Well, I'm glad the Republicans delayed any confirmation of Judge Sonya Sotymayor. I sent both my Senators a fairly long letter about why they shouldn't vote for someone who doesn't think the 2nd Amendment extends to everyone in EVERY state and that any state that restricts it sets a dangerous precedent that threatens free speech and religion at the state level (just look at Connecticut...).
Here is what I wrote (I'm sure like the last few times, Murkowski will respond and Begich will likely not, I'll keep that in mind for the next election Senator!):
I write to you today to inform you of why you should vote “NO” on the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court.
Judge Sotomayor's ruling that the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to States follows a very common progressive thinking method that follows the line of defense employed by the pro-segregation movement of the 1960's. The idea that States have the right to overstep the limits imposed on government by the Bill of Rights. What is most disturbing is here 2004 ruling in which she stated: "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right." Of which, Heller vs. DC decided otherwise.
If a Judge can rationalize that kind of decision in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, most especially if we read our Founding Fathers intent in writing the Constitution and Bill of Rights in Federalist No. 29 by Hamilton, than what is to stop such Judicial Activism from allowing States to restrict the 1st Amendment Rights of free speech and freedom to worship?
If one reads Alexander Hamilton's Federalist No. 29, one finds rather clearly the intent of the 2nd Amendment, and it has little if anything to do with hunting or sport shooting (as our ancestors had little time for sport shooting!), instead it clearly establishes that the people have a right to arm themselves for security from both foreign enemies, and domestic enemies (be they gangs, thugs, or even the Federal Government). Where do I pick up this line of thinking? Well, lets take a look at Federalist No. 29 and some key points made throughout the paper:
“Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of the year.”
Clearly, this isn't about hunting or sport shooting, but about maintaining a Militia standard among the populace at large. Later laws, such of the Militia Act of 1792 were enacted to support this (that law required each able bodied male to purchase and maintain their own equipment from the musket and shot, to the bandoleer to carry it, it also established cavalry standards, and standards for officers, and the requirement for all able bodied men to sign in with a local militia officer in the event of call up).
However, they understood that not every military age male would be able to fulfill this obligation at all times:
`”But though the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable; yet it is a matter of the utmost importance that a well-digested plan should, as soon as possible, be adopted for the proper establishment of the militia. The attention of the government ought particularly to be directed to the formation of a select corps of moderate extent, upon such principles as will really fit them for service in case of need. By thus circumscribing the plan, it will be possible to have an excellent body of well-trained militia, ready to take the field whenever the defense of the State shall require it. This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.”
Again, its obvious to me the intent of the Constitution and Bill of Rights based on a careful study of the Federalist Papers, and in particularly No. 29 by Alexander Hamilton that the 2nd Amendment is written to limit the Federal and State Government from restrictions on gun ownership by law abiding citizens! Any Judge, or Attorney General, who believes otherwise is not worthy to hold such positions of authority. Our Founders wanted to ensure no one power could suppress the freedom of the American people in the manner of the King ever again (subjects did not carry swords, it was illegal; unless they swore fealty to a Lord and were of noble rank, which we have done away with since 1781!).
“There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia, that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instil prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common-sense, are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits and interests? What reasonable cause of apprehension can be inferred from a power in the Union to prescribe regulations for the militia, and to command its services when necessary, while the particular States are to have the SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS? If it were possible seriously to indulge a jealousy of the militia upon any conceivable establishment under the federal government, the circumstance of the officers being in the appointment of the States ought at once to extinguish it. There can be no doubt that this circumstance will always secure to them a preponderating influence over the militia.”
War is complex and critical to the security of this nation, and the need for a professional and full time Federal military is obvious, the need for a Reserve is also apparent. A split control National Guard to bolster the Federal and each State in times of need has proven its worth time and again. However, that never was meant to completely replace the State Guard (and State Defense Forces) that each State still has the authority maintain, and the need of those units to be able to purchase firearms, ammunition, body armor, and other equipment out of their own pockets in accordance with the standards set by the Federal government (first in the Militia act of 1792...). Any further restrictions on the ability to purchase 'assault' rifles, semi-auto hand guns, and even body armor (while not obvious) is a threat to National Security and as slap in the face to the Founding Fathers. As a member of the Alaska State Defense Force, the unit that has continued to protect Alaska in the fashion of the Alaska Territorial Guard (deactivated in 1946, re organized as a State Defense Force in 1986), I find it hard enough as it is to maintain my equipment, and in particularly my ammunition supply to be able to answer the call of the Governor of the State of Alaska in the event of a call up. Currently we are organized to bolster the Alaska State Troopers, and our unit has carried out missions in support of Homeland Security (such as in 2001 guarding the Port of Valdez and sections of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline). I find the views of Judge Sotomayor disturbing from the vantage point of security to the state of Alaska, and the United States as whole should she and others of similar mind decide that one of the most important amendments to the Constitution (important enough to be on the first 10 in the Bill of Rights!) “not apply to the states” or not apply at all to the People. Based on the quotes from the Federalist Papers, its obvious who the “People” are considered in the wording of the 2nd Amendment, it should be obvious that “People” and “Militia” are ONE.
Michael J. Sutherland
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