The ATF isn’t all bad. In fact, they had a policy of letting illegal gun purchases go between 2006 and 2011. It ended up getting U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry killed on December 14, 2010, and let Mexican criminals get enough guns that they were found at over 150 crime scenes where Mexican citizens were either killed or maimed. And some of the guns were used in the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris at the Bataclan. But other than that, it turned out just fine.
(In case you’re not picking up on it, we’re laying on the sarcasm very thick right now.)
You probably know what was officially called “Project Gunrunner” as “Operation Fast and Furious.” Started under George W. Bush, this ATF policy audaciously grew under President Obama and became indicative of the perceived attack on American gun owners by both policymakers and their friends in the establishment media.
It’s one of many scandals of the Obama Administration that was never given as much press attention as, for example, Russia buying Facebook ads about NoFap and Pizzagate. Given that the guns run by the ATF were allowed to kill hundreds and that subsequent Congressional investigations resulted in Eric Holder, President Obama’s Attorney General, becoming the first sitting cabinet member to be held in criminal contempt of Congress ever, this is shocking. At least for anyone still under the illusion that the establishment media is a fair and impartial source of information.
Sit down and get ready to dig into what is perhaps the most egregious scandal of President Drone’s administration – and there’s a lot to pick from.
What Was Project Gunrunner?
Project Gunrunner was a project of the ATF, designed to intercept weapons bound for Mexican criminal organizations. The ATF (the same people who entrapped peaceful, law-abiding citizen Randy Weaver into selling them a single sawed-off shotgun, then pursued him as if he was mounting an armed insurrection, shooting and killing his wife, son, and dog) decided to allow straw purchases (which are technically legal but often involve the crime of providing false information when purchasing a firearm) to happen in the hopes that these purchases would end up in the hands of Mexican criminal organizations.
The thinking was that, rather than going after crimes considered to be small potatoes, the ATF could focus on bigger fish – organizational gun-running in the Southwest and over the border in Mexico. By letting guns purchased illegally to “walk” (i.e., not be prosecuted), the federal government can keep an eye on them, arresting people for much more serious crimes later. That’s the idea, anyway, but the execution ended up being something much different.
Beginning in 2006, the Phoenix Office of the ATF not only allowed but also facilitated and encouraged, straw purchases of firearms to known weapons traffickers. They then allowed the weapons to “walk” to Mexico. Gun Owners of America has stated that they believe this was an attempt to boost statistics for the ATF, thus securing more funding – most of the funding for this came from $40 million in competitive grants from the 2009 “stimulus package,” which was largely a giant giveaway to large banks.
(Such self-serving actions by the ATF are not unheard of. During the congressional inquiry following the ATF’s siege of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Henry Ruth, one of the three independent reviewers from the U.S. Treasury Department, testified that: “The ATF needed good publicity. With its appropriations hearings a week away, a successful raid this size would produce major positive headlines to counter the ATF’s reputation as a rogue agency whose debacles blackened the reputations of other agencies. And it would scare the public enough about fringe groups to create political pressure on Congress to increase its budget.”)
Some legitimate gun dealers objected to being involved in Project Gunrunner, as did some ATF agents, but they were strongarmed into participation by top brass. What’s more, the practices that became associated with Project Gunrunner were in opposition to long-established ATF operating procedures.
What Was Operation Wide Receiver?
What later became known as “Operation Fast and Furious” is actually only one operation among many under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner. Another was known as Operation Wide Receiver, which ran from early 2006 to late 2007, on George W. Bush’s watch.
In this case, a licensed firearms dealer notified the ATF of a suspicious purchase and was subsequently hired as a confidential informant. The ATF began monitoring straw purchases made through this dealer. During the operation, the dealer sold 450 weapons, including AR-15s chambered in .223, AKs chambered in 7.62×39, and Colt .38s. The lion’s share of these weapons were lost after moving south of the border – only 64 of the weapons were seized before crossing the Mexican border. Most of the cases for the prosecution were so flimsy that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was reluctant to pursue prosecution in any of them. The Bush-era Department of Justice declined to prosecute any of these cases.
The Obama Administration began prosecuting cases in 2010, three years after the project ended. Eventually, nine cases were prosecuted, all for process crimes, with one case dropped, five defendants pleading guilty, one sentenced and two remaining fugitives.
What Was Operation Fast and Furious?
As stated above, Operation Fast and Furious was only one of several such operations. The name itself, “Operation Fast and Furious,” is related to the fact that the suspects were involved in car racing together.
Operation Fast and Furious simply picked up the gun-walking practices which had been going on previously, as if they were new again. Once again, the operation began when a firearms dealer contacted the ATF about a suspicious purchase. Unlike Operation Wide Receiver, many of these purchases involved hundreds of weapons. What’s more, there was no official collaboration between the firearms dealers and the ATF. Perhaps most disturbing is that both Mexican law enforcement officials and the Mexico City Office of the ATF were left completely in the dark about what was going on.
In January 2010, the ATF applied for and received additional funding, and was reorganized as a strike force that included members of the ATF, FBI, DEA, and ICE, run through the United States Attorney’s Office rather than under the jurisdiction of the ATF.
The weapons dealers started raising red flags because they kept seeing the same straw buyers over the course of months purchasing the same weapons over and over again, which is highly unusual. Standard practice is that the dealers tend to only see straw buyers again at trial, if at all. What’s more, the ATF generally arrests the straw buyer and members of the larger criminal organization at the point of transfer, confiscating the weapons in the process. Not only did this not happen under Operation Fast and Furious, but top brass within the ATF prevented agents on the ground from following standard operating procedures.
All told, by June 2010, suspects surveilled under Operation Fast and Furious had purchased over 1,600 weapons at a total spend of over $1 million. At that time – not at the end of the operation – the ATF was aware of over 300 of these weapons being found at crime scenes, 179 in Mexico and 130 in the United States.
To put it bluntly, the ATF facilitated gun trafficking that resulted in crimes on American soil.
The Death of Brian Terry
On December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, along with other members of the United States Border Patrol, was on patrol about 11 miles from the Mexican border. When they came across five suspected illegal aliens, they fired bean bags and were responded to with live ammunition. During the resulting firefight, Terry was killed. Four of the suspects were arrested and two AKs found nearby were traced back to Operation Fast and Furious within hours.
The bullet that killed Terry was too damaged to be conclusively linked to the operation. The Acting Deputy Attorney General and the Deputy Chief of Staff were notified but did not think the murder of a United States Border Patrol Agent was important enough to contact the Attorney General. Eventually, ATF Agent John Dodson contacted Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was the major force behind investigating the ATF’s practice of gun-walking.
This effectively marked the end of Operation Fast and Furious. When all was said and done, approximately 2,000 weapons were purchased through straw buyers that the ATF let walk. Of these, 389 were recovered in the United States, 276 in Mexico, with the balance remaining on the streets. In at least one case, ATF Agent John Dodson was directly involved in the transfer of firearms to a known weapons trafficker.
The Fate of the Furious: What Happened to All Those Guns?
Weapons transferred with ATF compliance and assistance have continued to turn up at crime scenes long after the end of Operation Fast and Furious. Former Attorney General Eric Holder has stated on the record that he believes the weapons will continue to turn up for years to come. The weapons have been used in several high-profile crimes in Mexico, including the use of a .50-cal against a Mexican police helicopter and the murder of a Mexican beauty queen.
The most noteworthy crime the weapons have been used in, however, is the coordinated Islamist attacks on Paris in 2015, including the famous attack against the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan. The ATF itself tracked weapons used in the attack to a Phoenix dealership known to be associated with Operation Fast and Furious.
There is virtually no way to know how many people and American citizens are dead because of the unethical actions of the ATF.
Congress Investigates Operation Fast and Furious
A Congressional investigation was led by Representative Darrell Issa of California, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This was done at the behest of ATF whistleblowers.
Attorney General Eric Holder claimed ignorance about the operation, something that was later called into question by a number of sources. Meanwhile, ATF Agent Vince Cefalu was fired in June 2011, likely for his role in exposing the operation to the general public. He later testified before Congress that purchases of AKs and .50-cals were happening “daily” and that nothing was done, saying, “I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”
Several of those in charge of the operation were promoted and transferred to Washington – not fired nor even reprimanded. U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis K. Burke admitted to leaking sensitive documents about Dodson, the chief whistleblower, to the public. Senator Grassley believes that Burke was falling on his sword to protect his superiors in the Justice Department. Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee laid the blame not on any senior officials within the ATF or the Justice Department, but squarely within the Phoenix Office.
Attorney General Eric Holder almost certainly withheld documents and concealed evidence, continuing to deny any knowledge of gun-walking. He was threatened with Contempt of Congress and strongarmed into appearing for the seventh time. A Congressional report on Holder described his view of the murder of Agent Terry as “a nuisance.” The report further stated that Holder knew about gun-walking in general and Operation Fast and Furious in particular – he even knew that the weapons involved in the shootout resulted in the death of Agent Terry – as far back as 2010. The Congressional report further accused Attorney General Holder of stonewalling Grassley’s investigation.
On June 20, 2012, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to recommend holding Holder in contempt of Congress. This was related to 1,300 pages of documents that the Department of Justice refused to hand over to Congress. Earlier that day, and at the request of close personal friend Holder, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege for the first time during his administration.
On June 28, 2012, Holder received the dubious distinction of becoming the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress. The House voted 255-67 in favor of Holder’s refusal to disclose internal DOJ documents in response to a Congressional subpoena. Congress, likewise, voted on a civil contempt measure by a 258-95 margin. This allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit testing the executive privilege claim.
In March 2017, the Justice Department’s Inspector General found that the Dallas Office of the ATF could have arrested some of the men involved in ICE Officer Jaime Zapata’s death, but refused to act.
The civil case was eventually settled in 2019, with the Justice Department agreeing to release more documents at long last.
The ATF’s budget is currently frozen at 2016 levels (an effective budget cut given inflation and built-in increased expenses, like salaries and rent) and it does not have a Senate-approved director, in part because of this scandal and what some believe is a Trump Administration directive to slowly choke off the government alphabet agency – which is one of the most hated among his base.
As a parting thought: It is worth noting that this is the worst thing that the ATF has been caught doing since the attack on Randy Weaver’s family or the incineration of women and children at Waco. This raises the important question of what it is that they’re doing that we don’t currently know about.
By: Publius Huldah
The Globalists have long been in the process of setting up a dictatorial and totalitarian oligarchy over the United States. Now they are putting the last pieces in place. That is what is behind the pushes for the USMCA “Trade Agreement”, an Article V convention, and red-flag and other laws to disarm the American People. The Globalists want to move the United States into the North American Union.
USMCA “Trade Agreement”
The USMCA “Trade Agreement” is, in reality, a Transfer of Sovereignty Agreement. It provides for the economic and financial integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. In addition to putting the three countries under global regulation of a host of issues such as patents, environmental regulation, labor, immigration policy, prohibition of discriminatory practices respecting sexual preferences and “gender identity” in the workplaces; 1 it puts the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in control of our economy and binds us to submit to an international monetary system which is to be administered and enforced (at least initially) by the IMF and which will replace our collapsing Federal Reserve system.2
Every word, clause, sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, and appendix of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” is in blatant violation of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
North American Union
The North American Union brings about the political integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The Task Force Report on Building a North American Community [link] sponsored by The Council on Foreign Relations provides for (among other horrors):
- increasing the “cooperation and interoperability among and between the law enforcement agencies and militaries.” The Report thus indicates that the plan is to combine the functions of law enforcement and the militaries of the three countries, so as to create a militarized police force consisting of Canadians, Mexicans, and Americans (pages 10-12). 3
- a North American Advisory Council, with members appointed by Canada, the United States, and Mexico, to staggered multiyear terms to “provide a public voice for North America”; and a “North American Inter-Parliamentary Group” which will have bilateral meetings every other year; and a trinational interparliamentary group to meet in the alternating year (pages 31-32).
To merge the functions of our police and military and combine it with those of Canada and Mexico; 4 and to permit a Parliament to be set up over and above the United States, is altogether repugnant to our existing Constitution. But this is what the Globalists and the Political Elite of both parties want. Before they can impose it on us, they need to get a new Constitution for the United States.
An Article V Convention
And that’s the purpose of an Article V convention – to get a new constitution for this Country which legalizes the USMCA “Trade Agreement” and transforms the United States from a sovereign nation to a member state of the North American Union.
But Americans don’t want another constitution, and they don’t want to be moved into the North American Union.
So! Some of those pushing for an Article V convention, such as the “Convention of States Project” (COS) are marketing a convention to appeal to conservatives. COS and their allies such as Mark Levin claim to be for limited government and say they want a convention to get amendments to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”. Sadly, those who don’t know that our Constitution already limits the power and jurisdiction of the federal government to a tiny handful of enumerated powers [they are listed on this one-page Chart] fall for the marketing.5
But some of those pushing for an Article V convention, and certainly those financing the push for a convention, 6 actually do intend to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”; and they intend to do it by transferring the powers our Constitution delegates to the federal government (plus the powers reserved to the States or the People) to the global government which they are setting up over us.7
This Flyer shows why Delegates to an Article V convention (called for the ostensible purpose of proposing amendments to our existing Constitution) have the right and power to ignore their instructions and impose a new Constitution which puts us under a completely new Form of government – such as the North American Union.
Red flag Laws & Gun Confiscation
When Americans finally see what has been done and how they have been deceived, they will be angry. That’s why they must be disarmed now. But all federal gun control laws for the Country at Large are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers granted to Congress; as in violation of Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16; and as in violation of the Second Amendment. And any pretended State law which contradicts its State Constitution or which interferes with Congress’ power (granted by Art. I, §8, cl. 16) to “organize, arm, and discipline, the Militia”, is also unconstitutional [link].
Red flag laws also violate the privileges and immunities clause of Article IV, §2; and the due process clauses of the 5th Amendment and §1 of the 14th Amendment. US Senator Marco Rubio’s (Fla.) malignant red flag law [link] appropriates a total of $100 Million to pay to States and Indian Tribes which pass the red flag legislation set forth in Rubio’s bill.
And Trump says respecting red flag laws, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” [link].
Stop the Globalists: Oppose the USMCA “Trade Agreement” and an Article V Convention
While the Trump Administration hammers the Globalists’ nails into our coffin, his trusting supporters censor criticism of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” – even though the Agreement is so long and incorporates so many other Agreements it is unlikely that any of them (including Trump) have read it.
And demagogues in the pay of Globalists have convinced constitutionally illiterate Americans that the solution to all our problems is to get an Article V convention.
2 Publius Huldah: So You Think Trump Wants To Get Rid Of The Fed?
3 Meanwhile, the UN is building a global military & police force. See “United Nations Peacekeeping” [link] and think of the ramifications of such a militarized global police force. Who will be able to resist?
4 Mexico’s culture is notoriously criminal. If we permit Globalists to get an Article V convention and a new Constitution which moves the United States into the North American Union, you can expect to see militarized Mexican police operating within our [former] Country. And soon, they will be wearing blue helmets.
5 It is possible that Mark Levin and the hirelings promoting a convention (such as Mark Meckler, 6 Tom Coburn [link], and Jim DeMint [link]) don’t know what the actual agenda is. And it is almost certain that COS’s constitutionally illiterate celebrity endorsers and lemmings don’t know. People who don’t know that our Constitution already limits the federal government to a tiny handful of enumerated powers and that our problems are caused by ignoring the Constitution we have are easily deceived by the ridiculous claim that we must amend our Constitution to make the federal government obey it.
Our Framers always understood that the purpose of an Article V Convention is to get a new Constitution [link]. This is why James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and four US Supreme Court Justices, among others, warned against it [link].
6 It is the Globalists, primarily the Kochs and George Soros, who are funding the push for an Article V convention. See, e.g.,
- Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution [link].
- George Soros assault on U.S. Constitution [link]
- Mark Meckler is president of “Citizens for Self-Governance” which launched the “Convention of States Project”. This website discusses funding for Citizens for Self-Governance.
- Koch brothers from Conservapedia [link]
7 The transfer of power from our federal government to global government by means of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” is illustrated here.
By: T F Stern | Self-Educated American
I read where roughly 52 percent of today’s younger generation believes socialism/communism would be preferable to our constitutional republican form of government; a troubling thought.
What happened that so many of our fellow citizens never figured out what America is all about?
My first thought had to do with an op-ed piece in USA Today written by Marion Smith, 30 years after the Berlin Wall’s collapse, Americans don’t understand communism’s dangers. Hard as it may be to believe, there’s an entire generation who didn’t learn the lessons associated with the Cold War, the building of/and eventual destruction of the Berlin Wall.
For a quick course in history, one need only watch the movie, Bridge of Spies, which accurately depicts the political tension of the Cold War, one scene, in particular, showing individuals fleeing the oppression of communism.
From a window seat vantage point of a train passing over ‘No Man’s Land’, we observe an attempted escape, one that lasts only moments, as border guards shoot down those trying to scale the wall into West Germany. We watched helplessly as the image disappears from view.
What would make an individual risk his/her life to escape the clutches of communist East Germany? Was life so bad that such a risk was considered worth it?
A better question might be, why would anyone want to exchange individual liberty under our constitutional republican form of government, imperfect as it may be, and choose to live in servitude under socialism/communism?
Before I answer; there was a devotional talk given last month at BYU Idaho by James Gordon, Always Remember, in which he brought up the importance of having a firm recollection of the exodus from Egypt. He brought up the plight of Israel as they were being pursued by Pharaoh, their backs against the sea and in great fear.
“10 ¶ And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them, and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.
11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”
You know the ‘rest of the story’, that Moses parted the sea and they crossed on dry ground. They all made it to the other side, that is, all except Pharaoh’s army who were swallowed up by the sea when it came crashing down on them.
With only a little faith in God, they followed Moses, reluctantly; but they followed and were shown that their God really was God. The story has survived for thousands of years, a reminder to have faith in God regardless of circumstances.
Fast forward to the present… those pushing for socialism/communism see our circumstances as dire; perhaps they are exaggerating what they see in order to institute their vision of Utopia, the fact remains far too many folks doubt, or never were taught about the divine nature tied with our particular constitutional republic, that would be mixing religion with government and somebody convinced the Supreme Court that schools can’t teach that stuff.
The Founders of our nation understood and referenced our dependence on God at every opportunity. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and included Bill of Rights represent an acknowledgment that God is the Author of our Liberty and yet godless historians have been arguing against that very fact for the past two hundred plus years.
In more recent years the public schools and places of higher learning have been taken over by socialists/communists. We send young minds to become educated and learn how to think; instead, they’re attending indoctrination centers churning out intellectual left-leaning dummies.
There’s an entire generation that thinks we’d all be better off living under socialism/communism. Everyone would be so much better off if we’re taken care of equally by some perfectly ordered government program. There would be no income inequality; and besides, property is evil, nobody should have more of it than anyone else.
These young minds were never enlightened or given an explanation as to the divine nature of individual liberty or that we are indebted to our Creator for His having ordained this land to be an inheritance for those willing to follow His commandments. If only we could impact their minds in the same way the Israelites remember the exodus from Egypt.
Listen to the politicians pandering for votes, promising the fruits of labor to all, not caring that someone else provided the fruit or that there might not be enough to satisfy everyone’s needs, much less desires. The safety net of servitude promises the basics of life; what else could you want? Become a servant of the state and all this will be yours.
Of course, those who don’t approve will be forced to go along with it once the constitution is shredded; we’ll be a Socialist Democracy where the majority runs the show. There won’t be any restrictions keeping the state from confiscating everything and becoming all-powerful; a sad replacement for the constitutional republic God had intended.
I can hear the pleadings from those marching headlong into socialism/communism, “Let us alone, that we may serve the state…”
By: Publius Huldah
- Article 5 provides two ways to amend our Constitution: Congress (1) proposes amendments and sends them to the States for ratification (this was done with our existing 27 Amendments); or (2) calls a convention for proposing amendments if two-thirds of the State Legislatures apply for it. We’ve never had a convention under Article V – they are dangerous! 1
- But today, various well-funded factions are lobbying State Legislators to ask Congress to call an Article V convention. One faction, the “Convention of States Project” (COS), claims to be for limited government and is marketing the convention to appeal to conservatives. COS claims (falsely) that our Framers told us to amend the Constitution when the federal government violates the Constitution.2
- COS’s claim is absurd – it’s like saying that since people violate the Ten Commandments, God should amend the Ten Commandments.
- COS’s claim is false. Not only did our Framers never say what COS claims,
- Our Constitution already limits the power and jurisdiction of the federal government to a small handful of enumerated powers (they are listed on this one-page chart).3 Furthermore, it’s impossible to rein in the federal government with amendments because when the feds usurp powers not delegated, they are ignoring the existing constitutional limitations on their powers.
- All of the proposed amendments produced by COS and their sympathizers markedly INCREASE the powers of the federal government by delegating powers the federal government has already usurped; by granting new powers to the federal government; by transferring power from Representatives elected by the People to the Deep State; or by stripping States of their existing sovereign powers.4 See:
- So what’s the real agenda of those (primarily George Soros and the Kochs) who are financing the push for a convention? A convention provides the opportunity to replace our existing Constitution with a new constitution which moves us into a completely new system of government, such as the North American Union (NAU). Under the NAU, Canada, the United States, and Mexico are economically and politically integrated and a Parliament and combined militarized police force are set up over them.6
The phrase within Article V, “a Convention for proposing Amendments”, doesn’t restrict the Delegates to the Convention to merely proposing Amendments. Our Declaration of Independence recognizes that a People have the “self-evident Right” to throw off their government and set up a new government.7 We’ve already invoked that Right twice: In 1776 we invoked it to throw off the British Monarchy; and in 1787, James Madison invoked it to throw off our first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation (AOC), and set up a new Constitution [the one we now have] which created a new government.
This is what happened:
There were defects in the AOC, so on Feb. 21, 1787, the Continental Congress called a convention to be held in Philadelphia
“for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”
But the Delegates ignored their instructions from Congress, and similar instructions from their States 8 and wrote a new Constitution which created a new government. Furthermore, the new Constitution had its own new mode of ratification: Whereas amendments to the AOC had to be approved by the Continental Congress and all of the then 13 States; 9 the new Constitution provided at Article VII thereof, that it would be ratified when only 9 States approved it.
And in Federalist No. 40 (15th para), James Madison, who was a Delegate to the Federal “amendments” Convention of 1787, invoked that same Right as justification for the Delegates’ ignoring their instructions and writing a new Constitution which created a new government.10
- If we have a convention today, the Delegates will have that same power to get rid of our second Constitution and impose a third Constitution. New Constitutions are already prepared or in the works! One of them, the Constitution for the Newstates of America, is ratified by a national referendum (See Art. XII, §1). The States don’t vote on it – they are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government.
- So why was the convention method added to Article V? The Anti-federalists wanted it added because they wanted another convention so they could get rid of the Constitution just drafted. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton understood that a people have the right to meet in convention and draft a new constitution whether the convention method was in Article V or not. So this is why Madison and Hamilton went along with adding the convention method to Article V; and this is why, as early as April 1788, they and our future first US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay started warning against another convention.
- Using the pretext of merely getting amendments, the Globalists want a convention so they can complete their coup against us and get a new Constitution which moves us into the New World Order.
- States should rescind the applications they have already submitted to Congress.
1 That is why James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, four US Supreme Court Justices, and other jurists & scholars warn against it! See their words HERE.
2 See Michael Farris’s quote HERE. None of our Framers said such a silly thing as Farris claims! Our Framers actually said the purpose of Amendments is to remedy defects in the Constitution, and they all knew that the real purpose of a convention is to get another constitution.
3 IGNORANCE is our problem. Americans don’t know what our Constitution says. Can you recite by heart the enumerated powers granted to Congress over the Country at Large?
4 Mark Levin’s amendment to “grant the States authority to check Congress” [p. 169 of “The Liberty Amendments”] provides that three-fifths of the state legislatures may vote to override a federal statute and certain Executive Branch regulations provided that the States do so within a certain time period. When that time period has expired, the States are forever prohibited from exercising the override.
Levin’s amendment would strip the States of their long-recognized individual natural right – much written about by our Framers – to NULLIFY all acts of any Branch of the federal government which violate our Constitution. See Nullification: The Original Right of Self-Defense and What Should States Do When the Federal Government Usurps Power?
5 The federal term limits amendment would transfer power from US Senators and Representatives (elected by the People) to the Deep State (a massive body of nameless, faceless, and unelected bureaucrats who would become the PERMANENT AND TOTALLY UNACCOUNTABLE GOVERNING BODY).
6 For the Love of God, your Country and your posterity, READ the Council on Foreign Relations’ Task Force Report on the NAU. This is what the Establishment Elite wants and can get with a convention!
7 The Declaration of Independence is part of the “Organic Law” (the Fundamental Law) of our Land.
8 This Delegate Flyer summarizes the instructions the States gave the Delegates.
9 See ART. 13 of the Articles of Confederation.
10 In Federalist No. 40 (15th para), James Madison says the Delegates knew that reform such as was set forth in the new Constitution was necessary for our peace and prosperity. They knew that sometimes great and momentous changes in established governments are necessary – and a rigid adherence to the old government takes away the “transcendent and precious right” of a people to “abolish or alter their governments as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness,” … “and it is therefore essential that such changes be instituted by some INFORMAL AND UNAUTHORIZED PROPOSITIONS, made by some patriotic and respectable citizen or number of citizens…”
The USA PATRIOT Act provides a textbook example of how the United States federal government expands its power. An emergency happens, legitimate or otherwise. The media, playing its dutiful role as goader for greater government oversight, demands “something must be done.” Government power is massively expanded, with little regard for whether or not what is being done is efficacious, to say nothing of the overall impact on our nation’s civil liberties.
No goals are posted because if targets are hit, this would necessitate the ending or scaling back of the program. Instead, the program becomes normalized. There are no questions asked about whether the program is accomplishing what it set out to do. It is now simply a part of American life and there is no going back.
The American public largely accepts the USA PATRIOT Act as a part of civic life as immutable, perhaps even more so than the Bill of Rights. However, this act – passed in the dead of night, with little to no oversight, in a panic after the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor – is not only novel, it is also fundamentally opposed to virtually every principle on which the United States of America was founded. It might not be going anywhere anytime soon, but patriots, liberty lovers and defenders of Constitutional government should nonetheless familiarize themselves with the onerous provisions of this law, which is nothing short of a full-throttle attack on the American republic.
What’s Even in the USA PATRIOT Act?
What is in the USA PATRIOT Act? In the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11, then Rep. John Conyers cracked wise about how no one had actually read the act and how this was in fact par for the course with America’s laws. Thus, before delving into the deeper issues surrounding the PATRIOT Act, it is worth discussing what the act actually says. Here’s a brief look at the 10 Titles in the PATRIOT Act:
- Title I: Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism: This provision dramatically expands the powers of the President, the military and the intelligence community whenever the specter of “terrorism” is invoked. Bizarrely, it contains a provision condemning discrimination against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, which seems to have very little to do with protecting Americans from terrorism.
- Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures: Title II contains the meat of the Act with regard to massive, industrial-scale surveillance on the American public. Beyond the simple spying on Americans and their communications, Title II increases the ability of federal intelligence agencies to share your private communications with one another.
- Title III: International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act: Not simply a section of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title III is an Act of Congress in its own right. You might have noticed how much more difficult it is to open a bank account or send a wire transfer after 9/11. You can blame this provision, which shredded banking privacy rights in the United States.
- Title IV: Protecting the Border: Other than expanding the number of federal employees (of course), the provision of the USA PATRIOT Act charged with protecting America’s borders does little other than point toward paths for future action and study. It is worth noting that the weakest provision of the act is the only one explicitly authorized by the Constitution — protecting the border.
- Title V: Removing Obstacles to Investigating Terrorism: Title V authorizes bounties for the apprehension of alleged terrorists, broadens government power to conduct DNA analysis, allows for greater data sharing between law enforcement agencies and, perhaps most disturbingly, requires private telecommunication carriers to comply with government requests for electronic communication records whenever requested by the FBI. It also expands the power of the Secret Service to investigate computer fraud.
- Title VI: Providing for Victims of Terrorism, Public Safety Officers and Their Families: Perhaps the most innocuous portion of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title VI provides for a victims’ fund for victims of terrorism and their families.
- Title VII: Increased Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure Protection: The subtitle of this section of the act is a rather wordy way of saying that the United States federal government is allowing for law enforcement agencies to share information across jurisdictional boundaries in an easier fashion than was previously legal. To that end, the Bureau of Justice Assistance was given a $50,000,000 budget for 2002 and a whopping $100,000,000 budget for fiscal year 2003.
- Title VIII: Strengthening the Criminal Laws Against Terrorism: Title VIII is where the rubber meets the road: What exactly is terrorism, according to the federal government? Unfortunately, this Title does little to clarify what terrorism is, instead focusing on declaring a number of actions (such as attacks on transit) as “terrorism,” regardless of intent.
- Title IX: Improved Intelligence: The section subtitled “improved intelligence” largely expands the powers and responsibilities of the Director of Central Intelligence.
- Title X: Miscellaneous: When the federal government titles a segment of a law “miscellaneous,” you know it’s going to include everything and the kitchen sink. And so it does: The definition of electronic surveillance, additional funds for the DEA in South and Central Asia, research on biometric scanning systems, a limitation on hazmat licensure and infrastructure protections are all addressed in Title X, which is a catchall for everything the federal government forgot to address in the first nine sections of the law.
Most of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were set to sunset four years after the bill was passed into law. However, the law was extended first by President George W. Bush and then by President Barack H. Obama. The latter is particularly scandalous given that, at least in part, a rejection of the surveillance culture that permeated the Bush Administration was responsible for the election of Obama in 2008.
Passing the USA PATRIOT Act
Next, it’s important to remember the environment in which the USA PATRIOT Act was passed: Post-9/11. It is not the slightest bit of exaggeration to label the environment in which the PATRIOT Act was passed as “hysterical,” nor is “compliant” a misnomer for the Congress of the time. Opposition to the Act was slim and intensive review of one of the most sweeping acts of Congress in American history was nonexistent.
All told, Congress took a whopping six weeks drafting, revising, reviewing and passing the PATRIOT Act. That’s less time than Congress typically spends on totally uncontroversial and routine bills that don’t gut the Fourth Amendment. The final vote found only 66 opponents in the House and one (Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold) in the Senate. The entire passage of the PATRIOT Act, from start to finish, took place behind closed doors. There were no committee reports or hearings for opponents to testify, nor did anyone bother to read the bill.
“Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” is the bloated and overwrought full name of the bill, crafted by a 23-year-old Congressional staffer named Chris Cylke. This ridiculous name puts the focus not on the surveillance aspects or the erosion of basic civil liberties enshrined in Western society since the Magna Carta, but on patriotism. At the time of its creation, the messaging was very clear: Real patriots support massive intrusions on civil rights. As President George W. Bush said at the time, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This sentiment very much seemed to apply to American citizens.
While the argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t fear investigation is anathema in a Constitutional republic with regard to citizens, it should be standard operating procedure when it comes to our organs of government. If we cannot expect transparency from the United States Congress – elected officials charged with representing the will of the people and protecting the Constitution – then we certainly can’t expect it anywhere else.
The Unfortunate Growth of the USA PATRIOT Act
It’s no surprise to those in the liberty movement that given an inch, the government (in particular the military-intelligence community) took a mile. Even the nebulous definition of “terrorism,” largely centered around a long litany of acts rather than the motivation behind them, has expanded to include receiving military training from a proscribed organization (without actually committing any terrorist acts or even acts of violence of any stripe) as well as “narcoterrorism” – the latter particularly convenient, as the United States government continues its losing “War on Drugs.”
Indeed, in many ways, the War on (Some) Drugs was the template for the War on Terror. Both wars have no defined enemy, no defined terms of victory. Instead, they are waged against a nebulous concept, while enjoying bipartisan support for their ever-expanding budgets. What’s more, it didn’t take long for the Feds to start using the USA PATRIOT Act for things it was never intended for, including prosecuting the War on Drugs.
Perhaps the silliest application of the USA PATRIOT Act is the prosecution of Adam McGaughey. McGaughey maintained a fansite for the television series Stargate SG-1. The Feds charged him with copyright infringement and computer fraud. In the course of their investigation, the FBI leveraged the PATRIOT Act to get financial records from his website’s ISP. This was made possible by the USA PATRIOT Act amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, allowing for search and seizure of ISP records.
The New York Times discovered in September 2003, that the USA PATRIOT Act was being used to investigate alleged drug traffickers without what would otherwise be sufficient probable cause. These were investigations into non-terrorist acts using a law ostensibly designed to investigate terrorism. There was some suspicion that the Act was being used to investigate crimes occurring before the act was passed, violating the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution.
In one of the biggest power grabs (excluding virtually everything we know from Edward Snowden – more on that below), the FBI sent tens of thousands of “national security letters” and procured over one million financial records from targeted businesses in Las Vegas. These businesses were primarily casinos, car rental bureaus, and storage spaces. The data obtained included financial records, credit histories, employment records, and even people’s personal health records.
The FBI maintains and databases this – and, indeed, all information collected through the USA PATRIOT Act – indefinitely. In the good old days before the PATRIOT Act, the Feds were compelled to destroy any evidence they collected on someone later found not guilty of a crime. Note that the aforementioned data collection brought to public attention by Edward Snowden (which, again – we’re getting to that) falls under this provision. Not only is the government collecting obscene amounts of private and personal information about you, they’re also storing it indefinitely with no plans to stop.
What’s more, the FBI has approached public libraries to turn over the records for specific terminals, collecting information not about specific users who might be under investigation, but about anyone who has ever used the computer at the public library. Libraries, to their credit, have been very much at the forefront of resistance against the PATRIOT Act, with some litigating compliance despite operating on small budgets and others posting “canary letters,” which effectively say “The FBI Hasn’t Been Here Yet.” The removal of such a letter would warn patrons that the FBI has been sniffing around in their records.
Indeed, the greatest criticism of the PATRIOT Act is the simplest and perhaps most obvious: Why does an act ostensibly passed to fight terrorism so drastically expand the government’s power to investigate virtually everyone else? The PATRIOT Act is not merely unconstitutional, it is an unprecedented expansion of state power in the Anglosphere, a culture based on restricted government and the primacy of individual rights.
An excellent example of this is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expansion. Most people are familiar with the term “FISA court,” but very few people actually know what it is – a special federal court created under the Carter Administration that grants approval of electronic surveillance of both citizens and resident aliens in the event that they are accused of acting in the service of a foreign power. The last part of this sentence is very important: The FISA courts are not simply for allowing surveillance of anyone that it might be expedient to collect information about. The scope of their powers is very, very limited.
The PATRIOT Act lowered the burden of evidence required to obtain a FISA warrant for electronic surveillance and expanded the overall scope of the FISA courts. Any savvy federal agent can now drape his charges in the garb of (what else?) “national security” and obtain electronic surveillance privileges hitherto only dreamed of by investigators. FISA courts have become pliant tools in the hands of the Feds, gladly approving their requests to monitor phone and internet surveillance, as well as access to medical, financial and educational records.
The Future of the USA PATRIOT Act
Do we still need the PATRIOT Act? Did we ever? All laws are certainly a product of their times. But this seems much more acutely true of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed in a rush and under duress without due consideration.
Particularly in light of the revelations from Edward Snowden – that the government is spying on everything they possibly can – it’s worth asking if there’s any walking back. He points out that the police state apparatus was originally for drug dealers, then for terrorists, but ultimately ended up being applied to anyone and everyone.
What’s more, Bob Bullard notes another frightful aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act: Terrorism-related cases are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that there is little or no oversight. There is no surer hallmark of a police state than an all-powerful domestic surveillance agency with no transparency or oversight. While the USA PATRIOT Act might not create an American Stasi as such, it certainly paves the way for one.
By: Publius Huldah
Yes he does. The Federal Reserve System is collapsing due to the inherent instability of a monetary system, not based on gold & silver, but on the Fed’s “right” to create “money” out of thin air1 which it then lends to the US Treasury (and is added to the national debt),2 in order to fund the federal government’s massive, grotesquely unconstitutional, and out of control spending.
This process of allowing the Fed to create “money” out of thin air with nothing behind it has been going on since 1933, when the promise (set forth in §16 of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913) to redeem Federal Reserve Notes in gold was revoked as to domestic holders;3 and culminated during 1971, when redemption of the Notes in gold to international holders was also suspended.4
Once the statutory promise to back Federal Reserve Notes with gold was rescinded, the sky was the limit on how much fiat “money” the Fed could create, lend to the US Treasury (and be added to the national debt), in order to fund still more massive, grotesquely unconstitutional, and out of control spending by the federal government.
Now we have reached the point where the federal deficits are so huge and increasing at such a furious pace that our entire fiat “money” financial system is coming apart.5
So what are we going to do about it? Does Trump want to get rid of the Fed so we can return to the constitutional money system described in Point 2 below?
Trump may say that he wants to return to the gold standard;6 but the USMCA “Trade Agreement” he signed doesn’t do that. The Globalists’ Plan, which is advanced by USMCA, is to ratchet up the fiat “money” system created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, from a national to a global level with a central bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing and enforcing an international monetary system. And as Edwin Vieira, Ph.D., J.D., warned 8 years ago [here]:
“The true perversity of the present situation lies in the indication … that this scheme for a new supra-national monetary order will be sold to a doubting world by attaching some sort of “gold standard” to it….”
- The IMF and the international fiat “money” system
The IMF is an institution in the United Nations system.
The IMF has already created (it was done during 1969), out of thin air, an international fiat currency called “special drawing right” (SDR). The stated purpose of SDRs was to increase liquidity in settling international accounts by making short term loans to member countries to cover their balance of payments, and other temporary financial problems.
- Article III of the IMF Articles of Agreement provides that the IMF assigns “quotas” to members [that would include the United States], representing the amount the member must pay into the IMF [members may pay their “subscriptions” using their own unbacked currencies]; and in exchange, they get an equivalent amount of SDRs [also unbacked by any precious metal] issued by the IMF.
- Article IV, Sections 1-3 of the IMF Articles of Agreement provide that the IMF is to manage the development of an international monetary system [to which we shall be subject]; and is to oversee the member countries’ [that includes the United States] underlying economic and financial conditions and policies in order to promote “sound economic growth” and “financial and economic stability”. i.e., the IMF is going to manage our economy.
USMCA Chapter 17. Financial Services harmonizes the Banking, Insurance, and Investment Practices of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. This harmonization removes previously existing barriers to global regulation of those areas and to merging regional currencies into a global currency.7
As anyone who reads USMCA can see, the purpose of USMCA is to remove barriers to global regulation of all the areas covered by USMCA, and to advance development of a new global “money” system which will replace our collapsing Federal Reserve System.
Look at the Table of Contents for USMCA: All those areas: agriculture, textiles and apparel goods, customs administration, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, telecommunications, intellectual property (patents), labor (which includes immigration and gender & sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace), the environment, etc., are to be made subject to global regulation.
And we exchange our fiat “money” for the IMF’s fiat “money”; the United States loses control over our monetary system; and the IMF, instead of the Fed, will manage the new monetary system – and our economy.
Trump may give grand speeches before the United Nations saying he opposes globalism and supports nationalism, but the USMCA “Trade Agreement” he signed moves us into global government.8
And the claim that USMCA is about getting favorable tariff agreements for the United States is the Biggest Lie since the Garden of Eden.
- What our Constitution provides about money
Accordingly, except for national defense, our federal government doesn’t need much money to fund its constitutional powers. So our Framers created a taxing system wherein the funds needed to operate the federal government were raised by the import tariffs and excise taxes authorized at Article I, §8, cl. 1, and by the apportioned direct assessments on the States authorized at Article I, §2, cl. 3.9
Congress is also authorized at Article I, §8, cl. 2, to borrow money on the credit of the United States; but our Framers intended borrowing money to be restricted to funding national defense.10
Our Framers also established a money system based on gold & silver:
- Article I, §8, cl. 5: “The Congress shall have Power …To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin,…”
- Article I, §10, cl. 1: “No State shall … coin Money; emit Bills of Credit;11 make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;”
Accordingly, during 1792, Congress passed an Act establishing a mint and set the standards for the amounts of gold and silver in our coins. Congress took so seriously the purity of our coins that §19 of the Act provided the death penalty for debasement of coins. During 1793, Congress passed an Act regulating the value of foreign coins.
A money system based on gold & silver and a limited taxing system were perfect for a federal government of “few and defined” powers. Furthermore, such systems – if adhered to – would have prevented the emergence of the totalitarian socialist regulatory welfare state we have today.
- Why the Federal Reserve System was established
“…A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project…” James Madison, Federalist No. 10.
Why does Madison refer to paper money as an “improper or wicked project”? Because, among other evils, paper money provides governments with access to unlimited amounts of credit – and that is what was needed to finance the totalitarian socialist regulatory welfare state we have today.
When the Progressives12 took over our Country during the early 1900’s, they needed lots of “money” to fund their unconstitutional regulatory and “welfare” schemes. But the federal government didn’t have enough gold and silver coins to fund the regulatory welfare state they wanted. So the Federal Reserve System was created in 1913 to set up a central bank – the “Fed” – which (thanks to fractional reserve banking) would have the power to supply the federal government with the “money” it wanted.13
So it was access to this credit which enabled the federal government to exceed its constitutional limits.
With this easy credit, the federal government was enabled to “buy” the States by giving them fiat “money” to implement unconstitutional federal programs: State governments literally sold the retained powers of the States and the People to the federal government. A particularly malignant example is U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s “Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2019” (“red flag” law), which appropriates $20 Million for each of FY 2019-2023 to pay to States and Indian Tribes which pass the “red flag” legislation set forth in Rubio’s bill. If a Respondent, whose arms have been taken from him in an ex parte hearing [i.e., a hearing Respondent wasn’t notified about until after the Order had been issued to seize his arms], wants his arms back, he must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that he does not pose a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or others by having arms in his possession.
Rubio’s bill puts the burden of proof on the Respondent. For eons in Anglo/American Jurisprudence, it has been the task of the government to PROVE GUILT. But Rubio would reverse that and require Respondents to PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE. This is evil.
Rubio’s bill is also unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to the federal government; and it violates the “Privileges and Immunities clause of Article IV, §2; violates the 2nd Amendment; and violates the “due process” clauses of the 5th Amendment and §1 of the 14th Amendment.
How many States and Indian Tribes will surrender their Citizen’s Right to THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE by passing Rubio’s “red flag” law in order to get the “money” from the fed gov’t?14
If we had preserved the monetary system set up by our Constitution, the federal government wouldn’t have been able to become the totalitarian monster it is today. If you want a limited government, don’t give it unlimited “money”.
- What States can do
The Tenth Amendment Center has model legislation for States to take some steps in the right direction: See THIS under the heading, “End the Fed from the Bottom Up”.
Open your eyes, Americans. Time is running out.
1 See excerpt from testimony before Congress on Sep. 30, 1941 by the then Governor of the Fed.
2 Robert P. Murphy, Is Our Money Based on Debt?
3 HERE is the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. §16 promised redemption of the Federal Reserve Notes in gold. During 1935, §16 was amended to remove that promise: HERE is the amendment, codified as 12 USC §411.
4 See 31 USC §5118.
7 See Joan Veon HERE:
“Globalization is the process of breaking through the protective barriers designed to separate the nation-states from the world system. Between 1944 and 2008 [Bretton Woods I & Bretton Woods II] all the nation-state barriers have been removed with exception of the national regulatory laws governing financial institutions, insurance companies, mortgages, and Wall Street. The real purpose of BWII is to establish the framework for a global regulatory system. This also presents the possibility of merging all regional currencies into a global currency.” [italics added] You can also see her video HERE.
9 HERE is the Act of 1813 where Congress laid a direct tax of $3 Million upon the United States. It shows how Congress apportioned the tax (based on population) as required by Art. I, Sec. 2, cl. 3. (See page 93 of the linked pdf edition.)
10 In Federalist No. 41 (5th para up from bottom), Madison says:
“The power of levying and borrowing money, being the sinew of that which is to be exerted in the national defense, is properly thrown into the same class with it. This power, also, has been examined already with much attention, and has, I trust, been clearly shown to be necessary, both in the extent and form given to it by the Constitution. …”
11 Congress is not authorized to create paper money. In “A CROSS OF GOLD”, Dr. Edwin Vieira says:
[at Part 2]: “…America’s Founding Fathers, realists all, denominated redeemable paper currency as “bills of credit”. They knew that such bills’ values in gold or silver always depended upon the issuers’ credit—that is, ultimately, the issuers’ honesty and ability to manage their financial affairs.…” [boldface added]
[at Part 3]: “…every form of “redeemable currency” put out through the Federal Reserve System is, by definition, a governmental “bill of credit”, which Congress has no authority to emit, directly or indirectly.” [boldface added]
When, in 1933, the promise to redeem Federal Reserve Notes in gold was repudiated, the federal government dishonored their “bills of credit”. We should have listened to our Founding Fathers.
12 In the 1880’s, the Fabian Society was founded in England. Fabians advocate a gradual transition to socialism [as opposed to violent revolution]. They also hold that the elite – and they are the elite – should run everything [as opposed to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.] In the early 1900’s, Fabians took over our Country – here they went by the name, “Progressives”. Teddy Roosevelt & Woodrow Wilson were Progressives; and the Fabian socialist ideology has dominated our Country ever since.
13 For an education in the basics of the Fed, fractional reserve banking, and the creation of “money”, see Robert P. Murphy’s article at end notes 1 & 2; and Dr. Edwin Vieira’s fascinating explanations of these issues in his “A CROSS OF GOLD” series HERE. Dr. Vieira also shows why we must not accept a new global fiat currency and central bank to replace the collapsing Federal Reserve System.
14 And all that money used to bribe States and Indian Tribes to pass Rubio’s “red flag” law, will be added to the national debt.
By Publius Huldah
The parts of our federal Constitution are so interrelated that it is impossible to understand a single clause therein without considering all of the other provisions of our Constitution.
Article I, §8, clause 3, US Constitution, states:
“The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”
The original intent of the power to regulate commerce “among the several States” is proved here: Does the “interstate commerce” clause authorize Congress to force us to buy health insurance? That paper proves that the primary purpose of the power is to prohibit the States from imposing tolls and tariffs on articles of import and export – goods & commodities – merchandise – as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling.
But recently, some have asserted that since “foreign Nations”, “the several States”, and “the Indian Tribes” are grouped together in the same clause, it necessarily follows that Congress’ power to “regulate commerce” with each of them is identical. And since Congress has broad powers over foreign commerce, they conclude that Congress has those same broad powers over interstate commerce, and may lawfully, for example, ban the movement of physical goods [such as firearms] across state lines.
So let’s look at that clause in the Light cast by the rest of the Constitution.
The Second Amendment guarantees American citizens the right to bear arms, but both federal and state governments determine how citizens may legally exercise that right. And while both federal and state gun control laws regularly change, laws at the state level change more frequently and often without the media coverage that surrounds changes at the federal level.
This results in a constant challenge for gun owners to keep up with the latest state laws, especially for those who carry their weapons across state lines. Because while some states have more restrictions than others, state gun control policies across the country are diverse and can change quickly – too easily putting responsible gun owners on the wrong side of the law.
This guide is a timeline of major state gun control acts throughout the history of the United States – not only to help gun owners understand the state laws that have influenced our nation, but also to showcase how one state’s gun laws can set an example for others, creating a domino effect of gun control policy for the entire country.
Pre-Constitution, the original Articles of Confederation established that “every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia.” The Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment holds that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” However, those rights were at that time granted specifically to white males.
Fear of slave and Native American uprisings prompted many colonial states to establish laws banning “free Mulattos, Negroes and Indians” from having firearms. By the antebellum period, southern states like South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and even Delaware all had various laws denying guns to people of color and allowing search and seizure of weapons as well as punishment without trial. Crucial to all of this was the Supreme Court case Dred Scott v. Sanford.
Previously a slave, Dred Scott sued for freedom based on the fact that he’d lived in the free state of Illinois and a free area within the Louisiana Territory for a decade. When his suit was unsuccessful in Missouri, he appealed to the federal courts. The contention was whether “a free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves,” was a citizen with protections under the Constitution. The Supreme Court decision on Dred Scott v. Sanford in 1857 denied “a free negro of the African race” citizenship – a milestone its issuer cited as “the most momentous event that has ever occurred on this continent,” excluding the Declaration of Independence. In that moment, those denied citizenship were also excluded from any of the rights associated with it.
While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves, President Andrew Johnson’s failing leadership brought with it all the struggles of the Reconstruction Era. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Dred Scott decision still denied people of African descent citizenship.
Former Confederate states enacted Black Codes to define and restrict freedmen’s positions within society. Along with mandating legal responsibilities, land ownership rights, contract labor wages, and harsh criminal laws, nearly all the Black Codes effectively and pointedly banned “persons of color” – anyone “with more than one-eighth Negro blood” – from possessing firearms. Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, Alabama, North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee all enacted Black Codes, attempting to maintain the status quo and deny weapons to people of color.
The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments banned slavery, provided all citizens equal protection under the law and ensured voting rights for all citizens. The 14th Amendment was particularly important, as it defined citizenship as “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” overturning the Dred Scott decision, establishing people of color as citizens and overriding state statutes denying them the right to possess firearms based on their heritage.