(courtesy thelibertarianrepublic.com)

“People who favor gun rights can point to a gun owner’s right to bear arms; people who favor gun restrictions can point to Americans’ right not to die and be injured by gun violence.” – David Leonhardt and Alicia Parlapiano in Why Gun Control and Abortion Are Different From Gay Marriage [via nytimes.com]

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65 Responses to Quote of the Day: Define “Civil Right” Edition

  1. Then he discusses gun control, abortion and climate change.
    I’m kind of sorry I just read that.
    I needed focus this morning.
    Maybe I’ll go make some unscrambled eggs…

  2. A mother has the right to murder her unborn child. Three people or more who love each other are being illegally prevented from getting married. And machine gun ownership is illegally banned by homosexual politicians in California.

  3. Where did this “right not to be killed” nonsense come from? Rights, as used in the legal sense, are put in place to prevent the government from getting overly involved in one’s life. People have a “right” not to be killed by gun violence as much as they have a “right” not to be killed by a car accident or an asteroid impact. It’s semantically meaningless – like most sound bytes.

    • Being that we’re mortal and we’ll all die, it seems to come with the burden of being human. That being said, aren’t there already laws against murder? It would appear from a legislation standpoint that those laws already cover our “right to not die”.

    • You pretty much summed up my thoughts on this. There is NO right not to be harmed or killed. And if there were why would guns be singled out when there are so many other instruments that could be used to cause harm to another person ? How about enforcing the laws against assault, murder, rape, etc. and getting rid of the ones that proclaim to protect us but, in reality, take away our right to protect ourselves ?

      • Goofball is spouting pure nonsense. I would bet there has not been a single day during which no person has been murdered, in the past million years. Literally, million years, not one day. So how do you manufacture a “right to not be killed”? The guy’s a moron.

        • “A free people derive from their Creator certain unalienable rights, among these life…”

          Unless of course you cross the state. Then all bets are off. We have the right defend our lives. A right to not be killed is utter nonsense, considering it could only be enforced after you are killed, making the law worth less than the tissue paper its printed on.

        • A million years is a long time: pretty sure when the human population was down around 2,000 to 20,000, there probably were not murders every single day.

    • Well technically you do have a right to not be killed(or a right to self preservation), and when you are killed someone is violating that right. By defending yourself you are defending that right.

      The author automatically assumes the someone else’s right to defend themselves with a gun if they choose, means they will be killed.

      • A right is a guarantee. You are guaranteed the right to defend yourself, not the right to come out on top. The reason we choose shotguns and handguns rather than golf clubs or pry bars is a tacit admission of this. Firearms give us a better chance.

    • Blame the early 20th century progressives, particularly FDR for the idea of positive rights (e.g. your right to a job or food), which replaced the long standing Anglo-American tradition of negative rights (e.g. your right to not have 40% of your income stolen every April to pay for somebody else’s unviable job or food).

  4. The 2nd is there so you have the tools needed to mitigate your risk. If you choose not to use said tools then that’s on you.

  5. Given that I now have a right to not be injured or die I demand that all 7 billion of the earths inhabitants who may injure or kill me be removed from the world. For my safety.

  6. “The right not to die and be injured by gun violence”.

    Just how does one proclaim that when a criminal assaults you? What Admendment do you envoke when a bullet enters your body? Is death allowed by other mean so long it’s not a gun?

    Life & liberty is not a given. The slippery slope is not infringing on 2A, but the replacements indoctrination invoking verbal defense will protect.

    • You of course use a firm voice and tell the criminal that he is violating your natural rights and is required by law and common human decency to stop immediately.

      If he continues murdering you, you may have to repeat your demand.

      • If you’re an educated person with no common sense then you’ll probably be carrying a rape whistle, so… you know, there’s that option.

  7. I don’t remember where my “right not to die and be injured by gun violence” is enumerated in the Constitution.
    I DO remember where my “right to have the means to resist some criminal harming me and mine” is, however.

  8. Show me. Show me where this “right” is they’re pointing at. Every single human being has an inalienable right to life that no one else has a right to take. Nowhere, to my current knowledge, does it say you have a right to freedom from gun violence. I hate the increasingly asinine way they not only convolute and distort our rights, but our very language. Sorry. I know I’m flogging a dead horse, it’s just frustrating.

  9. Ahhh yes, the old Bill of “Rights” argument, often followed closely by another prominent work of fiction, the Bill of Needs.

  10. ”people who favor gun restrictions can point to Americans’ right not to die and be injured by
    gun violence.”

    Not a right.
    Maybe if something existed that every person actually had the right to carry that would improve the chances of not becoming a victim…..

  11. That would be the 124th amendment, titled “The right not to be killed”. You know, right after the 123rd “The right to have anyone that offends you killed”? In the Progressive Bill of Rights granted to you by the Government.

  12. Technically the “right not to die” isn’t a right outlined in the Constitution… technically

    • Doesn’t mean it’s not a right. There are many rights not specifically mentioned in the constitution. Most of the Bill of Rights is just a restatement of, “Hey, Government! Leave people alone!” I fully respect your right not to die. At this point in time, the Government would prefer to not be so constrained.

      • specifically I was eluding to Life, Liberty and Property not not being in the Constitution but in the Declaration of Independence were life, being a natural right, is the Right not to be killed..

    • @Texheim: You are correct, of course. The right not to die is not mentioned in our Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Which is why we need the second amendment. Because it gives us the right to be able to defend ourselves from being killed by someone else. The right not to be harmed or killed is not in there because there would be no practical way to make that happen. And, as someone else mentioned, we already have laws against someone killing us. However, that does not seem to stop some of them from trying.

  13. What about the other rights?

    Don’t I also have a right to not die by “knife violence”? “Automobile Violence”? How about “Shark Attack Violence?” Or the right to not die from “Heavy stuff I’m pulling down from a high shelf and lose my balance and fall off the ladder violence”?

    As the list of perceived rights increases, the list of personal responsibilities necessarily decreases. Entitlement knows no bounds… that is until it runs up against someone who doesn’t care a whit about your rights and just wants what you have and is willing to take it from you.

  14. Standard leftist move – label something as a right that just plain isn’t. Healthcare, housing, water, food….commodities cant be rights because its impossible to create an infinite entitlement to a limited resource.

    Similarly, there’s no right to live or “feel” any particular way because then what? Prosecute a movie for making you sad? Prosecute a uterus for a miscarriage? A heart for failing after 85 years?

    It’s designed to load up emotions by convincing people they’ve been wronged where no wrong exists.

    • Historically, no. For thousands of years, and in fact until the recent past, a fetus was not a “person” in the law, and harm to an unborn fetus was not a crime. Despite the protestations of the fundamentalist christians that “life begins at inception”, for thousands of years (and in particular given very high infant mortality throughout the vast majority of human history), an unborn child was not a “person” unless and until born alive. This is still very much true with the orthodox jews. The belief was that the spirit entered the body with the first breath. Just ask any Rabbi. This carried over into the christian tradition (dominated by the Catholics for a thousand years), which further supported this belief system by concluding that only those who have been baptized can go to heaven–and baptism only works on the living. Therefore, premature and stillborns did not have “souls” in the traditional view, and were therefore not “persons” afforded any rights or protections. And these beliefs carried down to the American penal law; as mentioned, until recent times, it was not a crime to cause the injury or death of an unborn (separate and apart from the injury to the mother).

      • Let’s stop with all the “beliefs” and feelings and use some facts for once about abortions. If you’re for abortion then you support the murder of unborn children – fact. If the unborn baby isn’t aborted then it would, on average, live to 71 – fact. Abortion completely ignores the right of the unborn child to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness – fact. Religion aside – if life doesn’t start from inception then when does it? By definition it has to –
        “Inception – the establishment or starting point of an institution or activity.”

  15. Don’t miss the forest for the trees. The article makes an important point, although the author can’t manage to say it directly. Historically, the U.S. has consistently moved in a liberal (liberal as in the opposite of restrictive, not as in socialist) direction regarding rights based on relatively immutable characteristics like race, gender, national origin, and sexual orientation. No such consistency exists for rights that are not based on immutable characteristics such as rights associated with control of one’s body, incarceration, and gun ownership, among many others. This second set of rights is subject to political whims.

    This means don’t quibble about whether gun rights are civil rights, natural rights, “shall not be infringed” rights, or whatever. Instead, be politically active.

    • Thank you. I was going to make this exact comment. The point of the article is to recognize that certain “civil rights” issues have enjoyed rapid change and societal approval, while others are comparatively stagnant. It would behoove us to recognize what differentiates those two categories and work to push gun rights fully into the former category.

      Also, even if we assume that there is a right not to be injured or killed (by “gun violence” or any other kind of violence), my right to carry a weapon for protection would not infringe on that so-called right unless I decide to shoot someone in cold blood. So by all means, make it illegal to shoot people outside of self-defense (wait a minute…isn’t that already illegal?), but don’t regulate the harmless, constitutionally-protected act of carrying a weapon. It’s just common sense.

    • There is a greater point that the author is trying to make but I did not miss it and she still gets it wrong on a point that many others do as well. Merely possessing a firearm does not injure anyone. The potential for injury to self and others may go up w/ ownership but their is no actual harm in possession. The path of preventing a government monopoly on force is an actual right. The “right” to bear arms is (key word) a right. Progressives fear what might be done w/ that right, hence they want to take it away.

  16. Speaking of “pointing to”–the right to bear arms is different from both the “right” to abortion and the “right’ for homosexuals to marry, in that I can “point to” the provision in the US and state Constitutions that recognize specifically the right to bear arms, and no one can “point to” any provision in the US Constitution that recognizes any “right” to abortion, or general “right” to marry. Even the Justices who , ahhhh, discovered the “right” to abortion were unable to locate it in the text of the Constitution. The same applies to the latest legislative effort by the Court.

    • This point ignores the 9th amendment. The Bill of Rights itself, in the 9th amendment, says “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The fact that the Constitution mentions one right should never be used to argue that something else is not a right. The argument goes directly against the plain language of the Constitution. You can’t trumpet the plain language of the 2nd amendment while ignoring the plain language of the 9th.

  17. They are confusing the non-sensical and ridiculous idea of a “right to be safe” with the very real and practical ” right to defend yourself.” They are just trying to defend themselves from an enemy that does not exist, in a backassward and completely flawed way that actually places them in more mortal jeprody. How do you explain that without getting red in the face?

  18. Meh to the article, not a single original thought. The comment section is an echo chamber of emotional leftist nonsense. The second most “favorite” comment is a tortured correlation between the Scalia dissent and why gun control should be regulated by the President himself via executive order using the wording of the 2A itself. Scary.

    It serves as a good reminder why I stopped reading the Globe and NYT regularly.

  19. Right not to die? If someone has invented an ability to not die, I want some!
    Last I checked, we all die.

  20. One of those rights is specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights. One is not.

    Fortunately for all of us the one that is enumerated is there to mitigate the risk dying from a violent assault, among other things. You can choose to avail yourself of your rights or not. But please stop telling the rest of us not to avail ourselves.

  21. The problem anti gun people have is that the pro side refuses to roll over and die on the 2nd Amendment. One reason gay marriage and climate change are being ingrained in society is if you publicly disagree with the Left you are attacked on social media until you either lose your job or admit you were wrong. Sometimes both. With guns, however, we refuse to bow to pressure. Write an article attacking gun owners? Right back at you, buddy. The attack dogs are confused by this response. Every other issue, except abortion, they win on. Just my take.

  22. It seems simple enough. I have the right to bear arms, you have the right not to be killed. There’s really only one way to satisfy both and that’s for me to have my arms and not kill you with them. Sounds like a deal to me, so are we all in agreement?

  23. “People who favor gun rights can point to a gun owner’s right to bear arms; people who favor gun restrictions can point to Americans’ right not to die and be injured by … violence.”

    Any violence. All violence. That’s why we have murder laws. And allow good people to carry guns, so they may not necessarily die or be injured by violence directed at them. It isn’t about the means – murder with a pipe in the drawing room is OK, but a wrench in the kitchen is not – it’s about the murder.

    We have bad actors in the world, still, despite millennia of laws against murder and assault. Apparently, as not a bad actor, Mr. Leonhardt wants you to lie down and take it, rather than protect yourself. Meaning, apparently, violence for its own sake is OK while violence to protect yourself is not.

    Interesting.

    So, who it taking away who’s right to live free of violence, here?

  24. Let’s examine his logic by analogy. A gay man moves next and I now “feel” that my 10 year old boy is not safe. Does this mean that I can demand he be removed from the neighborhood? After all doesn’t boy have right not to be raped by a pedophile?

  25. Let me see if I can make the whole issue more clear from an analytical perspective. The fundamental flaw in the article is the author’s misunderstanding of the nature of “civil rights.” Civil rights define the relationship between the People and the Government, NOT the relations between individuals. So for example, I have a right to keep and bear arms without infringement by the government (and all gun control laws are definitional “by the government.”) I have a right to practice the religion of my choice without governmental influence; I have a right to not be killed by my government, except with due process of law; I have a right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures–by the government. But what I do NOT have is a “civil right” to be free from “gun violence” perpetrated by individuals, unless it is perpetrated by the government.
    The Constitution is not a social compact between individuals. It is an outline of a government, and defines relationships between citizens, states, and the federal government. The only rights it guarantees are between the citizens and the state, not between citizens. therefore, and as a matter of law, there is no Constitutional right to be free of violence, of whatever form, performed by individuals who are not acting on behalf of the government.

  26. “people who favor gun restrictions can point to Americans’ right not to die and be injured by gun violence.”

    Where? Not even Vanna White could point to that… surely these feckwits can’t.

  27. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

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