Recently, the U.S. government entered into a U.N. arms treaty. Opponents of this measure claim it will lead to implementation of mandatory firearm registrations, ultimately imposing limitations over the Second Amendment. Opponents believe that the Obama Administration will claim that under the Supremacy Clause listed in the U.S. Constitution, treaties are regarded higher than the Constitution and other U.S. related laws, thus allowing them a loophole around the Second Amendment.
The intentions of our forefathers were never debatable. In the words of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution itself was designed to not allow for dismantling, which is clearly understood under Article VI. Anti gun rights activists claim that the constitution was given a backdoor to provide for such circumstances; however, this argument is rather illogical, considering the forefathers took such great care to instill well-written doctrine into the essence of the this civilization changing document.
This fact leads many to further analyze the grammar within the Constitution, hoping to shed light on this mystery. Throughout the Constitution, our forefathers were very careful in their select use of the word “this” in relation to “this Constitution.” This leaves little doubt in the minds of many that the Constitution regularly refers to itself within the context of the article.
However, and this is where the debate sparks, there is one single references in the Constitution that refers to “the Constitution” instead of “this Constitution.” What does this mean and why were the forefathers not consistent with their use of prepositional phrases throughout this clandestine document? The key to solving this grammatical riddle lies in the phrase that precedes it:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
When this prepositional phrase is taken in context, it seems obvious that the forefathers were referring to State laws, including State Constitutions. Hence, in implying state constitution, they would not refer it to as “this Constitution,” as this differentiation is reserved only for the revered U.S. Constitution.
This small detail means that there is, in fact, no loophole in the Constitution to give treaties power over this revered document. It simply allows treaties to be placed ahead of State doctrines, but never before the Supreme Law of the Land – the U.S. Constitution. Politicians may be best served with a refresher English course, putting an end to this worn, inaccurately debated subject.
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