Just when I thought the Huffington Post gun grabbers couldn’t get any crazier or more insidious Seamus McKiernan launches an anti-ballistic broadside that’s stunning in its combination of ignorance and evil. To wit: “If indeed it turns out that the gunman’s actions in Wisconsin were motivated by a hatred of Sikh religion and culture, the shooting may reveal an unintended consequence of our current interpretation of the Second Amendment: rampant gun violence threatens public safety, which in turn may limit our capacity — or willingness — to openly exercise our First Amendment rights to speech, assembly, or religious expression.” Just so we’re clear . . .

Is one Amendment more important than another? We should not have to choose. But the deadliness and frequency of recent gun violence in America — last year nearly 12,000 people were killed by guns in this country — makes me wonder whether we haven’t already prioritized one over the other.

In the gun control debate, we hear a lot about guns as deterrents. But for Sikh-Americans in Wisconsin, or other religious groups all around America, mass gun violence that targets religion might be a different kind of deterrent — a deterrent to free expression of belief. Freedom of religion is protected by law, but in practice, fear for public safety supersedes abstract rights. That fear unravels trust, the fabric of civil society and a shared culture.

Wait. “Mass” gun violence? Does McKiernan mean psychopathic gunmen who hit center mass or “masses” as in masses of young men think Ilene Hamann is attractive? I think he means that there are masses of psycho-killers on the loose.

Not true. Equally, we’ve heard McKiernan’s statistically dubious argument before: public safety supersedes Constitutionally-protected rights. Frankly, it scares the shit out of me. What was that Benjamin Franklin said? “Those that are willing to give up a little temporary safety for essential liberty are not going to get much of either safety or liberty.”

How wrong can McKiernan be? This wrong:

In a society overrun with guns, how free can speech be? How free is religion? In some countries, repression of speech and religion is the policy and practice of the government. Thankfully, in America, our right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the Constitution. But our crisis of public safety may act as a self-censoring muzzle on free expression. The First Amendment is an afterthought if you’re afraid to step out your door because of who you are or what you believe.

Holy Holocaust Batman, does McKiernan not see that governments repress freedom of speech and religion at the point of a gun? Does he not understand that the First Amendment depends on the Second Amendment for its survival? That this protection works on both the societal and the individual level?

Jeremiah. 5:21 (King James version): “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.” In other words, are you out of your fucking mind? Apparently so.

While public safety may not be expressly mentioned in the Bill of Rights, “life” (in the triad of liberty and the pursuit of happiness) gets top billing in the Declaration of Independence. In some ways, public safety is the grease in the wheels of a democratic society.

The Declaration of Independence is not the U.S. Constitution. Just like health care, public safety isn’t mentioned in the Bill of Rights PERIOD.

More to the point, in some very direct, rational and empirically demonstrable ways the Second Amendment is the only thing that stands between American citizens and the forces of criminality (e.g., Mexico) and government tyranny (how much time do you have?).

Like all gun grabbers, McKiernan would have us believe that he doesn’t want to eliminate the Second Amendment. He wants to modify it.

If we don’t change the way we interpret the Second Amendment to more sensibly regulate access to deadly weapons, it won’t mean the First Amendment will go away. But we may have to add this clarifying text at the end: Caution: exercise at your own risk.

Back atcha, First Amendment-wise, Mr. McK. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

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66 Responses to HuffPo’s Seamus McKiernan: 1st Amendment or 2nd Amendment. Choose.

  1. in oyher words my 2a rights are less equal than his 1a rights? is he, a left winger, saying that relgious expression is under threat because of 2a? bull shite.

    • That’s exactly right. Your 2A rights are the result of a purposeful distortion and twisting of the original intent. The 1A ideas, on the other hand such as freedom of religion and speech, are eternal.

      The 2A should be treated as the meaningless anachronistic nonsense it is.

      About the argument that the 2A works against the 1A, this is not new. We’ve often explored he idea that open carry, for example, involves an unspoken threat. You guys vehemently denied it, of course, but those on the gun control side have often suggested that you gun-rights folks are a bunch of bullies. Don’t you try to silence us after each mass shooting by accusing us of “dancing in the blood” of the victims? Don’t you try to silence us with all that talk of “natural human rights?”

      Of course you do. For you, because you’re a bunch of selfish bullies, and because it’s convenient, the 2A takes precedence over everything.

      • Don’t you try to silence us with all that talk of “natural human rights?”

        Wow; you’re such a cowardly little wimp that you interpret being told “You’re wrong and here’s why” as bullying.

        If only all fascists were as worthless as you; we could settle this matter by glaring harshly at you, and you’d all stroke out.

        • No, that’s not what the bullying is. The bullying is open carrying a gun. It’s demanding the right to carry in Starbucks. It’s insisting that the rest of us are safer because you carry. That’s what bullying is.

        • You deleted my last post, I’m assuming because I called Mikeynumbers a Troll. Please tell me where I was wrong.

      • I really want to logically refute Mikeb’s statement, but there isn’t anything coherant.

        One Amendment superceding another? Nope, they all support each other.

        The second being warped? Not quite sure how, as pretty much every legal challenge has allowed it to be clearly defined as an individual right (like all the rest of the Amendments, as far as I am aware).

        A threat from open carry? Well, then the police are constantly threatening me and supressing my freedoms via their ever present threat.

        To head off an argument you may have, I have been an auxiliary MP off and on for years. I have openly carried a weapon on duty. I haven’t once seen anyone be scared of it. Why should it be any different if I am not on duty?

      • Well, Mikey, if it is sooooo archaic, then move to amend the Constitution. Until then, go back to your Legos.

        Oh, by the way, just how do you propose to take our guns?

        Take your lunch or walk to school. Your choice. FLAME DELETED

      • For fvck’s sake, Dog Gone. Can’t you just post under your own name? Oh, and how long until you have to renew your Minnesota Permit to Carry?

      • “Your 2A rights are the result of a purposeful distortion and twisting of the original intent.”

        Another case of “FLAME DELETED projection”.

        The original intent of 2 A., the individual RKBA, was unquestioned until it became problematic in the post Civil War South. Freed slaves allowed to have guns, just like their ex-masters? Unthinkable! Quick, rationalize stopping this danger by re-interpreting the 2 A. Put language and logic on the rack, then twist it and stretch it till it comes out as a “right of the Militia”, instead of the original text of a “right of the people”, or a “collective right”, the only such “collective” sense of “people” in the BOR.

        Typical troll tactic. DNFTT.

      • so, when we speak or stand up for our rights, we’re bullies. when you speak your an oppressed freedom fighter? and all the while you’re trying to destroy what freedom we have left. if i truly expressed my feelings for you farago would hit me with one of those permanent bans he mentions once in a while.

      • Mr. Bonomo:

        The Bill of Rights stands and falls as a unit. No Amendment is more or less important that any other Amendment. Once you violate one Amendment you end up violating all of them. Look at New York City. In order to sustain their violation of the Second, they must violate the the Fourth and Fifth amendments. I am sure you know that the New York Courts have enjoined the City from using their random stop and frisk policy becuase it is a flagrant breach of the Fourth Amendment. Pr0gressives already are willing to violate the First Amendment as the Mayors of Chicago and Boston have demonstrated.

        I have several neighbors who think like you and I have assured them that if I see them victimized by a criminal I will be sure to call 911 on their behalf.

        • “The Bill of Rights stands and falls as a unit.”

          Boloney. The 3A is about as relevant in today’s society as your appendix is to your health.

          The 2A, even less so, in my opinion.

        • MikeB, you say the Third Amendment in the Bill of Rights is pointless and anachronistic. What is the principle behind it? Did it disappear?

  2. Devotees of the Huffington Post, i.e., OWS, Sandra Fluke and gay activists, are far more likely to commit violence to stifle free speech or free exercise than are the gun toting bitter clingers.

  3. Oddly, just yesterday, I was offering in opinion on the ability ot defend oneself being a part of being able to freely exercise religion. The context was the Crown Heights Pogrom.

  4. Heh. I would have thought that a lot of the comments on that Huff Post piece would be in support of the author’s ant-gun position. It turns out none of the comments I read supported McKiernan’s anti-gun position.

    From this, one might almost think that general attitudes about the 2A have changed.

  5. Progressives love to re-interpret the constitution. They’re currently trying to do it with Gun rights and gay marriage. They know it won’t pass on a popular vote or via constitutional amendment so they pick an amendment that’s already there and pretend it says something else.

    • Progressives love to re-interpret the constitution. They’re currently trying to do it with Gun rights and gay marriage.

      When did marriage become a constitutional right? Its a religious thing that the government shouldnt be giving tax breaks for in the first place.

      Yes I realize i’m contradicting myself somewhat, but i’m too lazy to rewrite it, you get what i’m saying.

      • That’s my point. It’s not but magically is but they some how miss the second amendment which is pretty obvious

      • That’s my point. It’s not but magically is but they some how miss the second amendment which is pretty obvious.

      • Sorry matt…

        I know there are plenty of married atheists and agnostics out there. So, I’d have to say calling marriage just “a religious thing.” Oh, by the way, since marriage is a “religious” thing practiced by a bunch of religious crazies, shall I presume you’ll have nothing to do with it? or are you married? hmmm?

    • I often wonder why these morons call themselves “progressives”. Just what are they “progressing” towards? By their agenda, I’d say they are “regressives” who wish to return to Hitlerian and Stalinistic policies that resulted in the deaths of over 170,000,000 in the 20th century alone.

      I say “boink ’em”.

      • It’s a little semantic game they try to play.
        If they are “progressives”, then those who oppose their ideas are suggested to be “regressive”. Do not refer to them by their self-appellation. I suggest “radicals” would fit many of them.

    • If Mr. McKeirnan knew anything about the bill of rights (other then what he googled) he would know the founding fathers included the second amendment for individuals to protect life (self defense) and liberty (armed population a deterrent to government oppression). This is clearly evident in their writings at the time, state constitutions of the time and is also rooted in the English bill of rights of 1688 (“No royal interference in the freedom of the people to have arms for their own defense”). Hence the Supreme Courts ruling reaffirming the second amedment as an individual right. I guess he chose to ignore that inconvenient true.

    • Very enlightening Kevin.
      Such high ideals and wonderful promises to the people. Just one missing ingredient, and with that it all turned to BS.

  6. So the 1A guarantees our right to free speech, religion, and press. The 2A guarantees our ability to prevent the government from stopping the 1A. Then the third and fourth prevent the government from being able to come into our houses without good reason. Then they can’t just figure out on their own who has the 2A covered. Amazing bit of cover and double cover our rights, huh?

    • I don’t read it ‘cover to cover’. Just started commenting on 2 A. issues from links provided here. Just doing some missionary work among the heathens.

      • I just found out the censors at Hufflepuff don’t like “libtard”, even when used in a general way, not an insult directed at a person.
        However, they are perfectly okay with “redneck” used in a general way.
        Maybe we should ask them to use a more PC term, like “Rustic Southern White Person”, or RSWP.

  7. I hope Seamus has been doing some yoga lately to get into that pretzel twist of logic. As if people don’t self-censor every day of the week (and twice on Sundays) for any number of reasons, good, bad, or otherwise.

    I might have say, incontrovertable proof that Seamus’ mother is a “fill in the blank here” but I might not wish to say so in front of him or his family lest I get punched in the face. Help, help, I’m being oppressed! Someone call a human rights commission.

  8. So that begs the question—how many dead people are acceptable in a shooting spree? 10? The last guy only killed 5 and himself. A halfway competent shooter with cowboy guns could kill more than that, I’m quite certain. If anything, I’d say a shooter armed with limited firepower would be more careful with his shots. Still, a madman who walks into a room full of unarmed people carrying 31 rounds loaded in his cowboy gear can inflict massive casualties.

    What could a shooter with an 8 round semiauto rifle and an 8 round semi-auto pistol do? Well, you mean besides win WW2? The Nazis fought quite well with bolt action rifles.

    As for the internet purhasing by Holmes—he didn’t buy the weapons online. He bought them all at Cabela’s or Bass Pro. He passed a background check multiple times. As for ammo, buying online is not anonymous. Online ammo sellers require a copy of ID. There is no background check for ammo, probably because it’s assumed you already have a firearm. Unless the guy was drooling on himself, I’m sure buying ammo in person while buying the firearm wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows. Why should it? What’s the cutoff line for ammo purchase quantity? 100 rounds at a time? 50? So I can only buy enough ammo to shoot 5 magazines full in my .22 rifle? But if someone walks into a theater with 100 rounds of .22 ammo loaded into ten 10 round magazines, he can kill a lot of people.

    Magazines could have been bought in quantity at any sporting goods store, and wouldn’t have caused any concern. Most people with semi-auto firearms have multiple magazines. Heck, I have 20 GI mags for my AR, and that many for my AK. They were relatively cheap, and having them just allows me to shoot more and gives me backup in case one breaks.(though I think I could beat someone to death with the East German AK mags and they wouldn’t stutter). Is it going to be made illegal to buy more than one mag for a firearm?

    Any firearm can be used in “mass killings”. The shooter at VT used two handguns, one of which was a .22 pistol. The shooter at Pearl High School used a deer rifle, as did the two kids at Jonesboro, AR. Are we going to ban deer rifles? .22 rifles? . 22 pistols?

    There is no legislative answer. The genie is out of the bottle.

    • So that begs the question—how many dead people are acceptable in a shooting spree? 10? The last guy only killed 5 and himself.

      Honestly, I think the government needs to enforce a regulation that, unless more people were killed in an incident like Aurora or WI than were murdered in Chicago or D.C. the same week (whichever city has the higher body count), then the news outlet is only allowed to discuss the incident once and must pay a $500,000 fine for each subsequent mention.

      • Better yet.

        They can only cover whichever one has the most killings. I don’t mean like the Colorado killer killed a dozen in 2 minutes, so he’d have killed…. 360 in an hour, so…. the death of 30 gang members and innocents in one day in the flatulent city is less… NO NO NO…. Colorado killer killed 12 and flatulent city had 30 killed: flatulent city take headlines over Colorado…. that kind of thing.

  9. Seamus should be aseamed. The First Amendment is not a protection against private violence, but only against state interference. The First Amendment can only be violated by a governmental actor acting under color of law. If I don’t like your stump speech in the public square and smack you around to get you to shut up, I have not violated your First Amendment rights unless I am from the government and acting within the scope of my employment. Citizens do not have first amendment rights vis-a-vis each other. Therefore this lone gunman in Wisconsin did not violate or threaten anybody’s first amenment right to freedom of religion and/or expression. Any more than Seamus’ editor would have had he quashed this illogical piece. Don’t they teach civics in school anymore?

  10. What was that Benjamin Franklin said? “Those that are willing to give up a little temporary safety for essential liberty are not going to get much of either safety or liberty.”

    I think it was the other way around: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  11. Shame on you Seamus.
    And what, boy-o, is yah stahnce on supplin’ weapons to the th’ soldiers of the IRA???
    Pull the “murphy” from your ahss and let the shite empty from freckled head….

  12. The Franklin quote:

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  13. we’ve heard McKiernan’s statistically dubious argument before: public safety supersedes Constitutionally-protected rights. Frankly, it scares the shit out of me.

    Technically he is right, see yelling fire in a crowded theater.

    • That only applies if someone is hurt as a result of you shouting fire.

      You’re legally allowed to say it, but if someone gets hurt then you’re in trouble.

      • It is “FALSELY crying fire in a crowded theater”. You might make a case that if you know there is a fire in a theater and do not give warning, you are endangering the audience.

    • Falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is indeed not allowed. The difference is that we don’t cut out your tongue just because you might do it.

        • Unfit by whose standard? Who will watch the watchers?

          Send Dog Gone back over here, mike. I want to ask her how she squares her Permit to Carry with her views on gun control.

  14. I just had half a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and was in a pretty good mood. Then I read this and was reminded that I share this planet and, worse, this country with sub-human intellects like this. And that they have equal voting rights.

    Thanks a lot, TTAG.

  15. I just read through the first 20 follow up comments that followed the HP story.
    Eighteen (18) comments criticized the author Seamus McKiernan ideas as lousy, ignorant, or poorly thought out piece.
    One supported the story and was easily refuted by another comment.
    Another comment was neutral.

    Maybe the attitudes among many of the readers of liberal media are not as anti-gun as the gun community sometimes imagines.

  16. If McKiernan were in my class, I’d tell him to stop using a false dichotomy and to stop embarrassing my Irish ancestors. I’ll keep both amendments, thanks.

  17. “Holy Holocaust Batman, does McKiernan not see that governments repress freedom of speech and religion at the point of a gun?”

    Everything government does is at the point of a gun. What is government without violence and the threat of violence?

  18. Have any one noticed that all of the arguments that are anti-gun or gun control based are base in emotion and not facts. It’s all about that persons fear of the unknown and their refusal to educate themselves about the constitution, guns and there operations, and what real freedom is. They follow what ever church they go to blindly and are the true sheep in this country…

    I believe that they should be required to gain the education and experiences before they are allowed to open there ignorant mouths again for anything other then eating. I also believe that firearm education should be a federal requirement to schools both public and privet to have in there curriculum. Not just once either but at least 5 times between 2nd grade to 12th grade. As well as the practical operation, cleaning and tactical uses which should be every year. That would reduce accidents and remove what ever doubt to the 2nd A’s purpose/reasons to exist. I also believe that it should be college requirements and have double the credit requirements then the liberal arts… There are many other countries in the world that are the same that HATE the USA and are willing to or planing to make attacks on us or our people in and out of our Country. Then and only then does a person have a true and educated ability to make their decision on weather we need to control the weapons in the country and why… As we are now, It’s the blind leading the def through jungle of traps and holes…

  19. I saw that Seamus declares that the 1st amendment is “enshrined” in the constitution, but the 2nd amendmend needs to be more regulated. Why isn’t enshrinement applicable to ALL of the amendments? Apparently in his mind, some are more “enshrineable” than others.

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