Posted: 5/21/2008 1:26:15 PM EDT
Lately there have been quite a few threads where people have used a line to the effect "it doesn't say you have that right in the Constitution", or something similar. Or that an activity isn't listed in the Bill or Rights, so therefore it isn't a right. This is highly depressing, since we as gun owners should understand what exactly the Constitution is, and what it does and does not do.
In our system of government, the people are assumed to have rights from birth. Therefore, the Constitution and the Bill or Rights DO NOT grant any rights whatsoever. Don't believe me? Read them, and show me where they grant a right.
What they do is grant the government certain powers, and then place limits on those powers. That's a key difference: govt is given powers, people have rights. Ideally, powers can be taken away, rights cannot. Our govt is granted power through the consent of the people. Our rights are not to be granted through consent of the govt. Therefore, the people have power in addition to rights, while govt can never have rights, only the power given to it by the people.
As such, the Bill of Rights cannot be construed to grant only those rights listed. In fact, it can't be construed to grant any rights at all, since it clearly doesn't. The BOR was simply added protection for certain rights, likely those which the founders felt would be the first to be attacked by a tyrannical govt. Once again: It is not a document that grants rights, it simply places added protection on certain rights.
If people only have rights after being born, then what is all the fuss about abortions?
The Constitution of the United States
Bill of Rights
Article the third [Amendment I]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Article the fourth [Amendment II] 
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.
Article the fifth [Amendment III]
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Article the sixth [Amendment IV]
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Article the seventh [Amendment V]
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Article the eighth [Amendment VI]
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial , by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Well said GT86.
The Bill of Rights does not grant any rights to the people. It restricts the Federal Government from infringing pre-existing god-given rights (some of which they list in the bill of rights).
I think the ninth amendment says it well:
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."