MikeB302000 has fingered me as a gun-rights fanatic. I presume this is because I believe that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I presume this is because I oppose “reasonable” measures such as background checks on all gun sales. I presume this is because I don’t think a person ought to have to take a class or fill out paperwork for the state to exercise their right to self defense. I presume this is because I believe individuals should have the right to defend themselves against both criminals and the state . . .
I’ll wear mikes’s attempt at an insult as a badge of honor. I’m deeply uncomfortable with the idea that the government should impose barriers to exercising any right. What reasonable regulations would be acceptable to an individual exercising their first amendment rights? What class should I have to take before I may be secure in my persons and papers? Why should I register my home with the government before I can be certain troops won’t be quartered there? Can I only exercise my right to not incriminate myself so long as I pass a background check?
In America, all governments are entities that derive their authority from the people. That’s the idea, anyway. The people bequeath some of their sovereignty to the state for the purpose of public order. We do that via our states’ constitutions and the US Constitution. These documents are legally binding contracts that, when ratified, had a specific meaning. All three branches of government have a duty to abide by those agreements and all three branches of government have a duty to enforce the terms of the contract when a party or parties are in breach.
I will certainly allow that the application of those meanings over time have been a bit thorny but generally speaking, for most of our history our courts and government officials colored inside the lines. It was during the progressive era of the last century that the constitution began to be viewed as an impediment to progress, rather than a protector of liberty. To assert their will, progressives began to view the constitution as a malleable thing – something to be molded when an otherwise forbidden change was desired rather than a fixed thing that had to be amended to alter its terms.
What I find fanatical is the anti-gun crowd’s disrespect for the rule of law. They are so desperate to affect a change they deem necessary that they’re willing to make a mockery of something as simple as a binding contract between the people and the state. The same kind of thinking that finds “reasonable restrictions” on the right to keep and bear arms can be applied to other rights essential to a free republic. Incandescent fools like Jane Fonda, who benefited greatly from America’s tolerance for unpopular speech have called for restrictions on the unpopular speech of others with whom they disagree politically.
But the bill of rights is a package deal. The 2nd Amendment is not just the crazy old aunt enumerated right polite society doesn’t like to acknowledge. They all rise and fall at the same time. I am not fanatical about gun rights, I am fanatical about rights. Period.