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Michigan's Constitution and the (dead-on-arrival) proposed Assault Weapons Ban

OC4me

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Michigan's RTKBA Constitutional Provision vs. Assault Weapons Ban

Background: http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/10/assault_weapon_ban_bill_dead_o.html#incart_river_home

I'm going to share my take on this from a vastly different angle. First and foremost, let's forget about the federal Second Amendment, its great, but our state has its own constitution which is equally enforceable in court, not to mention less controversial and far less susceptible to intentional misinterpretation as we shall see below.

Those opposed to private ownership of semiautomatic firearms with detachable magazines, invariably (and very helpfully as my argument points out) define such arms in military terms. This highlights an opportunity for us (which I doubt the antis have ever considered) in that many state constitutional provisions implicitly protect military-style arms. Take Michigan for example. See Article I, Section 6, of the Michigan Constitution below:

CONSTITUTION OF MICHIGAN OF 1963
§ 6 Bearing of arms. Sec. 6.
Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.
History: Const. 1963, Art. I, § 6, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964

The relevant part is: "Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of . . . the state."

Liberals (mostly) are fixated on banning arms that would actually, if one honestly thinks about it, be the very type of arms that citizens would need to have if called upon to effectively serve in a state militia, but that is neither here nor there because fortunately in Michigan, as we see above, it is 'every person', and not members of the militia, that the state constitution specifically enumerates as having the right to keep arms for 'defense of the state'.

It would be disingenuous to argue that revolvers, duck guns and squirrel rifles are the types of arms which every person has the right to bear in the (thankfully) unlikely event the people must defend, with their own lives, the State during a dire and catastrophic emergency. Arms suitable for military service are exactly the type of arms necessary to defend the state.

Michigan's Constitution was adopted in modern-times (1963) when semiautomatic rifles and pistols with detachable high-capacity magazines were readily available to all civilians. Unlike the 2nd Amendment, there is no controversial 'well-regulated militia' clause in Michigan's RTKBA provision by which antis invariably argue that the right is limited to those actively serving in a state militia. It is therefore unclear how such proposed bans would pass constitutional muster at the state-level and that is where we need to hit them.

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming also have similar constitutional provisions explicitly protecting the right of their people to keep arms for defense of the state.

If we really want to catch the antis off-guard, not to mention educate the public about state constitutional roles in preserving the ability of citizens to protect state liberties, then it may serve our side well to expand the debate beyond semantics over cosmetic features and into one of actual constitutional substance.

Unconditional redistribution of this essay is permitted and encouraged.
 
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OC4me

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Northwest Kent County, Michigan
I think that CT's constitution has similar words ... they mean nothing to .govs.

SEC. 15. Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.
https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/Content/constitutions/CTConstitution.htm


Instead rely on your NATURAL RIGHT to defend your property (including your person)....this is not subject to legal constraints. After all, a constitution is just a law :)
Good find! The personal right to keep and bear 'arms in defense of the state' does indeed mean absolutely NOTHING unless, and until, the meaning of the words 'in defense of the state' are actually litigated! So shockingly simple, it defies logic as to why that very point is not being litigated given Connecticut's recent ban on so-called 'assault weapons'.
 
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davidmcbeth

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Good find! The personal right to keep and bear 'arms in defense of the state' does indeed mean absolutely NOTHING unless, and until, the meaning of the words 'in defense of the state' are actually litigated! So shockingly simple, it defies logic as to why that very point is not being litigated given Connecticut's recent ban on so-called 'assault weapons'.
In respect to the CT constitution .. one can look back to pre-heller cases where the 2nd amendment was not even looked at....I recall a "Benjamin" case .... where only the state constitutions was examined.

Founded it....

http://www.titleii.com/bardwell/benjamin_v_bailey.txt

A good read also because it discusses what "copies" are....
 

OC4me

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
758
Location
Northwest Kent County, Michigan
In respect to the CT constitution .. one can look back to pre-heller cases where the 2nd amendment was not even looked at....I recall a "Benjamin" case .... where only the state constitutions was examined.

Founded it....

http://www.titleii.com/bardwell/benjamin_v_bailey.txt

A good read also because it discusses what "copies" are....
The above cite makes my point precisely. Benjamin v. Bailey did not even touch on the constitutional right of every Connecticut citizen to keep the type of arms suitable for defense of the state. It appears that the Plaintiffs merely raised the first of the two purposes enumerated in the state constitutional RTBA provision, which involves personal 'self-defense' and not 'defense of the state' which would rather obviously be an equally valid legal argument. Predictably, the Court was only too happy to come to the conclusion that assault weapons served no 'self-defense' purpose. Crickets regarding the utility that so-called assault weapons would have with respect to citizens defending the state in a military action.
 
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davidmcbeth

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The above cite makes my point precisely. Benjamin v. Bailey did not even touch on the constitutional right of every Connecticut citizen to keep the type of arms suitable for defense of the state. It appears that the Plaintiffs merely raised the first of the two purposes enumerated in the state constitutional RTBA provision, which involves personal 'self-defense' and not 'defense of the state' which would rather obviously be an equally valid legal argument. Predictably, the Court was only too happy to come to the conclusion that assault weapons served no 'self-defense' purpose. Crickets regarding the utility that so-called assault weapons would have with respect to citizens defending the state in a military action.
Good points.
 
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