SB 281 Firearms Safety Act of 2013
Honorable Chairman and Senators, I am Pastor David Whitney Senior Instructor at Institute On The Constitution where I teach the only course available anywhere on the Maryland State Constitution. I oppose this bill because it clearly and directly violates two specific provisions of the Maryland State Constitution. The first provision is from the Declaration of Rights Article 28
Art. 28. That a well regulated Militia is the proper and natural defence of a free Government.What is critical to answer then is, what is the Militia? It is critical because our Constitution says if we do not have a well regulated Militia then we do not have the natural and proper defence of a free Government. This clearly implies that a tyrannical Government which destroys the liberties of the people will arise without a well regulated Militia. The word Militia had a clear meaning when our Constitution was ratified. Websters 1828 gives the definition as;
The militia of a country are the able bodied men organized into companies, regiments and brigades, with officers of all grades, and required by law to attend military exercises on certain days only, but at other times left to pursue their usual occupations.In other words the Militia is the citizens of the State of Maryland. Now take that thought and consider it in the light of the body of the Maryland State Constitution Article IX
SECTION 1. The General Assembly shall make, from time to time, such provisions for organizing, equipping and disciplining the Militia, as the exigency may require, and pass such Laws to promote Volunteer Militia organizations as may afford them effectual encouragement.The word “shall” does not give the State Legislature an option, you must make “provisions for, organizing, equipping” – and that would be with military grade firearms at minimum – as well as “Disciplining the Militia.” This bill does the exact opposite of the requirements of our State Constitution, instead of arming, it disarms the Militia. In addition Article IX Sec 1 requires you to pass laws which would “promote Volunteer Militia organizations” to the end of “affording them effectual encouragement.”
This bill does the opposite of that as well. Therefore this bill is patently unconstitutional. If passed by this body and the House and even signed by the Governor, this bill would not be law in the State of Maryland. It cannot be law unless you first amend out of the Constitution both Declaration of Rights Art. 28 and Art IX Sec 1.So unless you amend the State Constitution, all those who are sworn to uphold this Constitution as well as all the citizens of this state have a moral obligation to oppose any application of this law including even to the point of using of force. Why? Because the citizens and oath takers must uphold the law – the Militia must never be disarmed, to do so would be the height of tyranny.
On a personal note, remember that you swore an oath to Almighty God to uphold this Constitution. To give a favorable report on this bill will be to violate your oath, showing you are not only unfit for this office, but that you are bound for the last judgment with the curse of oath breaking hanging over you. I ask for your own sake, for the sake of maintaining lawful government in Maryland return an unfavorable report.
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