American laws to suppress the right to bear arms have a distinctly colorful past. That is, they were imposed by people of white skin against people of black. Tennesseans are ruled by an unconscionable law called the “carrying with intent to go armed” statute. Of ancient standing, it has yet to be overturned as unconstitutionally vague. A bill favored by the Tennessee Firearms Association remedies its mortal defects by what is called “constitutional carry.” Arthur Jay Hirsch was convicted Dec. 22, 2015, in Lawrence County circuit court of criminally “carrying with the intent.” With God’s help, and perhaps yours, he intends to appeal to the high court seeking to overturn a law that has snared innocent Tennesseans for decades. — DJT
By Arthur Jay Hirsch
Self preservation, protection and defense are a fundamental, God-given, unalienable LIFE and LIBERTY right endowed by the Creator gifted to every individual regardless of race.
Self-preservation, protection and defense are a natural right, superior to legislative enactments and excepted outside the general powers of government. Self-preservation is the first law of nations, as it is of individuals.
Among the natural rights of the American colonists are these: First, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.”
— Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists, The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting, Nov. 20, 1772
The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State.
Our opinion is, that any law, state or federal, is repugnant to the constitution, and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers, trampled under foot by Charles I. and his two wicked sons and successors, reestablished by the revolution of 1688, conveyed to this land of liberty by the colonists, and finally incorporated conspicuously in our own Magna Carta. And Lexington, Concord, Camden, River Raisin, Sandusky, and the laurel-crowned field of New Orleans, plead eloquently for this interpretation. Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846).
Tennessee gun and weapon laws are contrary to and in conflict with the authoritative Word of God, the organic law document, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment.
Tennessee so-called rights do not apply to all people, but are narrowly restricted to “citizens” only.
Anti-black origin of Tennessee’s ban
Tennessee’s declared gun and weapons rights and gun control laws were drafted in racism from the founding the state and were deemed useful for keeping blacks and Hispanics “in their place” and for quieting the racial fears of whites (e.g. weapons laws include knives, Bowie knives, clubs, etc.).
Arms restrictions on free blacks increased dramatically after Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831 caused Tennesseans and others in the South to become increasingly irrational in their fears.
Provisions in the 1834 Tennessee Constitution further reveal whites’ increasing fear of armed blacks. Article XI, Section 26 of the 1796 Tennessee Constitution read: “That the freemen of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence.” The 1834 constitution was revised to: “That the free white men of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence.”
Tennessee’s constitutions declared right to bear arms go from freeholder/freeman to white freeman to citizen in an obvious attempt to contravene the natural right of blacks to bear arms, or at least to control the way free blacks wore their arms. Also, the current definition of “citizen” is narrow and restrictive and contrary to natural law and the Declaration of Independence.
In the infamous Dred Scott decision, the U.S. Supreme Court showed that it shared this understanding that citizenship excluded blacks and explained the relationship between citizenship and the carrying of arms.
Unlike whites, however, free blacks and slaves in the South were required to have a license to carry weapons.
The end of slavery in 1865 did not eliminate the problems of racist gun control laws. The various black codes adopted after the civil war required blacks to obtain a license before carrying or possessing firearms or bowie knives like Tennessee’s statutes require today.
Tennessee, along with other of the former states of the Confederacy, had recognized the right to carry arms openly before the civil war, but developed a greater willingness to qualify that right after the passage of the 14th Amendment providing evidence of the racist intentions behind gun control laws.
Throughout the South during the post-war period, the existing precedents that recognized a right to openly carry arms under state constitutional provisions and the 2nd Amendment were being narrowly construed or simply ignored. The apparent goal of the gun control and vagrancy laws was to intimidate the freedmen into an economically subservient position. By making the freedmen defenseless, employers could be more confident that intimidation would keep their hired hands “in line.”
The Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed not to control guns to but control blacks, and inasmuch as a majority of Congress did not want to do the former but were ashamed to show that their goal was the latter, the result was that they did neither. Indeed, this law, the first gun-control law passed by Congress in 30 years, was one of the grand jokes of our time. The “frisks of suspicious persons” are a longstanding tradition used against black Americans.
Wearing arms does not increase risks
Upon research no evidence can be found that certain modes and methods of wearing weapons increases or prevents crime. Tennessee’s past motivations for disarming blacks are really not so different from the motivations behind disarming law-abiding citizens today.
In much the same way, gun control historically has been a tool of racism and associated with racist attitudes about black violence, and today’s Tennessee gun control laws impinge on that most fundamental of rights: self-defense.
Racism is intimately tied to the history of gun control in America and should be regarded as control aimed at law-abiding people as a “suspect idea” and require that the courts use the same demanding standards when reviewing the constitutionality of a gun control law that they use with respect to a law that discriminates based on race.
Weapons control doctrine is not found in the Word of God, but is an invention of man.
This essay is among the filings in Mr. Hirsch’s criminal case in Lawrence County, Tenn.