Look, I get the motivation behind March For Our Lives. Mass shootings are terrifying, especially when you’re corralled into a killing zone that passes for the modern American school. You know damn good and well that there’s really nothing to stop a mass shooting in most schools.
Other gun-control groups also sprung up in the wake of a tragedy of some kind.
However, as the Supreme Court considers a Second Amendment case for the first time in a decade, the March For Our Lives crowd and their friends rolled out friend of the court briefings. In a report at Education Week, it became clear someone needs to educate these people.
“Young Americans nationwide have taken a stand,” says a brief from the March for Our Lives Action Fund, which formed after the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and school employees. “These young people—all too familiar with mass shootings and other forms of gun violence—have a vital interest in ensuring that the Constitution is interpreted to allow the political process at the local, state, and federal levels to enact gun violence prevention measures that will protect all Americans, in all communities.”
The Everytown brief urges the Supreme Court not to use the New York City case to issue a broad opinion on “the scope of the right to bear arms outside the home.”
Meanwhile, the National Education Association filed a brief urging the court not to retreat from its statement in the landmark 2008 Second Amendment decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, that “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings” were presumptively constitutional.
“This court should reject any constitutional standard … that would inhibit the ability of state and local legislatures and school boards around the country to grapple with how to best protect students from the threat of gun violence,” the NEA brief says.
Their interest in seeing it interpret it a certain way is completely irrelevant. What matters is what the Constitution actually says.
Of course, the Courts at all levels have done a fairly piss-poor job of doing that, but the Heller and McDonald decisions were a massive step in the right direction. The problem now is that so many have opted to ignore those rulings, something that groups like the NEA are openly demanding the Court permit.
The truth of the matter is that the Second Amendment is supposed to be an untouchable right. The phrase “shall not be infringed” has a pretty clear meaning, one that the courts have continually ignored, even in the Heller and McDonald decisions.
What special interests want or need comes a far second to the actual wording of the Constitution itself.
If this is the crux of their arguments, that they want their feelings to trump sound judicial thinking, then they’re doomed. If anything, the NEA’s at least takes a legal basis, quoting relevant portions of Heller, even if I disagree with those portions. Then again, who is arguing against those particular regulations in this case? No one.
Frankly, the whole thing betrays a lack of understanding in constitutional principles and rights, right that they’d do well to remember are often argued as a whole. The very right that permitted the student-led walkout a couple of years back could easily become the next one to be heavily restricted. Rights aren’t up for grabs. You don’t get to pick and choose your individual liberties, yet that’s what they’re asking the court to permit.
Sometimes, someone exercises a right you don’t like very much or they exercise it in a way you don’t really like. I get it. However, the moment you start restricting rights, all other rights are up for grabs as well.
The Second Amendment isn’t subject to your whims and wishes. It protects our right to keep and bear arms and to maintain a degree of readiness against encroaching tyranny.
I’m alarmed that so many people, including the NEA, would be so ready to empower that tyranny.
Perhaps if groups like March For Our Lives weren’t so busy walking out of class and if groups like the NEA were actually teaching classes, a few more people might come to understand that the Second Amendment is a right that warrants protection just as much as the right to free speech.