A discussion occurred on The Blaine Young radio show this past Monday (1/3/11) related to the 2nd Amendment. This discussion was predicated on the topics of enabling the local sheriff to issue concealed carry permits to Frederick County citizens and changing MD law from "may issue" to "shall issue" as it relates to gun permits. I called in toward the end of the show to highlight the common misconception that as it was ratified, the Bill of Rights prohibited a state from regulating firearms. Essentially the 2nd amendment was not ratified to bar states from getting in between citizens and their guns; it was to bar the federal government from doing so. I also stated that I supported [vehemently] that MD law should be change to “shall issue”, but this would have to be taken up in Annapolis, MD.
During The Blaine Young radio show on Wednesday (1/5/11), a caller brought up my comments from the previous Monday’s show. The caller said that "the colonies had a Constitutional Convention" – I mean no disrespect to the gentleman, but this highlights his unfortunate misunderstanding of history (which is not unusual). The treaty after the war recognized them as sovereign independent states; not as a unified country. These sovereign states first made a compact as a Confederation (under the Articles of Confederation). The states essentially sent representatives to meet (i.e. a Congress) and fix what wasn’t working. Well, that turned into something else….a Constitutional Convention!
They were not colonies at the time of the Constitutional Convention (& subsequent ratification), they were sovereign states that gave certain, limited authority to the federal government; this authority was enumerated in the US Constitution. The US Constitution was ratified by the states. The states did not give up their sovereignty; they only gave up limited authority enumerated within the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was drafted to limit the federal government because the anti-federalists knew throughout history that a powerful central government would become a tyrannical government; always…every time! The states also drafted their own Constitutions to delineate the authority the people granted to their states' government; many of these also included a Bill of Rights (enumerating specific authority the people wanted to ensure that their state government didn't usurp from them). These state Constitutions were similar in many respects, but they were not the same; the way sovereign entities joined by compact should be! Until the 1920’s (and the advent of the Incorporation Doctrine), it was common knowledge that the states were not “under the umbrella” of the US Bill of Rights. They were however held to the Supremacy Clause (in Article VI of the US Constitution), which asserts that federal laws made in pursuance of the Constitution, and treaties made by the United States with foreign nations as "the Supreme Law of the Land". Meaning the states couldn’t supersede the Federal Authority where granted (hence the enumerated powers). This is an example of the teeth that the Articles of Confederation lacked.
As an quick example, Massachusetts state ratified the Constitution with this as its first request for amendments (this is in reference to what came to be the Bill of Rights):
“And as it is the opinion of this Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in the said Constitution would remove the fears, and quiet the apprehensions, of many of the good people of this commonwealth, and more effectually guard against an undue administration of the federal government, — the Convention do therefore recommend that the following alterations and provisions be introduced into the said Constitution: —
I. That it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.”
The topic of federalism is not easy to cover, especially in 5-10 minutes calling into a radio show. However, it is through Federalism where we return to the system that our government was designed to operate within.
Summary: Federalism is a system of governance in which two governments (in our case: Federal & State) have jurisdiction over the inhabitants of the respective geography…where the authority is essentially divided up.
This concept/topic will be discussed more in depth this Saturday (1/8/11) at 12noon ET on The Forgotten Men radio show. We hope you tune in and gain some insight on such a vital topic that you probably weren’t taught!
At the end of the day…..We should be furious at how our history has been rewritten and much of what we’ve been taught (and what has been propagated through academia and the media) is essentially based on a usurpation of authority of the Federal government and the states and the people allowing this to happen.
Joshua is the co-host of The Forgotten Men radio show Saturdays at 12 noon, Eastern, on AM930 WFMD – and the co-founder of We Surround Them Frederick.