Guns in the Ohio Constitution

We have been hearing and seeing so much about what the Democrats want for America, from open border policies, to high taxation, murderous abortions, and abuses of the standing armies to raid private citizens in the middle of the night and throw them in jail just over political maneuverings, an obvious abuse of authority. I’ve always been a bit of a Constitutional hound, I trust mostly the decisions of the Supreme Court at the federal level, even when they don’t go my way. When I don’t like the direction of the country for instance, instead of taking up guns and overthrowing the government, like we are expected to do when things get out of control, I settle on elections. That’s why I supported Donald Trump for president, he was a needed change done in the most peaceful manner. However, after the arrest of Roger Stone, Trump’s first campaign manager into the 2016 elections and the obvious bad treatment of other people directly connected to President Trump by the FBI I have been going back and rereading the Constitutions that have founded our nation and thinking differently about what to do next. It started for me by asking what I would do if the FBI or local police were instigated to come to my door to arrest me, how would I handle it. That answer provoked me to revisit the law and consider the correct options.

But too often we assume that the federal government has supremacy law over the states, which we know from the Tenth Amendment that it doesn’t which means that the Constitutions of whatever state you live in are important considerations as well, and I can say that the Ohio Constitution is not an easy thing to put your civilian hands on, which it should be. Anyway, I picked one up and for current reading. A previous copy I had from something like thirty years ago was missing so a new one was needed and once it arrived, I found a modern reading of it to be quite refreshing. Assuming that I have to say I know a few Ohio Supreme Court Justices, not well enough that we swap spit in the shower, but well enough to call them neighbors whom I speak with from time to time so I understand the nature of case-law which has been shaped by the Ohio Constitution over time, but what I want to focus on are a few very nice quotes listed in the Preamble of the Article I: Bill of Rights, which read very similarly to the federal Bill of Rights inspired by the Anti-Federalist Papers.

Specifically, I found the language of #2 of the Ohio Bill of Rights to be much more specific than the federal Second Amendment which we all hear so much about. It makes it quite clear what the intention of a society of gun owners is supposed to be doing and why they have the power to do it. There is no mistake about it, it says: Right to alter, reform, or abolish government, and repeal special privileges. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform, or abolish the same, whenever they may deem it necessary: and no special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted, that may not be altered, revoked, or repealed by the General Assembly. Essentially, if the government of Ohio gets too far out of control, everyday people need to be able to abolish it and start over. Things that come to my mind as causes for such a thing to happen would be massive debt and abuses of authority. Lucky for all of us living in Ohio, it’s a pretty well-run state, but part of the reason why is that there are a lot of gun owners who don’t have much tolerance for nonsense. We are not obligated to just deal with a bunch of spoiled brat government employees. If they screw up and over extend themselves, we have an obligation to end that government and start a new one.

Another part of the Ohio Bill of Rights that jumped out at me was #4 Bearing arms; standing armies: military power. The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; by standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power. Now this was written in 1851, not that long ago. And when reading it I can’t help but think of the Roger Stone case and the corruption we have seen at the level of the FBI under James Comey and Andrew McCabe. Granted, these actions were not in Ohio, Stone was arrested in Florida and the core of the FBI characters were likely regulated by other constitutional parameters not specific to Ohio, but the intent behind the language could not be clearer. A standing army in times of peace tends to breed corruption, when a police state is established where they represent the arm of a corrupt government and they have power over people who don’t, bad things tend to happen, and we see it all the time. I find this portion of the Ohio Bill of Rights to be particularly potent in establishing legal precedent. Government even at the level of the Supreme Court of the state or at the federal level cannot trump this basic premise with case-law assumptions. Because if we have to abolish the government for whatever reason the grounds for doing so revert back to this basic foundation of law in Ohio for which we all agree is the law of the land.

Maybe this is why the Ohio Constitution isn’t more publicized. I’m sure I read these things before, but in the context of our modern times they are much more distinct than their federal brother. Later during the progressive era of 1912 there were amendments to the Ohio Constitution which complicate things a bit, but essentially the 1851 version is the law of the land, so why don’t more people know this stuff? It should be more broadly broadcast not just through the state of Ohio, but in other states trying to understand the foundations of their own government. I mean without question the State of Ohio evokes the privileges of eminent domain and public welfare rights in regard to private property as written in the 1851 Ohio Constitution, so why not apply the same to the #2 and #4 section of the Preamble where gun rights are the obvious emphasis? The obvious answer of course is that much of the Constitutions that make our country what it is at both the federal level and the level of the state are interpreted by government employees for the benefit of themselves. But behind it all is the expectation that the people for whom the constitutions are written are expected to enforce justice when needed, and in these modern times, it looks like its needed. There are worse things than violence in a society, and that is a civilization that is just asleep at the wheel and has lost itself to the powers of government reverting back to an aristocratic existence. It is far more dangerous to become an overly compliant society that has lost its freedoms than to take up arms to remove corruption from office. Just a few things to think about as we learn more about how our government really operates and what little respect they have for our current president or the people who put him in office.

Rich Hoffman

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