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jody's Journal
Posted by jody in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Jun 09th 2009, 05:43 PM
several years before Scalia

In addition, "JUSTICE STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE SOUTER, JUSTICE GINSBURG, and JUSTICE BREYER join, dissenting" said:
The parallels between the Second Amendment and these state declarations, and the Second Amendment’s omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense, is especially striking in light of the fact that the Declarations of Rights of Pennsylvania and Vermont did expressly protect such civilian uses at the time. Article XIII of Pennsylvania’s 1776 Declaration of Rights announced that “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state,” 1 Schwartz 266 (emphasis added); §43 of the Declaration assured that “the inhabitants of this state shall have the liberty to fowl and hunt in seasonable times on the lands they hold, and on all other lands therein not inclosed,” id., at 274. And Article XV of the 1777 Vermont Declaration of Rights guaranteed “{t}hat the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State.” Id., at 324 (emphasis added). The contrast between those two declarations and the Second Amendment reinforces the clear statement of purpose announced in the Amendment’s preamble. It confirms that the Framers’ single-minded focus in crafting the constitutional guarantee “to keep and bear arms” was on military uses of firearms, which they viewed in the context of service in state militias.

The dissent acknowledged PA and VT constitutions that said:
A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OR STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA - 28 Sept. 1776 "That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, amongst which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE STATE OF VERMONT- July 8, 1777
“I. THAT all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

NOTE PA and VT statements differ only in the use of “inalienable” versus “unalienable”, a difference that occurred when the Declaration of Independence was written with Jefferson using “inalienable” and Adams using “unalienable”. Apparently Adams had the final say and the DOI used “unalienable”.

PA and VT declared in their Constitutions:
That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State; and, as standing armies, in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

As natural, inherent, inalienable/unalienable rights it is impossible for PA citizens to have given away the right of self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense when they ratified our Constitution (1787) or when they ratified the BOR (1790) or VT (1791) to have given the same rights away when they accepted the amended constitution.

Note PA ratified the BOR on 10 March 1790 and with contemporaneous knowledge of the Second Amendment, PA modified its constitution that took effect on 2 Sept. 1790 to say “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

The history is indisputable, PA and VT both recognized the right to keep and bear arms for defense of self, i.e. an individual, is an inalienable/unalienable right as SCOTUS recognized in Cruikshank.
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