Washington state provides for a procedure to restore gun rights. Those who have lost their gun rights who live in Oak Harbor, Seattle, Western Washington, and on Whidbey Island can get their gun rights back.
We are living in scary times. The government is slowly and quietly infringing on fundamental rights. The media is indoctrinating the politically apathetic without presenting well reasoned opposing points of view. And, even a sizable portion of the American population has been persuaded that our freedoms are evil or harmful.
The right to BOTH keep AND bear is a particular of an abstract general natural right including: the right to survive, the right to defend one’s self and others, and the right of life and liberty. This is only the second amendment after all (free expression and conscience only come before it). In fact the argument (if you can call it that) over whether a second amendment was even needed did not even concern guns; rather, the federalists believed a second amendment was not needed only because everyone already understood the right to be fundamental, i.e. codification was redundant and unnecessary. The second amendment was hardly a novel principle. It ultimately simply codified a right known and acknowledged by all and that was merely inherited from England (it was already in the English Bill of Rights).
The Second Amendment reads:
“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.”
This guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons. Dist. of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 592 (2008). But the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not dependent on the Second Amendment. Heller, 554 U.S. at 592. It “…codified a pre-existing right.” Id. (emphasis theirs). And this right is fundamental. McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ill., 130 S.Ct. 3020, 3042 (2010) (“…it is clear that the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty); Heller, 554 U.S. at 593-594, 128 S.Ct. at 2798 (acknowledging that right to have arms was understood to be a fundamental natural right). Indeed, “[g]un ownership is an inexonerable birthright of American tradition.” State v. Sieyes, 168 Wash.2d 276, 284, 225 P.3d 995, 999 (2010).
Do not be fooled by those that claim the prefatory clause limits the right in connection with militia service. The “well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” language merely announces the purpose and policy of the operative clause (the right). “The Militia” actually constitutes all men physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. This is not a narrow definition. And it is unlike other parts of the constitution that specifically mention the “Navy” or “Armies.” The founding fathers believed the individual right to keep and bear arms was necessary to the security of a free state as it would enable countrymen to quell internal rebellions, repel foreign invasions, and even oppose a tyrannical government if the constitutional order were to break down. Beyond this and as mentioned above, the right is certainly a particular of a more greater fundamental natural law of survival and self defense.
“Right of the people” means what it says. This includes all individual peoples of the nation. Not simply those in a militia. “Keep” means to not lose, have in custody, to retain in one’s power or possession. “Bear” means to literally carry or wear. Arms means instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding (of course the second First Amendment applies to modern communications just as the Fourth, supposedly, applies to modern forms of search).
It is true that this right is not without limitation. Laws may prohibit possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill or possession in sensitive places. Heller, 554 U.S. at 626-627. But the right is fundamental. So it is pleasing to see that our state legislature has codified a way to get fun rights back once lost.