We all do it. We’ll share a pro-gun piece from a news source that’s normally anti-gun and get a good laugh out of how, say, the New York Times is making a pro-gun case.
More times than not, though, those are op-eds which don’t reflect the official position of pretty much anyone else at the paper. It’s still a blast to see, but it doesn’t really mean all that much in the grand scheme of things. Not as a reflection of the paper, anyways.
Instead, you have to look at the case being made.
Take one of those kinds of pieces, only this time from The Hill.
Following the recent tragic shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., President Biden joined a chorus of congressional Democrats demanding strict gun-control legislation, including a ban on guns commonly referred to as “assault weapons.
“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again,” Biden said. “I got that done when I was a senator. … We should do it again.”
Putting aside whether restricting gun ownership for lawful citizens is effective public policy (it isn’t), questions remain about the extent of the power of Congress and president to impose gun laws in light of the Second Amendment.
The Constitution guarantees that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
A plain reading of the Second Amendment ought to be enough to stop nearly all federal gun laws. But over the past century, courts and scholars have watered down the Bill of Rights with convoluted arguments that contradict the overwhelming historical evidence available today.
The truth is, the intentions of those who debated, wrote and passed the Second Amendment are clear: The purpose of the amendment is to protect individual liberty by, in part, stopping the federal government from instituting gun restrictions of any kind, because America’s founders wanted to ensure citizens had the ability to defend themselves against a tyrannical national government and other domestic threats, as well as from foreign invaders.
Evidence of this view can be found in the Second Amendment itself. First, there are no “except” clauses in the text. It simply says the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed.”
There is, of course, quite a bit more. Further, I agree with pretty much every single word here.
But there’s another question that needs to be asked: Does it matter?
Look, we at Bearing Arms could write in response to every anti-gun proposal, “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do you not understand?” We’d have a valid point as well.
The problem with this kind of rhetoric isn’t that it’s wrong–clearly, it’s not–only that the only people who will accept such an argument aren’t the people you need to convince in the first place.
People who either support gun control or will consider supporting gun control aren’t going to be swayed by this. They know the amendment says “shall not be infringed,” they just figure that the Founding Fathers didn’t really mean that, or they buy into the idea that since the militia is now the National Guard, that’s what they intended.
Regardless, simple arguments about the unconstitutionality of gun control aren’t likely to be accepted by any of the people who need to be convinced.
Yes, feel free to make them, but don’t be surprised when you need something more to change their minds.
If this is the totality of your argument, don’t be surprised when your rights disappear.