What are we to make of this? “In Adam’s first case out of law school, he worked with [Howard] Weitzman representing the late Michael Jackson in a highly publicized child-molestation case. Adam was also part of the defense team that initially represented O.J. Simpson in the football player’s infamous murder trial. This was more than enough to convince Adam to return to academia.” My takeaway: the liberal press’s new friend Adam Winkler is a Trojan horse in a pin-striped suit. Winkler’s screed in the Atlantic Monthly would have you believe that he’s a thoroughly reasonable guy on the issue of gun rights and gun control. The video above reveals him as a mouthpiece for gun grabbers. As does his article, if you read between the lines . . .
THE TEXT OF the Second Amendment is maddeningly ambiguous. It merely says, “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.” Yet to each side in the gun debate, those words are absolutely clear.
No, not that! Not another “debate” over the meaning over the “well-regulated Militia” clause. Come friggin’ on. Not only did the Supreme Court of the United States of America rule that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right—like, say, all the other rights in the Bill of Rights—but the Founding Fathers’ intent couldn’t have been more clear if they’d written it down.
Which they did, as anyone with access to the Internet will discover. In fact, there are so many unequivocal quotes in that regard that you’d have to be willfully ignorant to suggest that the Second Amendment was crafted specifically and exclusively for the common defense.
Like so many other gun grabbers, Winkler is willing to jump through any hoop in a disingenuous attempt to take the “middle ground.”
Gun-rights supporters . . . oppose widely popular proposals—such as background checks for all gun purchasers—on the ground that any gun-control measure, no matter how seemingly reasonable, puts us on the slippery slope toward total civilian disarmament.
This attitude was displayed on the side of the National Rifle Association’s former headquarters: THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. The first clause of the Second Amendment, the part about “a well regulated Militia,” was conveniently omitted. To the gun lobby, the Second Amendment is all rights and no regulation.
Works for me. But I’d say gun rights are all rights and no regulation—and personal responsibility. Since you asked. But Adam’s too clever for any of that action. As far as he’s concerned, gun control is a given.
We’ve . . . always had gun control. The Founding Fathers instituted gun laws so intrusive that, were they running for office today, the NRA would not endorse them. While they did not care to completely disarm the citizenry, the founding generation denied gun ownership to many people: not only slaves and free blacks, but law-abiding white men who refused to swear loyalty to the Revolution.
For those men who were allowed to own guns, the Founders had their own version of the “individual mandate” that has proved so controversial in President Obama’s health-care-reform law: they required the purchase of guns. A 1792 federal law mandated every eligible man to purchase a military-style gun and ammunition for his service in the citizen militia. Such men had to report for frequent musters—where their guns would be inspected and, yes, registered on public rolls.
Wow. It’s OK to deny citizens their Second Amendment rights because The Founding Fathers denied Second Amendment rights to people who should have had them? Gun control is OK because the feds forced people to buy guns (at least legally)? That’s some messed-up logic. No doubt Adam and his editors thought it clever.
Speaking of obtuse thinking, Winkler starts his piece with an anecdote: the Black Panthers’ armed visit to the California state capitol in Sacramento “It was May 2, 1967, and the Black Panthers’ invasion of the California statehouse launched the modern gun-rights movement.” Say what?
While it’s always nice to read about connection between African Americans’ struggle for civil rights and America’s profoundly racist gun control laws, I’d hardly call it a secret. The recent U.S. Supreme Court McDonald decision, striking down Chicago’s handgun ban, relied heavily on blacks’ struggle for ballistic self-defense, stretching back to slavery. While Winkler’s text clearly reveals that he’s read it, he doesn’t seem to understand it.
Winkler has no idea how to contextualize the Panthers’ armed agitations. On one hand, hurray! On the other hand, we need gun control to keep the darkies down. A Republican thing, obviously.
THE PANTHERS’ METHODS provoked an immediate backlash . . . Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.” He called guns a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan said he didn’t “know of any sportsman who leaves his home with a gun to go out into the field to hunt or for target shooting who carries that gun loaded.” The Mulford Act, he said, “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.”
The fear inspired by black people with guns also led the United States Congress to consider new gun restrictions, after the summer of 1967 brought what the historian Harvard Sitkoff called the “most intense and destructive wave of racial violence the nation had ever witnessed.” Devastating riots engulfed Detroit and Newark. Police and National Guardsmen who tried to help restore order were greeted with sniper fire.
A 1968 federal report blamed the unrest at least partly on the easy availability of guns. Because rioters used guns to keep law enforcement at bay, the report’s authors asserted that a recent spike in firearms sales and permit applications was “directly related to the actuality and prospect of civil disorders.” They drew “the firm conclusion that effective firearms controls are an essential contribution to domestic peace and tranquility.”
Color me confused. Maybe this will help.
The Fourteenth Amendment illustrates a common dynamic in America’s gun culture: extremism stirs a strong reaction. The aggressive Southern effort to disarm the freedmen prompted a constitutional amendment to better protect their rights. A hundred years later, the Black Panthers’ brazen insistence on the right to bear arms led whites, including conservative Republicans, to support new gun control. Then the pendulum swung back. The gun-control laws of the late 1960s, designed to restrict the use of guns by urban black leftist radicals, fueled the rise of the present-day gun-rights movement—one that, in an ironic reversal, is predominantly white, rural, and politically conservative.
Nope. In the interests of not violating the fair use provision, what follows is a history of the NRA, including their pro-regulation appeasement and anti-government paranoia (or so it is portrayed). After this exhausting analysis, Winkler ends by claiming the Second Amendment is . . . flexible.
This paragraph from the pen of Justice Scalia, the foremost proponent of constitutional originalism, was astounding. True, the Founders imposed gun control, but they had no laws resembling Scalia’s list of Second Amendment exceptions. They had no laws banning guns in sensitive places, or laws prohibiting the mentally ill from possessing guns, or laws requiring commercial gun dealers to be licensed. Such restrictions are products of the 20th century. Justice Scalia, in other words, embraced a living Constitution. In this, Heller is a fine reflection of the ironies and contradictions—and the selective use of the past—that run throughout America’s long history with guns.
And that paragraph from the pen of Adam Winkler, the legal eagle darling of the liberal press, is completely predictable. Rather than close by highlighting the undeniable fact that American gun rights are ascendent, Winkler reminds his by-now-throughly-confused readers that there is no right and wrong. Everything is relative.
The summation proves that Winkler would have made a fine defense attorney—for clients charged with morally indefensible acts.