Second Amendment and Personal Defense
We affirm Article III, § 22 of the Constitution of West Virginia whereby all men have the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home, and state and for lawful hunting and recreation use. As such, we support the Castle Doctrine which holds that law-abiding citizens should not be forced to retreat in the face of criminal attack, and should be legally entitled to meet force with force to save their own lives and the lives of others or for the protection of property. State laws should be reformed to prohibit criminals from suing for “damages,” prohibit employers from firing workers who lawfully store their firearms in locked vehicles, and prohibit firearms confiscation or use in a time of local or national emergency.
Furthermore, such arms are not limited to just those functional via gunpowder, but include any variety of implement which a free person may choose to employ in repel of unwanted aggression, or for a tool, hobby, or collectible purposes. Such property shall be free of any sort of arbitrary size, shape, configuration, or quantity restrictions, and may be kept in any safe controlled location of its owner’s choosing, anywhere on his person or otherwise.
National “instant check” information should not be retained in any form of database. We strongly oppose the collection of names of gun show attendees for forwarding to federal government authorities, as this is a form of surveillance. We oppose the licensing of gun owners, all forms of gun registration, and any form of rationing of firearms, munitions, component sales or limiting the production thereof. Additionally, we advocate Alaska, Arizona, and Vermont style freedom where no permit or fee is required to exercise a person’s right to open or conceal carry a weapon, and seek reciprocity with the several States for the same. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
In his original draft of the Bill of Rights, George Mason wrote “ . . . a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defense of a free State; that Standing Armies in Time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided as far as the Circumstances and Protection of the Community will admit; and that in all Cases, the military should be under strict Subordination to, and governed by the Civil Power.” And, in Federalist 46, James Madison wrote, “Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. . . . To these [a standing army] be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.” It is clear, therefore, that our founders intended for the militia to be our peacetime force comprised of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
In accord with this original intent, we advocate that sheriffs in every county, under the leadership of the governor, make provisions for the reestablishment of a properly trained and equipped, volunteer, and physically fit citizens militia of West Virginia people; Mountaineers who are readily available for call to service to assist the public in any urgent situation preliminary to Congress organizing any other armed force under formal declaration. This country was founded by patriots who fought with both pen and sword in order to give their posterity the freedoms we enjoy today—a revolution won by common individuals temporarily organized yet considered enemies by their imperial government for their object of resisting the established tyranny. Lexington and Concord stir the hearts of real Americans. We must heed George Santayana’s wisdom, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Adopted on November 13, 2010.