The text of the Second Amendment is plain. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It sure seems clear. Even if you take that the purpose of the Second Amendment is the militia, it’s still pretty clear that our rights shouldn’t be restricted in any way.
That whole “shall not be infringed,” while generally ignored by many, still is what it is.
And yet, we still have people like this:
I consider the Constitution and my allegiance to it sacred. But I will not use that great document as an altar on which to sacrifice innocent people, like grandparents shopping for food at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, people gathered in a church in Laguna Woods, California, or second, third and fourth graders attending a public elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Such sacrifices have seemingly become a uniquely American blood ritual. And in the lockstep of that ritual, many Republican lawmakers anoint themselves in the Second Amendment and invariably choose to block even the most modest of commonsense gun safety legislation.
It is past time for the GOP to stop acting as though the Second Amendment does not allow for limits on guns. Amid serial mass killings in America, the enactment of gun laws fails year after year. In law enforcement, I have seen the importance of balancing the rights of people with the law. The same is true when it comes to the Constitution.
First, let’s remember that the Constitution is the law. Moreover, it defines what the law actually can be, so there is no “balancing” of rights and law. When the Constitution seeks to preserve a right, it preserves the right.
Now, with that said, let’s talk about this idea that the Second Amendment is just as open as all other rights to government restriction.
First, I disagree that rights truly can be restricted. Take, for example, the right to free speech. It’s not really restricted anywhere. You actually can yell fire in a crowded theater, for example. People do it all the time, such as when there’s, I don’t know…a fire.
What is restrained is doing so in a reckless manner that may result in people being hurt. The same is true of defamation laws. If you say it in such a way that no one believes it to be true, you’re not harming their reputation and thus aren’t going to face any penalties.
So it is with the Second Amendment. You cannot lawfully shoot into a crowd–the gun equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater–without facing criminal prosecution if you’re caught. Absolutely no one opposes this. It’s probably one of the least controversial things you’re likely to find, and in this day and age, that’s an accomplishment.
Further, let’s also remember that even if there were warranted restrictions on other rights, the wording of the Second Amendment is quite different than for other rights. It expressly says “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It expressly states that the right cannot be interfered with lawfully by the government.
It’s well past time for gun control advocates to stop this tired argument. The Second Amendment is an individual right that applies outside of the home. That’s settled case law now, so rather than continue to try and infringe on that right, maybe they should focus on something that might actually work for a change.
You know, just to shake things up.