New Hampshire's 10th Amendment Rally: 'Armed but Peaceful'

As the 10th Amendment Movement continues to grow, we at HUMAN EVENTS are pleased to report that it now includes at least 18 states — Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, West Virginia, South Dakota, and Idaho – which have all introduced bills and resolutions appealing to the 10th Amendment for declarations of sovereignty in light of the Obama administration’s overreaching approach to governance.  

And this grassroots effort to protect individual liberties and powers of self-governance has brought out the best in our fellow citizens in New Hampshire.

In the state whose motto, “Live Free or Die,” often reads as an outdated symbol of colonial outrage toward British atrocities, free men and women rallied around the New Hampshire State House on March 4, in support of that state’s 10th Amendment resolution (HCR 6), calling for the federal government to recognize and remain within its Constitutional bounds.

Free men are not like others. They ask not what their government can do for them but what they can do for themselves without government interference. They recognize the value of a central government when its powers are limited, but understand the danger when its powers are unchecked.

Many of the free men and women who rallied in New Hampshire on March 4 did so with a pistol on their hip. That’s right: they were armed but peaceful. In support of the 10th Amendment they exercised their First Amendment right “peaceably to assemble” and “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” And per the Second Amendment they exercised their right to keep and bear arms, which for free men, “shall not be infringed.” (You just can’t do these things in France.)

It is important to note that the tone of New Hampshire’s resolution — HCR 6 — is much like that of our founding documents. It is a “Jeffersonian Declaration,” largely comprised of material from Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions and other political writings. Its broad-based appeal lies in the fact that it sets forth common claims for all states instead of just dealing with the resolutions of New Hampshire in particular: “The several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government. [And] to take from the States all the powers of self-government and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special delegations and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of these States.”

As Jefferson made it clear in 1798 so too the sponsors of HCR 6 made it clear in 2009 that “every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact…to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits.”

The resolution’s chief sponsor, New Hampshire Representative Dan Itse (R), made it clear the resolution was not about nullifying the stimulus package, rather: “The issues at hand are a declaration of martial law, or a state of emergency, [within a state] without consent of that state’s government. Further encroachments on our right to bear arms like the Holt Bill (H.R. 45) and involuntary servitude of those between 18 and 24. These are non-negotiable.”

Although Democrats voted down HCR 6 in New Hampshire’s legislature on March 4, its wide appeal to the rights of all states has made it the model resolution for other states looking to the 10th Amendment movement. For example, Oklahoma, which has not only introduced a sovereignty resolution but now witnessed its passed through both the state house and senate, relied upon HCR 6.

On the Mike Church radio show, Mark Lerner, with the office of Oklahoma Representative Charles Key (R), explained that Oklahoma’s HJR 1003 was demanding the same things of the federal government that New Hampshire’s state legislators were demanding: “What we’re doing is we’re saying to the federal government, we’re not your surrogate.  The Constitution wasn’t designed so states and people served the federal government.  The federal government only exists because of the power the people and the states have provided it. …So in other words, federal government, take your nose out of our business.”

Isn’t this all that free men have ever wanted? To be left alone. They don’t want a government that is involved in every aspect of their “business.” And in New Hampshire, they carry pistols on their hips to the State House to show that they refuse to depend on government for protection or for their every need. Of course the carrying of arms to such an event also sends another message that is very Jeffersonian. It was Jefferson who said: “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

With reality setting in, and Obama’s approval numbers falling, maybe the current administration will realize it’s time to back off the seemingly endless push toward socialism in America. If they don’t, many states seem poised to follow HCR 6’s lead and tell the administration that they will not abide by laws passed in violation of the parameters set forth in the Constitution.