Questioning What Shall Not Be Questioned

Pennsylvania has one of the most clear and indisputable right to bear arms provisions of any state in the country.

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Dave Hardy says that a new law review article, referenced by DC and its amici, is now online for the rest of us to read.  Dave says:

The main theme is to try to demonstate that Pennsylvania’s 1776 Declaration, which guaranteed the right of citizens to bear arms for defense of themselves and the state, meant something other than an individual right. The gist of the demonstration is that at the time lots of privotal Pennsylvanians were concerned about creating a mandatory militia. OK, so what? The 1776 Constitution had references to that. There’s no showing that the fact that many wanted a mandatory militia caused the right to arms clause to be inserted in the Declaration.

I won’t go into detail because the article has been critiqued in depth by Clayton Cramer and by Dave Kopel. Clayton points out that the article actually cites Bellesiles!


2 Responses to “Questioning What Shall Not Be Questioned”

  1. Carl in Chicago says:

    I am glad that serious historians will take Prof. Kozuskanich to task regarding the details of this article – this article that as cited by DC and it’s amici, attempts to inform and direct public policy.

    But personally, it’s tiring to constantly have to rebut these articles intellectually. Now don’t get me wrong…I like drama. But sometimes, one simply wants to cut to the chase.

    Dear Nathan:

    Saul Cornell was your graduate advisor at OSU. Of course, he is director of the Second Amendment Research Center, where you are currently the digital archivist/web manager.

    Among other things, listed here: the SARC’s goal is “to aid in the creation of solutions to the problem of gun violence that are both effective and constitutional…”

    Of course, we are aware that the OSU SARC received a grant from Chicago’s Joyce foundation – a foundation which, during the years 2003-2007, has spent $14,412,000 funding activities, research, and public programs, and organizations (e.g., Violence Policy Center, Legal Community Against Violence, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Handgun-Free America). All but one of those are deceptively named, because their utmost focus is forwarding and passing gun prohibition legislation – their ultimate goal is the criminalization of private firearm ownership in the United States.

    I am a scientist, too (a biologist), and one of the things science strives to do is produce research that is both objective and transparent. The very existence of the scientific endeavor depends on these qualities, and we protect them fiercely. These qualities are absolutely necessary, particularly when research results informs public policy. The fact that Cornell, the SARC, and you are all tied to Joyce Foundation – and they directly tied to gun control advocacy – casts serious and lasting doubt on the objectivity of your work.

    Let me spell it out clearly.

    (1) The Joyce Foundation and the organizations they support seek national criminalization of firearm ownership (under the guise of reducing violence). However, their efforts are thawrted by something called the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects, from government infringement, the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
    (2) The SARC seeks solutions to the problem of gun violence (as is also claimed by Joyce) that are “effective and constitutional.” Constitutional – there is that Second Amendment again.
    (3) So it doesn’t take a PhD in History, let alone in one of the hard sciences, to connect the dots. The Second Amendment Research Center conducts applied research focused on accrediting and forwarding the biased and incorrect view that the right protected by the Second Amendment is strictly limited to that select group of people who are actively engaged in an organized militia. By doing so, the 2A is rendered powerless to thwart widespread gun prohibitions by federal, state, and local governments.
    (4) In so doing and eventally, gun control agendas can be forwarded and passed, and the obstacle which is (was) the Second Amendment is weakened enough to afford no constitutional barrier to strict gun prohibition.

    Does it not nag at you, Nathan, to have tied your professional wagon to this dark horse of political advocacy funding? I predict that the horse you’ve tied to will have serious professional consequences for you – at least among legitimate scientific research circles.

    Best regards.

  2. Dan Patterson says:

    Academic arguments aside–and the above response by Carl is significant in both the form and matter of the statement–by what form of reason and logic is it argued that a person does not have the right to protect oneself from harm? It follows that an individual must not use personal judgement or initiative avoid an icy sidewalk, but must be either told where and how to walk and be strictly regulated regarding stride, clothing, and auditory and visual distraction, or be accomponied by a federal or state representative for their own safety. Naturally a fine must be levied against those foolish enough to disobey the laws of the state. And a tax levied against income to pay for the regulation and enforcement. If the state is to forbid self-initative and restrict judgement, then the state is to supply those things for us.

    In the national debate among increasingly juvenile adults, “those things” include payment for health care, housing, food, and admission to what passes for education.

    The question is larger than it seems, for it goes to the rights of individuals to make decisions and judgements regarding their lives. The Second Amendment seems clear on allowing persons to arm themselves for legal reasons, making judgements about if and how to make use of them and it does not place the state in front of personal judgement. Do persons seeking medical attention have no right to self prescribed preventative methods or must we all engage in the exact same activities, eat exactly the same food at the same time, be entertained by the same media before going to bed at the same time? And into which church must we file to worship which state-approved idol, and on what day? By what conversion will we be forced to become wards of national powers, the likes of which were overthrown in the late 1700’s?

    As a boy I was taught by implication that adults make decisions and boys abide by them. A transition period exsisted where increasingly strident objections to those decisions were either dismissed or considered, and a once-vauge notion of independence took form. Experience and observation led to making decisions about what is or is not safe, rewarding, worthy, etc. Including what to do about preventing harm. Personal experience and observation results in understanding that one often cannot either aviod or escape danger and neither can one expect to be protected from it; a straight line connects the schoolyard bully, the mugger, the carjacker, and one’s response to threats and danger.

    Do not depend upon a state to provide for life, liberty, and the pursuit of your happiness. Grow up and do it for yourselves–you have permission from prior generations who’ve constructed and protected the framework for that very thing.

    Dan Patterson
    Arrogant Infidel


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