One Down, Nine To Go

A friend tells me that at last night’s Stone County Quorum Court meeting, the assembled Justices of the Peace voted to approve a resolution affirming the Court’s endorsement and support of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. JP Jim Qualls presented his “Revised Resolution endorsing the Protection and Preservation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America and the Right to Bear Arms as provided by the Arkansas Constitution for Stone County, Arkansas.” The resolution was approved unanimously.

I am glad the Stone County Quorum Court has taken the time to publicly affirm its continued support of one of our constitutional rights. Regardless of how you may feel about the Second Amendment — and my feelings are not the subject of this entry, though they may surprise you, and I may discuss them later –the Right to Bear Arms is enshrined within our Constitution and should be given deference by all governing bodies. We can debate the context, the intent, and numerous other aspects of the Second Amendment, but we cannot escape the fact that the Founding Fathers clearly intended some right to bear arms to flow to the people explicitly.

That said, I wonder if the Court gave any thought or discussion to endorsing the rights and liberties listed in the other nine Amendments that compose the Bill of Rights? Perhaps so, but I’m not aware of it.

Surely freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the freedom to assemble are no less important than the right to bear arms? What about the right of a person to be free from unlawful searches and seizures by the state? And the right of a person to not have to testify against themselves? How about the rights of the accused to a fair, speedy, and public trial by a jury of your peers? What of the rights of the convicted to be spared from cruel and unusual punishment?

And, my personal favorite, the right to not have to quarter soldiers in your home, because I already don’t have enough bed space for my invited guests as is.

Again, I say that I applaud the Stone County Quorum Court for their public affirmation of their support and commitment to our constitutional rights. However, picking and choosing particular rights to publicly endorse, while giving no mention to even the existence of others, is at best political grandstanding, at worst pandering.

Endorse all the rights, or don’t bother to endorse any of them. Either way, they will still exist. I challenge the Quorum Court to “complete the set” with a more complete resolution.