the logic and principles behind the entire concept of natural rights.

          And that’s why I say Williamson is either not clear on the principles at stake here (giving him the benefit of the doubt) or being disingenuous about the values he claims to hold.

    • Hilarious how the bill of rights can be picked and chosen as convenient instead of being the baseline incorporation with all other rights being the domain of the states.

    • “I have lived in the South Bronx, and I have lived in a remote corner of Colorado with an elk-to-biped ratio of 24:1 — and I do not think that both places need to maintain precisely the same freedom of speech [or due process, or freedom of religion, etc] laws. It is both constitutionally sound and prudent to maintain a good deal of local diversity, including within the states: Houston and Terlingua are not very much alike.”

      Makes you flinch, doesn’t it?

      Simple rule of thumb…anyone who says “I believe in [fill in the blank], BUT…” doesn’t.

      Michael B

    • My thoughts exactly while I was reading this Skippy Sanchez. He’s perfectly fine with various states not recognizing various amendments? Interesting. Tell me more.

        • 14th? I’d especially enjoy an individual state denying A Womxn’s Absolute Right To Kill Her Unborn Infant For Any Reason Including Sheer Spite Up To And Maybe Just A Little After Birth, which is clearly expressed in the 14th Amendment, 1973 Version.

  4. Without incorporation the Bill of Rights means nothing. I think of it as the franchise agreement between the Federal government and the states; it established a floor, not a ceiling, on our rights.

    We’ve all had drummed into our consciousness what the ingredients are to a Big Mac; now suppose your local franchisee decided to give you only one all beef patty because in his opinion that was enough. It wouldn’t be long before he got a call from corporate telling him that when he signed up he obligated himself to honor the recipe as written.

    We all talk about what’s going on in Washington but the worst infringements are taking place at the state and local level.

    • No, the problem is with the franchise changing the special sauce, since it isn’t defined in the ingredient list.

    • “We all talk about what’s going on in Washington but the worst infringements are taking place at the state and local level.”

      Yes, this, absolutely and always. All injustice is local, and gun rights are a perfect example. Not only do nearly all the states (including the “free” ones) have far more ridiculous infringements than any Federal law; regular citizens are never arrested (even for Federal laws) unless the locals do it. TTAG articles demonstrate this time and time again, and yet the comments section is always on about “Fedzilla” and “muh states rights”.

  5. Sounds to me like Williamson is a liberal who prefers domination and control and will spin the support of his screwed ideas any way he can to sound right. I don’t go for it.

    We’re either armed at our sole individual discretion in any and all territories under the jurisdiction of the USA or we’re not enjoying such rights at all. We have the same rights of self-defense in the Bronx as we do in Houston as we do in Terlingua and there’s no exceptions as I see it. The Texas constitution was re-written at the end of the Civil War solely to accommodate a disarming of Texas during reconstruction. Both the federal and state constitutions of individual states MUST provide and at minimum the right to keep and BEAR arms as an unimpeded individual right and in a manner left up to individual discretion regardless of where we’re at anywhere in the USA and it’s territories. We’re either a free nation with individual rights or we’re living under tyranny that’s deceptively called something else.

    • I concur with his argument of 1A, and notice he stays clear of 2A when discussing the subject of “Congress shall make no law …”, also not mentioning why RKBA was not simply included as part of the laundry list of rights in 1A, instead of having a separate amendment. It is because the application is DIFFERENT! All of the rights in 1A, the states are free to make laws about, only CONGRESS is prohibited. 2A, on the other hand, specifies “Shall not be infringed” without limiting itself to Congress or anyone else, shall not be infringed by ANYONE!!! Nice attempt at bait and switch, point out what 1A says and then attempt to segue to 2A as though it says the same thing. It does not.

      And let’s recall, the “disarming of Texas” after the war of northern aggression only applied to BLACK Texans, through selective prosecution, whites were not hassled and carried regularly.

    • AMEN. +1 ….otherwise all our US Constitutional rights can and will be stripped of us on the state level.
      And once that happens the Feds will do the same.

      • “…otherwise all our US Constitutional rights can and will be stripped of us on the state level.”

        That is the messy part of federalism. But it is the bulwark of protection against the central government. Hence the cautionary, “…if you can keep it.” We all want uniformity of law when it suits, and individual laws when it suits.

        Understand this….every provision of the US Constitution, and the BOR, can be modified, or repealed via the amendment process.

        A super majority of voters of the individual states can strip you of whatever they want. Academically, a person retains “unalienable rights”, but that fact is irrelevant when one cannot legally exercise those rights.

  6. Hear that city dwellers? You’re second class citizens aka serfs. Never mind that pesky 2nd Amendmemt. Be happy in your squalor & crime…

    • Well, of course! By ‘city dweller,’ the implication is ‘minority,’ and by ‘minority, meaning ‘a semi-citizen with a really good tan but limited skills and intellect intended to provide services and votes to more advanced, capable, FULL citizens such as Liberal Progressives.’

  7. The incorporation doctrine exists so that certain core rights can be protected by the federal government and guaranteed to all citizens of the United States. Yes, it is certainly a departure from the original federal model on which the United States was founded. But that model allowed for such things as chattel slavery and Jim Crow laws, and in the last century-and-a-half, I think it has demonstrably done us a great deal more good than harm. Furthermore, the anti-gun left is not going to give up the notion that the federal government has the power to regulate the possession of firearms – A position premised not on the Constitution but on highly dubious legal precedents (for instance, holding that growing food in your own back garden for your own consumption can be federally regulated as “interstate commerce”).

    • “The incorporation doctrine exists so that certain core rights can be protected . . . ”

      This is the point; isn’t it?

      It is true that the original Constitution was intended to define a relatively federated relationship between the Federal and state governments. However, that changed with the Reconstruction amendments.

      So, the question becomes: Did We the People mean what these amendments said when we ratified them? If we did not mean these words, then what do we make of our ratification process? If we did mean these words, then let’s get on with making them real.

      SCOTUS made a mess of the 14A in the Slaughterhouse Cases; and then spent the next century undoing that mess piecemeal. Either they were mistaken in Slaughterhouse; or they were mistaken in carrying out the piecemeal process. In any case, SCOTUS is NOT the ultimate authority on the Constitution. That role belongs to We the People.

      Either we enforce the 14A; or, we repeal it. That is our choice and our prerogative.

      McDonald incorporated the 2A on the states. That’s the state of the supreme law of the land until SCOTUS or we reverse that decision. Now, neither the Feds nor the states can “infringe” on that right.

      The states have more leeway under the 10A to regulate for public health, safety and morals within their jurisdiction. The Feds have power to regulate interstate commerce. Nevertheless, neither may “infringe”. The real task before us is to develop the jurisprudence on what it means to “infringe”; and the Courts have been negligent in doing their duty in this regard.

      That is our problem today. The Courts – especially SCOTUS – have been negligent in taking cases that would build a definition of “infringe”. And so, have left the states free rein to write whatever laws they please, the Constitution be damned.

      • If agree with Justice Thomas: the Slaughterhouse Cases were wrongly decided, and the Bill of Rights should have been applied to the states in one fell swoop through the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

  8. Well this argument makes so much sense, look at how well it worked in the South after the Civil War, freed slaves tried to exercise their rights as citizens and were denied arms, voting rights and basic civil rights, The Democrat’s military arm, the Klu Klux Klan, enforced their will and killed, beat and burned out anyone who would challenge the authorities.

    It worked great in New York with the Sullivan Law (still on the books), designed to disarm their political opponents, immigrants and others deemed unworthy. we used to laugh at all the 1970’s cop shows, where the Mob would demand weekly collections from a dry cleaners, or else. Disarmed citizens were no match for an armed mafia, backed up by a corrupt police. So pay up or get beat, killed, etc.

    It worked great in Chicago, California and in DC too. The rich and the connected and criminal class can have all the guns they want. The corrupt democrat political machine, which includes the mob and the unions, runs that town and you better not step out of line. I remember a Chicago state legislator got busted for a gun in his bag at the airport. Big mistake, he let his pistol that he uses for his part-time security guard job, it was a Beretta 25ACP. The Police and the Feds all had a big laugh, he got his gun back, no charges, honest mistake. But if that was you… California is arms for the rich and connected as well, like New York,; Judges, Politicians, Celebrities and the mega rich all have permits and/or armed guards to protect them. Unless you live in a rural area or our like Apple, donating a ton of iPads to a department to buy permits for Tim Cook’s security detail, you will not get a permit to carry statewide. DC, just as bad, not a state yet, but you would think the seat of the federal government would be a model for the ret of the country, instead it is the worst of the worst in all ways.

    Human Rights, including the Right to Arms can be denied to free men, but never truly taken away. If all Americans can not enjoy their rights, then none of us are truly free. We must demand our freedom and not stop until we win.

  9. Pass the bill, any legislation that removes restrictions of rights guaranteed is an improvement. Whoever resists this is not keeping the rights of citizens in mind.

  10. Williamson has sort of screwed the pooch with this article. He makes the argument that not everyone is qualified to carry a gun, using the analogy of drivers endangering others by texting while driving. But at the same time, those same drivers have already gone through the licensure process to have permission to drive. So what benefit has licensure really accomplished? If you are careless and stupid, you are going to (or should) face the same consequences of your poor judgment regardless of whether or not you have a permission slip.

    I hope this piece comes up on his weekly podcast with Charles C. W. Cooke.

    • Also it is stated that dangerous moose are different than dangerous people in NJ so laws should be different. But this is taken in a reverse approach. The laws don’t say what you have to carry, only what you can’t.
      So if a person in NJ doesn’t feel threatened by a moose, then he can choose not to carry.
      Freedom gives choice to both, restriction may be ok with one but blocks the other.

      So that argument is pro freedom.

  11. If there was no 14th amendment or Supremecy clause, the author might have a point.

    Diversity in states allow them to appeal to different people. But rights exist independent of any state in any country.

  12. Well I am a 2nd Amendment puritan.
    So of course I recognize that the 2nd Amendment is recognized and granted in that the government shall not infringe. The entire constitution was written as a document to limit what government can and can not do.
    That means I have a right to own and carry military grade firearms. Period, all stop.
    Why?
    Because almost all firearms stemmed from a military back ground and that is what the 2nd amendment was designed for.

  13. That’s the damn yankee occupation constitution. The original was;
    “Fourteenth. Every citizen shall have the right to bear arms in defence of himself and the Republic. The military shall at all times and in all cases be subordinate to the civil power.”

  14. Williamson is a great writer. For those who aren’t familiar with his regular National Review column or books, his output is typically good reading despite occasional lapses in his reasoning skills, as in the present instance. A native of West Texas, he’s apparently spent too many years abroad in the Land of Pointy Heads, which seems to have rendered certain parts of his brain squishier than normal, similar to a certain 43rd president who comes to mind. Speaking of presidents, Williamson is a particularly virulent NeverTrumper, so his stance on constitutional carry is no surprise, but disappointing nonetheless.

  15. Gorsuch to Solicitor General Thomas Fisher during oral arguments in “Timbs v. Indiana”:

    “Here we are in 2018 and we’re still litigating incorporation of the Bill of Rights. Really? Come on, General.”

  16. When a person tries to prove his firearms bona fides by proclaiming “I live in Texas!” or “I have a gun in my closet!” or “I support the Second Amendment but,” you know that said person is a scheming, lying @ssh0le.

  17. Governments have no rights because rights are individual, not collective. So governments can not have a “right” to violate natural human rights– including the natural human right to own and to carry weapons. It makes no difference if it’s a national government, or a state or local government. But even individuals have no “right” to violate the natural human rights of others– it’s not OK to enslave or rape if you “only” do so on your own property.

  18. Gotta say I would have hoped to have better from someone who wrote for National Review quite honestly.

    Part of the reason for state preemption laws is so you don’t wind up in a quagmire like we have at federal levels; it’s bad enough to have them at federal levels too tbh. Some one goes into NJ accidentally from PA and gets arrested, now imagine would would happen if someone went into Austin from Dallas or Houston or something and having to track all of that?

    • Try to apply this doctrine to any other right. Suppose you had to take care what you spoke depending on the jurisdiction you were in when you spoke. To publish depending on where you were located when you hit the [Send] button. Your rights to reasonable search and seizure depending on the municipality. Right of council.

      I am open to the idea of different rules for different folks at the state level. Yet, I need to see the specific proposal. It may be that people in NY don’t want to allow sales of guns without a background check. Yet, how would a native American in Alaska get to/from an FFL to buy a gun?

      Ultimately, the issue is “infringe”. Which laws clearly infringe on the right to arms, in the context of the circumstances prevailing in a jurisdiction? A prohibition on transporting a gun between home and range via subway or bus is effectively a ban in NYC but has no application in Wyoming.

      • “Yet, how would a native American in Alaska get to/from an FFL to buy a gun?”

        Most Inuit tribes have embraced the ‘snow machine’ (snowmobile)…

  19. “Williamson: Texas Constitutional Carry is a Solution in Search of a Problem”

    Yeah but it is a solution that succeeded in a search for a problem, right!?

    He doesn’t realize it but he’s correct. The problem is the Texas and US Constitutions are being severely infringed upon so far as the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is concerned. New laws making it crystal clear, (as if “Shall Not Be Infringed” were some sort of dead, ancient language), that these Constitutions mean what they say.

  20. “Williamson: Texas Constitutional Carry is a Solution in Search of a Problem”

    The world: Williamson – A liberal democrat, looking for a place to pretend to be a conservative and supporter of the Second Amendment.

  21. EXCUSE ME . . . Problem SOLVED! No more QUESTIONS about the 2nd AMENDMENT. One Enlightened Patriot. Team Trump And His Allies 2020 – MAGA WE’RE NOT going away!).

  22. @Ing

    “My contention is that Williamson fails the liberty litmus test for two particular reasons, which make me wonder if he actually is committed in any serious way to either federalist principles or liberty. ”

    I take no position on the author’s position on anything. The core of my comment was/is that the important element of the article was an expression of federalism. Federalism is messy. Included is the potential that some States might have laws that did not conform to the US Constitution (such as official State religions). The expected remedy for State laws that were oppressive to residents was that they could vote laws more satisfactory, or move to a State more accommodating. So yes, some States could have slaves, and others not. Some States could have one freedom, and the others not. The States to limits on their governance only so much as the US Constitution delegated; and no more. States were not obligated to foster “freedom” in a manner acceptable to the majority of the nation.

    Slip your mind from the chains of the contemporary political status, and travel back to the conditions of the founding. Just because we have a corrupted “federalism” doesn’t mean it was always that way, or designed to be this way from the beginning.

    So, yes, as part of federalism, I can legitimately endorse and promote the idea that there are some people in my state who should not be allowed near firearms, except under very tight control of an activated State militia.

    One cannot find any indication the founders subscribed to a theory that the central government should be supreme to all the States….except where national law was legitimately promulgated under the authority of the Constitution. Not one of the FF would have accepted the notion that the central committee had authority to suborn the States such that the national government could rule over the States in every aspect of life. My entire lifetime has been spent watching the central committee inexorably extend its power such as to make states mere provinces.

  23. The book titled “Black Rifle Wars” offers a solution to the problem of the entire country under the envelope of the Feds. That solution being that states handle there own firearms within the borders of their state. The ATF essentially is relegated to a advisory agency to assist the states if needed. The author lays out a solid foundation of what could be. Worthbthe read and well worth the thought.

  24. You display a shocking lack of awareness of the 14th Amendment. The whole “States get to do basically what they want” didn’t work out so well for Texas and the rest of the CSA in 1865.

  25. “The whole “States get to do basically what they want” didn’t work out so well for Texas and the rest of the CSA in 1865.”

    Which was a great abandonment of the Constitution by politicians (States) who determined to end-run the Constitution, and obliterate a protected right via simple legislation….not letting the provisions of the Constitution stand in the way of “doing what is right”.

    The fact that a faction of the nation lost the war defending the Constitution diminishes not the validity of refusing to obey laws that were unconstitutional. If it takes force of arms to ratify unconstitutional laws, then who is in the wrong?

  26. So, should Maine and Mississippi be able to have different laws regarding slavery?

    In almost every case, an attack on the 2nd Amendment ends with an attack on the 13th.

    • Without the 13th amendment, yes. Once the super majority of states ratified the 13th amendment to the US Constitution, all the states were subject to the provisions of the 13th. The fact that the 13th could only be ratified after Civil War 2 is a different discussion. Simply put, the abolitionists could not garner sufficient votes to constitutionally ban slavery. Instead, those political forces attempted to do it via regular legislation, a power not delegated to the Central Committee.

      Civli War 2 effectively ended on 09 April 1865 (almost 4yrs to the day from the beginning). The 13th Amendment was ratified on 06 December 1865 (27 of 36 States – soon to be “states”.

  27. A very strange article to be published under the Truth About Guns aegis. Unless, of course TTAG is an anti-gun rights rag! Color me “cancel”…

    • You must not have been around here long. There have been a lot worse articles than this linked to under TTAG. The whole point is to provide food for discussion and not just live in an echo chamber. Williamson is generally a thoughtful conservative writer, but here he expresses ideas we all come up against and should be equipped to refute. Not ever facing a challenge to orthodoxy, doesn’t make us stronger, just intellectually lazy.

      • “The whole point is to provide food for discussion and not just live in an echo chamber. ”

        Word.
        +1

  28. When rights are “granted” they are privileges. The author could have said “recognized” or “upheld” or any number of other words.
    As to necessities of differing firearms laws for different places: again, rights being universal are foundational freedoms not subject to alteration or dilution. There are already plenty of existing laws prohibiting criminal behavior. Their success or lack thereof informs us about the possibilities and probabilities of success of any new laws. Piling on more laws is a futile attempt to regulate human nature and behavior that must forever escalate into authoritarianism.

  29. “That doesn’t mean that our civil rights can be legitimately taken away by the states — it means that state constitutions need their own charters of rights, which, of course, most of them have.”

    Your line of reasoning is flawed. What good is the Second Amendment if my state decided that all guns have to be turned in and ban possession of them? This is not an absurd idea. Today, we can certainly see this happening. You also admit that some states have no charter of rights.

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