The political left is up in arms (as it were) because the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously slapped down a very poorly-reasoned Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that stun guns were not covered under the Second Amendment.
For those of you who don’t want to read the rather dry language of the courts, we can sum it up fairly easily.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court attempted to make a three-part claim in , Caetano v. Massachusetts that stun guns aren’t covered under the right to bear arms, because:
- stun guns were not “in common use” in the 1790s when the Second Amendment was written
- stun guns are “dangerous and unusual”
- stun guns are not readily adaptable to military service use
It was nothing more or less than a high school sophomore’s poorly reasoned, “the Second Amendment only applies to muskets” argument, dressed up in legal terminology.
The unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was, essentially, “you guys are idiots,” as they slapped down each point as being absurd.
This has caused no small degree of consternation for an anti-gun left, which is grounded in the exact same sophomoric argument:
When Justice Antonin Scalia died, court-watchers on the left and right assumed that, once a new liberal took his seat, the court would move quickly to reverse or limit Scalia’s most important decision—District of Columbia v. Heller, which reinterpreted the Second Amendment to provide an individual right to bear arms.
On Monday, however, the Supreme Court issued a brief, unsigned opinion simultaneously reaffirming Heller—and, arguably, even expanding it. Most surprisingly, the decision noted no dissents, meaning the liberal justices presumably endorsed it. This silence from the left doesn’t necessarily mean that the court’s progressive bloc is now embracing an absolutist Second Amendment jurisprudence. But it does suggest, at the very least, that the liberals are waiting for a sympathetic colleague before chipping away at Heller—and may indicate that the progressive justices are hesitant to move against Heller at all.
Mark Joseph Stern of Slate shows the same historical and legal ignorance as most progressives in arguing that Heller “reinterpreted” or “expanded” the Second Amendment. That claim is self-evidently and patently false, as anyone with even a passing familiarity with the speeches, letters, and broadsheets authored by the Founding Fathers would be able to tell you.
The Second Amendment did not create a right to bear arms, nor did Heller manufacture such a right through “reintepretation” or “expansion.” When John Adams and his contemporaries wrote and then ratified the Second Amendment they were recognizing a pre-existing natural right of all people to be armed for their self defense.
That natural right to arms pre-dates the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and was provided by our Creator. It cannot issued or taken away by man, and laws that disarm people to tip the balance of power to the government over the people—in effect, every singe federal gun law, without exception—are therefore blatantly unconstitutional.
Is this a “radical” viewpoint? In a modern context perhaps it is, but the Founding Fathers were, as a matter of history, right wing extremists.
Tenche Cox, Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress, explained the purpose of the Second Amendment to his fellow citizens in The Pennsylvania Gazette, on Feb. 20, 1788.
The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
We are the militia.
We have always been the militia.
We have the constitutional right to whatever “terrible implement of the soldier” we desire to carry as militiamen, up to an including, in a contemporary context, real assault rifles and fully-automatic machine guns.
Do stun guns have a militia use? Are stun guns covered under the Second Amendment?
Without a doubt.
It’s time that the Courts stop attempting to “reinterpret” the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and simply except them for precisely what the Founding Fathers meant those documents to be.
If modern Americans are too spineless weak to accept the Constitution as it is written, the correct remedy is the amendment process, not the craven “living document” sophistry so often voiced by those who would make this a lesser nation.