Gun Rights and the 14th Amendment


WASHINGTON, February 18, 2014 — Whenever new legislation is passed at a state or federal level concerning firearms, it usually holds a little caveat stating something like “The provisions of this bill will not go so far as to apply to those active or retired law enforcement officers, or active military personnel.” Meaning, this bill does not apply to police or active military.

This provision is found in the majority, if not all but a few, federal and state gun acts which have passed in the last twenty or so years. They garner the support of the law enforcement community, and they show the Progressive left that now only law enforcement is permitted to carry the weapons or accessories explicitly defined in the new law.

While many argue that these new laws such as the New York SAFE Act and the Maryland Gun Safety Act deter criminals and the mentally ill from committing crimes with firearms, opponents to these laws have voiced numerous concerns. Among them, violation of individual liberty, violation of the Second Amendment, violation of the Ninth Amendment, Violation of the Tenth Amendment. Many argue that if criminals have these weapons, then law abiding people should not be hamstrung and prohibited from owning tools capable of matching such firepower.

However these laws, all of these laws, which grant the government exemption from their all in fact unconstitutional, according to the Fourteenth Amendment.

The first provision of the Fourteenth Amendment reads as follows:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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.

“…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

One would think that the above Federal Constitution would render the following type of wordage null and void.

“Active and retired law enforcement officers, as well as active military personnel over age 21, are exempt from the provisions and restrictions of this bill Magazine Capacity and Ammunition…”

But it does not. Apparently equal application of the law only pertains to law abiding-non law enforcement or military, citizens. That being, the laws which are passed to control the means with which a law abiding-non law enforcement citizen may exercise their Second Amendment rights are enforced by those who are exempt from following the same laws.

The people of the United States have essentially allowed for the government to regulate a right which the people are supposed to retain to protect themselves from the government. But that’s alright, the government will protect you.

Except they don’t have to. The ruling from Warren v. DC states that the police cannot be held liable if they do not arrive on time to help you, yet in the case of Matthew Pinkerton he is being charged for second degree murder after he killed a man breaking into his home and failed to call the police.

To recap: The Founding Fathers identified the right to defend oneself against criminal and governmental tyranny as a fundamental individual liberty, not to be infringed upon. The Progressives say that the police are all you need to protect yourself, and that we live in a nation of laws, and in order to curb gun violence we are going to enact laws which only affect law abiding citizens and not law enforcement officers, which is against the Fourteenth Amendment. The government then rules that they are not liable for dereliction of duty charges and allegations.

This means that the government who says that you should not have guns and only the government should have guns under the guise of public safety have removed themselves from the responsibility to provide that public safety. Added to this, the police then prosecute those who defend themselves with firearms.

So the government who wishes to curtail gun violence by breaking the Fourteenth Amendment and the Second Amendment and insists that the police are all one needs to be safe not only insists they are not liable for dereliction of duty, but that those who take matters into their own hands are criminals.

Ladies and gentlemen this is not equal protection under the law, it is no protection under the law. The government does not exist to restrict the freedoms and rights of the people, or at least it was not supposed to in the United States. We were founded upon the ideals that limited government was the lesser of so many evils. How is it legal, or even possible, for the government to recuse themselves of the responsibility to protect, to call themselves a nation of laws, and then punish those who must take action in order to preserve their lives? How is that just?

If the Fourteenth Amendment dictates equal application of the law, and if we are a nation of laws, then all gun laws passed by the United States Congress as well as subsequent legislation passed by states and counties should apply to law enforcement as well. If the people of the United States, who through Warren v. DC are responsible for their own defense, are to have their right to bear arms legislated, then the law enforcement officers who apparently have no duty to protect the people should be held to the same.

If a state passes a law banning the use of AR-15’s by the public, then their use should be forbidden to law enforcement officers as well. If a law is passed restricting magazine size, then the police should also be restricted in the same way. If there is a law which requires a waiting period, finger printing, licensing, or any other bureaucratic procedure, both police and military should be consigned to follow those same procedures.

Without equal application of the law and adherence to the Fourteenth Amendment, any attempt to tout public safety and the rule of law as a reason for increased gun control is a lie and a sham. In the first place, laws legislating firearms should be rendered null by the Second Amendment, or the Ninth, or the Tenth. However the fact is that the government has successfully convinced the people that guns are the problem, so they pass legislation to curtail gun use, instead of gun users. They do this, in violation of our most basic fundamental human and individual liberties. And while they wave away accusations of government intrusion, and their allies in the media mock the very idea that the government is seeking to overpower the people, they ignore their own laws and exempt the government from any legislation regarding the restriction of firearms.

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  • williamdiamon

    The United Nations is not made up of people from around the world. It consists of governments from around the world, the enterprises meant to control the people of the world. Gun-control is an evil and draconian way to control these people, it reduces the common man to the status of herd animals. This is why governments propagate it. Gun-control does not make you safer (unless you are a criminal), it makes governments safer. Consider the proposed “assault weapons ban”.

    America in perspective:
    Total murders- 12,664
    Handguns- 6,220
    Hands and feet-728
    Hammers + clubs-496
    All rifles- 323 (that includes your “assault” + .50 rifles)
    Source: FBI 2011

    Why would anyone suggest banning the semi-auto rifle when more people have been murdered with “hands and feet” then all types of rifles? Because it is an effective battle weapon and the one a modern day Minute Man would carry. This is what concerns them, not your safety.

  • Tanya Grimsley

    Excellent Article Conor!

  • Barry Hirsh

    Much as your column resonates, it is in error. The 14th Amendment, indeed the entire Bill of Rights, prohibits government actions that violate enumerated protections. But it does nothing to subject government actors to laws governing the people, it merely prohibits government actors from passing certain barriers. There simply is no constitutional nexus.

    Sorry. I sympathize with your thinking, but it doesn’t hold constitutional water.

    • Missouri Man

      Barry – Let us assume you are right (which I don’t necessarily). With that said, retired police had a bill passed that allows them to conceal carry across state lines. They are no longer law enforcement but they have more rights then the average citizen. This definitely applies.

      • Barry Hirsh

        “The are no longer law enforcement…”

        That defangs your argument, Missouri Man. I was speaking of government actors, and there is no way they would be affected.

        • Missouri Man

          My point was simply to point out a case where the 14th amendment would apply. At least we can agree on this point.

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