Chris Yuhas Blog: True Economics and Politics

In California the right to openly defend one’s self is in jeopardy

Posted in Civil Rights by Christopher Yuhas on May 25, 2010

The natural right of self-defense is being unconstitutionally attacked by the California Assembly Bill 1934, also known as the open carry ban. Open carry is defined as the right to carry a non-concealed arm in public, provided it is unloaded.

It is first important to understand that the State and the Federal government have no authority to deny any citizen the right to bear arms. An understanding of the type of government that America is, which is a Constitutional Republic, and how the Constitution was framed will clarify any confusion.

After the 13 original colonies, which were the original States, gained their independence from Great Britain there was a loose set of rules on which the government rested called the Articles of the Confederation, which served the country’s infancy until the ratification of the Constitution without the Bill of Rights in 1788. It is important to understand that the States at the time, and still are, the highest law of the land and may nullify Federal Law, meaning rendering Federal Law useless, as the States see fit. Remember, the states started the Federal Government, and may end it as they see fit, as We the People have contracted the States to have this power. However, the founding fathers saw that human rights, which are inalienable and cannot be infringed, must be protected as no State or Federal government has the right to take them away.

James Madison, also known as the “Father of the Constitution,” saw that tyranny could find its way to the American people without the Bill of Rights in place. Out of the original 12 that were presented to Congress, 10 were adopted to bind the Federal and State governments to it, and one became inherently unique to America which protected all other rights; the Second Amendment right to bear arms. When researching how to interpret the Constitution, one should research the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, which are papers clarifying how amendments and parts of the Constitution were meant to be interpreted. The intent of what the Second Amendment embodies can be found in the Federalist Paper #46 written by Madison himself:

But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.

This specifically shows that the intent of the Second Amendment is that all persons able to bear arms should form a citizen run militia. This would eliminate the possibility of tyranny from the government. The People are to be trusted with that right because the power of the Constitution is granted by the people and the people alone. Ultimately, the Constitution was created to provide a limited scope of power to be granted to the Federal Government. The Amendments and Bill of Rights are incorporated which legally binds them to the Federal Government and the States as that was the intent of its ratification. Therefore, State and Federal governments are legally obligated to equally enforce all amendments.

With the understanding that the right to bear arms is the right to prevent tyranny, it is also understood that it is a right to self defense. How is an individual able to enjoy life, liberty, and property if there is no right to defend themselves from harm? If there is no right to bear arms, then the government would have to provide an armed guard for every citizen’s self-defense and that wouldn’t be liberty. This would mean that the government would have to tax citizens to provide self-defense, thus making taxation the means of self-defense. Would this make sense for a country that had a REVOLUTION over taxes? The people reserve the right to decide whether to defend themselves or not.

The attack on the right to bear arms openly was introduced in California by Assemblywoman Lori Saldana from San Diego’s 76th District. Saldana’s reason for introducing this legislation was,

Their [referring to Legal open carriers] threatening and confrontational conduct intimidates the public, wastes law enforcement resources and needlessly increases the risk of firearm-related deaths and injuries.

The situation involved 60 law abiding open-carry activists coming together cherishing their right to bear arms in a free country and concerned law abiding locals on the beach. The concerned locals called the police in fear of the firearms. They weren’t threatened, all of the owners of the firearms were legal, and no arrests were made.

Just because a person has a firearm in their possession, does not make them evil, nor does it instantly possess them to treat others with ill-intent. The locals were in fear of a threat that didn’t exist with the firearms. This is called hoplophobia, which is a fear of firearms. The Constitution only protects natural rights and does not guarantee a protection of fears. Protection of fears may be obtained through a licensed psychologist outside of the realm of taxpayer dollars.

The facts are, that no threats or intimidating movements, were made to the people on the beach, which effectively dispels the notion that the people were intimidated purposely. The locals who were in fear of the firearms, were the ones who called the police, thus being the ones responsible for the waste of law enforcement resources, not the law abiding open carriers. The biggest misconception in Saldana’s reasoning for the introduction of the open carry ban is that it somehow it will decrease crime. She believes that open carry needlessly increases the risk of firearm related deaths and injuries.

Telling citizens that banning open carry will decrease crime is statistically incorrect. Open carry states have nearly 50% less overall crime index per capital (p. 5) than states with aggressively restricted open carry laws like the proposed open carry ban. Therefore, statistically, keeping open carry would increase the probability that crime will not go up.

The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics determined that over 70% of crimes committed against citizens happen when they are NOT at home (p.69-70), which comes from their National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Therefore, open carry bans would not allow a citizen to bear arms, when in fact 70% of crimes would be committed when they are not armed for self-defense.

In the case of the District of Columbia vs. Heller, one piece of data submitted to the Supreme Court was a survey done on convicted criminals and how they would respond to an armed victim by James Wright and Peter Rossi. Their shocking survey used in Supreme Court testimony (p. 32), covering 11 prisons in 10 States discovered the following:

• 34% of the felons reported personally having been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim.”
• 8% said the experience had occurred “many times.”
• 69% reported that the experience had happened to another criminal whom they knew personally.
• 39% had personally decided not to commit a crime because they thought the victim might have a gun.
• 56% said that a criminal would not attack a potential victim who was known to be armed.
• 74% agreed with the statement that “One reason burglars avoid houses where people are at home is that they fear being shot.”

Saldana also states that it will reduce firearm injuries and that she is very concerned for the public safety. According to the California Department of Public Health 2007 death statistical tables, a Californian is 10 times more likely to die in a car accident than from a firearm, and a Californian is 80 times more likely to die from circulatory disease than a firearm. It seems hypocritical that open carry activists who were obeying the law, had the police called on them, by Saldana’s supporters, and were accused of wasting law enforcement resources, which ultimately are tax payer resources. Why the demonization of firearms when there are much more pressing issues such as heart disease and car accidents? That would be less wasteful than attacking the right of citizens to bear arms.

The open carry ban is troubling given the state of financial crisis in California. The bill is a state-mandated program and will somehow have to provide money for grants to the counties for enforcement. More regulation will equate to more taxes. A state 100 billion in debt cannot afford any further expenditures.

The bill does not apply to the following:

(a) An officer or employee of the United States of America, or of this state or a political subdivision thereof (b) A person engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and furnishing information as to the financial rating of persons. (f) A collection agency or an employee thereof (g) Admitted insurers and agents and insurance brokers (h) Any bank subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (n) Any secured creditor engaged in the repossession of the creditor’s collateral and any lessor (1) The possession of a firearm by an authorized participant in a motion picture, television, or video production or entertainment event when the participant lawfully uses the firearm as part of that production or event or while going directly to, or coming directly from, that production or event.

The citizens may not be armed, however a person is subject to armed intimidation throughout 70% of their day from Federal Agents, anyone involved with knowing a person’s financial history, a collection agency, insurance agents, banks, creditors in repossession, and someone filming movies. A person making a movie has more rights in defending themselves than a law abiding citizen. Do not forget that criminals don’t follow the law anyways, therefore they will be armed too.

The term loaded is being redefined as follows:

(j) For purposes of Section 12023, a firearm shall be deemed to be “loaded” whenever both the firearm and the unexpended ammunition capable of being discharged from the firearm are in the immediate possession of the same person.

And that crime of having an unloaded firearm and ammunition not attached carries this punishment:

(7) In all cases other than those specified in paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) both that imprisonment and fine.

This bill is a direct attack to dismantle everything that holds the Constitutional Republic together which is the right to self-defense and the right to a free society absent of tyranny. The Open-Carry Ban, AB1934, is a draconian measure that forces good law abiding citizens to be disarmed during the times when 70% of crimes occur, forces good people to be subject to imprisonment for exerting a right that the Federal Government and State governments have no right to take away, and forces a socialist redistribution of wealth from taxation to protect a small group of people from their misguided fears. A citizen simply needs to look to the Constitution for the answers that will clarify what limitations are put in place on the State and Federal government. In closing, the words of Cesare the Marquis of Beccaria-Bonesana, who literally devised the basis for all modern penal codes adopted by the Constitutional Republic of the United States said:

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.