Ray Moore’s Stance on the Second Amendment

Monday, May 26th, 2014 @ 7:42PM

The great English political philosopher and friend of American liberty, Edmund Burke, said in the 18th Century, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I’ve taken those historic words to heart and am running for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina in the June 10 Republican Primary. I believe evil is triumphing in the land because too many good people are doing nothing. Perhaps the challenges we face are so many and so complex that we don’t quite know what to do. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m offering a partial solution to some of the evils we face in our State and local communities.

Our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms are under assault as never before. Every South Carolinian should be deeply troubled by the relentless usurpation of power, abuses of authority, corruption, lies, and cover-ups perpetrated by civil government at all levels. We are steadily being robbed of our liberty, our dignity, and our prosperity while a parasitical political class enriches itself at our expense.

The Founders of the Republic understood and feared the inherent tendency of government to aggrandize its power and undermine liberty. In the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution they spelled out the inalienable rights that belong to each citizen. These rights are not “granted” by the Constitution or civil government but flow from God’s revealed principles of natural law. The Constitution was written to safeguard these rights in perpetuity.

The Second Amendment codifies the natural right of the citizen to keep and bear arms. This Amendment recognizes not only the right but also the moral duty of a free people to defend their lives, liberty, and property with force if necessary. George Washington said, “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence.” The Second Amendment is the only right in the Bill of Rights that is inherently self-enforcing and was included by the Founders because they knew the citizen in arms was the final check on government abuses and usurpation run amok – the very condition we face today.

However, because attempts to take away gun rights have continued to fail at the Federal level, the struggle to uphold the Second Amendment has shifted to the States. The Obama Administration has strong-armed states with Liberal legislatures like New York, California, Connecticut, and Colorado to pass sweeping new laws restricting certain classes of firearms or magazine capacities, and requiring registration, which is always the precursor to attempted confiscation. With the mere stroke of a pen, thousands of law-abiding citizens now face stiff fines and prison terms simply for exercising their God-given, Constitutional right of self- defense.

This trend demonstrates that the Second Amendment is not a stand-alone issue but is intimately connected to the issue of State sovereignty and of moral governance at the State and local level. The final outcome of State laws attacking gun freedoms are yet to be seen, but in South Carolina we can be proactive, taking steps now to safeguard this most precious and fundamental right.

As Lieutenant Governor, I will fight hard for the following:

  1. “Constitutional Carry” legislation. Also known as “Vermont Carry,” this legislation eliminates the permit process for law-abiding gun owners to bear arms. If the Second Amendment means what it says, then it should be lawful for citizens to carry a firearm, concealed or openly, without a permit or license. Other States with “constitutional carry” are Vermont, Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming.
  2. State Freedom of Commerce in Firearms. The Federal Government asserts the right to regulate firearms sales, ownership, and transport under the “Commerce Clause” of the U.S. Constitution. The Federal Government claims this clause confers the authority to regulate inter-state commerce. But even if we grant this proposition, it does not grant the right to regulate intra-State commerce; that is, transactions occurring only within and remaining within the State. Under a South Carolina Freedom in Firearms Commerce statute, guns made and sold in South Carolina and which do not leave the State would not be subject to Federal controls and restrictions. This would not only enhance the gun freedoms of individuals but also strengthen our State-based gun industries and attract new manufacturers to South Carolina. Tennessee, Wyoming, and Montana have passed such legislation.
  3. “Sheriffs First” legislation. Under our common law and statute law, the sheriff is the sovereign law enforcement officer in the county with the sworn, Constitutional duty is to protect the citizens of his county. Sadly, in today’s environment, that may include protecting citizens from tyrannical, lawless acts of officials at a higher level – Federal bureaucrats, for example. This is an ancient principle is known as interposition of the lesser magistrate, and long recognized in British jurisprudence, from which we derive much of our law, legal procedure, and due process. Under this principle, if Federal officials tried to confiscate legal firearms from the citizens, it would be the duty of the sheriff to interpose his authority and prevent this unlawful act. Even though this principle is already enshrined in common law, it is not well understood by State and local officials and needs to be made clear and explicit though legislation.

As South Carolinians, we can wring our hands and bemoan our fate as the noose of tyranny and corruption tightens around us, or we can take responsibility for ourselves and elect good men who will defend the right principles. “What once was can be again,” but only if we act bravely and promptly.

Ray Moore has deep family roots in South Carolina. Father of four and grandfather of seven, he resides in Blythewood with his wife Gail Pinckney Moore. A graduate of The Citadel and Grace Theological Seminary, he is a Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) in the US Army Reserve, and earned the Bronze Star medal in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm.

Image courtesy of Aldaron. Used under Creative Commons’ Attirbution Generic 2.0.

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