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  1. #1
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    A little known clause in the Constitution outlaws firearms confiscation

    I'm sitting here reading an article about the anti-firearms political movement in Illinois and the fact that they are now talking about confiscation, when it hit me that this is not legal. They cannot do this, not because of the Second Amendment but because of a little know clause in the Constitution in Article 1, Section 9. Here it is;

    "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

    The key phrase is "or ex post facto" in this sentence. What this means is that what was once a legal endeavor, one's purchase and possession of an AR rifle for example, cannot be suddenly made illegal and result in one's arrest.


    "Latin for "from a thing done afterward." Ex post facto is most typically used to refer to a criminal law that applies retroactively, thereby criminalizing conduct that was legal when originally performed. Two clauses in the US Constitution prohibit ex post facto laws.."

    "Latin for "after the fact." Refers to laws adopted after an act is committed, making it illegal retroactively. Or, it can refer to laws that increase the penalty for a crime after it is committed. Such laws are specifically prohibited by the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9."


    And from Section 10, we have this (note that the phrase shows up again, this time for states);

    'No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."

    So neither the Federal government nor a state can pass a law that would make you a criminal for something you did legally prior to that law's passage. The possession of an AR when legal doesn't suddenly become illegal and warrant your arrest and incarceration.

    Now is congress or the executive branch or are state legislatures fully aware of this little impediment and will they abide by this constitutional restriction? I wouldn't hold my breath.

  2. #2
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    Interesting

  3. #3
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    A little known clause in the Constitution outlaws firearms confiscation

    Nice find!

  4. #4
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    OK, so now wait for Feinstein's bill to pass and be signed, wait a little longer for a legal issue to arise, and then fight it through the courts.

    It's nice to be able to cite the Constitution, but its provisions are frequently and commonly ignored when fools make law. The only remedy we have to fools making law is to fight those laws up through the court system, a very, very expensive proposition.
    The fools know that, so they make unconstitutional law with relative impunity. (See: Cook County, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, DC.)


    Yeah, I know that Diane Feinstein isn't really a fool. She just acts like one a lot. Now, Chuck Schumer—he's a real fool. And I think that Bloomberg caught it from him.

  5. #5
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    OK, so now wait for Feinstein's bill to pass and be signed, wait a little longer for a legal issue to arise, and then fight it through the courts.

    It's nice to be able to cite the Constitution, but its provisions are frequently and commonly ignored when fools make law. The only remedy we have to fools making law is to fight those laws up through the court system, a very, very expensive proposition.
    The fools know that, so they make unconstitutional law with relative impunity. (See: Cook County, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, DC.)


    Yeah, I know that Diane Feinstein isn't really a fool. She just acts like one a lot. Now, Chuck Schumer—he's a real fool. And I think that Bloomberg caught it from him.
    You're correct about this which is why I added the caveat, "Now is congress or the executive branch or are state legislatures fully aware of this little impediment and will they abide by this constitutional restriction? I wouldn't hold my breath." They know that even if it does make it to court, it is going to be a long and arduous process and in the meantime, they would have confiscated a lot of arms and destroyed them. This is so unfortunate since all manner of evil can tread upon the populous while men in high places pander about weighing this and that and trying to come up with a decision.

    Evil takes a quick path... good is often the turtle in the race.

  6. #6
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    ...Evil takes a quick path... good is often the turtle in the race.
    I completely agree, except I would change "quick" to "expedient."
    Our society now seems fixated upon doing things the easiest way. Not the best way. Not the just way. Not the moral way. The easiest way: "Take care of it for me, OK. I've got more important things to do. American Idol is about to start."

    ...And so, we will get what we deserve.
    Jean and I will be no longer here, but our children will be, and their children too.
    (Our children are part of the problem: They're fixated on working and earning, not on preserving the republic.)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    I'm sitting here reading an article about the anti-firearms political movement in Illinois and the fact that they are now talking about confiscation, when it hit me that this is not legal. They cannot do this, not because of the Second Amendment but because of a little know clause in the Constitution in Article 1, Section 9. Here it is;

    "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

    The key phrase is "or ex post facto" in this sentence. What this means is that what was once a legal endeavor, one's purchase and possession of an AR rifle for example, cannot be suddenly made illegal and result in one's arrest.


    "Latin for "from a thing done afterward." Ex post facto is most typically used to refer to a criminal law that applies retroactively, thereby criminalizing conduct that was legal when originally performed. Two clauses in the US Constitution prohibit ex post facto laws.."

    "Latin for "after the fact." Refers to laws adopted after an act is committed, making it illegal retroactively. Or, it can refer to laws that increase the penalty for a crime after it is committed. Such laws are specifically prohibited by the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9."


    And from Section 10, we have this (note that the phrase shows up again, this time for states);

    'No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."

    So neither the Federal government nor a state can pass a law that would make you a criminal for something you did legally prior to that law's passage. The possession of an AR when legal doesn't suddenly become illegal and warrant your arrest and incarceration.

    Now is congress or the executive branch or are state legislatures fully aware of this little impediment and will they abide by this constitutional restriction? I wouldn't hold my breath.
    Excellent post. Unless you object, I'm gonna post this elsewhere....

  8. #8
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    Excellent post. Unless you object, I'm gonna post this elsewhere....
    Be my guest.

  9. #9
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    Thank you ....

  10. #10
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    One of these days, one of these idiots will try something that will get far too many people excited and they may find that the paper tiger does indeed have both claws and teeth.

  11. #11
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    Is the possession of an object a continuing act, or a single action taking place upon receiving the object? I could see an argument being made that ex post facto doesn't apply, as they would be making it illegal to possess a particular firearm since the passage of the banning law, not illegal to possess prior to the law's passage.

    It may be splitting hairs, but considering these are the same people who like to think the Second Amendment is entirely dependent on being in the National Guard, relying on ex post facto as a defense seems flimsy at best.

    KG

  12. #12
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    Let's take "the noble experiment"—that is, Prohibition—as an example.
    When Prohibition became law, it became illegal to buy, sell, or make alcoholic beverages. It also became illegal to keep newly-made alcoholic beverages in stock.
    However, those alcoholic beverages already in your possession were legal to keep, use, and even to dispense, as long as you didn't sell them, and as long as you dispensed them within the confines of your own private, non-commercial property. Had the law read otherwise, it would've been unconstitutional according to the quoted sections of Article One.
    It is unconstitutional to make illegal, from now on, the possession of something that was acquired when it was previously legal to possess it. However, it is not unconstitutional to make the use of that once-legal possession illegal now, just as it became illegal under Prohibition to sell or pubickly dispense legally possessed alcoholic beverages that had been acquired prior to the onset of Prohibition. It is also not unconstitutional, either to require the possessor to license the possession, or to forbid its transfer.

    Of course, the potential unconstitutionality of the effects of a law may not concern Progressive lawmakers bent on making our government safe from its people.
    It is so very expensive to appeal the effects of such a law up through the courts, to make the lawmakers' bet pay off.

  13. #13
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Let's take "the noble experiment"—that is, Prohibition—as an example.
    When Prohibition became law, it became illegal to buy, sell, or make alcoholic beverages. It also became illegal to keep newly-made alcoholic beverages in stock.
    However, those alcoholic beverages already in your possession were legal to keep, use, and even to dispense, as long as you didn't sell them, and as long as you dispensed them within the confines of your own private, non-commercial property. Had the law read otherwise, it would've been unconstitutional according to the quoted sections of Article One.
    It is unconstitutional to make illegal, from now on, the possession of something that was acquired when it was previously legal to possess it. However, it is not unconstitutional to make the use of that once-legal possession illegal now, just as it became illegal under Prohibition to sell or pubickly dispense legally possessed alcoholic beverages that had been acquired prior to the onset of Prohibition. It is also not unconstitutional, either to require the possessor to license the possession, or to forbid its transfer.

    Of course, the potential unconstitutionality of the effects of a law may not concern Progressive lawmakers bent on making our government safe from its people.
    It is so very expensive to appeal the effects of such a law up through the courts, to make the lawmakers' bet pay off.
    They could try a slightly different approach, which has been going around the net for several weeks now. Reclassify certain semi-automatic rifles as Title 2 firearms. Hard to imagine how they could get around doing this and not do it to all semi-autos but they really want to hit the "military styled" ones first (figuring it would sell better to the general public I suppose). Anyway if they did this, it appears that the expectation would be that all currently owned rifles that fit these descriptions would have to be addressed by their owners (registration, lengthy background checks, $200 stamp, etc.)

    That would seem to be a clear violation of the ex post facto clause. Frankly, I don't see them going this far, but nothing surprises me with these clowns. Any comments on this?

  14. #14
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    I believe that the only constitutional way to handle it is to "grandfather-in" all of the already-owned, prohibited guns, and to establish a tremendous impediment to future sales or transfers.
    That, indeed, seems to be Feinstein's intended strategy.

    But, as I previously wrote, legislators frequently ignore the Constitution anyway, and require someone to bring an appeals case through the courts at great expense.

  15. #15
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Yeah Steve, I don't see a mass registration program or worse, confiscation. This is going to take some time an effort and I don't think people would take kindly to it. I also suspect that a number of states would put pressure on their county sheriffs to arrest any outsider who tries something like this. In other words, it would be a mess.

    Total civilian disarmament is the goal of the ardent anti-gunners but the next best thing for them that is floating around and has a chance of passage would be something like what Feinstein has proposed. I don't see Feinstein's bill getting past the house, but stranger things have happened.

    Outright confiscation would be a nightmare for this administration and would open a huge can of unintended consequences which they probably didn't think would really happen. Now if we just had a case full of Sheriff Macks running around, we could make their lives pretty miserable.

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    Check out the 28th amendment--which states that the congress shall not be exempt from any law they pass that impacts the people. But do you think that Ovomit and his cronies will drop their current health programs and submit to Obama-care? Not very likely, but VERY illegal and unconstitutional. And sooo typical.

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