by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
As some cities are becoming sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, Spokane Valley, Washington, is poised to become a sanctuary city of a different type: one where people committed to the Second Amendment can live without fear of being disarmed.
Local TV station KXLY reports:
Councilman Caleb Collier said the proposal is meant to send a message that Spokane Valley protects residents’ constitutional Second Amendment rights.
City councilman Ed Pace tells KXLY4 News that the resolution would be a symbolic stand for constitutional rights.
“It would be partly symbolic, partly a lobbying tool,” said Pace, ”it would be a message to the rest of the nation really that we are a city that values the constitutional rights of our citizens and we protect them.”
See KXLY news video, click here.
Collier made this move to protect the right to keep and bear arms after the state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he would promote legislation banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Pace and Collier believe such a ban is an infringement on the rights protected by the Second Amendment and is therefore unconstitutional and must be opposed. “I don’t believe any type of arms should be banned,” said Pace. “I take the constitution literally in that regard. We have the right, if you want to walk around with an AR-15 and a full magazine on your shoulder, that’s your right to do that.”
The news report claims to have asked several residents of the town what they think about the proposed buttressing of the right to keep and bear arms and the respondents indicate that they would oppose the measure.
“I believe we’re starting a trend,” said Pace. “We’ve been labeled by one of our state representatives as the capital of free Washington, and many of us on the council have embraced that, so I believe we will be leaders in that regard.”
We need leaders such as Pace and Collier if the Second Amendment is to be preserved and if the right of Americans to protect themselves is going to remain safe from local, state, and federal attack.
In learned defense of this right, we should turn to the words of our founding generation who universally looked upon the right to be armed as the best check against tyranny.
In commenting on the Constitution in 1833, Joseph Story wrote:
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
In his own commentary on the works of the influential jurist Blackstone, Founding-era legal scholar St. George Tucker wrote:
This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty…. The right of self defence [sic] is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.
Writing in The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton explained:
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state.
The members of the Founding Generation learned these principles because they all marinated from their youth in the stories of the tyrants of ancient Roman and Greek history. They knew that one of the first acts of these despots was to disarm the people they wished to rule.
One of these stories concerned a man named Pisistratus, who around 560 B.C. planned to place himself in sole control of the city-state of Athens. After convincing the people that they must surrender their weapons if they wanted to be kept safe from marauders lurking just outside the city, Pisistratus sent his personal army door to door to confiscate weapons from the formerly self-governing Athenians.
Some of the city’s residents feared that they were being robbed of one of their basic rights — the right to be armed against tyrants — and they sought out Solon, the wise lawgiver who was nearly 100 years old.
Upon arriving at Solon’s house, the men clamored for him to comment and counsel concerning Pisistratus’s disarmament. Solon’s response is as instructive to the Athenians gathered around his front door as it is for Americans witnessing the gradual repeal of their right to keep and bear arms. Solon said:
If now ye suffer grievously through cowardice all your own,
Cherish no wrath against the gods for this,
For you yourselves increased the usurper’s power by giving him your guard in his hands,
And now, therefore, as his servants you must do as he commands.
Perhaps Pace and Collier know that if they could create a safe haven for the Second Amendment in their city, it would become a beacon of liberty and constitutionalists and others seeking the benefits of freedom would be drawn to Spokane Valley and it would flourish, bringing prosperity and liberty to all its inhabitants.
Criminals and those in the government — local, state, and federal — who would disarm the law abiding, will undoubtedly avoid a town where the residents are free to protect themselves from individual threats to their safety and institutional threats to their liberty.
The concept of voting with one’s feet will perhaps become more popular as city councils from coast to coast recognize the opportunity they have to attract millions of liberty-loving Americans to settle in their communities as the federal government’s disarmament campaign marches through all of the 50 states.
Such a city — one committed to the unwavering upholding of the Constitution — could be the beneficiary of the emigration of millions seeking asylum from the encroaching tyranny.
Pace told the TV news that his proposal will be on an upcoming agenda. He said it is in the very early stages of the necessary process to become an ordinance, but he says he has a “gut feeling” that the measure will eventually pass.
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About the author Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.