Many of us in the Second Amendment crowd see the right to keep and bear arms as something of a linchpin. It’s the right that is necessary in order to protect each and every other right.
Without it, rights become privileges.
Take freedom of speech. While some may want to limit what we can and can’t say, they’re not likely to get very much traction here. Yet in nations that don’t respect the right to keep and bear arms, they have. While correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation, I really do believe people trying to police what you say would have a much harder time if you can offer up armed resistance.
However, some people don’t see it that way.
In each instance, armed protesters used the Second Amendment to undermine democracy and individual rights. Democratically elected bodies in Virginia and Michigan were effectively threatened if they choose to act on measures — gun control and an extension of lockdown orders — that had wide public support. When citizens descend on a state capital brandishing guns, they effectively end any commitment to democratic debate.
While gun control advocates point out that 36,000 Americans are killed by guns each year, it is also essential to consider how guns threaten First Amendment rights and the will of democratic majorities.
The idea that a right to bear arms is necessary to protect oneself from a tyrannical government implies that violence would, at some point, be justified.
The contrast between the anti-lockdown protests and the Black Lives Matter protests demonstrates the limits of the Second Amendment to check government tyranny. Mostly white, heavily armed, protesters were able to challenge largely popular public health measures by intimidating state officials.
In other words, some people are so terrified of people with guns that they may opt to not speak.
Now, I get that argument. It’s another aspect of why it’s probably not a great idea to make every protest an armed protest. This argument is bound to come up and yeah, some who might wish to engage in debate may opt not to because of the presence of weapons.
But that argument also only goes so far.
After all, it was people like the writer who have argued that guns and those who have them represent some kind of clear threat to good order in and of itself. In fact, she does so in the above post by claiming simply protesting while armed constitutes a direct threat.
Yet, if it did, why has there been no violence against Virginia lawmakers who passed gun control laws despite the protestors? Where is that violence that was promised?
Or, maybe, the threat only existed in the minds of people already skittish about firearms and what they represent?
The writer goes on to claim some racist history for the Second Amendment, something Cam has already addressed that particular nonsense. Yes, from the same post. That’s right, there was so much stupid in one post it required both of us to debunk it. Cam’s post is very good, so go read that and come back here.
The truth of the matter is that the First Amendment was enshrined first because it was considered the most important, but the Second was placed there to protect the first.
Scofield can engage in whatever mental gymnastics she wants to portray armed protests as literal threats of violence, but what she can’t do, though, is point to any examples of them being followed through on. Not a one.
That’s because the Second Amendment isn’t the antithesis of the First, but a compatriot to it.