I wrote the following letter to my state representative. I’ll share the response with you when it arrives, and will let you know if it doesn’t.
I’m writing you today concerning a point of Constitutional law I recently uncovered that appears to put much of Colorado’s licensing efforts in a dim light. In particular, I’m licensed by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to carry a concealed handgun, and fully understand all the privileges and restrictions associated with that permit. However, I’m also a student of both the words and wisdom of our Founding Fathers, and know full well they never intended any right be reduced to a privilege or subject to license.
I recently came across two U.S. Supreme Court decisions along these lines and wanted to run them by you:
“No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105)
“If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)
Here’s our Founding Father’s take on the issue: “…the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” (Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) That seems abundantly clear to me.
Here’s my take on the issue: All concealed carry “permits” are licenses of a right (liberty). The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943) that such licenses are illegal. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, 373 U.S. 262 (1963) that citizens “can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” Combined with fact that the Second Amendment clearly states the act of keeping and bearing arms is a right seems to withdraw all wiggle room for law enforcement to behave otherwise, unless the legal examiner or legislator ignores either the Constitution or the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Thus, my question to you: Which States are willing to stand by the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions which support it? More specifically, when will Colorado stop violating the U.S. Constitution and these U.S. Supreme Court decisions and instead correctly join with the ranks of those states who have passed “Constitutional Carry” laws?
As of July 1, 2015, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming are considered constitutional carry states. In Wyoming’s case, permitless carry is for residents only; non-residents must have a permit to carry a concealed handgun in that state. Maine will join the list in October 2015.
If I’m not mistaken, these decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court cover the much large issue of licensing efforts in general. What other Constitutionally-guaranteed rights are illegally treated as “privileges” under Colorado law? What steps will you take to restore Colorado law to a more lawful basis commensurate with “the supreme Law of the Land?” (Article VI, U.S. Constitution)
Addendum: Our Founding Fathers had GOOD REASON to ensure that our Second Amendment was ratified WITHOUT RESTRICTION. In fact, as it stands, it specifically PROHIBITS ANY AND ALL restrictions: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”
Second Amendment – NO RESTRICTIONS!
Why? Because it says so. That’s why. Out.