Well, we made it through another week. Nothing destroyed the world, as we know it.

During WWI, WWII, through the end of the draft, in America, there was a core of people called “conscientious objectors”. These were people who were unwilling to kill for any reason.

This became “the thing” to do when you wanted to avoid the draft during Vietnam. Most so-called conscientious objectors were culled during the interview process. The question asked were of the sort: Would you use violence to defend yourself? What would you do if your wife/girlfriend was being raped?

If you answered any of the questions with some sort of violence, you lost your conscientious objector status.

I consider myself to be a constitutional absolutist. The constitution means what it was understood by its plain text at the time it was adopted, with the amendments meaning what the plain text meant when the amendment was ratified.

Text, history, and tradition is the correct method to interpret The Constitution.

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This is the plain text of the Second Amendment.

I’ve always considered “The People” to include more than just citizens. The Bill of Rights does not mention citizens. It uses “the people”, “the accused”, “him”, “his”, “person”, “himself”, “owner”. These are terms that encompass more than just citizens.

So I am torn when I learn of a case where a bad person is found to be part of The People. I don’t want bad people to be a part of The People.

This leads to the following for me: It is possible for somebody to be a part of The People and have certain inalienable rights, and still be deported or incarcerated. When they are released, they should have access to their rights returned. If they are deported and return, they still have inalienable rights. We can incarcerate them or deport them again.

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Does "The People" include more than just citizens?"
57 votes · 57 answers

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By awa

23 thoughts on “Friday Feedback”
  1. I always thought the Constitution like the 10 Commandments, applied to Citizens UNTIL said Citizen broke the rules.. then yes you still have rights but the some rights were taken away.. Violent repeat offenders should be permanently removed from civil society.. hard working citizens have little time to combat liberalism BUT We the People must make the time

    1. The Constitution doesn’t apply to ordinary citizens at all. It’s a set of rules for the government, listing those things it is permitted to do and stating that it isn’t permitted to do anything else. Then for extra redundancy, the Bill of Rights then repeatedly prohibits the government from doing certain things all over again.
      For example, the 2nd Amendment says that the government isn’t permitted to do a certain thing (limit our right to keep and bear arms).
      Similarly, the 13th Amendment says the government isn’t allowed to legalize slavery — which arguably includes the draft, no matter what courts may have said.

  2. That is hard one for many of us.
    The way I see it is, there are some rights that, under our system, may never be abridged no matter the person’s status re the law (e.g. felon, or not); others may. Possession of firearms is in the latter category. If the person in question is here willfully illegally, then no, they have no right to own a gun. If the law permits them to eventually be here legally, then that’s when they get their gun rights back. If what they’ve done means they can never be here legally, then (a) no gun, and (b) they should be deported.

  3. No. an illegal alien is not a citizen, and has no rights. If you are talking about felons, my opinion if they are walking on the street you should be able to trust them, if you can;t they need to stay incarcerated.

  4. “We the People” means the citizens of the US and only included those people of the 13 colonies. At the time of ratification only property owning white men could vote. Later amendments expanded voting rights, but none included people (citizens) of other countries being granted the right to vote.

    1. But the Constitution explicitly mentions cases that apply to people with voting rights, and it also uses the term citizen in some places. The implication is that “people” has the ordinary English meaning, not some restrictive meaning.

  5. You simply cannot have it both ways. It is god given or someone chooses and gives. If you are OK with someone choosing and giving, then you ought don your red coat and support the monarchy.
    Do you believe your second amendment right ends at the border or do you believe you have that right anywhere even if it isn’t recognized there?

    1. Since the 2nd Amendment says what government in the US is prohibited from doing, it obviously ends at the borders. The natural right of self defense, on the other hand, applies universally, that’s what “natural right” means. Unfortunately in most countries natural rights are not respected and no constitution protects them from infringement.

      1. It only ends at the border in so much as someone infringes on it; it doesn’t simply disappear because it is being curtailed, abridged, or infringed, which I believe you to be saying.

        1. Yes, that’s what I meant, that’s a good way to state it.

          On Boris’s comment: some countries have no Constitution, like Britain and Israel. Others do but it’s meaningless, like totalitarian countries such as Russia.

          Then there are nominally democratic countries like Holland, which has a bizarre constitution that explicitly makes itself void. It does so in article 120, which states (in the official English translation): “The constitutionality of Acts of Parliament and treaties shall not be reviewed by the courts.” In other words, theoretically the government is prohibited from doing certain things, but in practice it can do what it wants because no one has authority to make them stop. (“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” — Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut)

          1. “n other words, theoretically the government is prohibited from doing certain things, but in practice it can do what it wants because no one has authority to make them stop.”
            Aint that just the nut of it regardless of how respecting of the constitution or the laws any government is.
            All of these places that are “better than” the USA have no rights like we do. People do not understand or appreciate what that actually means. That is why we see people in Canada and the UK going to jail for saying things daddy gov doesn’t like. Not the we are doing much better here these days, but it is objectively not as bad yet.
            This is one of the reasons why I derisively and sarcastically refer to people in the UK, Canada, etc as subjects and not citizens. Don’t even get me started on the nanny state that is Australia.

  6. When you attempt to determine the meaning of any of the Bill of Rights, the reader must consider the plain context of the writers at the time of writing the legislation, and the express purpose and concerns of the petitioners which they represented.
    It was commonplace practice in that day in US History for territories to decentralize the organization of the Power of Coercion throughout the colonies.
    “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
    Every single community within each territory, colony, and state, demanded that they individually have the right to organize their own well-regulated militia, comprised of, and taken from, families within their autonomous communities. The mission of each areas’ well-regulated militias was to secure their own free state of their people, as ‘The People’ deemed necessary to remain free from all others coercive power throughout the nation.
    If you study the American History of Militias, you’ll see that many types existed for their own determined purposes. Always designed by The People they were from, and a majority of the time born into, which was in fact the commissioning body of people for whom they were to serve as a protective force.
    The express purpose: to give local peoples the ability to be “Masters of Their Own Arms” which rejects all forms of outside control whether it be from another local peoples of a different culture, heritage, or mindset, or from a state or federal government.
    Therefore, the original meaning of ‘The People’ always without exception means, of one’s own clan, family, community, which was often of a national heritage, which was availing themselves of a governing body construct formulated from an individual’s front door, neighborhood, community and society and culture instead from the national ruling government body which governing system they rejected when they moved to the US.
    The People therefore simply means, Our People, Our Families, Our Offspring, Our Citizens, as viewed by the area community anywhere in the USA.
    The idea that “The People” means any human being anywhere in the world is the exact opposite meaning of the original context in which the Right was penned. The Second Amendment secures legal protection for autonomous groups of people existing, to protect their own particular interest from coercive government bodies from anywhere.

  7. “It is possible for somebody to be a part of The People and have certain inalienable rights, and still be deported or incarcerated. When they are released, they should have access to their rights returned. If they are deported and return, they still have inalienable rights. We can incarcerate them or deport them again.”

    You answered your own question right there in the question.
    If the right is inalienable, it belongs to the person solely because they are a human being and alive. Fundamental human right.
    Now… what I think you are asking is: “if you have inalienable rights, can the State restrict your free exercise of those rights?”
    To which the answer is “Absolutely”
    And, before someone starts quoting Heinlein, he was wrong. Just because the State can prevent the free exercise of a right does not negate the right.

    Violate the rules of a civilized society, and that society has the fundamental right/duty to restrict your ability to violate the rules in the future. If you get incarcerated or deported, your rights are restricted for that period at a minimum, but can be restricted further, depending on your demonstrated ability to abide by the rules of a civilized society.

  8. Just because one isn’t a citizen doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to speech.

    So, technically, a non-citizen should have all the rights that, in our Constitution, is for ‘the people’.

    As far as I can remember, the only right in the Constitution that is reserved specifically for citizens is the right to vote.

    Now, on the other hand, having a bunch of non-conforming people within your borders and carrying arms is pretty much indistinguishable from a foreign invasion, and as such, should be met with force to expel the invaders……

    1. The Constitution reserves the right to be elected to certain offices to citizens only. It does NOT limit the vote to citizens. It seems this is a widely held belief but there’s not a word that says so. Instead, it says that “the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature” (Article 1 section 2). So, for example, CA could decide to give illegal aliens the right to vote for the CA state House, and if they do so, those illegals will thereby also have the right to vote for US Representatives and (via the 17th Amendment) the US Senate. Then there is voting for President, or more precisely, for presidential electors, which the Constitution simply states will be appointed “in such manner as the legislature … may direct”.
      There are amendments that say the rules picked by the state may not exclude voters based on sex, or based on any age limit higher than 18, but other than that I see no actual restrictions in the Constitution. For example, while there have not been any property qualifications for a long time, they are not illegal. Nor would it be unconstitutional for a state to set the voting age lower than 18.

      Reading the Constitution carefully is an interesting exercise; it discloses all sort of things you might not have realized. Reading the Federalist Papers (a set of propaganda pieces supporting ratification) is also fascinating. Once you get past these two, you might consider reading Madison’s notes on the proceedings of the Convention, which is often dull but has some fascinating bits. Look up “Hamiton’s Plan” for a good explanation of why Hamilton was the bad guy in a number of Neil Smith’s novels.

      1. Well, other than the 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th amendments specifically stating the “rights of citizens” to vote.

        A very redundant reading of such could consider that those amendments limit the ability to restrict citizens from doing certain vote related things, but it would still be constitutional to restrict or not restrict non-citizens from them.

        In other words, you could seemingly not be allowed to restrict the vote to only male citizens. But as long as you allowed both male and female citizens, you’d be able to also allow only male non-citizens but not female non-citizens to vote.

        I would be surprised it such would be considered constitutional.

  9. At a high level, I agree that RKBA is universal and not limited to simply Citizens (or residents) of the United States of America.


    At the granular level, with Mr. Carbajal-Flores’ case in particular, I think it prudent to point out that Mr. Carbajal-Flores was arrested in Illinois, where Citizens are REQUIRED to possess a permit (specifically a Firearm Owners Identification [FOID] Card) in order to simply OWN a gun, and a separate permit is required to carry a firearm in the state. I have not been able determine whether Mr. Carbajal-Flores had been issued a FOID Card or Carry Permit, however given my understanding of Illinois Law, I find it unlikely that he possessed either.

    Further, as an illegal alien, Mr. Carbajal-Flores should not have been able to pass a background check or truthfully complete a Form 4473 (Question 21.l on the latest revision), therefore was in possession of the firearm illegally regardless of his immigration status.

    As Judge Coleman’s ruling applies only to Illegal Immigrants, my fear (and from the reactions I’m seeing online, I am not alone in this) is that this case effectively creates two tiers of “law,” where Citizens and legal residents of the United States are subject to Federal firearms laws and will still be required to navigate all of the bureaucratic hurdles implemented by the State to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, while illegal immigrants are legally exempt from those requirements.

    1. Raptor’s thinking matches my own. If someone is already violating the laws of the state/city/county, then citizenship or lack thereof should be moot at this phase. I don’t agree with Illinois’ law, but at the moment, it is the law, and Mr. Carbajal-Flores violated it. The court gave him an ability (to carry in violation of state law) that does not apply to others. To me, that’s the greater concern in this particular case.

      Everyone has a right to self defense, to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (or to property, if you go back to Locke.) Most other countries do not recognize full civil liberties for non-citizens, just for citizens. The US legal system has, over time, decided that illegal aliens have the same civil liberties rights (and social support rights) as non-citizens. No, I don’t entirely agree with that, but it is what it is for now.

      My feeling is that if you cannot, legally, own a firearm/purchase a firearm, citizen or not, then you should not have a firearm. There are other ways of self defense, albeit not as effective, that are available.

  10. I do believe that rights are god given rights bestowed on the people of the world. However, the United States is the only one that codified it as a part of the founding in this country to it’s citizens. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights ends when you leave the borders of the United States. Do you have a right to the second amendment when you’re in Mexico? Do you have the right to the first amendment in China? No. Our Constitution does not apply to the citizens of the world, and only to Citizens of the United States. Someone that has broken the law to be here should not get a defacto second amendment when they have done nothing for the betterment of the nation and instead has made it more unsecure by their arrival. I have no problem with LEGAL immigrants that wish to assimilate and want to as American as you or I. But the people that have no regard for our laws should not be granted what the founders bestowed to rightful citizens of the nation. These are people that do not want to assimilate, they do not want to pay taxes and are only here for the handouts that the US provides (which baffles me that we’re doing this). People that have no intentions of following our laws or becoming a productive citizen should have no protections provided by the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

    Marxists, communists and other nefarious actors are using our own very permissive system against us. The more we keep hemming and hawing and belatedly saying “well, i guess it’s ok” have slowly given bad actors more chances to use our systems against us. We need to start saying “NO” to these people that want nothing more than the crippling and ultimate destruction of the United States.

  11. “The people” shouldn’t just include citizens. It should also include legal permanent resident aliens and people here in the US legally for temporary reasons: Tourists and people on business trips, for example.

    After all, it seems counterintuitive that they shouldn’t be allowed the right to free speech or freedom of religion simply because they aren’t citizens.

    It should *NOT* include people who are here illegally. You can not become one of “the people” by violating the laws that “the people” enacted in the first place.

    Think of it like your home. If you invite someone into your home, you are expected to provide some level of hospitality. You are not expect to do this when someone breaks into your house uninvited. Illegal aliens are essentially committing breaking and entering at the national level.

  12. Not that I’m bitter and angry, but to quote Hillary, “At this point, what difference does it make?”
    My family, my clan, my Community. Malcolm X’s admonition against letting the enemy teach your children is proving to be prescient and massively important.
    If the values taught at the kitchen table, at church, and at school align with what’s right then chances are pretty good that Junior will grow up to be a good citizen.
    Then Juniors everywhere know the difference between right and wrong and invasions are not tolerated, pension or no pension.
    Then this question becomes largely moot.
    Instead we have a multi- tier justice system and we all just roll over and tolerate it.
    Every day I ask myself if today’s the day.
    In the meantime, I’m saving my money for this tool to help me clear the weeds off my fenceline:
    Time to go do Saturday chores. Thanks for the chance to vent.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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