The National Constitution Center has embarked on a project that they call "The Next Ten Amendments," to discuss and debate ostensible "improvements" to the Constitution of the United States. One of these proposed changes aims, supposedly, to "better define" the right to keep and bear arms. Shall not be infringed is evidently too ambiguous for some. Looking just as one would expect of a document produced by an organization whose vice chairman is virulently anti-gun former Philadelphia Mayor and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, here is their proposed "improvement" to the Constitutional guarantee of the fundamental human right to keep and bear arms--and it's a doozy:
PROPOSED AMENDMENT: “Because a well-regulated National Guard and Reserve, and well-regulated Federal, state, and local public safety departments, are necessary to the security of our free states and our free nation, the rights of citizens, while serving in their capacity in the aforesaid organizations, to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Suddenly, in other words, the people's right to the means of thwarting a government bent on tyranny has morphed into the "right" of the government's own hired muscle to bear arms in service to that government--and against the people. Furthermore, we are evidently asked to believe that the government must be Constitutionally proscribed from disarming its own enforcers. This is starting to sound like something written by Josh Horwitz, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, who worries that the "government monopoly on force" he longs for will be "infringed."
Counterintuitively, this is a good thing. When the gun ban zealots advocate the repeal (or, as in this case, the gutting) of the Second Amendment, they are tacitly admitting what gun rights/liberty advocates have been arguing all along--that the Second Amendment stands directly in the path of their forcible citizen disarmament agenda. And we are seeing more and more of it.
This in itself is a victory of sorts. For years, their favored argument had been that the Second Amendment provides no protection of individuals' right to keep and bear arms--that anyone who was not a member of a state-controlled militia (which these intellectual paragons generally equated to the National Guard, as if Perpich v. Department of Defense never happened) can legitimately be denied access to firearms under whatever draconian gun laws the government cares to impose.
The Supreme Court's Heller and McDonald rulings have made that position more and more untenable (although there are still a few holdouts among the truly epically confused), thus leaving the other side reduced to hoping to edit the Second Amendment out of the Constitution. Good luck with that. The requirement for ratification by three quarters of the states is alone a seemingly impassable obstacle, as only 13 states would be necessary to put the kibosh on that plan, and this country has something of a history of 13 states standing against tyranny.
More fundamentally, of course, is that while the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms, it is not what provides that right, as the Supreme Court articulated in United States v. Cruikshank, in 1876, and reiterated 132 years later, in District of Columbia v. Heller:
We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . . .”
Even more fundamentally than that, of course, as National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea so succinctly explains, "But you go right ahead, Sparky, rewrite things to your heart's content. Now all you've got you do is enforce it." Again, good luck with that.
- Welcoming the Obama administration, waiting for the 'government monopoly on force,' Part I
- A deeper look at the 'government monopoly on force'
- Bill Maher asks what Constitutional rights we should lose--2nd Amendment chosen
- New York Times hosts call to 'get rid of the right to bear arms'
- Anti-gun immigrant chides Americans for 'literal following of the Constitution'
- Michael Moore wants dead children exploited to 'revise or repeal' 2nd Amendment
- A New Second Amendment?
- Collectivists rewriting the Constitution in their own tiny minds. Good luck with that.
- Trotting out collectivist historians to revise history.
- The Right of the Only Ones to Keep and Bear Arms