In February 2018, then Attorney General Andy Beshear received an opinion request from a legislator on the following question: “Are there any legal, public ‘Gun-Free’ zones in the Commonwealth of Kentucky?” The Kentucky Attorney General is statutorily obligated to answer an opinion request from a party with standing (legislators having original standing). However, there is no mandate in regard to time in issuing an opinion. AG Beshear predictably left office without ever replying to this clear, one answer question.
In May of this year, a letter (not an opinion, as specifically requested) was finally generated from present Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s Office. In the letter, the question at hand was skirted. The obvious, however, was stated: The legislature has in the past granted to public schools and universities the power to ban or regulate firearms on their campi. There’s one problem with the AG’s letter (tacitly admitted to by the AG’s Office itself when it generated a simple letter instead of a court admissible, formal opinion): The state legislature has no authority whatsoever to grant to another entity (schools, in this example) powers not granted to the legislature by the federal constitution. So let us now review Americans’ guaranteed, God-given right to bear arms (all the while never forgetting the supremacy of the US Constitution).
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Until District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, a spurious argument was made that the Second Amendment applied only to the states’ abilities to maintain their own National Guard units. Apart from the fact that the old National Guard argument was disingenuous and historically laughable (“Right. We’ve just thrown off the monarchy; now let’s disarm the people and guarantee state controlled, standing armies to lord over a disarmed populace!”); it is also grammatically ignorant. The connotation of “regulated” in the Second Amendment was part of a dependent clause which harkened back to a recurring colonial era problem when armed military-aged males banded together (i.e., the militia): Patriots often showed up with outdated, unreliable guns. Therefore, the Second Amendment is perfectly applicable to the current day (it has always been about guaranteeing the citizens’ ability to overthrow a tyrannical government; and never about deer hunting, China Joe). In other words, today’s general ownership of AR-15 rifles, in good working order (or “regulation,” as in the phrase, “A well regulated clock.”) are completely guaranteed by the federal constitution (which again, trumps all other federal/state constitutions, laws or regulations).
So what does the Kentucky State Constitution’s Bill of Rights say about bearing arms? The Seventh Article of Section 1 reads: “The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.” Wait a second...How did the Kentucky General Assembly trump the federal constitution in 1891 when it gave to the state legislature the power to, “enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons?” That’s right. They did/do not possess such power (Having just marked our Independence Day from tyranny; let us never forget the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights are limitations upon government, not the citizenry which are given a GUARANTEE of the preservation of their God-given rights.).
Now let’s revisit McConnell lackey Cameron’s disingenuous letter. For example in KRS 237.115 and 527.070, the legislature birthed powers to regulate the bearing of arms to public universities and schools; a power that the legislature itself never possessed. Bottom line? Know today, public “Gun-Free” zones are every bit as unconstitutional as segregated water fountains.
History (The Guarantee of Conscience)
Happy Birthdays this week to the two most dependable men I know: Bubby and Daddy. Enjoy!
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