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Tag Archives: second-amendment
Posted: January 6, 2017 at 10:47 pm
In a racist ruling that primarily functioned as a way to disarm black residents while protecting white Southern paramilitary groups, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment applied only to the federal government. Chief Justice Morrison Waite wrote for the majority:
The most frequently-cited Second Amendment ruling in U.S. history has been United States v. Miller, a serious but challenging attempt to define the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms on the basis of how well it serves the Second Amendment’s well-regulated-militia rationale. As Justice James Clark McReynolds wrote for the majority:
In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decidedfor the first time in U.S. historyto strike down a law on Second Amendment grounds. Justice Scalia wrote for the narrow majority:
The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a ‘right of the people.’ The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase ‘right of the people’ two other times, in the First Amendments Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendments Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (‘The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people’). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body …
We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.
The opinion the Court announces today fails to identify any new evidence supporting the view that the Amendment was intended to limit the power of Congress to regulate civilian uses of weapons. Unable to point to any such evidence, the Court stakes its holding on a strained and unpersuasive reading of the Amendments text; significantly different provisions in the 1689 English Bill of Rights, and in various 19th-century State Constitutions; postenactment commentary that was available to the Court when it decided Miller; and, ultimately, a feeble attempt to distinguish Miller that places more emphasis on the Courts decisional process than on the reasoning in the opinion itself …
Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia. The Courts announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes upsets that settled understanding, but leaves for future cases the formidable task of defining the scope of permissible regulations …
The Court properly disclaims any interest in evaluating the wisdom of the specific policy choice challenged in this case, but it fails to pay heed to a far more important policy choicethe choice made by the Framers themselves. The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy. Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Courts opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.
Posted: November 23, 2016 at 9:57 pm
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to push to relax gun laws when he takes office, but significant changes in the firearms industry began as soon as he was elected and some put the law of unintended consequences squarely in the cross hairs.
For instance, while Trumps unapologetic pro-Second Amendment stance may be good for gun owners, it has already dealt a blow to manufacturers, who enjoyed record sales throughout President Obamas eight years in office. Stocks in companies like Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. plunged on Nov. 9, and experts say it is because Trumps election erased fears that guns would become harder to get.
A lot of people were buying guns simply because they were worried Hillary Clintons regulations would make it more costly and more difficult to buy guns, and people are not going to feel quite the need to go out and buy guns now, Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott told FoxNews.com. I think the stock market is a pretty good predictor of whats going to happen, and the fact that you see drops in stock prices by almost 20 percentage points I think thats pretty significant.
While the government does not publish an official number of gun sales, background checks, a gauge of how many people try to buy guns, skyrocketed under President Obama. In 2008, 12.71 million background checks were conducted, a number on pace to double this year, to set an all-time record.
The prospect of a pro-gun control administration of Hillary Clinton following Obama, together with a campaign that put gun rights in the spotlight, was the likely driver of the firearms boom, acknowledged Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. But he was skeptical that a rise in 2016 gun sales or an anticipated dip in the coming year will have a major effect on crime.
Gun violence is obviously a complicated issue and doesnt just turn around because of a month or two of different sales, Horwitz said. There are so many guns in America that a blip in the sales rate is not going to change the death and injury rate in any meaningful fashion, and its just too early to tell.
The weekend following Trumps election, arms vendors from all over the country set up their exhibits in Oklahoma for the semi-annual Wanenmachers Tulsa Arms Show, the largest gun and knife show in the world. Show founder Joe Wanenmacher told FoxNews.com sales were steady, but wouldve been through the roof if Clinton had won.
Had Secretary Clinton been elected, it would have been panic sales, because gun shows were in her sights to either be eliminated, or make it so difficult to sell that they wouldnt be effective, Wanenmacher said. When there is complacency, there isnt the motive to buy guns in anticipation of something bad happening.
One attendee agreed.
I think if Trump hadnt won, it would have been chaos, she said. It was a relaxed atmosphere and everyone was upbeat.
Fear of new gun control laws was not the only sales driver in recent years, said National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesman Mike Bazinet. He said local crime also spurred people to buy guns, and does not expect that factor to diminish in the near future.
There is no question that the concern over political situations over the past several years, where people may have feared additional restrictions of access to firearms was a motivator, but it wasnt the only one, Bazinet said. Our retailers tell us that a more important factor is local crime.
Trump has said he intends to work with state and local governments to repeal gun-free zones, do away with the special tax on silencers, encourage expansion of conceal carry laws and carry out a host of other pro-gun industry initiatives. Advocates of gun control say such measures will put more people at risk of becoming victims of gun violence, but Trump and other Second Amendment stalwarts disagree.
If you get rid of gun-free zones and make it easier for people to carry, you will deter criminals, Lott told Fox News. You will be able to reduce crime.
The irony is that an administration more sympathetic to the gun industry could hurt its bottom line.
There is no doubt that the firearms industry will not be treated as a social disease by the Trump Administration, Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told Fox News. The president-elect will make the Second Amendment great again.
Posted: October 1, 2016 at 1:43 am
At last nights presidential debate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made all kinds of attacks on each other. But on one notable issue, they were in complete agreement: they both think people on the federal governments no fly list should be categorically denied their right to buy guns under the Second Amendment. Both candidates have repeatedly said so for months. Trumps stance on this issue should be deeply troubling to those who care about gun rights and also to people concerned about constitutional rights generally, even if they dont care much about this one.
As both the ACLU and conservative commentators point out, the no fly list is notoriously inaccurate. It is also provides little or no due process protections. The process is secret, people are not told the reasons why they were placed on the list, and they are not given any advance opportunity to challenge the designation. And, once on the list, even a completely innocent person might find it difficult and time-consuming to get off it.
If Trump is committed to the idea that your Second Amendment rights can be stripped on such a flimsy basis, with so little due process, then virtually any other politically feasible limitation on gun rights is also acceptable. The sort of reasoning that would uphold this restriction on gun ownership would permit pretty much any other. That should give pause to people supporting Trump because they think he is going to protect Second Amendment rights. It is also yet another reason to doubt that he would appoint originalist judges committed to protecting important constitutional rights generally. Most such judges are unlikely to uphold these kinds of gun regulations (as well as many other items on his political agenda).
Trumps disdain for Second Amendment rights is not limited to the no fly list. At last nights debate, he also said he wants police to use stop and frisk searches to take away guns from bad people. Its not entirely clear what he means by this remark (it could be interpreted as being limited to people the police believe to be felons or gang members whom he also mentioned in the same part of the debate). But, at the very least, its another example of him advocating gun confiscation without due process. It also indicates a disturbing level of confidence that the government can identify bad people and take away their guns without victimizing the innocent.
Even people who do not care much about gun rights and the Second Amendment have reason to be concerned about Trumps position on this issue. As liberal legal commentator Mark Joseph Stern (who is no fan of gun rights), points out, if this constitutional right can be taken away with so little due process, others can be as well:
If the government can revoke your right to access firearms simply because it has decided to place you on a secret, notoriously inaccurate list, it could presumably restrict your other rights in a similar manner. You could be forbidden from advocating for causes you believe in, or associating with like-minded activists; your right against intrusive, unreasonable searches could be suspended. And you would have no recourse: The government could simply declare that, as a name on a covert list, you are owed no due process at all.
Stern believes that the Second Amendment should not be interpreted as protecting an individual right to bear arms. But so long as the Supreme Court continues to hold otherwise, revoking this right on the basis of a secret list with no due process sets a dangerous precedent for other constitutional rights.
In fairness to Trump, Hillary Clinton is no better than he is on the no fly issue. It is, as already noted, one of the few things they agreed on last night. While I believe that she is, on balance, a lesser evil than Trump, this is not one of the issues that makes her so. On other gun control issues, she almost certainly favors more extensive regulation than he does.
But there is this difference: Hillary Clinton and many other liberals make no bones about the fact that they believe either that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to bear arms at all, or that the right in question is an unimportant one that should be relegated to second-class status compared to what they see as more significant parts of the Bill of Rights. I think theyre badly wrong about that. But their reasoning at least creates the possibility that they and the judges they pick could approve the no-fly list gun ban without creating too much of a dangerous precedent for other constitutional rights. Like Stern, I believe that many liberals seriously underrate the risk of dangerous slippery slope effects in this area. But at least they are making some effort to contain them.
By contrast, Trump repeatedly claims that hes a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. If hes nonetheless willing to undermine it so blatantly, that does not bode well for the many constitutional rights for which he has (even) less regard.
UPDATE: Commenters on Twitter point to Trumps seeming support of a GOP bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn that would allow the government to ban people on the no fly list from buying guns for only 72 hours, after which they would have to go to court to provide evidence of links to terrorism, in order to extend the ban. Its a fair point, and one I should have addressed in the original post. But I dont think it much changes the bottom line on the dangerous implications of Trumps position on this issue.
While it is entirely possibly that Trump would sign the Cornyn bill if it passes, he has never clearly stated that he supports it. Much more significantly he has never said that he will only support the no fly, no buy policy if it includes a right to a judicial hearing. And, in the debate last night, he suggested the contrary by emphasizing his essential agreement with Hillary Clinton on the issue. He even said he quite strongly agrees with her. This implies he would be just as happy to sign a bill with no such judicial safeguards (which is the approach Clinton advocates). Trump did indicate that there should be a legal way for people to get off the no fly list if they should not be there. But, of course, that is no different from the status quo. People can already entirely legally get off the no fly list by asking the federal government to remove them. It just often takes many months or even years to happen.
The important broader issue here is not whether Trump would sign the Cornyn bill. It is Trumps cavalier approach even towards those constitutional rights, such as the Second Amendment, that he claims to strongly support.
See the original post:
Trump and the Second Amendment – The Washington Post
Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:21 am
I genuinely want to be done with defending the Second Amendment from theregular barrage of its historically illiterate and inept detractorsthe people who say this amendment protects only the right of the militia to own weapons.
One friend and fellow gun rights activist said its best to just ignore such people, in the same way that you might ignore people who say triangles have four sides or that the Sun orbits the Earth. It is tempting to just stop engaging the dopeswho simply refuse to consider basic, objective historical facts.
But I actually think this might be a bad strategy, as it may allow the debunked and nonsensical militia reading of the Second Amendment to gain ground. With a Hillary Clinton presidency and Supreme Court on the way, we need an American population that is historically knowledgeable. That means fighting back against the corruption of American knowledge.
Anti-gun folks will cheerfully exploit (and in many cases encourage) the ignorance of the American body politic to get what they want. It is important to push back against that wherever and whenever possible. By way of example: at the Huffington Post this week, Daryl Sneath, a recreational grammarian, is trying very hard totake advantage of American historical ignorance:
One of those things [the Framers]knew about is the comma, the only purpose of which is clarity. Doubtless the writers were acutely aware of this grammatical truism (despite their apparent affinity for complex diction) when they drew their collective stylus southward (certainly aware too of that symbolic direction) making the little mark immediately following the phrasethe right of the people to keep and bear arms. As such, the subject of the predicateshall not be infringedis clearly notthe right of the people. No subject is ever separated from its predicate by a comma alone. Put more plainly, the principal clause (or declaration) of the whole amendment is this:A well regulated militia shall not be infringed.The middle bit modifies the main.
Leaving aside the dubious grammatical reading, as well as the utter travesty of ahistorical non-engagement with contemporaneous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century primary sources, just marvel at this: A well regulated militia shall not be infringed. What would such a right evenmeanin the context of extant constitutional structure and precedent? It would actually meannothing.
Sneath seems to suggest that the Second Amendment provides some sort of bulwark to protect state militias against congressional infringement. But this is objectively, factually false: Congress hascompletecontrol over state militiasthe federal governmentcan organize and abolish the militiawhenever itfeels like it, and for whatever reasonand no serious historical scholar has ever suggested that the Second Amendment somehow circumscribes this congressional power in any way. Put another way: Sneath is implying that the Second Amendment prohibits Congress from doingthe very thing Congress is fully empowered to do.
I am genuinely curious: is there any other constitutional right, or any other constitutional amendment, that is so consistently and so aggressively handled with such base and inexcusable stupidity, on so regular a basis, and on such an industrial scale?I am not sure. You dont usually see arguments of this idiotic magnitude when it comes to, say, the Fourth Amendment, or the Sixth. You certainly see dumb interpretations of the First Amendment, but thats usually a matter ofdegree, notkind:you will have people arguing that the First Amendment doesnt protect hate speech, for instance, but nobody ever argues that the First Amendment only applies to state governments, say, rather than to individual members of the body politic.
Only the Second Amendment is subject to such illiterate and ahistorical analyses. Onceyou realizethat, you can fully graspwhy: many people simply do not like guns, and they will lieor else keep themselves deliberately ignorantto prevent other people from having them.
This is not an isolated incident: anti-gun folks are very happy to resort to falsehoods to advance their cause. Recently the National Rifle Association put out an ad that claims Hillary Clinton doesnt believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. This is entirely true, but Glenn Kessler over at the Washington Post calls it false:
Clinton has said that she disagreed with the Supreme Courts decision inHeller, but she has made no proposals that would strip Americans of the right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. Clinton is certainly in favor of more gun regulations and tougher background checks, and a more nuanced ad could have made this case.Conjuring up a hypothetical Supreme Court justice ruling in a hypothetical case is simply not enough for such a sweeping claim.That tips the ads claim into the Four-Pinocchio category.
This is just a shameless mess.As I have argued before, Clintons disagreement with the Supreme Courts ruling inHelleris anunequivocal rejection of the right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.That is the very rightHellerdecided in favor of!To be againstHelleris to be against the individual right to own firearms. This is not up for debate.
Now, Clinton claims she merely disagrees withHellerinsofar as she believes cities and states should have the power to craft common-sense laws to keep their residents safe. But this is nonsense:Hellernot onlyallows for such laws, itexplicitly authorizes them.Given that Hillarys justification for opposingHelleris meaningless, we must assume she opposes it for its core substancenamely, that it affirms the individual right codified in the Second Amendment.
In other words, Hillary Clinton wants to take your guns away. Shes been honest about it; why cant our fact checkers?
Read the rest here:
Second Amendment: How Does It Work? Left Has No Idea
Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:08 pm
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raised eyebrows Tuesday when he suggested there is “nothing” that can be done to stop Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court picks, except “maybe” the “Second Amendment people.”
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said to the crowd of supporters gathered in the Trask Coliseum at North Carolina University in Wilmington. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks.
“Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”
After the speech, Clinton’s campaign seized on the remarks.
“This is simple what Trump is saying is dangerous,” read a statement from campaign manager Robby Mook. “A person seeking to be president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”
ABC News reached out to the Secret Service for response to Trump’s comment, and the agency said it was aware of the remarks.
The Trump campaign insisted the candidate’s words referred to the power of “Second Amendment people” to unify.
“It’s called the power of unification 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” read a statement, titled “Trump Campaign Statement Against Dishonest Media,” from senior communications adviser Jason Miller.
In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump tried to explain his remarks.
And in an interview with Fox News Tuesday night, Trump told the network: “This is a strong, powerful movement, the Second Amendment” and called the NRA “terrific people.”
“There can be no other interpretation,” he said of his earlier remarks. “I mean, give me a break.”
Trump’s running mate Mike Pence rose to the candidate’s defense and said Trump was not insinuating that there should be violence against Clinton.
“Donald Trump is clearly saying is that people who cherish that right, who believe that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens makes our communities more safe, not less safe, should be involved in the political process and let their voice be heard,” Pence said today in an interview with NBC10, a local Philadelphia TV station.
Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine told reporters today in Trump’s comments “revealed this complete temperamental misfit with the character thats required to do the job and in a nation.”
“We gotta be pulling together and countenancing violence is not something any leader should do,” Kaine said.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who led a 15-hour filibuster in June to force a vote on gun control measures, took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with Trump’s comments.
“This isn’t play,” wrote Murphy. “Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you, @realDonaldTrump.”
And Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who wrote in a tweet that because he believed Trump “suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton,” called for a Secret Service investigation.
See the rest here:
Trump: Maybe ‘2nd Amendment People’ Can Stop Clinton’s …
Posted: July 3, 2016 at 12:09 pm
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. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution
Does the Second Amendment prevent effective gun regulations? What is the right to bear arms? Second Amendment litigation has become a critical battleground since the U.S. Supreme Court held, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense. This decision created a radical shift in the meaning of the Second Amendment, but it doesnt prevent smart gun regulations. In fact, since Heller, courts nationwide have found a wide variety of firearms laws constitutional because they can help prevent gun deaths, injuries, and crimes in communities across the country.
The Law Center not only tracks the extensive Second Amendment litigation currently happening nationwide, but also analyzes the trends, to bring you the latest developments in the courts.
Learn more about the 2008 DC vs Heller decision.
Learn more about the 2010McDonald v. City of Chicago decision.
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court singlehandedly inserted the judicial system into the ongoing national debate over gun laws in America. In a 5-4 decision inDistrict of Columbia v. Heller, the Court invalidated the District of Columbias handgun ban and firearm storage law, stating for the first time that the Second Amendment protects a responsible, law-abiding citizens right to possess an operable handgun in the home for self-defense.
Heller was unquestionably a radical decision, overturning the Courts previous ruling that the Second Amendment was tied to state militia service. For almost seventy years, lower federal and state courts nationwide had relied on that pronouncement to reject hundreds of Second Amendment challenges.
The Heller decision immediately drew strong criticism from a wide array of legal scholars, historians, advocates and legislators, including a particularly scathing rebuke from respected conservative judge Richard Posner, who noted that, The only certain effect of the Heller decision will be to increase litigation over gun ownership.
In fact, new litigation started almost immediately. The day that Heller was announced, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the City of Chicagos handgun ban, with a second suit filed the next day. Other suits emerged soon after, escalating once the Supreme Court confirmed that the Second Amendment also applied to state and local laws in 2010s McDonald v. City of Chicago decision. After that case, the number of lawsuits challenging gun laws nationwide skyrocketed.
Thankfully, despite the explosion of litigation, courts across the country have rejected the overwhelming majority of Second Amendment challenges initiated since Heller. Gun rights advocates and criminal defendants across the country have sought to expand the Second Amendment to invalidate almost every gun law on the books today. In siding with us and the majority of Americans who support sensible gun laws, courts are finding that smart laws arent just constitutionaltheyre also critical to keeping our communities safe from gun violence.
Read the original:
Second Amendment Basics | Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Posted: June 25, 2016 at 10:53 am
In 1803 a distinguished Virginia jurist named St. George Tucker published the first extended analysis and commentary on the recently adopted U.S. Constitution. Though it is mostly forgotten today, Tucker’s View of the Constitution of the United States was a major work in its time. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, generations of lawyers and scholars would reach for Tucker’s View as a go-to constitutional law textbook.
I was reminded of Tucker’s dusty tome in recent days after reading one liberal pundit after another smugly assert that the original meaning of the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, for example, denounced the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment as a “a hoax” peddled in recent years by the conniving National Rifle Association. Likewise, Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson complained that “the NRA’s politicking has warped the Constitution itself” by tricking the Supreme Court into “recast[ing] the Second Amendment as a guarantee of individual gun rights.”
Old St. George Tucker never encountered any “politicking” by the NRA. A veteran of the Revolutionary war and a one-time colleague of James Madison, Tucker watched in real time as Americans publicly debated whether or to ratify the Constitution, and then watched again as Americans debated whether or not to amend the Constitution by adopting the Bill of Rights. Afterwards Tucker sat down and wrote the country’s first major constitutional treatise. And as far Tucker was concerned, there was simply no doubt that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to arms. “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty,” Tucker wrote of the Second Amendment. “The right of self-defense is the first law of nature.”
The individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment was widely held during the founding era. How do we know this? Because the historical evidence overwhelmingly points in that direction. For example, consider the historical context in which the Second Amendment was first adopted.
When the Constitution was ratified in 1789 it lacked the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments came along a few years later, added to the Constitution in response to objections made during ratification by the Anti-Federalists, who wanted to see some explicit protections added in order to safeguard key individual rights. As the pseudonymous Anti-Federalist pamphleteer “John DeWitt” put it, “the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system, is a solid objection to it.”
Library of CongressJames Madison, the primary architect of the new Constitution, took seriously such Anti-Federalist objections. “The great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution],” Madison told Congress in 1789, “dislike it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights.” To remove such objections, Madison said, supporters of the Constitution should compromise and agree to include “such amendments in the constitution as will secure those rights, which [the Anti-Federalists] consider as not sufficiently guarded.” Madison then proposed the batch of amendments that would eventually become the Bill of Rights.
What “particular rights” did the Anti-Federalists consider to be “not sufficiently guarded” by the new Constitution? One right that the Anti-Federalists brought up again and again was the individual right to arms.
For example, Anti-Federalists at the New Hampshire ratification convention wanted it made clear that, “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.” Anti-Federalists at the Massachusetts ratification convention wanted the Constitution to “be never construed…to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable, from keeping their own arms.”
Meanwhile, in the Anti-Federalist stronghold of Pennsylvania, critics at that state’s ratification convention wanted the Constitution to declare, “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.”
One of the central purposes of the Second Amendment was to mollify such concerns by enshrining the individual right to arms squarely within the text of the Constitution. Just as the First Amendment was added to address fears of government censorship, the Second Amendment was added to address fears about government bans on private gun ownership.
Like it or not, the idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right is as old as the Second Amendment itself.
Continue reading here:
The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …
Posted: June 17, 2016 at 4:48 am
I teach the Constitution for a living. I revere the document when it is used to further social justice and make our country a more inclusive one. I admire the Founders for establishing a representative democracy that has survived for over two centuries.
But sometimes we just have to acknowledge that the Founders and the Constitution are wrong. This is one of those times. We need to say loud and clear: The Second Amendment must be repealed.
As much as we have a culture of reverence for the founding generation, it’s important to understand that they got it wrong and got it wrong often. Unfortunately, in many instances, they enshrined those faults in the Constitution. For instance, most people don’t know it now, but under the original document, Mitt Romney would be serving as President Obama’s vice president right now because he was the runner-up in the last presidential election. That part of the Constitution was fixed by the Twelfth Amendment, which set up the system we currently have of the president and vice president running for office together.
Much more profoundly, the Framers and the Constitution were wildly wrong on race. They enshrined slavery into the Constitution in multiple ways, including taking the extreme step of prohibiting the Constitution from being amended to stop the slave trade in the country’s first 20years. They also blatantly wrote racism into the Constitution by counting slaves as only 3/5 of a person for purposes of Congressional representation. It took a bloody civil war to fix these constitutional flaws (and then another 150 years, and counting, to try to fix the societal consequences of them).
There are others flaws that have been fixed (such as about voting and Presidential succession), and still other flaws that have not yet been fixed (such as about equal rights for women and land-based representation in the Senate), but the point is the same there is absolutely nothing permanently sacrosanct about the Founders and the Constitution. They were deeply flawed people, it was and is a flawed document, and when we think about how to make our country a more perfect union, we must operate with those principles in mind.
In the face of yet another mass shooting, now is the time to acknowledge a profound but obvious truth the Second Amendment is wrong for this country and needs to be jettisoned. We can do that through a Constitutional amendment. It’s been done before (when the Twenty-First Amendment repealed prohibition in the Eighteenth), and it must be done now.
The Second Amendment needs to be repealed because it is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact. When the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, there were no weapons remotely like the AR-15assault rifle and many of the advances of modern weaponry were long from being invented or popularized.
Sure, the Founders knew that the world evolved and that technology changed, but the weapons of today that are easily accessible are vastly different than anything that existed in 1791. When the Second Amendment was written, the Founders didn’t have to weigh the risks of one man killing 49and injuring 53 all by himself. Now we do, and the risk-benefit analysis of 1791 is flatly irrelevant to the risk-benefit analysis of today.
Gun-rights advocates like to make this all about liberty, insisting that their freedom to bear arms is of utmost importance and that restricting their freedom would be a violation of basic rights.
But liberty is not a one way street. It also includes the liberty to enjoy a night out with friends, loving who you want to love, dancing how you want to dance, in a club that has historically provided a refuge from the hate and fear that surrounds you. It also includes the liberty to go to and send your kids to kindergarten and first grade so that they can begin to be infused with a love of learning. It includes the liberty to go to a movie, to your religious house of worship, to college, to work, to an abortion clinic, go to a hair salon, to a community center, to the supermarket, to go anywhere and feel that you are free to do to so without having to weigh the risk of being gunned downby someone wielding a weapon that can easily kill you and countless others.
The liberty of some to own guns cannot take precedence over the liberty of everyone to live their lives free from the risk of being easily murdered. It has for too long, and we must now say no more.
Finally, if we take the gun-rights lobby at their word, the Second Amendment is a suicide pact. As they say over and over, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. In other words, please the gun manufacturers by arming even the vast majority of Americans who do not own a gun.
Just think of what would have happened in the Orlando night-club Saturday night if there had been many others armed. In a crowded, dark, loud dance club, after the shooter began firing, imagine if others took out their guns and started firing back. Yes, maybe they would have killed the shooter, but how would anyone else have known what exactly was going on? How would it not have devolved into mass confusion and fear followed by a large-scale shootout without anyone knowing who was the good guy with a gun, who was the bad guy with a gun, and who was just caught in the middle? The death toll could have been much higher if more people were armed.
The gun-rights lobby’s mantra that more people need guns will lead to an obvious result more people will be killed. We’d be walking down a road in which blood baths are a common occurrence, all because the Second Amendment allows them to be.
At this point, bickering about the niceties of textual interpretation, whether the history of the amendment supports this view or that, and how legislators can solve this problem within the confines of the constitution is useless drivel that will lead to more of the same. We need a mass movement of those who are fed up with the long-dead Founders’ view of the world ruling current day politics. A mass movement of those who will stand up and say that our founding document was wrong and needs to be changed. A mass movement of those who will thumb their nose at the NRA, an organization that is nothing more than the political wing of the country’s gun manufacturers, and say enough is enough.
The Second Amendment must be repealed, and it is the essence of American democracy to say so.
Watch four pro-gun arguments we’re sick of hearing.
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Why It’s Time to Repeal the Second Amendment
Posted: June 7, 2016 at 9:43 am
Stand for your Second Amendment rights against those Gun Free folks who just dont get it.
Posted: April 18, 2016 at 3:44 pm
Second Amendment Sports specializes in serving customers the entire package of what they need to feel prepared for going out into the field. We don’t just merely SELL our wares. We like to evaluate, educate, and make helpful suggestions.
Our clerks will listen to what you need, and present solutions that will fulfill your specific needs.
We offer self defense training at every level and for different purposes. One of our goals in training is to mentally and physically prepare our students to find the most appropriate means to protect themselves. Our Training Division holds non-firearm courses and firearm courses of all levels.
Second Amendment Sports also takes care of customers AFTER the sale. We offer a lifetime warranty for brand new firearms, mount and boresight services, sight installations, offsite gunsmithing, archery pro shop services, and reel spooling.
Established in 1993.
Matt and Dana Janes started selling ammo from inside his father’s storage container at David Janes Company. “We started with six cases of ammunition, re-invested it, and never looked back,” Matt says.
..and he didn’t look back. His business grew from cases of ammo in a corner to adding some long guns in a floor rack, then taking up an entire wall of the storage container to display all his guns. Matt and Dana logged thousands of hours of work into their business and sold guns at gun shows to get the business name out to the Kern County crowd.
In 1999, Matt left full time employment with his father, David Janes, to open up Second Amendment’s own storefront across the street. In 2003, he doubled the retail floorspace to sell more goodies. In 2007, he opened up a second location in Tucson, Arizona.
Matt and Dana show no signs of slowing down! They divide their time between stores, in order to ensure that they are still providing customers with the best experience possible!
Matt Janes involves himself in the entire outdoor sports industry. He has hunted upland game and big game in many western states with firearms and bow. He has fished the entire Pacific Coast. He is a Martial Arms graduate, and has owned almost every firearm imaginable! Matt is an Eagle Scout. He also has extensive backcountry experience in the entire Upper Kern Plateau. In 2005, he was honored with the title of “2005 Kern County Sportsman of the Year.”
“Raised with basic family values and many early outdoor opportunities, I stayed close to my desires while honing my business skills with my father/mentor. Then I took those family business and relationship skills and applied them to the outdoor industry. Continually surrounding myself with good people and loving family has allowed me to find a creative outlet at Second Amendment Sports. I appreciate all my association with you over time, and I hope to continue to share this passion with you!”
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Second Amendment Sports – Bakersfield, CA – Yelp