The 2nd Amendment Haa Nothing To Do With What Happened in Vegas.

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Thanks to our friend Shaun Dakin, all of a sudden I’m beginning to see pro-gun folks coming out of the woodwork to express their concerns about what happened in Vegas and isn’t staying in Vegas. And this is taking the form of some comments appearing here and there about how there really are some good, compassionate gun owners out there who shouldn’t be blamed just because some nut decided to set a new record for the number of people killed and wounded by one shooter using (we think but don’t actually know) one gun.

2A             The first story appeared on Medium, where a self-described libertarian who says he knows enough about guns “to do serious damage to a fundamental human right I hold dear.” We’ll get to how the writer defines this ‘fundamental human right’ in a minute, but he goes on to lament the fact that most people who advocate reducing gun violence damage their own arguments because they don’t know anything about guns.  He then goes on to list various examples of egregious errors made by the gun violence prevention (GVP) crowd, including the usual canard about how the GVP always wrongly defines an assault-style gun.  The writer ends up by saying that he would love to have a frank discussion about gun policy with the ‘other side,’ but first we need to learn the proper way to talk about guns.

Incidentally, this guy never gets around to explaining the fundamental ‘human right’ which he feels duty-bound to protect, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that he’s talking about something having to do with the 2nd Amendment, even though I always thought that the Bill of Rights enumerated certain Constitutional rights, which may or may not have anything to do with so-called human rights at all.

The second compassionate, pro-gun contribution by someone desperately trying to bridge the gap between Left and Right on the issues of guns was published in The Federalist, which has been promoting 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ since before most of you were born. Like the blogger on Medium, this writer also hopes that we can have a “better conversation about guns and the Second Amendment in America,” which is shorthand for letting the GVP community know that it’s the other side which really understands why we all need to protect ourselves with guns.

The author of this piece wants us all to understand and appreciate the fact that someone can feel nothing but horror and despair about what happened in Vegas and yet still fervently believe that all law-abiding citizens should have access to guns. Forgetting for a moment that Stephen Paddock was as law-abiding as you can get, the writer wants us all to know that “a person can watch this, ache, hurt, and be profoundly affected by these events and not change his or her position on the Second Amendment.”

These banal attempts to ‘normalize’ support of the 2nd Amendment while at the same time attempting to join to co-op what appears to be a growing national concern about the destructiveness of firearms is nothing but pure, unadulterated crap. No matter how horrific the assault, no matter how many lives are lost or damaged beyond repair, you can count on even the most compassionate pro-gun advocates to remind us of their sacrosanct Constitutional ‘rights.’ Except there’s only one little problem. What they say and have been saying about the 2nd Amendment isn’t true.

When the Supreme Court reversed a long legal precedent by ruling in 2008 that private gun ownership was a Constitutional ‘right,’ there were already more than 300 million privately-owned guns floating around, none of which enjoyed any kind of Constitutional protection. And despite this failure to guarantee our God-given right to protecte ourselves, there has never been any law in any jurisdiction which stripped Americans of their ability to own a gun. So let’s cut out the nonsense and return the post-Vegas discussion to where it belongs, namely, what needs to be done to end gun violence once and for all.


Does The 2nd Amendment Protect You? Not If You Don’t Own A Gun.


Having secured the right to own firearms without being required to do military service, Gun Nation is busily trying to widen the boundaries of the 2nd Amendment by claiming that ‘open carry’ is also a legal right.  Now let’s forget for a moment that the 2008 Heller decision specifically referred only to keeping a handgun within the home, even though most states also grant residents concealed-carry privileges with or without any special approval process, so for Gun Nation uncontested concealed-carry has also become an unquestioned ‘right.’  But in some states, Texas being the most newsworthy in this regard, gun ownership now also includes openly carrying guns which has become a further extension of gun ‘rights.’

2A              So the bottom line is that Gun Nation is pushing the idea that walking around with a gun would be no different than walking around with a droid.  Except it’s pretty hard to hurt yourself or anyone else with a cell phone, while it’s pretty easy to hurt yourself or someone else with a gun.  To which, of course, Gun Nation replies that: a) guns are important ‘tools’ for self-defense; and b) the 2nd Amendment gives us the Constitutional ‘right’ to own a gun. Incidentally, when I was in USRA, nobody ever referred to my M-1 rifle or my 1911 pistol as a ‘tool.’ Of all the ways that Gun Nation tries to disguise the fact that guns are simply a lethal product that do a lot more harm than good, the notion that all those armed citizens are protecting us with their ‘tools’ has to be the dumbest and most childish justification of all.  Anyway, back to Constitutional rights.

Even though I own more than 60 guns and would hate to see the day that I couldn’t own any more, I have never felt the slightest desire or concern to protect or even believe in the 2nd Amendment as some kind of Constitutional right.  Obviously it’s in the Bill of Rights, so my guns are protected by Constitutional stricture whether I like it or not.  But when the NRA tells me that the 2nd Amendment is my “first freedom,” when an amateur huckster like C.J. Gresham says that restricting open carry is an ‘infringement’ of his 2nd Amendment rights, I think it’s time to sit down and once and for all try to figure out what the 2nd Amendment really protects.

I’m not a Constitutional expert and I certainly wouldn’t presume to know more about the 2nd Amendment than what has been written by eminent jurists like the late Antonin Scalia or respected scholars like Stephen Halbrook, Sanford Levinson or Don Kates.  But when I look at the 2nd Amendment as an Article in the Bill of Rights, one thing jumps out at me which the gun debate seems to have overlooked, namely, that it is the only Article in the entire document that protects only a certain group of individuals, namely, people who decide to own guns. Every other Amendment guarantees protections to everyone, whether it’s speech, religion, assembly, due process, trial by jury or payment for private property that is taken for public use. But if I decide not to own a gun, and that decision happens to be shared by a majority of Americans, then the 2nd Amendment means nothing to me.

Which is why the claim by Gun Nation that the 2nd Amendment guarantees ‘our’ freedom is nothing but pure bunk. Which is also why the open-carry idiots who paraded around the SXSW festival in Texas were supporting nothing more than the right to act like jerks in public which, thanks to the 1st Amendment, is a Constitutional right we all enjoy.

If the pro-gun community wants to pretend that everyone derives a benefit from the 2nd Amendment, that’s all fine and well.  But the GVP community should make it clear that those 27 words and the guns those words protect have nothing to do with them at all.


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