Salt Lake Tribune columnist Jeff Clawson has just had a stroke of brilliance regarding America’s gun problem. His solution: repeal the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment is dead — a victim of its own making. It has been killed over and over again. It’s been dying since the mass murders at the University of Texas Clock Tower, 101 California in San Francisco, McDonalds in San Diego, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Trolley Square, Fort Hood Army Base, and now Aurora, Colo. It only remains to be declared DOA and repealed — plain and simple . . .
Jeff is operating under the delusion that the Bill of Rights grants people certain rights; it does nothing of the kind. The Bill of Rights protects rights with which people are endowed by their Creator. Even the most cursory reading of the document makes that obvious.
The First Amendment doesn’t say that the Constitution or Congress grants people freedom of religion, speech or assembly. It does say, though, that Congress may not pass any law prohibiting the (pre-existing) freedom to worship or abridging the (pre-existing) rights of free speech and assembly.
Likewise the Second Amendment doesn’t say: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the people are permitted to keep and bear arms. No, it says that the (pre-existing) right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
But Jeff’s just getting started:
If we add up all the sorrow, injury, disability, terror, and death caused by guns in this country, compared with the good that personally owned guns have proven to be since 1776, there cannot be any other conclusion. On this one, the Founding Fathers might have had an initial idea, based on their active revolt from the British, and the need for everyone to have a single-shot, barrel-loaded gun at the ready, just in case.
At least Jeff pays lip service to the idea that you can’t perform a cost-benefit analysis and only look at the costs, but it looks like he is ignorant of (or possibly just ignoring) the fact that DGUs save more than twice as many lives as are taken in CGUs (if you want the math, check out my piece Ladd Everitt: Liar for Hire about ¾ of the way through).
But even if the analysis went in the other direction, it wouldn’t change the fact that the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.
And if Jeff really wants to add up some sorrow, injury, disability, terror and death, all he has to do is succeed in repealing the Second Amendment and passing the confiscatory gun laws that would logically follow. Because there are some gun nuts out here who don’t think the phrase you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands is merely amusing hyperbole. They view it as a commitment to defend certain principles to the death.
The flip side of this coin is that they are willing to kill for those same principles. It’s my experience that folks like Jeff have no principles which they hold that dear, which makes it difficult for them to imagine that some of us can and do.
That’s one reason I write these essays; I hope that at least some of the statists and their useful idiots are paying attention and won’t stumble into a Civil War (which we would all lose) through misjudging our determination.