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Yesterday, October 12th, 2021 Benton County became the 23rd of 99 Iowa counties to become a "2nd Amendment Sanctuary County". Just what does that mean exactly? The paragraph in the resolution that most clearly states the position of the Benton County Supervisors is this one . . .

"WHEREAS, the right of the people to keep and bear arms for the defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people of Benton County, Iowa;"

It is an acknowledgement that the right to keep and bear arms is "inalienable" and beyond the reach of the government. The 2nd Amendment states our right "shall not be infringed" and this resolution paragraph simply emphasizes that position.

Which, of course, the supervisors had already sworn to do when they took their oath of office and swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Their position was already clear and known simply by this act alone.

My position on this whole 2nd Amendment Sanctuary effort currently crisscrossing our nation by community, county and state is that it is simply a political "chit" that is being laid down to verify the political leanings of candidates and then holding their feet to the fire of a particular political point of view be it in favor of, or opposed to a 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Simply put - it is beyond the "paygrade" of the various governments - city, county, state or federal - to limit the ability of a law-abiding citizen's right to a firearm. In particular - changing the law to say that citizens may only own specific types of firearms. The last candidate that President Biden put forth to head the ATF said that any firearm larger that a .22 caliber with a removable magazine should be banned. It is ignorant and provocative statements and positions like that that is driving this effort nationwide. But can the various government bodies+ issue such laws and have them be "legal"? No. Period.

Now, can "they" issue such laws - "legal" or not - and expect them to be obeyed? Sure and the current CoVid pandemic has shown just how easily people will surrender their inalienable rights when they are scared beyond reason. In the past year folks have surrendered their right to worship, to peacefully assemble, to move freely about the nation. Most have surrendered to a vaccine that is still not fully endorsed by the FDA.

We have seen people arrested and their property seized for something as little as being in Washington DC on January 6th, 2020.

Our inalienable rights are, indeed, under continual and growing attack - especially following the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 45th President in January of 2020. I see little hope in any relief. Which begs the question . . . do we need Supervisor Resolutions for each of the individual Amendments in the Bill of Rights? Perhaps. But lets just put all the cards on the table.

The strength of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in particular, come from their simplicity of language. Regarding the 2nd Amendment, if you can simply read common English and know common definitions, if you are willing to explore the context of the time in which it was written - it's meaning is crystal clear.

"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,"

Meaning every able-bodied man between the ages of 16 and 60 were expected to be armed, be familiar with the use of their particular arms and were expected to ensure the security of a free state. And, that right "shall not be infringed".

That right is "beyond the paygrade" of local, state or the federal government to eliminate or ban. Period.

The rub comes when you look in the mirror and must decide whether you will stand for the Constitution . . . or submit to the will of a government. It is in the quiet of your home, in front of that mirror - where the ultimate fate of the Constitution and the country is decided.

There's a story told about Benjamin Franklin - after the Constitutional Convention completed it's work he was asked what kind of government we had. His response - "A Republic, if you can keep it."

As you stand in front of that mirror, choose wisely.

-Bill Keller

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Valerie Bearbower October 13, 2021, 6:35 pm Very well said, I agree. Thank you for taking the time to write this. As for myself, I strongly believe in the rights of our constitution. If we don't stand up NOW, stand together, and stand strong, we will forever give up all of the rights and freedoms that we and our military members have worked so hard to protect. We cannot idly sit by and comply with our rights being stripped away, one by one. Now is the time to believe in our faith, to know that your savior will be there for you. It will not be easy, nor will it not be frightening for so many, we all have a lot at stake. Rest assured, that when we unite, & all work for the greater good of our great Country, we will come out of this much stronger, & have a much greater appreciation for what we have, & for who is by our side. May God bless us all & keep us all safe through these turbulent times. Valerie Bearbower
Darrin Lindsey October 14, 2021, 1:49 pm Before writing a "letter to the editor," a person should get all of the facts in order first. No definition of "militia" is found anywhere in our Constitution. Yet, you present a meaning here, that isn't correct, even by the standards of the time of the ratification of our Constitution. "The Militia", as Congress defined it, was " Any able bodied man, age of 17-47, THAT OWNED A GUN. Owning a gun was not, and never has been, a requirement of any private citizen, in our country. Since owning a musket was necessary for a family to eat in the 18th century, I suspect that most families owned one. You're correct about Ben Franklin's answer, when he was asked what type of government we have, as Congress was adjourning from the ratification of our Constitution. He was correct, at that time, as far as what the "old country" considered a Republic. But, as George Washington said in his farewell speech, and Congress later defined, the form of government that our country uses is Representative Democracy. The type of "State" that we are defined as, is a Republic. We are a Republic, that uses a Representative Democracy as our form of government. As far as the 2nd Amendment goes. There was a very famous Supreme Court case, in 2008, called Keller v District of Columbia. This case gave the citizens of Washington D.C. the right to own and keep hand guns. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion in the case. He wrote that *the right to bear arms IS NOT UNLIMITED and is subject to reasonable prohibitions and regulations and subsequently the Supreme Court has held up the existing prohibitions and regulations*. Justice Scalia, as you probably know, was a strict Federalist. He spent many hours, days and weeks studying the words in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as they were defined in the "old country, and by our Founding Fathers, as they wrote in The Federalist Papers. Ya see, there are historical documents written by our Founding Fathers, giving us exact context of what they were thinking, as the were constructing our Constitution. And lastly, this term you use, "unalienable rights". Those refer to "rights" that can't be given, or taken, away. The problem with the way you use it, is that our Constitution, in the language used, doesn't directly grant very many actual rights to anyone. It's language tells us what our government *cannot* do. It's the decisions, over the years, that our Justice System has made, that defines what citizens *can* do, based off of what our Constitution says that our government can't do.
John Stiegelmeyer October 16, 2021, 5:07 pm As usual, the critics show their collective ignorance. The bill of rights was an afterthought to the original document. Some thought it unnecessary others stated these items must be included so as to guarantee basic rights to citizens. We have God-given rights to protect life and liberty. Our Declaration so states that rights are given by God not by man. This document - our Constitution - is our only protection against an overreaching government. This protection must endure or our Republic is lost. Regards,
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