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California Shooting Proves the Futility and Tyranny of State’s Rights

The state’s rights card has had its last pull.

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By Ryan Lau | USA

Just this Tuesday, as many have most likely already heard, 43-year-old Kevin Neal went on a rampage in Tehama County, California, slaughtering four people and injuring at least ten others. These horrific events in Northern California early Tuesday morning have once again called the issue of gun control to the front lines of political dispute between Democrats and Republicans. It is with great sorrow and regret that I feel it necessary to write about this event today, however, as once again, both parties are succeeding at infringing upon the rights of the people. Already, several California lawmakers have called for a tightening of existing gun laws. Despite this, if their intended policy measures were to pass, their cries would only be met with more tears following the next preventable death from gun violence.  

The simple fact of the matter is, Neal committed these murders using a semi-automatic rifle. Authorities are also still trying to determine whether or not the shooter was further armed with an AR-15 assault rifle. But wait, aren’t those two of the weapons that fell under California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent ban on all automatic and semiautomatic rifles? Or, seeing as Neal injured an elementary school child while on the school’s grounds, is it contradictory of California Assembly Bill 424, which Brown signed just one month ago, that prohibits a school superintendent from allowing any guns to be carried or concealed on school property? Both actions were clearly illegal, and yet Neal still decided to carry these weapons in a prohibited location. Perhaps, as the name would suggest, a criminal is not apt to follow further laws against his illicit activity. Thus, a lack of adequate firearm restrictions cannot be blamed for the events.

If inadequate laws are not the culprit, is there one in addition to Neal? Though many critics of gun restrictions will point out that Neal chose to break the law, and thus Neal is the only one responsible, they, in fact, are missing a clear piece of information. Upon a simple analysis, it becomes apparent that the very laws put into effect to stop tragedies such as these have adverse effects, worsening them by raising the death and injury toll.

Take, for example, AB 424, which as previously stated, prevents teachers from carrying guns on school grounds in the interest of students’ safety. What this bill does not do, however, is disarm the security guards and other safety personnel, such as police officers permanently or temporarily stationed within the building. Why is it that Governor Brown permits those wearing one uniform to hold a weapon, but not those in another? Of course, the safety personnel have gone through a higher degree of training, but in an active shooter situation, seconds can make the difference between life and death, and if a teacher is unarmed, and a security guard in another wing of the school, Governor Brown may have additional lives on his hands, as the teacher was unable to protect his or herself and students due to his ill-fated policy. A recommendation that teachers be fully trained and armed, or at the very minimum, not legally prohibited from doing so, ironically under the ultimate threat of gunpoint, will absolutely ensure the safety of more individuals and may have reduced the death and/or injury count Neal was able to cause.

Needless to say, Governor Brown is not the only source of such abysmal and life-threatening policy. Any governor or other member of state legislation is entirely capable of infringing upon the rights of the people and equally capable of causing deaths due to these infringements. Quite ironically, the very system that permits this method of oppression is often revered by those who claim to preach in favor of small government. Yes, you may have guessed it, I’m referring to State’s Rights.

Originally, the concept of State’s Rights was of course granted by the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which many consider to be an infallible document. Nevertheless, it is a dated document that by no means could have ever predicted the size and scope of today’s federal government. Though written to restrict it, the Bill of Rights has either permitted or been powerless to prevent mass government expansion into its current bloated form. Given the number of laws that exist today, it is simply incomprehensible how advocates for a more limited government can possibly argue for a state to have the right to create more.

Our federal government currently protects the individual right to bear arms, a rare case in which the federal government’s policy coincides with the Natural Rights of the individual. Why on earth should we give the states the power to interfere with this, just because they occupy a smaller total land area and contain fewer people? No individual or collective of individuals is authorized to infringe upon the Natural Rights of another, and whether that collective has domain over land in the shape of America, California, or Tehama country is entirely irrelevant. Reduction in land size does not escape the inherent tyranny of a government deciding what a peaceful individual may or may not do.

We as Americans face many clear issues, from gun violence to the restriction of rights. However, the solutions can never be to further limit the actions of peaceful individuals. Doing so is futile, as it will never fully restrict the actions of those who are a true threat to society, and in doing so, the rights of the innocent and further robbed, and the government racket only continues to grow. We already have a strong federal government that tightly controls American lives. Rather than trying to strengthen another layer of statism, it is absolutely imperative that we weaken the power of the federal government and allow individuals the freedom to act as they please. No state, however small, is justified in robbing this freedom. There is no alternative to a free society, and the recent California shooting proves exactly this notion.

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  1. Ryan,

    I think that you and I probably philisophically agree, but you are way off on your interpretation of the 10th Amendment. That amendment exists solely to limit the power of the Federal government. However, the rightst granted in the 1-8th amendment cannot be infringed upon by the individual states. Basically the framers said we recognize these rights to be inherent, natural rights that all people have by virtue of being human. The 10th amendment just said, we know that we haven’t listed all of the natural rights and the fact that we haven’t listed it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So your “states rights are dead” argument is wrong. States rights have been severely eroded by Congress and the President acting outside of their constitutional ability (i.e. by annexing land from a state to “preserve” it or by decreeing that someone must engage in some form of interstate commerce.) But the states never had the right to infringe upon the keeping and bearing of arms…at least not from a 10th Amendment standpoint.

    Reply

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