Attempts to justify oppressive gun laws are always both morally and intellectually bankrupt, but every once in a while one encounters an argument for "gun control" that is at the very least creative. Creatively stupid, perhaps, but creative nonetheless. An editorial that appeared Saturday in Op Ed News is an excellent case in point. "Progressive" Patrick Walker, in a piece he titled "Right-Wing Gun Nuts: Our Tame Second Amendment Lapdogs," describes what he apparently believes would be a legitimate and socially desirable exercise of the Second Amendment:
So useful are these idiots that if some grownup patriots on the left decided to invoke the Second Amendment to fight real, imminent tyranny--like, say, shooting any member of Congress who voted to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership--never would our gun-toting lapdogs yelp faster to denounce fellow Americans as terrorists. And fellow Americans, mind you, who'd simply be invoking one of the right-wing's most sacred ideas: that without the Second Amendment, the rest of our Bill of Rights is useless. A plausible assertion--but just dare invoking it if you, as a U.S. left-wing patriot, actually wish to overthrow (rather than fawningly worship) the plutocrat tyrants daily steamrolling our freedoms.
Like many whom he characterizes as "right-wing gun nuts," Walker believes Obama is a tyrant (not just a tyrant, but the "Tyrant-in-Chief," and a "plutocrat tool of even richer plutocrats"), but his "tyrant" status, according to Walker, stems from not imposing enough government control over industry and wealth.
He hastily assures readers that he is not a "gun freak," never having owned a firearm, and having grown up in a "gun-free" household, but claims to "think a lot about the Second Amendment," because he believes that "so much of what our corrupt government does is actual tyranny" that he is willing to explore any avenue in fighting the "tyranny" he perceives.
But since no one is taking up arms against the "plutocrats" and climate changers, he has apparently decided that the Second Amendment is irrelevant, and should be dumped, because for all his bluster (odd, coming as it does from one who has never availed himself of the liberty-preserving power of firearms, and instead only tries to exhort others to do the fighting he thinks must be done), he (surprise!) supports "rational, research-based gun control":
See, if the right wing is never going to use the Second Amendment to fight real, existing tyranny (perhaps sensing deep down, with considerable justice given our government's endless arsenal, that it's now outmoded), we should not allow them to invoke it to resist rational, research-based gun control. Instead, we should work to purge it from our Constitution.
He clearly sees himself as the arbiter of what constitutes "real, existing tyranny," and if the rest of the country refuses to fight against his definition of oppression, then he wants the entire Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms "purge[d]" from the Constitution.
As he sums up:
In fact, though I can conceive no stronger legal case for invoking the Second Amendment--supposedly good, standing law--than government climate tyranny, I doubt even the ACLU would dare defend climate activists who invoked it. My point is simply to insist that when no one, even for the best conceivable reasons, is allowed to invoke the Second Amendment, it should not be on our books blocking rational gun control.
One aspect of the Second Amendment that clearly escapes him is that it does nothing to protect some "right" to shoot people--even perpetrators of "government climate tyranny." The Second Amendment guarantees the right to the means of resisting tyranny--not the act of pulling the trigger (has any accused political killer ever used the Second Amendment as a defense?). By the time the political situation has degenerated to the point that it's time to go to guns, Constitutional protections of any right are rather unlikely to have much relevance, anyway.
For all his silly yammering about "plutocrats," and "government climate tyranny," Walker does suggest (perhaps inadvertently) one valid point. As Jeff Snyder wrote in his superb "Walter Mitty's Second Amendment" essay, there is a very real danger that if the government leaves enough of the right to keep and bear arms alone, liberty advocates who insist on focusing exclusively on the single issue of gun rights will submit to tyranny on every other front, while telling themselves that they are free, because they still have the guns--guns that they will never actually use to safeguard their liberty.
The solution, though, is not to surrender an inch of ground on gun rights, but to become more vigilant against all threats to liberty.