Readers will, I’m sure, recognize the name Mark O’Mara. O’Mara and Donald West were the attorneys that secured a not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case. Both upheld the highest standards of the legal profession—and the Constitution—in their defense, and I had considerable praise for them during and after the Zimmerman trial.
Unfortunately, going to great lengths to uphold part of the Constitution does not always translate to upholding all of the Constitution. This is hardly unusual. Members of Congress take a solemn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet commonly do their best to violate any portion they find too constraining or inconvenient. President Obama has set entirely new standards for ignoring, even actively destroying, the Constitution. After all, he has a pen and a phone. What’s the Constitution—fading ink on yellowing paper—compared with that?
One of the benefits of O’Mara’s celebrity earned in the Zimmerman case are his regular columns and commentary for CNN. One such is titled “I’m a gun owner and I want gun control.”
“So how does a 17-year-old get ahold of numerous guns? According to news reports, John David LaDue allegedly possessed one, along with several other firearms. Police say they were part of the arsenal (which included illegal homemade bombs) that he allegedly planned to use to slaughter as many students as he could at his high school in rural Minnesota.
Thanks to a civilian tip and good police work, we narrowly escaped another mass shootings.
A friend of mine predicted that the United States would suffer probably 10 such shootings in 2014. I didn’t want to believe him, but I knew it would be true.
It turns out we will suffer far more than 10. We’ve seen a shooting where an assailant targets multiple people somewhere in this country every week this year, according to the website Shootingtracker.com. Only a small number — such as the recent FedEx shooting in Georgia, or those at Fort Hood, Texas, or Jewish facilities in Kansas — will gain national attention.
We have a problem with gun violence in this country. I think this much is not in dispute. The real debate is this: What do we do about it? Unfortunately, most answers to this question involve greater governmental regulation and intrusion into our lives.”
O’Mara, a clever lawyer, makes several arguments that initially appear reasonable. The title of his piece suggests that no gun owner could possibly want gun control—whatever that might be; the devil is always in the details—but since he is a gun owner and an attorney of note, obviously his views have great weight, therefore we should do as he suggests. After all, he’s a lawyer. No lawyer would want to infringe on the Constitution, right?
“Gun violence,” is a misnomer. There is no such thing, no more than there is “fist violence” or “foot violence,” or “motor vehicle violence,” all means of causing injury or doing violence that are far more prevalent than “gun violence.” In fact, despite far more firearms in the hands of Americans than at any time in history, serious criminal violence of all kinds has been significantly declining for decades. Could the fact that more law-abiding Americans are armed have some bearing on that indisputable fact?
Notice too how O’Mara sets up the reader to accept the unfortunate inevitability and necessity of “…greater governmental regulation and intrusion into our lives.”
O’Mara spends several paragraphs demonstrating that there is no such thing as an unrestricted right. He cites commonly accepted and understood exceptions to the First Amendment “(shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater)”, and the Fourth Amendment.
“The Constitution is not written in stone. It evolves as our society evolves. The Second Amendment is more complicated, however, because it deals with issues larger than freedom and oppression; it deals with life and death.”
Suggesting the Constitution is not set in stone is very much a slippery slope. The Constitution may be amended, but because the Founders were determined that it not be amended for “light and transient” reasons, they made the amendment process difficult, requiring substantial time and persuasion. Mr. O’Mara is right in saying the Second Amendment deals with life and death, but he’s not suggesting that the unalienable right to self-defense is therefore worth preserving at all costs. In fact, it’s “buried,” in the Amendment, a rather unfortunate image as many would like to bury the Second Amendment once and for all.