The Protect Our Children Initiative – Part 10: Reader Comment – The 2nd Amendment

The following is from a long time LYS’er.

 

SC,

 

Certainly, I agree that the firearms of today are much different than those used 200 years ago.  It is certainly true that many modern firearms could not have been imagined in the 18th century.  And to that I say, so what?  The Founders could not have imagined the internet, Facebook, blogs, or many other venues used to express the 1st Amendment.  If we are to take the Constitution literally, only the “press” is free.  So, if you are not using some printing press available to news outlets in 1790 then the venue is not protected by the 1st amendment.  That is, of course, an absurd result and is rejected.  Similar arguments concerning the 2nd Amendment are equally absurd.  

 

Now, we have your statement, The Constitution is a living, slow evolving document. Arguments to the contrary are hollow and easily refuted.”

 

Not as easily refuted as you think.  It depends on your view of the Constitution.  If you are cast in the mold of Scalia/Thomas, you are an originalist.  In that thinking, yes, the Constitution is a living, slow evolving document and the Founders, in their wisdom, described a process to allow the Constitution of live and evolve: Article 5 of the US Constitution.  Changes in ‘interpretation” of the Constitution by unelected judges should be scrutinized or rejected, if you are an originalist.  I tend to be in the Scalia/Thomas camp, but I do acknowledge activist judges bend the Constitution all the time.  I simply think it is wrong.

 

The next statement I would like to discuss, “No, you and your guns do not do that. You don’t have the fire power, resources and training, to stop trained military.”  Not so fast.  Don’t tell this to North Vietnam, Afghanistan (Russian and US versions), Iraq, and many other insurgencies found in history around the world.  The fact is armed peasants in third world countries have frequently fought large super powers and essentially won. Don’t think for a minute that a million soldiers and a few hundred thousand law enforcement officers can effectively wage a quick campaign again several million insurgents.  

Having said all of this, I certainly think there are steps we can take to make schools safer and many of these steps need not step on the 2nd amendment.  More on that later.

 

SC Response:

I started this is discussion (a couple of weeks ago) by stating the fact that all rights can be restrained, even the fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, I do believe that first amendment rights can be restrained, as does the Supreme Court. After all, there are repercussions if you yell, “Fire in a crowded theatre.”

 

And just like the FCC puts limits on what is broadcast, it is not unreasonable to believe that social media providers may soon have to become more prudent in what they publish. Bottom line, I’m not an absolutist on any right, but instead a believer in stewardship. And, I’ll admit that my pragmatism sometimes tastes like weak tea.

 

I’m not in the Scalia/Thomas camp in the interpretation of the Constitution.  I lean towards the O’Conner camp. Siding with precedence 80% of the time, but not afraid to admit that at some point, precedence is no longer the viable option.

 

And yes, an armed insurgency can defeat a Super Power (see UK v. US, late 1700’s). But, the democratic norms, practices, ideas and institutions that have been cultivated in the U.S. over the past 300+ years provides greater protection of our Constitutional Rights than the hardware in my gun safe.

 

Finally, I’m in no way advocating for abolishing the 2ndAmendment, as Justice Stevens suggested recently.  But I do believe that the issues of gun violence can be addressed and those who use the 2ndAmendment as an excuse to duck or stop the debate are doing the country and their fellow citizens a disservice.

 

I look forward to reading your next post.

 

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