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L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 679, July 15, 2012

"I'm not a lawyer. But I can read and I can think."


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Hillary's Small Arms Treaty Swindle
by L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
First published by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
© Copyright JPFO. Inc 2012

About every twenty-fifth message in my Inbox concerns the efforts of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to impose, on every American she claims to represent, a treaty written by and for the United Nations that would result in the end of private firearms ownership in this country.

Smart money has it that Hillary was appointed Secretary of State in the first place for no other reason than to keep her out of Barack Obama's administrative hair—just before he took over foreign affairs—so she had to find something else to do with her spare time.

Hillary and her Yoonie goblins obviously agree with her husband that the Founding Fathers "gave" us too many rights and now maybe some of them need to be taken "back". They think they're being clever—a common failing among critters toting diplomas from overrated Ivy League colleges—having found an end-run around the Second Amendment that has caused them so much heartache throughout the past several decades.

Under Article 6, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, they reason—to the extent that reason's involved—a treaty possesses equal authority to any American law, including the Constitution itself. The proposed U.N. small arms treaty would nullify the Second Amendment. Shamefully, there are lot of people and organizations, nominally on "our side" making money—or political hay—from these circumstances.

But here's what the original document has to say:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

At first, it looks like Hillary and her U.N. goons are pretty much correct. " ... all Treaties made ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land ... "

Not so much, actually.

This is the point where I should tell you that I'm not a lawyer. However, unlike a lawyer or two I know (and so do you), I can read and think.

Lawyers are especially fond of grandly informing you that the rights you believed the Constitution guaranteed you are not quite what you always thought they were—because, after all, you're not a lawyer.

"But come," as the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson used to put it, "let us reason together". (I love quoting LBJ to support any position he bitterly opposed; I figure if we could wire his coffin up while it was spinning, we could light the lights in a couple of small cities.)

As the victim disarmament crowd is fond of pointing out, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States ... and all Treaties made, or which shall be made ... " are of equivalent authority under Article 6, Section 2. But there is a notable, if unnoted, exception: amendments.

What is the essential nature of an amendment? An amendment, by its very passage, supercedes and takes precedence over the provisions of whatever document it happens to be amending. That is exactly what amendments are for; that is exactly why people write and pass them. And that is exactly what makes the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution—"the supremest Law of the Land".

Accordingly, the Second Amendment, by its nature as an amendment, supercedes and takes precedence over the rest of the Constitution, every other law on the American books (including every gun law, making them all illegal) and any treaty ever signed or unsigned, ratified or unratified.

Q., as the saying goes, E.D.

Even if the Bill of Rights were only equivalent to other laws and treaties, then ratifying the U.N. weapons treaty—which was intended from the outset to spare international thugs by disarming individuals fighting against their own oppressive governments— would not nullify the Second Amendment. It would only mean we have two laws of equal authority that contradict one another. But don't worry, that isn't the case, the Bill of Rights, and the Second Amendment along with it, is tops.

Trust me.

I'm not a lawyer.

Not that it would help much if I were. On more than one occasion, I've heard lawyers (I think the first was Don Kates, or maybe Gary Kleck) admit that their formal schooling in the Second Amendment— an embarrassment to the legal establishment—was sketchy at best and that interested laymen usually know more about Second Amendment case law.

And lawyers, especially those who get kicked upstairs by their colleagues to become judges, are often wrong. Their track record, especially on matters related to the Bill of Rights, isn't anything to you or I would want to brag about. Their "body of law", is a rickety contraption of lousy reasoning, outright corruption, blatant lies, and contradictions.

If you're in any doubt at all, ask Dred Scott (you'll need a Ouija Board) whose status as somebody else's property was confirmed by the United States Supreme Court. And it's important to remember that although the court made the ruling, it was lawyers who brought the arguments.

Ask the eleven states (especially Texas) whose legal and natural right to withdraw from a "voluntary" association was illegally suppressed by the Lincoln Administration, at the cost of 620,000 lives.

Ask the millions later drafted into military slavery because the court, in the 1890s, absurdly claimed that—although amendments by their nature supercede the document being amended—the government's power to "raise an army" somehow takes precedence over the crystalline mandate of the Thirteenth Amendment, explicitly forbidding involuntary servitude.

Ask the millions more whose lives were stunted and distorted by policies of racial segregation that were long upheld by the courts at every level, even though they clearly violated many provisions of the Constitution.

Or ask the legions of falsely imprisoned victims of the Supreme Court's flawed ruling in U.S. v. Miller (1939) in which the judges held that it was just peachy to outlaw "sawed-off shotguns" because they have no military application (which is the perfect opposite of today's hoplophobic contention that a weapon's potential military application somehow makes it illegitimate) clearly demonstrating the court's abysmal ignorance of close combat in trench warfare—only 20 years after a World War of which most of them should have been vets—never mind the very purpose of the Second Amendment, or the way that they consistently ignore the fact that whenever the Constitution, in the parlance of its times, mentions "the people", it means the individual.

Then again, the Supreme Court (any court, for that matter) is part of the government, and as the great teacher and philosopher Robert LeFevre pointed out, it is the government that writes their paychecks. Thus any part that they may take in disputes concerning government power versus individual rights represents a blatant conflict of interest.

Furthermore, if "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is truly "necessary to the security of a free state", as the Second Amendment implies, then any attempt—legislatively or otherwise— to deprive Americans of their weapons constitutes an offer of aid and comfort to every enemy America has, and the charge for doing that is treason.

Aaron Zelman taught us that, historically, mass disarmament of the kind Hillary Clinton and the U.N. advocate is almost always a prelude to genocide. No matter who wins the next election—or any other— we all have a lot of work to do, not just to prevent that kind of mass murder, but to make this the kind of country we always thought it was. As we work, it will be important to remember that we are the goodguys—the law belongs to us. They are the badguys, the breakers of the law.

If I'm wrong, show me where; show me how. Maybe somebody ought to send this to Judge Napolitano and ask him his opinion. As I have freely admitted all along, I'm not a lawyer. But I can read and I can think.

And what I think is this: that if justice and the rule of law still mean anything at all in this poor, sad, battered land of ours, and if logic still prevails in the universe, then, at the very least, nobody can nullify the second article of the Bill of Rights—or any Constitutional amendment—simply by passing a law or signing a treaty.

Somebody tell Hillary.


A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, L. Neil Smith is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, and Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.

Visit the Neil Smith archive on JPFO.
© Copyright Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership 2012. jpfo.org

Original material on JPFO is copyright, and so it cannot be used or plagiarized as the work of another. JPFO does however encourage article reproduction and sharing, providing full attribution is given and a link back to the original page on JPFO is included.

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