Second Amendment views

By Assemblyman Brian Jones

California Assembly District 71

Dear Ramona Sentinel Readers:

In recent weeks several constituents have contacted my office informing me they are offended about comments I’ve made regarding the Second Amendment. This is an open letter to all of my constituents to share the background of my views on the Second Amendment.

Please know that my position on the topic of the Second Amendment and gun ownership have not been made in haste.  I have done some significant study and research in the past few years — most notably since my election to the Legislature. I now have a more distinct perspective, and question why the Second Amendment is offensive to so many, when our other constitutional rights are not?

Few argue with anyone’s right to free speech, freedom of religion, or our right to due process. Nor is there much argument about our right to a jury trial, or the abolition of slavery. Why then, does the Second Amendment cause such heartburn for some?

I believe it is largely due to revisionist history of the intent of our Founders — each of whom were thoughtful and intelligent men (much more than I).  They had a keen understanding for the very basic need to protect self, family and home. What’s more, they knew full well what comes with a tyrannical government. Their words make it abundantly clear they believed the individual right to own firearms was very important:

•Thomas Jefferson said, “No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.”

•Patrick Henry said, “The great object is, that every man be armed.”

•Richard Henry Lee wrote that, “to preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.”

•Thomas Paine noted, “[A]rms … discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.”

•Samuel Adams warned that: “The said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.”

The Constitution repeatedly refers to the “rights” of the people and to the “powers” of government. The Supreme Court has recognized that the phrase “the people,” which is used in numerous parts of the Constitution, including the Preamble, the Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth amendments, refers to people as individuals. In each case, rights belonging to “the people” are without question the rights of individuals.

Since my election to the Assembly, I have seen firsthand how grossly the issue of gun ownership is being politically manipulated. There is little room for reason and virtually no room for the facts in the debate.

I find it noteworthy that the number of privately owned guns in the U.S. has reached an all-time high of over 300 million, and is actually increasing by approximately 10 million per year. I am not surprised that, given this data, the firearm accident death rate has fallen to an all-time low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94 percent since the high in 1904. Actually, in the past 80-plus years, the annual number of firearm accident deaths has decreased 81 percent, while our nation’s population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has grown by five times.

Many facts could actually lend some reason to the debate. For example, the National Safety Council reports that firearms are used for personal defense 2.5 million times a year — which equates to a whopping 6,850 times a day. This means that each year, firearms are used 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives, and as many as 200,000 women use a gun every year to defend themselves against sexual abuse.

Protection of our life and liberty is a multi-pronged effort, and I take great care to work closely with members of law enforcement. Those who stand between the law-abiding and the lawless have a difficult task, and my call for individuals to become informed on the topic of personal firearm ownership comes from the understanding that we can’t rely on law enforcement to be everywhere at all times.

Most solutions to our crime rate will not come from Sacramento.  It might surprise you that police are not even required to protect you: in Warren v. District of Columbia (1981), the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled, “police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection . . . . [A] government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular citizen.” In Bowers v. DeVito (1982), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled “[T]here is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.” That said, it is up to each one of us to safeguard our home and families.

I trust that with this background, you may have a better understanding of my thoughts because my views follow much careful deliberation and study. The subject of firearms and the Second Amendment are serious and have been weighed with factual evidence as well as a deep consideration of our constitutionally protected rights.

Thanks for listening.

Ramona is among communities in California Assembly District 71.

Related posts:

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  2. One vote away from losing our liberty
  3. Crowd turns out for 2nd Amendment Awareness Event hosted by Assemblyman Brian Jones
  4. Our First Amendment is under attack
  5. Arming the modern minuteman

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Nov 18 2013. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

22 Comments for “Second Amendment views”

  1. CA Smith

    Mr. Jones, I do not believe I have ever seen a better worded, more succinct statement regarding our rights under the Second Amendment. You have covered most, if not all of the grounds for legitimately owning firearms. Thank you very much for your statement, and for your support of our rights.

  2. NYVoter

    Assemblyman Jones, We left California because of the Gun Laws. We made the grave mistake of moving to NY where they’ve decided to follow California’s lead ,ignore the 2nd Amendment and demonize the Gun owner. I would have never believed that I would ever be commending any Californian Politician for their stance on the 2nd Amendment …but you Sir , have proved me wrong.
    Thank you for researching this embracing the facts and brushing aside all the Fear driven Propaganda.
    This Country needs more like you and I can only hope that you decide to run for a Higher Office

  3. ConcernedForAmerica

    Considering how pervasive violence in our society has become, the debate is not just about the right to defend with a firearm. The debate is also related to the failure to legislate adequate funding for supporting our community mental health structure.
    Considering the number of clearly irresponsible firearm use incidents, there is a need to
    provide greater oversight. The deterioration of those 'inalienable rights' of our original Constitution…in the context of a more complex, technology and media driven society, must be accounted for in a discussion of the right to have a firearm. Peace officers are required to maintain acceptable standards of training, that includes periodic qualifying at the practice range. What are the reasonable expectations of our society from those who choose to legally acquire firearms?

    • Eastcoastindependent

      Sir, did you even read the article? You make his point very well, selective application of modern (populist) meaning just to one particular ammendment…
      If I read your statement correctly, whatever I can (qualify) with, I can possess/carry? Works for me, in the military, I was qualified all the way up to some very impressive devices.
      We cannot always afford the liberal solution(s) to our problems, I.E. ban it, or, pour taxpayer money into unproven social programs that hold no person responsible for the outcome…

    • mark weaver

      What pervasive violence? On the senstionalist news? Or in actual life? Here in America, violent crime has been steadily decreasing for over 20 years.

    • tim

      A "media driven society" is exactly what causes you so much consternation. The "media" has made each incident a headline event with the press fitting the story to their political agenda. Remember the headlines with an AR15 pictured saying "Same Gun Different Slay"? The New York Daily "News" lied about the government enabled navy yard shooting which actually involved a shotgun and not a falsely named "assault rifle".. You will not hear those in media that have an anti-gun agenda quoting how crime is dropping as gun sales skyrocket. It does not suit their agenda. They will not tell you that those so called assault rifles are rarely used in crime. It does not suit their agenda.. They will keep their mouth shut about obama allowing guns to be sold to drug cartels and then blaming it on law abiding American gun owners along the border with Mexico. It (the truth) does not suit them. Our president, obama, says that "Bush did it". He lied. So we have liberals in the media and a lying president feeding the gullible people with all sorts of false info. When I was a kid in school I was taught that "He who controls the press, controls the people". That is not taught anymore. I wonder why? The press lies as much as obama. I wonder why? I am innocent of any wrong doing but yet people such as yourself seem to think that I must be punished. I wonder why? People would be a lot better off if they dismissed most of what they read on the internet and next to nothing that comes from the lips of politicians. They lie.

      • Guest

        Well said Tim–You understand politicians and their failures to us very well. Some
        are good people such as Rep Jones–but too many have self-interests in their agendas.

    • Tom223

      The "mental health" industry is the problem. They over prescribe mind altering drugs to far too many children and adults. All the mass shootings in the past couple decades have been perpetrated by people being "treated" by and using mind altering drugs. Only three of the kids involved in school shootings don't have data re drug use because they were minors and the parents would not release the data. It is psychiatry and psychiatric drugs that are causing the violence.

  4. Keith Simmons

    I would like to add about guns in general. I grew up in Ramona walking down Main st. which at the time was a dirt road with one stopsighn with a .22 rifle to go shoot squirrels, quail or whatever a young boy could do with my buddies after school. We usually walked for miles heading toward Cedar st. for a great time. I was free without even considering any danger of anyone getting hurt by our rifles and no one ever stopped us because in those days, there were no such things as school shootings or any violence. We were just being boys. If a law inforcement officer were to ever stop to talk to us he would just make sure we knew what we were doing and being safe with our rifles. We never heard of the N.R.A. or licences, or any need to protect our rights. We were all of different religions & races & we discussed that in small bits on our journey carrying those rifles on our little journey. We spent each trip adding to our big tree house on Cedar st. and continue out to the open country of Ramona where we would begin our shooting experiences. What a great childhood! we never hear of such great times these days involving the old school rifle days with the ol dependable Marlin. Just the bad stuff makes it on the news. I just wanted to share the innocence I was so priveliged to experience with the rifle.

  5. Robert Wiener

    Hope this goes Viral………

  6. Dogface

    Brian Jones for President.

  7. Where is his bill to repeal California's 1967 ban on openly carrying loaded firearms in public and the recently enacted bans on openly carrying unloaded firearms in public?

    The US Supreme Court said that Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution and that concealed carry can be prohibited so what did Jones do? He introduced a bill to make concealed carry shall-issue and to restrict permits to openly carry handguns to residents of counties with fewer than 200,000 people and restricted the validity of those Open Carry permits to the county of one's residence.

    "[A] right to carry arms openly: "This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations."" District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 – Supreme Court (2008) at 2809.

    "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues." District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 – Supreme Court (2008) at 2816.

  8. Cavalry_Vet

    Thank you Sir. I appreciate you taking the time to write this message and giving a voice to 2nd amendment supporters here in California. It is a real shame how some politicians in Sacramento demonize people who own firearms in this state.

  9. Jason William

    Bravo Sir. I read this aloud to my wife and we both were incredibly moved by your words. Please keep up the good fight. You are a beacon of hope for those of us whose 2A rights are infringed upon and flatly denied each and every day by this state, our county and our city.

  10. Fred

    Well said sir. A few more folks with their head on straight and we would be a better counrty.

  11. Jeff Smith

    Mr. Jones, your post gives me hope for California where I thought perhaps there was none.

  12. jes-gri.

    Mr. Jones,
    First most thank you for supporting your position with relevant case law. As a citizen from California and a resident of Ramona I completely disagree with all the unconstitutional statutes that current administrations whether local or federal have imposed. I can only say that I was taught that our precious country was forged with guts and firearms( includes everything ).

  13. JettaRed

    Will you move to Maryland?

  14. Steven Collins

    Thank you Sir, I live in CA. and teach Concealed Firearms to the public. This state and Country need more like you and I sincerely hope that you decide to run for a Higher Office.

  15. Gil Kuhn

    Thank you for your straightforward comments concerning the Second Amendment and other issues. Until I read this statement rendered to me via the NRA Weekly Review, I thought that most all in Sacramento were those who detested firearms and especially the rights of those who owned them. Now I find a California Legislator who is a fundamental supporter of the Second Amendment. What a breath of fresh air for those of us in CA who are like minded. I will continue to contact legislators who are blind to the Second Amendment even though they will not replay because I am not in their constituent.
    God bless you sir and continue to fight the good fight. One day the Second Amendment and those who believe in it will be vindicated and those that oppose us will be exposed for what they are, grandstanding demigods who only want to forward their own agendas and not those of the free thinking People of California.

  16. Mark

    Mr. Jones,
    As someone who lives in San Francisco, I wish you were my Assemblyman.

  17. Mike Benoit

    Does Mr. Jones support the prohibition of gun ownership to felons who have served their time? Does he support the prohibition of gun ownership to those who have a domestic violence incident on their record? Does he support gun registration laws? Does he support the drug war which demonizes guns? Does he support mandatory weapons training in order to own a fire arm? Etc etc?

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