Anti-gun group apparently doesn't know what words mean

Following the shooting in Newtown, a lot of new anti-gun groups popped up. It’s hardly surprising, after all, since that’s kind of what happens.

Yet most of the groups that pop up don’t really make much of an impact. In fact, you probably never hear of most of them. At least, not unless they do something really stupid.

Which is kind of what the Newtown Action Alliance did on Thursday.

That’s when they tweeted this gem:

An individual right to carry was never part of the Second Amendment?

What dictionary are they using? I ask because, in all of mine, the word “bear” includes the definition that means to hold or carry something.

So, when the Second Amendment reads “the people’s right to keep and bear arms,” it actually does include an individual right to carry a firearm. Or any other kind of weapon you care to name, really.

Of course, let’s also remember that these people also seem to think that ending the filibuster will have some kind of impact on a Supreme Court ruling on guns. It’s as if they’re so clueless as to what words mean that they can’t comprehend the basic functions of the branches of our government.

Then again, that’s probably it.

In fairness to Newtown Action Alliance, they’re not saying anything the rest of their side doesn’t believe. They’re just the ones who had the misfortune of tweeting it where I could see it.

The truth of the matter, though, is that so many of the people who make up these groups are also the kind of people who don’t believe in objective reality or that words really have any specific meaning. They’re more than willing to decide things mean what they want, rather than what they actually mean.

Like the word “bear,” for example.

How many anti-gunners claim you don’t really have a right to carry a gun? Tons of them, yet look at the very plain text of the Second Amendment for a minute. How can you read “right to keep and bear arms” and not see it as actually carrying a gun?

Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. These are often the very same people who get tripped up by the phrase, “shall not be infringed” as well. They somehow think it’s invalidated by the opening clause.

“But Tom, don’t you guys ignore the whole ‘well-regulated militia’ thing?”

No, we don’t. We just recognize that definitions can drift over time and in the 18th Century, “well-regulated” meant “properly functioning.”

Yet since that time, while “bear” is dropped out of favor a slight bit as a preferred term for carrying something, that definition hasn’t disappeared entirely. It’s still in use in this day and age, though to a lesser degree than in the past.

Further, even if that phrase meant the same thing then as today, it doesn’t invalidate “the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

In other words, we recognize that words matter and have definite, objective meanings that should be respected. Those definitions don’t change based on political expedience and anti-gun folks would do well to remember that.