The Armed Citizen: Ultimate Right of a Free People

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The Armed Citizen:
Ultimate Right of a Free People

by Clarence Lovell

The following consists of a letter written by Lovell to Governor Bill Owens on August 11, 1999, and an article written by him in March, 1989. The piece Lovell mentions by Joseph Sobran is omitted due to copyright restrictions. Lovell served on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association from 1980-1993 and in 1995.


Dear Governor Owens,

The Problem today is that most politicians neither know nor uphold the Constitution or the Bills of Rights, State and Federal. It is your obligation to both know and uphold the Federal and State Constitutions, to maintain rule of Law. Please Read Constitutional Amnesia, in which Joseph Sobran well explains why we are losing our freedoms. Then, please read my article, The Armed Citizen: Ultimate Right of a Free People. Please read both articles.

Thank you,

Clarence E. Lovell


The Armed Citizen:
Ultimate Right of a Free People

Through a struggle started about 1200 years ago in England, governments were compelled to recognize unalienable natural rights; the right to keep and bear arms being the ultimate right of a free people.

First came the right to possess and carry arms (Laws of Alfred, 871-899 A.D.) Next came the right to armed self-defense (Laws of Cnut, 1020-23). In 1181, "Assize of Arms" made individual possession of arms a duty. The Magna Charta, 1215, recognized possession of arms to resist government oppression.

Fifteenth and 16th. century game laws evolved to preserve hunting for society's elite. But the Courts ruled, if not used for hunting, people have a right to possess firearms to defend their home. Sir Edward Coke, 1682, established that " a man's home is his castle .... where shall a man be safe if not in his home."

The English Bill of Rights in 1689 had 16 articles of which only two concerned individual rights: The right to petition and the right to keep and bear arms for individual and common defense. These individual rights reappeared 100 years later in the .First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed - expressing an individual right with an attending obligation that a citizens' militia secure a free state.

Our American heritage of limited government and individual rights is founded on English Common Law and the 1689 philosophy of John Locke, that each individual has an unalienable natural right to life, liberty and property and the right to protect them. These rights reappeared as the unalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson in 1776.

The right to keep and bear arms is further clarified as an individual right in 43 of the State Constitutions; Colorado's (Bill of Rights) "Art. II, Sec. 13: The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property .... shall be called in question."

After an exhaustive study of "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms," what the (1982) Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Ninety-seventh Congress uncovered "was clear - and long lost - proof that the Second Amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family and his freedoms."

Today our entire Bill of Rights is threatened, not just the Second Amendment. A ban on economical "Saturday Night Specials" is class discrimination against the poor. Firearms registration violates the Fifth and Ninth Amendments (Haynes vs. U.S., 1968). A "waiting period" violates the principle that prior restraint of a legitimate activity and is not constitutional (Near vs. Minn., 1932). Any ban on ammunition, type of action of a firearm, "snubbies," plastic firearms, safe carrying or safe discharge of firearms both penalizes peaceful citizens and violates the Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The use of firearms and deadly force in defense of life, liberty and property is a natural unalienable right on which our government is founded.

Today's conflict is between human dignity with unalienable natural rights against supremacy of the State; between reasoned Rule of Law against mob rule edicts. We must rededicate our American Heritage of individualism and unalienable natural rights to life, liberty and property, with freedom preserved through limited government, if freedom is to survive in America. The armed citizen is the ultimate right of a free people.

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