Some of Trump’s ‘Second Amendment People’ Already Believe They Have the Right to Fight Government Tyranny with Guns. That’s The Trace’s fake-incredulous take on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s now infamous improv: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick — if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
I reckon Mr. Trump was referring to the last of The Four Boxes of Liberty (soap, ballot, jury and ammo). The truth-challenged real estate mogul doesn’t have a filter, always plays offense and doesn’t think for a moment about whether or not he’s offending anyone. Ever. But it was a joke. Kinda. In fact, Mr. Trump’s comment evokes the old expression “many a true word is spoken in jest.”
It’s certainly true that America’s Founding Fathers created and enacted the Second Amendment — prohibiting government infringement on the individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms — as a bulwark against government tyranny. Not to protect Americans’ ability to hunt game. Or defend against foreign invasion.
The 2A “enables” Americans who wish to band together to overthrow a tyrannical government. You know, like the Founding Fathers did. After resisting their British overlords’ attempt to disarm them. By fiat and force of arms.
Even The Trace’s carefully selected historian — Duke Law School professor Darrell Miller — agrees with this “insurrectionist theory” of the Second Amendment. Albeit reluctantly, warily and, ultimately, unhappily.
The framers of the Constitution thought that preserving the right to bear arms might help the populace form a militia that could fight a standing army that turned against the people. The problem with the insurrectionist theory is there is always someone who thinks that tyranny is in the present.
Huh. Who could possibly think that there’s government tyranny right now? Gun nuts! Who are, of course, the worst sort of people. To make this assessment, history is Professor Miller’s guide:
When we look at the longer arch of our country’s history, the insurrectionist theory gets a serious black eye in the Civil War. The way Heller talks about the right to defend oneself against the government is the exact thinking that animated the secession of the southern states in the Civil War. The southern states said they were raising arms to assert a right to rebel against tyrannical government, but they did it on behalf of their power to keep slaves.
Secession is insurrection? I guess you could see if that way. But even if you do, Miller’s attempt to equate the Heller decision with southern slavery is flat-out ridiculous.
A Washington D.C. resident named Dick Heller simply wanted the right to keep and bear arms in the nation’s capital — not reinstitute white supremacy across the fruited plane. Or overthrow the government by force of arms — even though, yes, that’s what the Second Amendment is about in extremis.
Anyway, there’s only one good way for gun control advocates to discredit ANY idea that runs counter to the Progressive agenda (which is, ironically enough, the establishment of a left-wing tyranny): racism! Call gun rights advocates racists! Like this:
Have African Americans ever invoked the insurrectionist theory to protest government oppression?
The group that has the strongest claim on the right to rebel is comprised of people who “are seen as the bad guys with guns” by the gun rights movement. But I presume that when people think of the right to revolt, they think of Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson. They don’t think about Malcolm X or the Black Panthers, even though the Black Panthers were quite open about the fact that they were arming themselves as a check on the police force.
I doubt Trump would be extolling the virtues of armed black citizens patrolling protests in Ferguson or Baltimore as a legitimate exercise of their right to insurrection or the right to bear arms.
And I presume Professor Miller hasn’t read what this website and its readers have said on the subject of gun rights for all Americans — regardless of race, color, sexual orientation or creed (e.g., Memo to African Americans: Carry a Gun). Or done actual research on actual gun owners on this “presumed” racial bias.
What do you expect from a man who’s never earned his crust outside the worlds of academia or the judicial system? A statist whose views run counter to the spirit and letter of the document he pretends to understand. Professionally, no less. In short, if Professor Miller’s worried about armed insurrection, I’m happy.
If Trump wasn’t serious, should we still worry about what he said?
Yes. There are two viable political parties in the American democratic tradition. Donald Trump is the leader of one of them. He says that his political opposition is illegitimate, and if the Democrats win the election, it will be because of fraud in the electoral process. And then he throws in this comment about the Second Amendment as a way of overthrowing the government. I think it’s worrisome.
The irony is that Trump is the law-and-order candidate. To talk about broad societal disruption and criminals’ lack of submission to lawful authorities, and then say, “Maybe it’s ok to profess some desire to overthrow a legitimately elected government,” is inconsistent.
Strange that a Constitutional law professor fails to grasp the simple idea that a legitimately elected government can, in fact, be tyrannical. And then, eventually, get what it deserves. No matter whom the populace elects as its leader.