Friday, July 05, 2013

"The people have the right to bear arms for their defence and security"

Special to the Kansas City Times.
[The following are quotations from Kansas lawyer David Overmyer. Who was an advocate for a new Kansas Constitution. As well as a return to fundamental principles of free government. And a staunch advocate for the rights of the people.]

"...For years the friends of justice struggled for a redemption statute, and finally got it. The assaults which have been made upon that statute show that the principle it contains will never be free from attack until imbedded in the constitution.

   "The constitution should, therefore, provide for this safeguard of the fire-side and family.

   "As most of the law-makers of Kansas have professed great solicitude for 'the homes' of the people, and as many of them have been 'Christian statesmen' of a high order, they will pardon me for citing an ancient authority in favor of the redemption of lands from judicial sales.

   "These verses are from the twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus:

   "'23. The land shall not be sold for ever; for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.'
   "'24. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption of the land.'
   "'27. Then let him count the years of the sale thereof and restore the overplus to the man to whom he sold it, that he may return into his possession.'
   "'28. But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hands of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee; and in the jubilee it shall go out and he shall return unto his possessions.'
   "The year of jubilee came once in fifty years, and that often, pay or no pay, the title of the land of the debtor went baok to him or his heirs.
   "The fee simple to farming land could not be utterly lost by reason of debt. Inside of walled cities the fee simple might pass, but even then there was a one year redemption. These provisions were intended to prevent land monopoly. It was well understood even in that remote age that unless prevented by positive law a few people would soon possess the earth.
   "Kansas must have a redemption law, and to make sure of it should so provide in the constitution.

   "Entering as we are upon a great struggle between the people and power, we begin to appreciate more keenly the importance of the present constitutional safeguards of the citizen against organized violence, such as, 'The people have the right to bear arms for their defence and security, but standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power--' Sec 4, Bill of Rights. We begin to realize the importance of the source and composition of the coercive power of society. Our fathers understand this well, hence they not only put in all of our constitutional provisions similar to the above, but in our state constitution it is provided that 'The militia shall be composed of all able-bodied white male citizens between the ages of 21 and 45 years, except, certain exempts.' Why was this? It was so that when the authorities called out the militia to put down the people, they call out the people themselves, and why this? So that unless the cause for putting the people down is a just one they shall not be put down: Why? 'Vox populi vox dei.' [the voice of the people is the voice of God.] It was intended that the people of a free state should not be assailed by organized bands of men separated from the body of the people, subject to despotic discipline and in duty bound to obey the most unreasonable and inhumane commands. And yet in the Pinkertons and in the present national guard militia we have exactly such organizations authorized by laws passed by unsuspecting Legislatures, through the sly but far away volition of men who wanted armed and organized bodies who would not hesitate to fire upon the people; men who wanted those bodies to coerce the people in conflict between the people and power which they then saw when others saw nothing. We want a new constitution to render unmistakable the rights of the people to exemption from assault by hireling bands of ruffians upon one hand and by an unconstitutional soldiery upon the other...."

- Phillipsburg Herald, Phillipsburg, Kansas, Thursday, November 19, 1896. Vol. XVIII, No. 4. Pg. 1.

(Overmyer, David, 1847-1907, Overmyer was a Republican and in 1876 a candidate for a Republican presidential elector in Indiana. In a relatively short span of time, Overmyer became a well-respected attorney and political advocate. The United States attorney for the District of Kansas appointed him in 1890 to be a special master in chancery to collect testimony relating to a suit filed in the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Kansas, by the U.S. attorney general to resolve the title to lands claimed by the Black Bob Band of Shawnee Indians. He gave his final report and recommendations to the judge five years later. Overmyer represented Democrats at four-way debates with Republicans, Populists, and Prohibitionists in Salina, Kansas, in 1891 and Topeka in 1894. It is said that he argued more cases before the Kansas Supreme Court in 1890s than any other attorney. From the Kansas Historical Society.)

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