Guest Column: Liberty Day recalls the beginning of our nation

By State Sen. Christine Johnson

Recently, our country celebrated Liberty Day, a day established to engage and educate the American public on the ideals of personal liberty contained within our nation’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Liberty Day is observed each year on March 16, the birth date of former United States President James Madison, who is also known as the “Father of the Constitution.” As a founding father, Madison understood the vital role that self-governance would play in the foundation of our emerging nation.

Madison helped to create and ratify the U.S. Constitution; penning the Bill of Rights, he played a significant role in the creation of our country’s laws, principles and values. James Madison embraced the spirit of the American people, setting the stage for a government that would respect personal freedom and embrace the citizens’ “inalienable rights.”

I believe the Second Amendment granting the right to bear arms is one of the most important doctrines advanced and protected within the Constitution. In Madison’s words, “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

In an attempt to uphold this authority granted to American citizens, I have introduced Senate Bill 3772, legislation that will allow Illinois residents to apply for permits to carry concealed weapons. Illinois is the only state in the union that does not have some sort of concealed carry law, and I believe that it is time that this constitutionally-guaranteed right to bear arms be granted.

Though the right to bear arms is one of the foremost liberties protected within the Constitution, this American right is being denied in Illinois. I encourage you all to reach out to Illinois’ leaders and let them know that you want Illinois citizens to enjoy the same freedom of protection as the rest of the country.

I am so grateful to be exercising my First Amendment rights today in a country here, where, in the words of James Madison, “The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.”

State Sen. Christine Johnson (R) represents the 35th District in Illinois.

From the March 28-April 3, 2012, issue

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