The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, something that can only be negated through the Constitution’s amendment process. Yet we all know it’s under assault and has been for ages.
Yet it’s under assault in a variety of ways.
One way is one that many gun rights supporters wouldn’t think of. You see, many of them support the enforcement of any and all drug laws.
To be sure, drug use isn’t a good thing at all. The harder the drug, the more lives that drug can ruin. We’ve all likely seen someone brought low by drug abuse and addiction, after all.
Over at Reason, Jacob Sullum brings up a very good point about the intersection of guns and drug laws.
Jeronimo Yanez remembered smelling “the odor of burning marijuana” as he approached the white Oldsmobile sedan he had stopped near the intersection of Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. It was a little after 9 p.m. on a Wednesday in July 2016, and Yanez, who worked for the St. Anthony Police Department, had been assigned to patrol the streets of Lauderdale, a city just west of Falcon Heights.
The whiff of weed from the Oldsmobile, Yanez later said, figured in the threat he perceived from the car’s driver, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker named Philando Castile. Yanez fatally shot Castile, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, a few seconds after learning that he had a gun in the car.
According to Yanez, the marijuana he smelled colored his perception of Castile’s intentions. Castile’s passengers included Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter, who was sitting in the back. “I thought…if he has the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the 5-year-old [sic] girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke,” Yanez recalled during the BCA interview, “then what care does he give about me?”
Whatever risk secondhand marijuana smoke might have posed to Reynolds’ daughter, it paled in comparison with the danger created by the seven bullets Yanez fired into the car. As Noble noted, Yanez admitted “the girl was in his line of fire.”
Yanez said the fact that “the inside of the vehicle smelled like marijuana” also made him wonder why Castile was carrying a gun. “I didn’t know if he was keeping it on him for protection…from a drug dealer or anything like that or any other people trying to rip him [off],” he said.
I suggest you go and read the whole thing. It’s fairly long, but it brings up a very good point. For as long as things like pot are illegal, it will create at least some tension between law enforcement and many gun owners.
Was Philando Castile smoking pot? I can’t say.
What I can say, though, is that we’ve seen numerous situations where cops have claimed they smelled pot when they didn’t, just to have an excuse. Yanez apparently believe Castile was the suspect in an armed robbery, apparently using the smell of pot as a pretext to talk to Castile in the first place.
Sullum spends much of the rest of the piece blasting the National Rifle Association, particularly on their stance of enforcing existing gun laws, which includes laws prohibiting gun ownership by those who use illegal drugs. My views on the enforcement argument were covered earlier today, but I also get where Sullum is coming from.
The truth of the matter is that marijuana users aren’t a general threat to the public. Any violence stemming from marijuana comes from the illicit nature of the drug, not because of its effects, at least as a general rule.
So why then do we keep seeing this kind of enforcement as some kind of a good thing?
Again, I get the argument and I think there are better uses of our time as a general rule, but the rules exist and people are being hurt by them. Marijuana needs to be rescheduled, at a minimum.
The War on Drugs has been a complete failure, and while I’m not comfortable with just making everything legal, the truth is that many of our issues in the Second Amendment community stem from the War on Drugs.
After all, the War on Drugs led to the rise of street gangs, much like how the mafia came up during Prohibition.
Now, guess just who does much of the shooting and killing in our inner cities? Those are the same murders used to justify gun control in the first place.
At no level does this prohibition benefit us, Second Amendment advocates.
Just something to think about.