Between 1265 and 1274, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote what was to become his most influential work, “The Summa Theologica.”
It was a 3,500 page philosophical opus in which Aquinas attempted to reconcile Aristotelian metaphysics with Christian doctrine through the use of deductive and inductive reasoning. He wanted to prove that Aristotle’s “Prime Mover” behind the cosmos was, in fact, God. Aquinas passed away before the massive book was complete, but in it, he achieved many monumental feats of philosophical thought. He offered ideas that would have a profound effect on liberty-minded philosophers such as John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine.
Foremost among those ideas was the term “Lex Malla, Lex Nulla.”
My father used to say that a great deal, and he told me it meant, “Bad law is no law,” but he let me explore the deeper meaning.
Eventually, by reading Aquinas, I got it. “Lex Malla, Lex Nulla” distinguishes between bad statutes written by politicians, and real law, i.e. Natural Law, or the concept of negative reciprocity – the concept we can understand as “you have a right to be left alone by me and I have a right to be left alone by you.” Aquinas correctly argued that if a statute infringes on your right to possess your property and be left in peace, one had a right to engage in “civil disobedience.”
And by almost 750 years, he foreshadowed recent stunning, heartening events in the state of New Jersey.
Visitors to MRCTV might recall that a few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on how the Third Federal Circuit of Appeals insultingly ruled “constitutional” a New Jersey statute “banning” gun magazines of more than ten round capacity. The majority of Third Circuit oligarchs was so disconnected from the Constitution and the very definition of the word “rights” that, as Tom Knighton wrote for BearingArms:
The majority, in an opinion by Judge Shwartz and joined by Judge Greenaway, both appointed by President Obama, held that the ban did not violate the Second Amendment because it reasonably advanced the State’s interest in reducing mass shootings without severely burdening the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Well, it seems that many NJ gun owners understand the Constitution and the concept of “rights” better than the majority on that three-judge panel, for Reason’s Jacob Sullum reports this new development:
How many of New Jersey's 1 million or so gun owners have complied with the ban by turning LCMs in to law enforcement agencies? Approximately zero, judging from an investigation by Ammoland writer John Crump. Crump, an NRA instructor and gun rights activist, 'reached out to several local police departments in New Jersey' and found that 'none had a single report of magazines turned over.' He also contacted the New Jersey State Police, which has not officially responded to his inquiry. But 'two sources from within the State Police,' speaking on condition of anonymity, said 'they both do not know of any magazines turned over to their agency and doubted that any were turned in.
And, being an excellent writer, Sullum did some digging as well.
I also contacted the state police, where Sgt. Jeff Flynn told me they have received 'zero' LCMs. Flynn said I should address any other questions about the law to the Attorney General's Office, which I did. Leland Moore, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said I should talk to the state police. Crump got the same runaround. When I pointed that out, Moore said by email, 'We do not have information on how many LCMs have been received by local police in the hundreds of municipalities across NJ. That's not something we track.
Now, as Sullum notes, it’s possible that police on the state level don’t have that information, but one would imagine that they – or someone – on the state level would be able to offer some info, or direct interested parties to proof of even one person turning in a magazine.
No. It seems that NJ gun owners are ready to engage in civil disobedience, and this is a much more significant development than the state or the leftist pop media would like anyone to know.
This is a sign of what many of us expected when it comes to gun restrictions. Gun owners know their rights, and they know why the Second Amendment was written – to stop politicians, cops, and judges like the two in the Third Circuit majority (Shwartz and Greenway, both appointed by Obama) from attacking those rights.
And you can bet that many of those same politicians, some police, and many judges don’t like the noncompliance they’re seeing.
But Aquinas would have.
Locke would have.
Paine would have.
And the revolutionaries who risked and gave their lives to fight for their rights in the American Revolution would have.
Lexington and Concord might be a few hours north of New Jersey, but gun owners in The Garden State still understand “Lex Malla, Lex Nulla,” even if the agents of the state don’t.
And they’re engaging in civil disobedience.
This might not be a revolution, but it’s something the collectivists should remember.
Some Americans know their rights, and will fight for them, regardless of the statutes tyrants tell them to obey.