Search
X

Common Search Terms
Defensive Gun Use DGU Shooting
Stay Informed!
X

Get EBGC Gun News sent directly to you!
Email:
GUN NEWS
ebgc
X
What Does Your State's Constitution Say About Gun Rights?

We all know the words to the Second Amendment as ratified in the Bill of Rights, right?

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.

Does your state have a Constitutional right to bear arms? I sure had no idea so I did a little digging. I came across a great paper by Eugene Volokh. It's quite detailed so I'll hit the high points and if you're interested, you can download the paper here. Volokh starts by saying:



Debates rage about the meaning of the Second Amendment; but observers often miss that there are forty-five right-to-beararms provisions in American Constitutional law, not just one. Forty-four states have state constitutional rights to bear arms. Most are written quite differently from the Second Amendment. Nearly all secure (at least in part) an individual right to keep some kinds of guns for self-defense. Some date back to the Framing; some have been enacted in the last four decades.

Serious analyses of the original meaning of the Second Amendment should consider the Framing-era state provisions. Serious analyses of modern gun control proposals should consider the currently effective provisions. Serious analyses of American tradition as to the right to bear arms should consider all the provisions as they now are and as they have evolved over time.



After looking through the states that I regularly visit (Arizona, Florida, and Texas), I got curious and started reading on all of the states. and seeing what nuances each state had. Let's play a little game (answers at the end of the article):

How many states have a specifically written individual right to bear arms?

How many states have no right to bear arms written into their state Constitution? Bonus question: Name the states

What made Volokh's article so intriguing is that he went past the strict writing and looked at court rulings and interpretations in States where the right is not expressly written for the individual

For example, Florida's Constitution reads:

(a) The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.

The right of the people is, as we've seen, sometimes hard for certain gun control groups to understand applies to both a person and "the people" as a whole. Luckily, Volekh references Alexander v. State, 450 So.2d 1212 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1984) where the court ruled that the right was for the individual and applied to self defense.

The paper was worth the read just to appreciate how varied the state's approach to the right to bear arms is. The right runs the spectrum from states with no right to bear arms to:

Maine (enacted 1819, revised 1987): "Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned"

Illinois (enacted 1970 - they don't follow their state Constitution either): "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Nebraska (enacted 1988): "All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to keep and bear arms for security or defense of self, family, home, and others, and for lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use, and all other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof."

Pennsylvania (enacted 1776, revised 1790): "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned."

Wyoming (enacted 1889): "The right of citizens to bear arms in defense
of themselves and of the state shall not be denied."

There were some states that surprised me and some that seemed to fit their reputation completely. Do you know your state's right to bear arms?

On to the answers:
How many states have a specifically written individual right to bear arms?
Twenty five

How many states have no right to bear arms written into their state Constitution?
Six. California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.

Posts: Blogs / What Does Your State's Constitution Say About Gun Rights?

Posted By: blacklisted
09/04/13 12:35 PM

The bottom line here is that when one obtains a Gun permit, a conceal and carry permit, one is asking for permission to do what one has AUTHORITY to do recognized as a RIGHT; in doing so one contracts thereby entering himself into UCC jurisdiction wherein he forfeits his constitutional right via his right to contract under Article I section.10 of the Constitution. The benefit to you is a colorable benefit, because you already had the RIGHT to bear your firearm before you contracted it away under UCC jurisdiction.
I take no credit for this. The original author is James Everett. I just wanted to share this.