Some well-intentioned people concerned about threats to gun rights have been approaching Kentucky counties asking for support.
The 2nd Amendment is a vital element in American history, legacy and culture. The first 10 amendments of the Constitution – approved by Congress in March 1789 and ratified by the states – are known collectively as the Bill of Rights and specifically were approved to “prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers,” according to its preamble.
The 26-word statement in the 2nd Amendment provides a means of protection for the government and for the people.
It says: “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.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the 2nd Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, unconnected with service in a militia, for lawful purposes including self-defense.
Faced with perceived infringements and a threat to our rights, it may seem logical to ask for and expect local government to help. So local chapters of Kentucky United are asking for local support to defend the Constitution.
One problem: They are lobbying the wrong people.
Because county governments have no control over gun laws, this effort to influence the passage of such ordinances has little impact or meaning even where it’s been embraced.
We have seen this tactic before. Marijuana-legalization groups and advocates of gay rights also have come to local authorities hoping to win support for matters beyond their influence and potentially build upon that perceived momentum to gain further support at the General Assembly.
Every fiscal court member and every county judge-executive in Kentucky has taken an oath to protect the Constitution. That’s every amendment, every word, every concept, every right.
If you can’t place trust in a person’s solemn and sworn oath, why would any more confidence or influence come from a flimsy piece of paper outlining their proclamation?
The Constitution has 27 amendments and their oaths cover every one.
Today in Frankfort, the League of Women Voters celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s enactment, which granted women the right to vote. Should every county government in the state also reaffirm support for women’s suffrage?
The Constitution sets up the three branches of the federal government, outlines the structure for ratifying treaties and outlines other basic tenets of how the states and nation operate. Limits against excessive bail, assistance of counsel in trials, freedom to assemble, freedom of religion and a free press all are in there, too.
Perhaps each of those should be enumerated and voted upon.
Maybe fiscal court could vote on its support for prohibition (18th Amendment) and come back a week later to affirm its belief in the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th.
This could get ridiculous quickly.
Without question, Americans’ rights to keep and bear arms are sacred. However, deploying energy and time at county government meetings has little impact on this matter.
This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.