Gun Control, the Dick Act of 1902, Bills of Attainder & Ex Post Facto Laws
By Publius Huldah
The latest round of rubbish flooding our in boxes is an ignorant rant claiming that the Dick Act of 1902 (which respects our Right to be armed) can’t be repealed because to do so would “violate bills of attainder and ex post facto laws”.
Who dreams up this stuff? Does anyone check it out before they spread it around?
Of course we have the God-given right to keep and bear arms, to self-defense, etc., etc. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that our Rights come from God and are unalienable.
The 2nd Amendment to our federal Constitution recognizes that this God-given right to keep and bear arms is to be free from any interference WHATSOEVER from the federal government.
Our Framers were all for an armed American People – they understood that arms are our ultimate defense in the event the federal government oversteps its bounds. See, e.g., what James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, writes in the second half of Federalist Paper No. 46! The reason the Citizens – the Militia – are armed is to defend ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, communities, and States from an overreaching, tyrannical federal government.
Accordingly, the federal government is nowhere in the Constitution granted authority to abridge, restrict, or infringe, in any fashion whatsoever, guns, ammunition, etc. Thus, ALL such restrictive laws made by Congress, and ALL regulations made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (ATF), are unconstitutional as outside the scope of the powers granted to Congress and to the Executive Branch by our Constitution. Restriction of arms and ammunition is NOT one of the “enumerated powers” delegated to Congress or the Executive Branch.
Furthermore, all pretended regulations made by the ATF are also unconstitutional as in violation of Art. I, Sec. 1, U.S. Constitution, which vests ALL legislative powers granted by the Constitution in CONGRESS. Executive agencies have no lawful authority whatsoever to make rules or regulations of general application to The People!
In addition, the President and the Senate may not lawfully by treaty do anything the Constitution does not authorize them to do directly. Since the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to disarm us, the federal government may not lawfully do it by Treaty. See, http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/the-treaty-making-power-of-the-united-states/
But the assertion that one Congress may not repeal acts of a previous Congress is idiotic.
And the assertion that Congress can’t repeal the Dick Act because a repeal would “violate bills of attainder and ex post facto laws” shows that whoever wrote that doesn’t know what he is talking about. He obviously has no idea what a “bill of attainder” is, and no idea what an “ex post facto law” is.
This accurately explains what a “bill of attainder” is: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/Bill-of-Attainder.htm
An “ex post facto” law RETROACTIVELY criminalizes conduct which was not criminal when it was done.
Say you barbequed outside last Sunday. That was lawful when you did it. Next month, Congress makes a pretended law which purports to retroactively criminalize barbequing outdoors. So, now, what you did is a crime (for which you are subject to criminal prosecution); even thou when you did it, it wasn’t a crime. That is an ex post facto law.
Now, say Congress passes a pretended law making possession of firearms a crime and ordering everyone to turn in their guns. Only if you do not turn in your guns will you have committed a “crime”. That is not an ex post facto law because if you turn in your guns, you won’t be criminally prosecuted. The “crime” is the failure to turn in your guns – not the prior possession of guns.
Such a law would be totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL, because gun control is not one of the enumerated powers of Congress. Thus, the law would be outside the scope of the powers delegated to Congress.
It would also be unconstitutional as in violation of the 2nd Amendment.
But it would not be an ex post facto law. See postscript below!
People shouldn’t sling around terms, the meanings of which, they do not understand. It is immoral.
If TRUTH spread as rapidly as lies, our problems would have been resolved long ago. But if People can come to love TRUTH more than they love the ignorant rubbish they circulate, perhaps it is not too late to restore our Constitutional Republic. PH
In Federalist Paper No. 84 (4th para), Alexander Hamilton says re ex post facto laws (and of the importance of the writ of habeas corpus):
“…The creation of crimes after the commission of the fact, or, in other words, the subjecting of men to punishment for things which, when they were done, were breaches of no law, and the practice of arbitrary imprisonments, have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny…” PH
Postscript added Jan 17, 2014: None of us are infallible – all of us must be willing to rethink what we think we know. I have rethought this and now believe that such a law would be an ex post facto law in violation of Art. I, Sec. 9, cl. 3 of the Constitution (if the Congress passed the law) or Art. I, Sec. 10, cl. 1 (if a State passed such a law). At the time a person acquired the gun, it was completely legal to possess it. To then make it unlawful to not turn in your guns – or to do as Connecticut did and say you have to register all your existing guns or it’s a felony – makes unlawful something which was lawful when you did it. So mea culpa, Folks! And never shrink from saying you were wrong when you were wrong.
Posted January 19, 2013; revised Jan 21, 2013; Jan. 17, 2014.