President Elect Donald Trump recently tweeted that flag burners should face jail time and/or loss of citizenship. Speaking of Fidel Castro, if you want to imprison and remove the civil rights of flag burners, you’re no better than a geriatric communist. It doesn’t matter if you think Trump was “trolling” or not. He made the comment. I’m a gun owner and I think the resulting controversy impacts those of us who cherish our gun rights.
The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” The Second Amendment states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
It seems simple enough. If you support the Constitutional ban against government intrusion into freedom of speech, you support Americans’ rights to burn a flag without government interference, no matter how distasteful you may find the practice. If you support the Constitutional guarantee of the people to keep and bear arms, you support Americans’ right to own and carry any firearm of their choosing.
Liberals who want the government to implement gun control want to dictate the what, how, when and where of the Second Amendment. Conservatives who want the government to punish flag burning want to dictate the what, how, when, and where of the First Amendment. Neither position is acceptable.
Second Amendment supporters believe the federal government doesn’t have the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with their firearms — except using their gun to threaten or injure innocent life or illegally remove or damage property. How can it be OK then for the government to tell someone what they can and cannot do with their flag? Other than inflicting “emotional distress” — a concept that seems especially vague and SJW-ish — how does flag burning hurt anyone?
I would never burn an American flag. I wouldn’t associate with someone who did. But gun owners who seek retaliation for this callous act should think long and hard before deciding that it’s OK for the government to imprison or otherwise punish a flag burner for the “crime” or offending someone’s political sensibilities. The Second Amendment protects the First, but as readers here should realize, the First also protects the Second.