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From Lexington to New Mexico: A Tale of Firearm Rights

The pages of history are not just relics of the past; they are a blueprint for the present and the future. Throughout history, threads of disarmament have woven through the fabric of our society, often sparked by tyranny cloaked in crises or perceived threats. In this discussion, we unravel these threads, from the colonial era to modern times, shedding light on the intricate relationship between the state and individual rights.

In 1768, as British troops headed to Boston, the Boston Gazette reported that the ministry imposed measures "more grievous to the people, than any thing hitherto made known," the first of which was "that the inhabitants of this Province are to be disarmed."

Following the armed conflict between American colonists and British forces at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Gen. Thomas Gage, commander of British forces and the royal governor of Massachusetts, demanded that Boston's citizens deposit their arms at Faneuil Hall under the care of a Selectman before being permitted to leave the city, then under siege by the colonial militia. After obtaining 1778 muskets, 634 pistols and 36 blunderbusses from citizens, the governor had an armed guard mounted over their arms and refused to permit their owners to depart from the city. Illustrated for American Rifleman by Harry Lloyd Jaecks

By 1774, the British regularly conducted searches and seizures of firearms in Boston without warrants, greatly angered the people. The Gazette noted that the arrest of patriot political leaders added to their frustration.

King George III issued orders to seize any firearms imported into the American colonies.

Following the Redcoats' attempt to confiscate rebel militia arms at Lexington and Concord in 1775, General Thomas Gage instructed all Boston inhabitants to surrender their arms at Faneuil Hall for temporary safekeeping. When people complied, the troops confiscated the firearms and never returned them.

A year later, the Founders declared their Independence from the British's tyrannical rule. Fast forward to after the Civil War when the freedmen were concerned about the southern states violating their rights to bear arms and how the Civil Rights Laws were born.

Just a few weeks after the Confederate States surrendered at Appomattox, Frederick Douglass declared:

"Now, while the black man can be denied a vote, while the Legislatures of the South can take from him the right to keep and bear arms, as they can—they would not allow a negro to walk with a cane where I came from, they would not allow five of them to assemble together—the work of the Abolitionists is not finished. Notwithstanding the provision in the Constitution of the United States that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, the black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms; and the Legislatures of the States will still have the power to forbid it, under this [Thirteenth] Amendment. They can carry on a system of unfriendly legislation, and will they not do it? Have they not got the prejudice there to do it with?" (Frederick Douglass, In What New Skin Will the Old Snake Come Forth? Address delivered in New York City, May 10, 1865, pp. 83-84 [In Frederick Douglass Papers, series 1, vol. 4).

And Fredrick Douglass was absolutely correct about this concern because, in the year following this, Congress acknowledged that preventing freedmen from owning weapons was, in fact, a strategy of the southern state governments and terrorist groups to maintain the freedmen in involuntary servitude.

Therefore, in 1866, the Second Freedmen's Bureau bill was enacted, directing the Union army in the South to ensure that freedmen enjoyed the "full and equal benefit of all laws and procedures for personal and property security, including the constitutional right to possess firearms."

The Civil Rights Act was approved that same year, and the Fourteenth Amendment was submitted to the States for approval. All of these measures were implemented to safeguard freedmen's self-defense rights under the Second Amendment, as explicitly stated by their supporters. This legal history and reference to Spooner can be found in Justice Thomas's concurrence in McDonald v. Chicago (2010).

Here we are today, consistently battling the state to leave our rights and liberties alone. The state regularly grants itself authority it never possessed.

On Friday, Sept. 8, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham granted the state authority it does not possess and violated the 2nd, 9th, and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution, by issuing an emergency public health order that suspends the open and permitted concealed carry of firearms in Albuquerque for 30 days amid a spike of violent crimes.

Here are a few examples this has occurred in the last decade:

  1. New York SAFE Act (2013): Following the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed the NY SAFE Act into law. The law included provisions such as expanded background checks, a ban on the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, and restrictions on the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines.

  2. Connecticut Assault Weapons Ban (2013): In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law an assault weapons ban and restrictions on high-capacity magazines.

  3. Colorado Magazine Capacity Limit (2013): Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado signed legislation limiting ammunition magazines' capacity to 15 rounds.

  4. California Assault Weapons Regulations: Over the years, California has implemented several regulations on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. These have included restrictions on firearm features and requirements for registration.

  5. Emergency Powers during Protests (Various States): During civil unrest or protests, some governors and local officials have temporarily restricted firearms possession in public areas to maintain peace and safety. These restrictions have often faced legal challenges.

This is wrong.

I'll refer you to Lysander Spooner, an American individualist anarchist and political philosopher known for his writings on natural law and individual rights. He expressed strong views against disarming individuals as a collective punishment for the actions of others. His ideas on this topic are primarily found in his essay "Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty," published in 1875. Ensure you're a website member to read my future project, "Vices, Crimes, and The Pursuit of Happiness."

Spooner would have opposed such measures because it violates the principle of individual responsibility. He believed that individuals should not be punished or have their rights restricted based on the wrongdoings of others who share a common characteristic, such as owning firearms.

Instead, he advocated for a system of justice that holds individuals accountable for their actions and protects their rights unless they engage in activities that harm others.

Spooner's writings emphasize the importance of individual liberty and limited government intervention in our personal lives, which aligns with a stance against collective punishment or disarmament based on the actions of a few. It's important to note that his views have been influential in libertarian and anarchist political thought, and they continue to shape discussions about personal freedoms and the role of government today.

The past is not a distant memory; it is a call to action. From the colonial struggles against tyranny to the contemporary battles for self-defense rights, our commitment to liberty defines us. Let us take the lessons of history to heart, champion the principles of individual responsibility, and protect our rights against the encroachments of collective punishment. The journey continues, and the future is in our hands.

Doni Anthony (Doni The Don)

Introducing Doni Anthony (Doni The Don), Founder of Liberty Or Else and a passionate advocate for individual liberties and natural human rights.

Join her engaging podcast, subscribe to her blog, and catch her inspiring speeches at public events. Support her work on Cash App orVenmo. Follow Doni on Facebook and Twitter for valuable insights and updates.#LibertyOrElse


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