Bill of Rights Day & other good stuff

Our late friend Joe Herzenberg organized the Bill of Rights readings at the Franklin Street Post Office. Let's keep his work going with a reading on 12/15 and other events going on this month.

The following announcement comes from local activist Peggy Misch.

Local events in December:
UNC Constitutional Convention, 9AM -5PM, December 1. Attend session at 3:30 PM only, if you wish.

Reading of Orange County Human Relations Commission's proclamation for HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK, HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, and BILL OF RIGHTS DAY, 7:30pm, December 3, New Court House, 106 East Margaret Lane, Hillsborough (at County Commissioners' meeting). Call me (942-2535) to carpool.

Reading of Mayor Mark Chilton's Bill of Rights Day proclamation, 7:30PM, December 4, Carrboro Town Hall, 301 West Main Street.

Vigil to Honor Human Rights Week December 10-16: Noon, December 12, Peace and Justice Plaza (corner of Henderson and East Franklin Streets), Chapel Hill. Sponsored by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom-Triangle Branch. Information: 942-2919.

Reading of the Bill of Rights, Noon, December 15, BILL OF RIGHTS DAY, Peace and Justice Plaza (corner of Henderson and East Franklin Streets), Chapel Hill. Proclamations read from Orange County Commissioners, Chapel Hill Town Council, and Carrboro Town Aldermen. Organized by NC Senator Ellie Kinnaird to honor Joe Herzenberg. 929-1607.

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Total votes: 130

Comments

Reading of Mayor Mark Chilton's Bill of Rights Day proclamation, 7:30PM, December 4, Carrboro Town Hall, 301 West Main Street.

This should be interesting. Is Mark going to read the Bill of Rights, or just make some kind of statement?
Should be interesting to have on video, none the less.

When the Bill of Rights are read, please read the Second Amendment as loud as possible.

Is the Second Amendment the one about the right to bare arms (when in season)?

The Supreme Court looks likely to interpret the "puzzle" of the language of the Second Amendment pretty soon, having agreed to hear the challenge of the District of Columbia's ban on handguns.

I wonder how many of our yahoo law-loving congress pack a pistol in D.C.

I agree, Leann; every member of a well-regulated militia should know they have a constitutuonal right to carry a gun.

It's sadly amusing, isn't it?
Should make some very good video for youtube.

Slightly, off topic and probably worth a seperate post, but since Al McSurely is such a strong supporter of the Bill of Rights, congrats to him for his Indy Award! His is an inspiring story (and I esp. like the part that he didn't try his first case until he was 51! :) ). And since I'm at it, congrats to Luke Smith and Carrboro's El Futuro for their award. They do great work providing mental health services to latino immigrants. Here are links to the stories:
http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A164369

Enjoy!

Paul, I wish that more people understood that direct interpretation of the second amendment. The right to bear arms only applies to a well regulated militia and not to any given individual. How this amendment became so widely misinterpreted is beyond me.

We've really got some great Constitutional scholars in here, with the answers to questions that even courts have struggled with. You're all really smart.

Many people say that a "militia" is simply the citizens being armed in case the government does the wrong thing (as with the American Revolution). In those days, they didn't have a standing army and the citizens would have formed an informal militia. The first thing Hitler did to gain power was confiscate guns so the public couldn't fight back against the Gestapo.

We'll see how the Supreme Court rules on this issue, it should be interesting.

"Many people say that a “militia” is simply the citizens being armed in case the government does the wrong thing (as with the American Revolution). In those days, they didn't have a standing army and the citizens would have formed an informal militia. The first thing Hitler did to gain power was confiscate guns so the public couldn't fight back against the Gestapo."

It's a leap to go from the issue of an organized militia to Hitler's Germany.

First, limiting the definition of a "militia" to citizens armed "in case the government does the wrong thing" is not how the 2nd Amendment was conceived or framed. Wording: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,...."

Note (a) the term "well regulated" and (b) the term "security of a free state" -- which refers to having a duly authorized military defense of the state, not of the individual. It does not refer to "un-regulated" civilians arming themselves to march on the Capitol.

People who believe legal possession of guns should belong to law enforcement and the military only, not to "un-regulated" civilians, are not fascists motivated by a desire to create a dictatorship out of the executive. (In fact, if you wanted to create political sentiment in favor of centralizing power in the executive, an effective strategy would be to exaggerate a frightening sense of domestic, criminal anarchy.)

One of you many lawyers can correct me if I get any facts
wrong, but here is a relevant story. I'll try to be as concise
as possible.

Back in the mid 90s, as an aftermath of the Williamson
shootings on Henderson Street, the town council did
everything it could to tighten up gun regulations in
Chapel Hill. According to our attorneys, we are subject
to two constitutions, U.S. and N.C. Both have exactly
the same wording about gun rights -- likely NC's was
copied from US's.

Federal courts have interpreted the U.S. 2nd amendment as
NOT an individual, non-militia right. Therefore towns
like Morton Grove, IL, Davis, CA, and a number of others
have successfully implemented handgun bans in their
towns. The Morton Grove case was tested in a famous
case named Miller versus someone.
However none of the towns that
has installed a handgun ban is in North Carolina.

NC courts have intrepreted the NC constitution differently,
maintaining that an individual who is not in the military
has a right to his guns. Since CH is in NC (though I am
sure that some would disagree) we were unable to
implement a handgun ban. We were able to prohibit
them in certain places and at certain times, e.g, at
parades, in public buildings, etc.

We had to hold three public hearings about our gun-limiting
proposals, and they were so large that at least one was
held in the CHHS auditorium. I never received so many
emotional phone calls about any subject. This was before
the time of blogs, and email was then embryonic, so
today's responses would be some factor of ten greater.

I have no idea how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule. I
don't know whether and how their ruling will impact
state laws. Any takers?

Very interesting bit of CH history, Joe -- thanks.

Think the Supremes may resort to dodging something more sweeping by focusing on the fact that the case at hand -- the 1976 ban on handguns in the District of Columbia -- applies in a federal district, NOT a state jurisdiction. Could happen that they'd include some sort of dislaimer that respects states' rights while distinguishing WashDC as a unique jurisdiction. Will be interesting, especially since Capitol Hill (including the Court) has always treated DC as a special preserve for their own comfort and commerce -- often at the expense of DC's citizens' rights? Will they extrapolate that they don't want individuals to have handguns in the judges' "backyard" -- or that they do?

Joe, I think it was during the aftermath of the "Chapel Hill Jogger Shooting" on Estes Drive, which was a year or two before the Wendell Williamson case. But otherwise I remember it the same as you.

Than after the tragic Williamson event, Chapel Hill considered a public art project describing the trajectory of a bullet fired from Henderson Street up toward Columbia. The very thought of that gave me the shivers at the time, but the artist did the math and I would not object as strongly to such a message now as I did then.

This from a card-carrying NRA opponent ... if only I had the card to carry.

My appologies. A friend emailed to remind me of the victim's name:

Kristin Ann Lodge-Miller (1967-1993).

Rest in Peace.

A hearty group of about 20 braved the cold and read the Bill of rights today, including elected officials Ellie Kinnaird, Moses Carey, Valerie Foushee, Jim Ward, Mark Kleinschmidt, and Dan Coleman. Thanks to every one who came.

There was nice photo of the event on the front page of the CHH this morning (nice picture Ruby and Brian!). It's good to remind people of the importance of the Bill of Rights, and no less so on the 216th anniversary of its December 15th ratification.

It's also important to remind people that they have to register and vote. Who our president is matters; the president nominates the justices of the Supreme Courrt. Like it or not, the Constitution means what the Supreme Court decides it means, and the 2d Amendment case is a perfect example of how we individually may think that we know what it means, but that really doesn't matter much.

Register! Vote! Get others to register and vote!

 
 

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