by KrisAnne Hall, JD
Open letter to Governors, Attorneys General, the Legislators of these United States and the People along with their Sheriffs and Peace Officers:
In re: The Recent Ratification of Laws Denying the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to Law Abiding Persons.
Both Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s have issued letters regarding the State of Washington’s Initiative 1639 and Washington law enforcement officials’ refusal to enforce the measure in part or in total. Similar laws are being passed by legislators and signed into law by the governors of other States, sadly with little protest. Proponents of Washington’s Initiative 1639 and those critical of the law enforcement officials cite a “duty to the Constitution” and to the “rule of law.” Yet in many respects these laws are built on the circumvention and abdication of the rule of law. The Constitution and its underlying principles DEFINE the rule of law. As such, “the rule of law” cannot be synonymous with “the will of the” majority, as Washington’s AG suggests, when the majority’s will advocates the suspension of due process and the revocation of a person’s natural rights (which all officials involved in this debate swore an oath to uphold.)
The Declaration of Independence lays before us the premise and purpose of all governments, past, present, & future. It states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…(emphasis mine)
- Sole Purpose of Government:
Secure the Rights of All People Equally and Individually
It is evident that the entire purpose of any form of government is to secure the rights of the individual citizens. The Rights our foundational documents refer to are those classified as “inherent rights:” and they consist of life, liberty, property, and the right to personally secure them in the best manner possible. The most basic of natural rights is the right to self-preservation, to which the natural right to secure property is connected. No person is secure in their life, if they cannot also personally secure that life and the property upon which life is dependent. If a person is in danger of loss of life, liberty, or property and has not the personal right, along with the individual ability, to secure these essential rights, then each person is dependent upon someone else’s desire to protect them, reducing every person to that of an indentured or tributary slave, indebted in life to those who are tasked with its security.
Individual Rights Precede Legislative Power Therefore Legislative Power Exists Solely To Ensure Individual Rights
The legislator with his delegated responsibility, cannot be exalted above the inherent rights of the individual which he is charged to protect. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because people have legislators who have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused people to entrust legislators with the power to make laws in the first place. So the justification “it was passed by the legislature,” does not and should not override an inherent individual right, even more so when the legislature is admonished by the Supreme Law to not infringe upon said right.
- The Definition of “Just Power”
Just Power of Government Secures The Individual’s Rights Above All Other Objectives
Therefore it is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his, individually and personally. It is because of this duty to protect the individual’s natural rights that every government in these United States incorporates the requirement of due process for the suspension of these Rights. It is not a just government, nor is an individual’s right secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the comfort or peace of mind of the rest (even if the rest constitutes 60% of the population).
- The Definition of “Unjust Power”
Unjust Power is Power Exercised by Government to the Destruction Of the Individual’s Rights
The mere existence of a majority desire does not override the natural rights of the minority. To create and enforce laws merely because the majority (60% of the people) desire the law to be so, absent any regard to personal and individual rights, is nothing more than a tyranny of the majority. It is through this errant political motivation that history’s greatest injustices have taken place, even here in America. It was once the majority opinion that a minority of people could, by law, be placed in a state of permanent and inherent servitude. It was once the majority opinion that a minority of people could be legally classified as mere property or chattel. It was once the majority opinion that legally enforced physical segregation of the majority from a minority was appropriate. It was once the majority opinion that a minority of Japanese Americans and Hopi Indians could lawfully be imprisoned indefinitely in internment camps without due process. Americans ought to be learning from these mistakes, not fighting to repeat them. The majority of Americans would agree that a single dictator with the power to oppress all is a wicked and unjust government. Please then explain, how the tyranny of the majority is any different that the despotism of one in the lives of those whose rights are violated?
- The “Will of the Majority” is Contrary to the Rule of Law
Majority Rule is synonymous with Tyranny of the Majority Not With Security of Rights
The “Rule of Law” is a term that has been understood throughout history to mean a standard to limit the overreach of government and curb lawlessness. It is does not mean the authority of the government to rule over the people. The independent states of America and their central government were created with written Constitutions to maintain a written limited standard for government to prevent the will of the majority and those who govern to usurp the rights of the individual. The so-called “will of the majority” cannot be synonymous with the rule of law. If that be the case, then those who are disposed to usurp the rights of the people, need only to control the will of the majority; either through manipulations, coercions, fear, or brute force. It is because of this truth of the tyranny of the majority that every government in these United States is required to exist as a republic, not a pure democracy; that every law to be created through equal representation, and is to be governed by and limited to the ultimate purpose of all government – the security of the Rights of the individual through written Constitutions. When any form of government operates contrary to these foundations, that government has exceeded its proper function, acting in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective. It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain, to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. It has converted lawful defense of life, liberty, and property into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense of these essential and natural rights.
- When the Laws of Government Operate Contrary to Individual Rights:
- Government Is Operating Contrary to Its Sole Purpose
- Government Is Not Operating with Just Power
- The People Are Not Free
It becomes the duty of all who love and respect the Rights of their children to protect the citizen from the unjust operation of government.
When those entrusted in government to secure the rights of the individuals turn that trust into a tool to deny those rights, it is incumbent upon those who understand the obvious limits of government and the necessity of those limits to stand in opposition to that unjust use of authority. Just as those in America’s past, who refused to enforce the Federal Fugitive Slave Act because of its obvious abuse of power and destruction of rights wielded by those legislators who ratified it into law. Those who have taken an oath to secure the rights of the people, who understand the magnitude of that solemn promise and the unavoidable and tragic consequences of failing to uphold that promise, feel morally compelled to take a stand. How noble an example would American history have if there was just one Sheriff in Montgomery, Alabama who recognized that a law, ratified by legislators, signed by a governor, reflecting the will of the majority, was not a just law after all. What if instead of arresting Mrs. Rosa Parks, that Sheriff refused to enforce a law that deprived an individual of her rights and instead protected those rights, escorting Mrs. Parks, in which ever seat she chose, all the way home? Those, who are dedicated to their just and lawful duty to secure the rights of the people, understand that at these times the “will of the majority” and the distortion of the rule of law’s definition must be resisted.
The right to individually secure our life, liberty, and property is no different than our rights to freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably assemble, or freedom to worship and live out our faith. A law that establishes that a person is prohibited from possessing any degree of property, but especially property essential to the personal security of individual rights, without due process, ought to be seen as arbitrary. Capricious legislature moved by the tragedy du jour should not be the model for sound and stable government that protects liberty.
If the governments of these United States mean to obtain or deserve the full praise due to wise and just governments, they will equally respect the rights of property, and every inherent right of the individual. If they truly wish for a free and strong nation, they will endeavor to sacredly guard all forms of individual property and resist all desires to violate the individual’s right, regardless of the opinion of the majority or the fleeting emotion of the day. They will not seek to “target the bad guys” by stripping law abiding citizens of their inherent rights and turning otherwise lawful behavior into crimes. Our inherent rights are not killing innocents, so why are our rights targeted? Oppression doesn’t bring safety. Our governments should seek to be a pattern liberty and example of just government so that our posterity may be truly free.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of (name of State), and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of (name of office) to the best of my ability.
Sincerely and In Liberty,