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Posts tagged ‘Fifth Amendment’

The Constitutional “Shall Not’s” of Congress

waving flagWritten by Bethany Blankley

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Universal human rights are determined by government restraint. In what areas of human life should the government not be involved? What areas of life must the government not regulate, not restrain, not limit, not oversee, not implement, not subsidize, not legalize or make illegal? Interestingly, the first five words of the Bill of Rights state what Congress cannot do: “Congress shall make no law… .” Even more telling– the first ten amendments, with perhaps The Sixth as the exception, all define what the government cannot do:

  • First: “Shall make no law … prohibiting … abridging,
  • Second: “Shall not be infringed”
  • Third: “No soldier shall … without the consent …”
  • Fourth: “Shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue …”
  • Fifth: “No person shall be held … nor shall any person be subject …”
  • Seventh: “Shall be preserved … No fact … shall be otherwise reexamined …”
  • Eighth: “Shall not be required … Nor excessive … imposed, nor … punishments inflicted”
  • Ninth: “shall not be construed to deny or disparage”
  • Tenth: “Not delegated … nor prohibited.”

The third, fifth, eighth, and tenth amendments don’t state “rights;” they state what authority the government does not have. In effect, limits on government are universal human rights. The Constitution outlines specific areas of human life that are off-limits to government. This suggests that there are certain aspects of human life which are fundamentally free.tie it down

The Constitution did not outline rights or prohibitions defined by a government that could later redefine them. It outlined rules to be followed by a self-ruling people in addition to separating and balancing political authority among judiciary, legislative, and executive branches.

Despite the limits the Founders enumerated in the Constitution, their limits are still limited in their ability to constrain government overreach. Matters of conscience, especially as they relate to the First Amendment, dictate certain situations when citizens decide to not follow and/or disobey unjust laws. Interestingly, dissent in the form of collective actions of conscience (refusing to pay taxes, boycotting specific products, and armed resistance) among approximately one third of American colonists who fought for independence.Tree of Liberty 03

The Constitution was the result of a point in time that the Founding Fathers and Framers identified of a line they could not cross. They could not comply in good conscience– it would be immoral to comply– with the laws of a corrupt and tyrannical government. Christians joined them, citing New Testament directives, identifying that they also must only “obey God rather than men.”christianity

They recognized they could not selectively disobey certain laws because the government itself could not be obeyed. They needed a new government. Rebellion and resistance were required because the ruling authorities had rebelled against God. The government had not only violated basic principles of justice but also had squandered God-given human rights, rendering itself illegitimate.

Thomas Jefferson asserted:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long Established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, Accordingly, all experience [has] shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

“But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations,  pursuing invariably the same object, evidences a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

Jefferson also said, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

The Shall Nots were imperative to the Founders– they wanted to ensure that if Congress violated them the people had just cause to rebel.

two ways to enslave a nation theBible moral people John-Adams-Quote-Liberty-Lost1 John-Adams-Poster-Principles-of-Freedom JohnAdamsFaithQuote4 freedom democracy freedom combo 2

Gun Control Laws: Judge, Jury and Executioner of Rights?

By / 31 May 2013 /

executionerIn reading the article The Fat Lady Hasn’t Sung: Gun Debate Not Over, I was again struck by the idea of our judicial system being at risk via the gun control issue. What I am about to write will cause some consternation, but read it through to the end and then argue with me.

The article states:

A host of logistical problems – including concerns about violating privacy, misunderstandings about which records should be submitted and a lack of money and training – has prevented federal and state agencies from submitting millions of mental health and drug abuse records to the database that’s used for background checks.”

In the U.S. Constitution is the Second Amendment that we are all familiar with. What we sometimes forget to associate with that is, within that Bill of Rights is the following:

“Amendment V”

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. [my bolding]“


“Amendment VI

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. [my bolding]“

The current process of our way of denying someone their Second Amendment rights is in conflict with the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. In the current system, anyone who has had mental problems of whatever sort has their problem reported to the federal government behind the person’s back, and they have no recourse but to immediately lose their right to bear arms.

Forget the whole idea of it being unconstitutional to testify against oneself — for is that not what mental counseling amounts to? — of the Fifth Amendment. Forget, also, finding any witnesses in your favor, the decision is made without that process and if you wish to appeal it, you may, but it will take a lot of work on your part, and possibly a lot of money as well. Attorneys don’t come cheap.

This affects the third part of the Fifth Amendment that is bolded: the right to “life, liberty, or property without due process of the law”. Liberty and property both include the right to keep and bear arms, do they not?

The Sixth Amendment is trashed by our current gun control laws (A.K.A. people control laws) via the fact that there is no witness against you to confront once you have sought mental help. Ever been diagnosed as ADHD? That’s a mental illness.

You lose your right to a firearm. Where is your witness against you? ‘Tis you. Fifth Amendment: allegedly it prevents you from testifying against yourself, but in talking to a mental health professional, you are testifying against yourself! And it is used against you!

Where is your right to bring a witness in your favor? Shall the psychiatrist who reported you testify for you? Don’t count on that, the psychiatrist is the one who turned you in.

That leads us to the last portion of the Sixth Amendment: the right to “have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence [sic]“. When was the last time you heard of anyone being offered a public defender in order to help them get their Second Amendment rights returned to them after they were denied the right to buy a firearm? Has it ever happened? Our Sixth Amendment says that it is supposed to be available. After all, this is happening in a court of law, is it not?

When the law is written in such a way that the law itself becomes our judge, jury and the executioner of our GOD-given rights (for such they are according to our Founding Fathers), then there is a problem with the way the law is written. Gun purchasing laws, as currently constructed, say basically, “IF A, then B and C.” “A” being the mental history, and “B” being your psychiatrist turning you in, and “C” being the loss of your Second Amendment rights.

The law itself has found you guilty of having a mental problem, has therefore removed your Second Amendment right, and you cannot now legally own a gun and are left defenseless in your own home. You cannot defend your life, nor the lives of your wife (or hubby) and children with a gun. You have committed the ultimate sin: you have broken the law of an untarnished mind.

In a nation of  305,528,358 (2008′s number to match the mental health stat) in 2008 approximately 8% of the population who were considered “severely mentally ill”. In 2011 the population was approximately 310,500,000; and 14,612 murders were committed; only 1,000 (6.843%)  committed by those “with untreated severe mental illness“.  That leaves 93.157% of the murders in America committed by those without mental illness.

For the rights of the many to be protected, we must start with the rights of the few. If one person is denied their Fifth Amendment right in a court of law and is forced to testify against himself is that not a declination of the rights of all of us? If they can do it one, they can do it to many.

In America, our justice system is based upon the idea of “Innocent until proven guilty”, apparently we need to add, “Unless you’ve had a mental health issue.”

In Part II of my article, I shall cover some new information from the world of psychiatry and the implications for those affected by the “mental illness” rules of gun control laws.

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