Founding father Alexander Hamilton was highly skeptical of adding a bill of rights to the United States Constitution. This signer of the Constitution went so far as to “affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous.”
The Bill of Rights are made up of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, all ratified together in 1791, just four years after the adoption of the Constitution itself. There was much debate among the erudite framers as to whether including a finite set of rights might imply that those not mentioned would be indefensible.
In The Federalist No. 84, Hamilton adds his deep wisdom by predicting that when mortals codify a divine right, they make it vulnerable to diminution by political hucksters. “I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given...”
Using an example of the First Amendment, Alexander Hamilton asks, “Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?” Hamilton believed the push for these first ten amendments to be the “indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”
As the primary architect of the Bill of Rights, James Madison included two demarcations on the federal government; the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The final Bill of Rights attempts to refine the role of Washington with, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Succinct, deliberate, clear, and awesome. And ignored.
I would like to call attention to the seemingly Lilliputian Ninth Amendment for renewed consideration by state legislators across the United States. Madison crafted this critical American theorem as: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Consider this postulate in light of America’s mission statement, the Declaration of Independence. We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. And the purpose of government is to ensure those rights.
Even while the right for people to arm themselves is specifically called out in the Second Amendment, huckster legislators of the 21st Century are working relentlessly to diminish its original intent. They cruelly leverage the tragedy of mass murder to displace James Madison’s timeless sagacity with their pop rationale.
But our rights do not emanate from governments of men. And those rights not mentioned in our constitutions remain eternally intact.
The point being that every unalienable right, including that of defending ourselves against attack with a scary gun, was endowed to us by the Creator with zero necessity for ratification by government. This right of the people to keep and bear arms is merely recognized in the Second Amendment. If the Second Amendment were to be repealed, the people would still retain their God-given right to own weapons with the capacity to defeat their attacker.
Legislators who are contemplating new laws to restrict the use of guns by the people should remember their charge in the United States Declaration of Independence, to ensure the peoples’ God-given rights. Otherwise, Alexander Hamilton’s cautions are realized, that “They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”