We the People
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert
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Second Amendment activists have, over the years, gone to great lengths to obscure the difference between gun rights and genuine civil liberties, especially the freedom of speech. After Virginia Governor Ralph Northam banned weapons from the square, gun-rights groups rushed to court to seek invalidation of the order. According to news reports, their lawyers “argued that prohibiting rallygoers from carrying guns would violate their Second Amendment right to bear arms and their First Amendment right to free speech” because “carrying guns is a form of symbolic speech.”

This is a potentially deadly confusion. The freedom to buy, own, and carry firearms, whatever its scope, is in no respect like the freedom of speech. Speech consists of words and launches ideas. “Symbolic speech” refers to signs, flags, photographs, and gestures that express those words and ideas. A gun is not merely a symbol; it is not like words or ideas. It is an instrument of violence and death, and its display amid a crowd is a threat.

– Garrett Epps in Guns Are No Mere Symbol

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    • How dare you question their enlightened facts known by all. Yeah pretty much par for course just needed to throw in outdated or only applies to technology of the time and it’s a typical NY government budget agenda item.

        • Here is what we need, just one sensible gun law, since the 2nd Amendment’s 27 words are too confusing to the Left…

          Gun Control Act of 2020
          I. All legislation will be considered an unlawful infringement on the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and is therefore deemed unconstitutional, null and void if it:

          a) Imposes any tax, fee, or stamp on any firearm, ammunition, or components thereof;
          b) Requires the registration of any firearm, ammunition, or components thereof;
          c) Requires any person to register as an owner of a firearm, ammunition, or components thereof;
          d) Requires any person to secure a permit or license to own, possess, publicly carry, lawfully use or transfer a firearm, ammunition or components thereof;
          e) Prohibits any person who is not currently incarcerated from owning, possessing, publicly carrying, using, or transferring a firearm; or
          f) Requires any person not currently incarcerated to surrender her/his firearm, ammunition, or components thereof.

          II. Unlawful use of a firearm is defined as using a firearm in the commission of a crime or to effectuate a crime. Examples include murder, robbery, rape, assault, & kidnapping.

          III. Further, the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 are hereby rescinded.

          IV. Firearm is defined as any weapon that
          a) fires a projectile through a barrel by means of an explosive propellant, at a specific and intended target in the distance, or
          b) any weapon or device currently in existence or invented in the future, that is transported and manipulated under human power, and which directs or fires a projectile, laser beam, plasma ray or similar force of destruction at an intended target in the distance.

      • This is just more gun-controller wishful thinking. The unambiguous language of the 2nd Amendment makes its intent quite clear—an armed citizenry capable of defending itself on its own terms. Gun control efforts run hard up against this institutionalized yet revolutionary ideal at every point. The 2nd Amendment means what it says although it’s becoming clear that the Supreme Court will have to use its power to codify that rather obvious fact.

    • It’s like carrying a flag. You could spear somebody with it but that is not your intention. You are trying to get a piont across. This country was founded when a group of people broke away from a tyrannical government and proclaimed their right to say who would rule over them. Today we are ounce again facing this tyranny and they are ounce again trying to disarm us. Freedom from communism may have to be bought and paid for but in the end it will be worth it. Let America live now and forever. A lying communist is never to be allowed to take over this country.

      • “A lying communist is never to be allowed to take over this country.”
        Nor should a communist who doesn’t lie.

  1. As I have said before the ACLU has always supported the civil right of democrat Gov Northams KKK friends to march in black neighborhoods while carrying guns. This writer is just stupid about civil rights history.

    But the ACLU has NEVER supported law-abiding black people carrying guns. Or anyone else for that matter.
    They only support the Klu Klux Klan for some reason???

    • The ACLU doesn’t support that right any more. The last big case like that, when the National Socialist Party of America marched through Skokie Illinois in 1978, caused the ACLU to lose too many donors. They prefer to create rights from issues where they can get big donations.

      • The “National Socialists” that marched in Skokie tuned out to be jewish themselves. It was all a set-up…
        Not unlike most of the jewish synagogue vandalism. 99% of the time it is committed by jews themselves.

        • Really? Who fed you that line of crap? The Nationla Socialist PArty actually existed, and after winning the right to do so, never marched in Skokie.From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          Jump to navigation
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          National Socialist Party of America
          Leader Frank Collin
          Founded 1970
          Dissolved 1979
          Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
          Ideology Neo-Nazism
          White supremacy
          White nationalism

          The National Socialist Party of America was a Chicago-based organization founded in 1970 by Frank Collin shortly after he left the National Socialist White People’s Party. The NSWPP had been the American Nazi Party until shortly after the assassination of leader George Lincoln Rockwell in 1967. Collin, a follower of Rockwell, developed differences with his successor Matt Koehl.

          The party’s headquarters were in Chicago’s Marquette Park, and its main activity in the early 1970s was organizing loud demonstrations against Black people moving into previously all-white neighborhoods. The marches and community reaction led the city of Chicago to ban all demonstrations in Marquette Park unless they paid an insurance fee of $250,000. While challenging the city’s actions in the courts, the party decided to redirect its attention to Chicago’s suburbs, which had no such restrictions.

          In 1977 Collin announced the party’s intention to march through the largely Jewish community of Skokie, Illinois, where one in six residents was a Holocaust survivor. A legal battle ensued when the village attempted to ban the event, and the party, represented by a Jewish ACLU lawyer in court, won the right to march on First Amendment grounds in National Socialist Party v. Village of Skokie, a lawsuit carried all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, though it failed to carry through its intention (at the last minute, Chicago relented and they marched there instead). The notoriety gained from this incident led to the party being spoofed in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

      • How interesting.

        I’m looking forward, with great interest, to details about your assertion regarding the AC LU and the Nazis in Skokie, Illinois.

  2. Don’t try to oversimplify things. Sometimes actions express “free speech”. The Right To Bear Arms covers both carrying concealed and openly. Carrying concealed is fulfilling your “right” to keep and bear arms. Carrying openly, fulfills the same thing but is also making a free speech statement at the same time that you are willing to use that weapon to defend yourself and others if needed! Carrying openly is a form of symbolism!

    • Here in CA, there’s actually a (very small, but growing) movement to have an empty holster on the hip as a form of protest (free expression) against our state’s onerous gun control laws.

      If you do this, however, be prepared to get hassled by certain anti-2A cops, as the sight of an empty holster has resulted in detainment and questioning for some. Apparently an empty holster equates to the presence of an actual gun somewhere on your person…

      • So don’t leave it empty. Stuff a pocket copy of the Constitution in it. That makes it undeniably a free speech issue, no different than wearing a t-shirt with a slogan on it.

        • You know what…that’s actually a great suggestion. Not just a good one, but an excellent one, and for the very reason you stated.

          I’m going to seriously consider it.

        • I love this idea. My only problem is that I already have so much on my belt that I don’t have that kinda free realestate.

      • So there is courage in California? Good hopefully it will grow. You are on your own. Until there are more who are willing to take a public stand. That is what it takes. Only when more California gun owning voters take a public stand will things change.

        My dream is 22,000 california’s showing up at the state capital all holding a cardboard cut out of an AR-15. With some political statement written on it. If the police confiscate your “political sign”, then sue them for violating your 1st amendment rights. Two can play at this game.

        It won’t be easy. Fighting for your Liberty is never easy. Unless you think like a hollywood movie.
        It was very cold on monday in Virginia. But thousands of skiers get up to Tahoe California around this time to hit the slopes. So the air temperature doesn’t stop those that want to go 60 miles an hour down hill.

        Your lack of civil rights in California are very similar to Mississippi or the rest of the south in 1960. Most people are now saying that’s just crazy to think that. But before the Black Panther party for Self defense, it was the chinese and mexicans who first lost civil rights over 100 years ago. In california. Now fast forward to 2020 they are going after the majority populations civil rights.

      • “If you do this, however, be prepared to get hassled by certain anti-2A cops,…”

        I smell a business opportunity for California civil rights attorneys suing for deprivation of civil rights…

  3. Garrett Epps – “A gun is not merely a symbol; it is not like words or ideas. It is an instrument of violence and death, and its display amid a crowd is a threat.”

    Exactly, you ignorant lib-tard, just as intended. For if at first you petty tyrant wannabes won’t listen to our protests. Then perhaps you’ll pay attention when we put our firearms to your heads. And that is precisely the intent of Amendment II.

  4. According to the author, the 1st Amendment Right To Speech is benign and full of expression of words and ideas.

    And yet, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence stayed home due to death threats (ie, words) that were allegedly on social media (words). That was their decision, regardless of how they came to that decision. There were “apparently” credible threats on the VCDL lobby day speakers and crowd as well – and that did not deter 22,000 participants.

    MLK carried a firearm. He had credible death threats constantly. And yet, he had conviction in his beliefs.

    The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, MDA, etc etc think 2A Supporters want violence, whereas they (CSGV/MDA/MSM) shed significant tears that no violence occurred in Richmond, WE, the 2A supporters, were glad that there was none. No property was damaged and we cleaned up after ourselves….

    • And all gun owners and constitutionalists that were not able to show up were extremely proud of those that did. God bless you.

    • Laws are just words until men with guns give them teeth. Our rights are just words, and the people with the guns are what give those rights teeth.

  5. Don’t forget folks. Hitler got into power because people bought into the cult of personality via………….speech. At which point he was………………voted in. Guns are directly in your face about how dangerous they are, the rest of it is far more subtle in form but still immensely dangerous.

    • Would say far more dangerous. Evil ideas harm far more and far longer than mere evil people.

        • And of all those killed by socialism, many were not killed with firearms as the orchestrators felt that firearms are inefficient at killing as socialists want to kill. For example in the case of national socialists, “After a time, Himmler found that the killing methods used by the Einsatzgruppen were inefficient: they were costly, demoralising for the troops, and sometimes did not kill the victims quickly enough.”

  6. So, this a-hole gets to decide which civil rights are “genuine” and which are not? If we don’t have the 2A, none of our civil rights are truly “genuine”, are they?

    • If we do not have a principle of government by a written constitution then no right – none whatsoever – is safe from the tyranny of a majority.

      The Progressive position is that the entire Constitution is an obstacle to their agenda of progress through force of political institutions. If necessary they would introduce cruel and unusual punishment for thought crimes to realize their goals.

      We, individually, might not like one or another aspect of our constitutionally-controlled form of government. Nevertheless, it is the unifying principle of government by constitution that holds us together and keeps us safe from tyranny.

      The lynchpin of this system is “politics by other means”. We can never consider ourselves safe if we discard this lynchpin.

  7. Hmm, something tells me there are plenty of limits he’d be willing to put on speech too. How, for instance, does he feel about a red flag with a swastika on it. What are his thoughts on the confederate flag? Any opinion on pointy white hoods. If someone says, “Trans-women aren’t women.” Is that speech ok? What about, “Affirmative action is racist.” Is that protected speech? How about Molon Labe? Don’t Tread on Me?

    • “Hmm, something tells me there are plenty of limits he’d be willing to put on speech too.”

      Like criminalizing what they decide is “Hate Speech”?

  8. This is why I read TTAG everyday; to learn something. Until today, I had no idea that guns could be used for violence. Thought bullets could only tear paper, not actually penetrate flesh. Does that mean we can use guns an bullets to defend ourselves from an attacker?

    Whoodda thunk?

    • “Does that mean we can use guns an bullets to defend ourselves from an attacker?”

      As long as you choose *wisely*…

  9. The 2nd Amendment must be limited because it makes it harder for the Bernie crowd to enact their expressed desire to throw us in gulags.

    • Exactly, every Bernie staffer needs to be in GITMO right now. Veritas has published more than enough justification for Trump to declare martial law and outlaw the Demokkkommie party.

      • Ah yes, declaring martial law and throwing political opponents in prison camps to fight tyranny.

      • Yeah Comrade. Hail your dimwit fucking dictator who already has shown ZERO INTEREST in protecting 2nd Amendment rights. Calling for the Orange Assclown to impose martial law? Next you’ll be calling for him to be President for life. I’ve witnessed you calling people commies on here quite often. The only commie I see you with fucktarded statements like those.

        • “I’ve witnessed you calling people commies on here quite often.”

          He’s fully qualified to do so, having grown up under communism in the old USSR. 🙂

    • “…the Bernie crowd to enact their expressed desire to throw us in gulags.”

      I don’t think they want that expense; there are cheaper solutions.

        • Yes, but they are also for using the guillotine on some people, too. Those would be the people can’t or do not want to be reeducated.

        • But, remember Himmler himself had found bullets inefficient. They will find something less expensive and deadlier, like coronavirus.

      • At least two Bernie staffers have been filmed talking about how they want to throw Trump supporters into gulags (their words not mine) in the last week. One of them said that if you’re forced to break rocks for 12hrs/day you’ll become a worthy member of the working class. Another said Milwaukee will burn if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination.

    • /\This. Leftists struggle to get all the power. In order to take power from us the people, they have to disarm us first. They will say anything and use any trick to reach that goal.

  10. Socialism is just words, too. And responsible for millions upon millions of deaths through the years.

  11. I’ve owned and used firearms for forty years and have never once used one of them to commit an act of violence or deliver death to anyone. Violence is in the mind of liberals. They’re always the first to bring up killing when firearms are mentioned, in whatever context.

  12. The entire Bill of Rights is not about what government can or cannot allow a human being to do, it defines our absolute god given rights at birth. That stated the right of freedom of speech has proved far more dangerous to both individuals and society over the span of human history.

  13. I remember historically that a long time. We the People (Colonists) used to “Tar and Feather” political Shills of the monarchy (tyrants)…These type of “puppets” of the oppressors were usually exiled and run out of town….

    • How about this for “hate speech.” – “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
      ― Samuel Adams

  14. Hitler had 6 million people killed using just his words, never underestimate the power of speach on the weak minded.

    • Stalin would condemn thousands at a time, and millions in total, with the stroke of a pen. He would often add notes to the orders to add tens of thousands more to the arrest quotas.

  15. In 1932 Stalin ordered Soviet officials to enter the Ukraine and seize any remaining grain under the order of a procurement levy. Officials mortified by the starving peasants stuffed cotton in their ears to block out the sound of starving babies, but the sight of the starving peasants blue skin and distended bellies was unavoidable. Any officials who could not do their revolutionary duty were demoted and replaced, which meant starving themselves, so very few complained about their revolting duty.

    In 2020 USA you can replace the words “Stalin” with “Democrat politician,” “grain” with “guns,” “peasants” with “NRA members,” and “Soviet officials” with “SWAT team members.”

    • Partially true…
      Democrats have proven time and again that they won’t suffer ‘inconvenient’ babies, they’ll just kill them outright.

  16. By his logic burning an American Flag would be illegal because it’s an act. Courts have ruled it to be speach. 🤪

  17. “Why should freedom of speech and freedom of the press be allowed? Why should a government which is doing what it believes to be right allow itself to be criticized? It would not allow opposition by lethal weapons. Ideas are much more fatal things than guns. Why should any man be allowed to buy a printing press and disseminate pernicious opinions calculated to embarrass the government?” Nikolai Lenin, from a speech in Moscow, 1920

    When we lose the Second Amendment, what will protect the First from a tyrannical government?

    • “When we lose the Second Amendment, what will protect the First from a tyrannical government?”

      To be brutally honest, the Second Amendment has not done much to protect the First Amendment so far. A person can be relieved of a job/income/earnings just by pointing out the settled science that there are only two sexes; two, as in binary. No opposing opinion is permitted regarding the “settled science” of human caused climate change, yet feelings are permitted to overturn the settled science of biology.

      Kafka makes more sense everyday.

      • A person can be relieved of a job/income/earnings just by pointing out the settled science that there are only two sexes; two, as in binary.

        That is because the First amendment does not constrain private parties.

        This is compounded by the fact that in the context of employment, the words of the employee can be imputed on the employer, a principle that predates colonial times. Employers must have legal leeway to regulate employee speech, because the issue of whether or not it is ethically proper to regulate employee speech depends on specific facts.

        As such, some religious organizations can, and in some cases should, fire, or refuse to hire as, managers, spokespersons, or even web designers who spoke in favor of same-sex marriage and gay rights.

        Likewise, the Human Rights Campaign probably should do the same regarding people who made anti-gay slurs.

        But what about people whose jobs are purely support, like plumbers or electricians or custodians?

        These complex questions are why the state rightfully does not legislate in this area.

        However, if the state were to actually require businesses to fire employees for their speech, or refuse to hire people on the basis of speech, that implicates the First Amendment.

        • You are correct. I used a convenient example, non-governmental. So…let’s do this: Hate Speech.

          Governments in the US make hate speech a crime. How did our Second Amendment protect the First Amendment against a law Congress (and by application of the Constitution to the states, the local governments) shall not make?

          While we all love slogans, we should be careful how they are used. The Second Amendment “protects” all the rights of the people, yet every right is declared to be non-absolute. Declared by whom/what? The very government that is governed by our rights.

          We just sound silly saying “the Second Amendment protects…”. Given all the infringements/intrusions/limits/regulations on our rights (enumerated or not), not one usurpation has been stopped by a good guy with a gun. We cannot even validly declare that, “well, except for existing infringements, the Second Amendment will protect us against future usurpation.”

          And to further frustrate people, saying the Second Amendment protects the First is a need based argument (as is the Second, itself). Another instance of undercutting ourselves in our defense of natural, civil and human rights.

        • Second amendment only protects what we ourselves are willing to protect, if necessary with an arm in hand. Otherwise it’s a paper tiger, easily disregarded, abridged and eventually repelled by wannabe tyrants.
          It’s up to us.

      • Curiouser and curiouser! And so does Dodson. I couldn’t imagine waking up a leftist one day,…, and the would reply, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  18. There is no Advantage to us beating around the bush on this issue. Guns are tool designed specifically to kill, that’s the point. Don’t do things that make people need to kill you and it won’t be a problem.

    • Wrong. Guns are designed to contain a small explosion for the purpose of launching a projectile at a high rate of speed in a specific direction. And that’s the end of it.

      The result is completely a matter of choice by the user, not a design feature of the firearm.

    • That’s only one application and that application is not unique to firearms. Like a hammer can be used to do things other than drive nails. You can use them to crack walnuts, jam a door open, pull out a nail, work on metal, etc.

      For a firearm, it can be a tool to teach responsibility to youth, bring sporting challenge to groups of friends, provide a means for self improvement, etc.

  19. I checked out Epps’ bio on Wiki. Born in 1950, which would have made him a teen during the turbulent 60s’ and a student at Harvard at the height of the left-wing anti-war movement. He got his J.D. at Duke Univ. and then spent a long time as a journalist for various papers before clerking for an appeals court judge and then moving on to becoming a law professor. So he has had the usual left-wing/liberal/progressive indoctrination during his career. IMHO, this guy seems to be an intellectual elitist who looks down on us deplorable gun rights people as ones who don’t really know how it is and need to be re-educated – by him and others of his ilk. I think he’s the one who will be re-educated the first time some scumbag sticks a gun in his face and wants to do lewd, rude and crude things to him or his family. So his article is just more lefty propaganda from an ivory tower type which some people (who need others to do their thinking for them) will unfortunately find “reasonable.”

    • Apparently most known by his prog peers for his drivel published in 2012 “‎Wrong and Dangerous: Ten Right Wing Myths about Our Constitution”.

      As if the world needs additional proof the Harvard is NOT an institution of higher education.

      • Charles O McVey Sr
        To:[email protected]
        Jan 22 at 5:30 PM
        I think you missed the class on the Federalist Papers, as well as the Anti Federalist Papers. Perhaps you need to read James Madison’s Original Proposed Amendments of June 8, 1789 and his attendant address to the US House of Representatives regarding those Amendments. I happen to have all of those Documents should you wish to avail yourself of them.
        The reason I say this is your article shows a decided lack of understanding of the reason for the 2nd Amendment. I would also like to ask you to read Justice Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution in particular where he calls the 2nd Amendment the Palladium of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, for without the 2nd Amendment there is nothing that would restrain a Government from taking away the rest of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution itself.
        Just for your own edification I have a Degree in Criminal Justice, one in Political Science and a Doctor of Divinity and I served in the US Army for over 40 years.
        I sincerely hope that you take these words to heart and open your mind to the reason we have the 2nd Amendment, it is not for hunting, but rather to protect our family’s and this great Constitutional Republic.
        This is the Text of the Email I sent to Epps

  20. Translation:
    (1) Guns are icky
    (2) I have a visceral reaction to them
    (3) Everyone else should, too
    (4) Therefore, the above “reasons” justify banning them

    • U_C,

      Your translation cuts through Epps’ obscure language and gets directly to that which he was really saying. No logic in his words, just a self-centered, childish rant.

  21. The left has no problem with armed authority doing their talking for them as long as the correct people are being targeted.

  22. We know that displaying arms for political expression is protected speech.

    Eric Holder n President Obama told us that visibly armed, uniformly dressed, self-identified members of a political group, standing outside polling places, interacting with voters on the way in is … political speech. Also, not campaigning at a polling place, because reasons.

    No intimidation there. See also “card check” union voting.

  23. There are many people that were born in the first round of the baby boom (1946-1954) who wanted to make this world better, protested against Viet Nam and believe in civil freedoms. Many who will even think about it have conservative fiscal values and liberal social values,
    You can’t tar us all with the same brush, many do support the 2nd amendment, and the rest of the original BORs. We were taught in public school to think for ourselves, even to question authority. I am proud to be part of my generation, like all generations, there are followers and leaders who do NOT have the country’s future in mind.

    • Us “early” boomers are predominately conservative. REAL men anyway. Never confuse anti-asian war sentiments with being a leftard!

      • “Conservatives” beat “liberals” in self-identification for every generation except Millennials where it’s a statistical tie with the exceptions of 1998 and 2003 where “conservative” wins by a few points outside the MoE.

        The real change is that Gen X and Millennials both have a huge jump in self-identification as “moderate”. In aggregate numbers when people switch away from self-identifying as “conservative” they do not go to “liberal” they go to “moderate”.

    • I was born in 1943, and I am a Constitutional Conservative, and am a strong believer in the Constitution as written and Amended. I also have all 85 of the Federalist papers, all 84 of the Anti Federalist Papers, James Madison’s original proposed Amendments and numerous additional founding documents and writings of the Founding Fathers.
      I to was taught to think for myself when I went to school, I have 6 Grown children born between 1964 and 1984 and I taught them to think for themselves which put them at odds with the Educational System. They have also taught their children to think for themselves and not accept the ramblings of Politicians and News Media as gospel; we should all teach our children and grand children to do so as well.

      • My dad was born in ’39 and raise me the same way you did your children.

        Got me in a hell of a lot of trouble in high school for “rocking the boat” when I went full-iconoclast on those morons. Didn’t lower my grades but I spent a fair bit of time in detention and out of school suspensions (vacations!) for telling people things they didn’t want to hear.

        For all the complaining about the University system the secret to this whole thing lies in raising kids exactly the way you and my dad did and then sending them to public schools and on to universities.

        Otherwise we give up our seat at the table, giving that ground in it’s entirety and doing so without a fight. Nothing good can or will come from that.

  24. Plenty of civil rights are not enumerated in the Constitution, yet are still considered “genuine” and correctly so. But this one is VERY clearly laid out in plain words for all to read. If civil rights listed in the Bill of Rights are up for casual dismissal, which others are “not genuine” because somebody finds them inconvenient? Maybe President Trump should quarter a platoon of Marines in Garrett’s house, because the Third Amendment isn’t enumerating a “genuine civil right” really. Maybe Bill Barr should send some FBI goons to kick down Garrett’s door and confiscate the notebooks in his desk, because the Fourth Amendment isn’t enumerating any “genuine civil rights” really. Maybe when they arrest him based on something they find in his house, Garrett should be required to testify as to how he acquired said possessions, because the Fifth Amendment isn’t enumerating any “genuine civil rights” really. And during that trial, maybe he should be denied an attorney, because it’s inconvenient and the Sixth Amendment isn’t enumerating any “genuine civil rights” really.

    You don’t get to pick and choose other citizens’ rights according to what you like and don’t like.

  25. I’m generally against poll taxes n citizenship tests. BUT…

    If you’re to chicken to show up n say what you think *while overwatched by snipers, protecting you*, maybe you lack the stones to have a useful opinion on anything. Actual VA gotv snipers. On roofs. Overwatching the lobbying citizens. There’s video.

    Why didn’t Antifa n other screeching whack-jobs show up n brain people with bike locks n flagpoles? Having made such a stink about the (alleged) crazy gunny people, The VA Admin n “law enforcement” would have to do something should masked rioters start with their violence n destruction. Antifa didn’t show up because they only attack unarmed n unprotected. Riots didn’t happen because peaceful, responsible people don’t do that.

    Antifa n the Fa couldn’t allow a dust up; on camera, too many narratives would be killed.

  26. Lemme get this straight; carrying a gun is actually violence and not expression or speech and must therefore be curtailed, but the left said (hate)speech is actually violence and must therefore be curtailed. Maybe you really just want everyone to sit down, shut up, and let you be in charge. (Hint, that’s kinda why we want to keep our guns. It’s so we can tell you no.)

  27. I wonder how that logic applies to people wearing the cross.

    Nailing a dude to one launched one of the world’s largest religions, was certain a form of symbolism and therefore speech, and damned if it wasn’t violent.

    Or how does such logic apply to wearing a shirt that advertises material arts? Seems like that’s got a lot of parallels to a gun in a holster or on a sling.

  28. Prof Oops, there makes two errors of logic, one of literature, n several of politics just in the headline.

    He really should take an intro to logic, usually philosophy 101. Maybe a literature course, something on symbolism, or rhetoric. And he might note that in politics *most physical acts are symbolic; most symbolic acts are physical.*

    Gov Blackface fencing constituents in and out was a physical demonstration of real-world power … and symbolic. The point of the act was the lesson, not the people kept out. Just like fencing off the WW-II memorial under the last Presidential Admin. (Power exercised is a demonstration —
    a symbol — of poser.possessed. And who, whom.)

    I’d suggest he get educated, but a degree isn’t what it used to be, in fact or symbolically. He’s got several. I wonder what that means these days. Meanwhile 20,000 or so citizens armed enough to spook Prof Eek nall wee-wee’d up at a protest didn’t do nothing to nobody. I wonder what that symbolizes.

    • If you want to go the pure logic route is conclusion is valid. It’s unsound because one or more of the premises is incorrect.

      That’s where rhetoric comes in and he uses it fairly adroitly to create the illusion that the premises are actually correct.

      From a debate point of view this is a decent argument since the point of the exercise is to convince people that he’s correct. It’s up to the opposition to use our own rhetoric to show why people shouldn’t embrace the conclusion that is presented.

      • You’re not wrong that Prof Eeeks, there, uses some rhetroical techniques. They seem to me remedial — easily debunked, and more off putting than convincing. There’s category errors in the title. Some folks count those as logical errors; some don’t.

        On reflection I think I’d also categorize the logical errors in the title as rhetoric, and it works.

        There’s a lot going on in these crafted slogans and sound-bites from the anti-people, like that title, way better than the brains bleating them. They’ve also been programmed up with pattern-matching any response to find the next crafted bleat to retort with.

  29. Al Sharpton incited the Crown Heights riot using only words — and people died. More recently, the press and assorted racial arsonists incited riots in Ferguson and Baltimore — and people died. I could cite many more examples.

    First Amendment rights must be limited because words can be used to kill.

  30. ” its display amid a crowd is a threat” – Oh. Is that why there were so many cops with guns there that day? To threaten the people?

  31. On the other hand, Are law abiding citizen gun owners a protected class? Based on the authors comments it appears it should be so.

  32. “Garrett Epps is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He teaches constitutional law and creative writing for law students at the University of Baltimore. ”

    Must have taken the same Con Class as Adam Schiff.

    • OC in Santa Fe is a blast just because it’s Santa Fe (no one really notices). I do it every time I visit my parents.

      Also, you can OC in the Capitol Building if you choose to.

  33. Garrett, you just believe in the United States, do you? The Second Amendment is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT symbol of freedom in the world!! No matter what a constitution reads or what a governmental system professes all other freedoms can be forcibly taken away. I once saw a really STUPID person say online that the best protection against tyranny of a dictatorship is the vote. I guess he missed the history of 1930s Germany where the people voted for Hitler and were surprised by the Reichstag voted to give him dictatorial power and eliminate itself. The schumck evidently didn’t know that if someone had the military behind them and doesn’t want to leave office the vote means SQUAT. And if you try to tell me it can’t happen here review some the confiscatory proposals by many of the 2020 Democratic candidates including asinine suggestions like a wealth tax. If someone is worth 50 billion dollars does that mean they have the 3 billion in cash hanging around pay Liz’s 6 % tax if most of their money is tied up in stocks or physical ownership of a corporation? If that isn’t confiscatory the dictionary is wrong. That is money that had already been taxed.

  34. Here is a comment that answers this better than I could.


    All of your Constitutional Rights come at the cost of safety.

    For example, you would be much safer if I could search houses, cars, and people whenever I wanted to, for any reason, or no reason at all. I’d catch more real bad guys. You know those stories about creeps who keep sex slaves locked in their basements for years? I’d find those victims and rescue them. That neighbor of yours who might have a meth lab that is going to send poisonous fumes into your child’s bedroom window, or explode and burn down your house? I’d find out for sure whether a lab was there.

    How about all those guys who are probably child molesters, and we’ve got some evidence, but it isn’t enough to convict in front of a jury, especially with that defense attorney throwing doubt all over our evidence? Those guys are on the street right now, and a child you love may be their next victim.

    Give up your rights under the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, and I’ll make the world safer for you. No question about it.

    The only problem is that if you give up all those rights, which are really just restrictions on the things I’m allowed to do to you, what’s going to keep you safe from me?

    Every right you have increases your danger from other people who share that right. Free speech? It allows monsters to spread hateful messages, possibly about a group to which you belong, just the same as it allows you to petition your government with legitimate grievances.

    That free speech even allows you to argue in favor of discarding freedom and liberty as just too dangerous to trust in the hands of ordinary people. Now that, my friend, is what scares me – that people with opinions like that will spread them to weak-willed individuals who haven’t really thought through the consequences. I won’t argue for taking that right away, though, despite the dangers. That would be even more scary than you are.

    Yes, some people in a free society are always going to abuse those freedoms. Criminals are going to hide behind the 4th amendment to conceal the evidence of their crimes. People who commit horrific acts are going to hire excellent defense attorneys who can convince a jury that doubt exists. And, yes, some people are going to use guns to commit murders.

    Freedom is scary, but lack of freedom is scarier.

    • “All of your Constitutional Rights come at the cost of safety.”

      All of your Constitutionally protected natural and civil rights *may* come a the *perceived* cost of safety. If we presume the constitutionally-constrained authoritah would be relevant, effective and oriented to people’s protection, then, yes, the less they can do the less safe we are. Actual gun laws in the US demonstrate, on the other hand:

      — Mostly irrelevant (to safety.) Possibly, unproven, effectiveness in specific circumstances; for specific individuals.

      — Mostly ineffective. If we still have a crisis as the anti-people claim, how effective can the anti-gun laws be? Occasionally create safety problems, like specious raids on folks, in aid of ineffective laws. Or single mothers caught in the machinacians while they’re at risk form others’.

      — Entirely corrupt: graft, insider access, crony capitalism, malicious prosecutions. “Sullivan Act” anyone? Keeping black people disarmed under Jim Crow?

      If power attracts the corrupt, or corruptable, who’s gonna drive laws n enforcement of stuff the amendments otherwise constrain. It turns out that sometimes, a constitutional right impedes a moral authoritah from creating some amount of “safety.” At the price of all the abuse. And the lost “safety” people can’t create for themselves, as their own moral actors.

      Net, the 1A and 2A for certain, and I think likely the whole Bill of Rights, create net greater safety, from the brakes they put on bad action n abuse, under color of authoritah.

    • The article makes one argument from one perspective, yes. BUT

      “How can a gun enthusiast still claim their right to bear arms is more important than public safety?”

      — Straw-man, false attribution of a particular claim to people who aren’t speaking.

      — Idealization, and generalization: “a gun enthusiast.”

      — Rhetorical cheat: Which gun enthusiast? Really trying to mean “any”, or “all”, standing in for “every” which are different assertions.

      — Sets up a bigger rhetorical cheat: If implied “any” or “all” are accepted, then *one* counter-example — someone who says “public safety first” — debunks the whole straw claim. Also rhetorically, same “a”, read as “every” can be used later to assert that one example, means every “gun enthusiast” thinks that way.

      — What’s a “gun enthusiast” anyway. Rhetorically diminuitive: why not say “origionalist”, “constitutionalist”, or any number of other designations? “Enthusiast” means they just like guns; not for any important reason.

      — **Massive Fallacy** implies a rank order comparison. If a civil society requires public safety and a right to bear arms, both, rank order does not apply. Implicit rank ordering *opens the bid, and frames the conversation* to “How much of this do we trade off for that?”

      — “Still” and “claim” are diminishing, and provacitive flourishes.

      “What’s your evidence that trading off the Right to Bear Arms increases public safety? New evidence, I presume — what’s new?”

      Reject their premises without engaging them directly. Assert their implied standard and solution: trading off *this* gets us more of *that*, there’s eveidence, and new evidence. If you wanna argue facts, ask for evidence; “evidence” vs. “how do you know.” Sting at end, “new evidence” presumes prior evidence didn’t support their assertion. Steals their issue of “public safety” on the sly — the one thing you didn’t object to.

      “Blah, blah, blah, blah, people killed, that shooter at the church … whatever.”

      Once they start making some kind of claim, fact n logic-based responses come in.

      — “Well, the CDC says there’s about 12x more DGUs / year than gun assaults. (Optional, if they go after the numbers: “That’s reported DGUs vs. all of them, times the gun was used vs. things stopped before getting that far.” If they claim they don’t know those numbers: “Not surprising, as the administration that paid for the analysis memory-holed it for something over a decade.”)

      This is really hard to do in real-time. The anti-people aren’t thinking; they’re bleating highly-crafted repsonses they’ve absorbed. Somebody is putting a lot of work into the rhetoric they launch out there, in other people’s mouths and signs. (You can tell when Little Hoagie is twit-ing himself, vs. when his handlers are around, for example.)

  35. On a different note, has anyone else noticed Vlad hasn’t been trolling here since his grandiose predictions of violence during the Richmond rally never came true? Just curious.

    • Did he actually make a prediction of violence?

      I know he spoke vaguely of the authorities crushing the rebellion, but I don’t clearly recall a prediction of violence at the rally.

      Did he indicate which side would begin the valance?

      • Vlad the Imprecise did, indeed, make bunches of assertions which any conversational, typical reader would take as predictions of violence. Aaaaand, the ones I saw would, indeed, provide wiggle room to claim post-hoc that “That’s not an acutal prediction of violence.”

        It’s a rhetorical cheat, called “an undulating lie.” The best source of examples I know is presidential pronouncements under the last administration. This makes extra ironic the Screaming D’s Kakuki claims: “The Orange Crush didn’t actually speak the words, but we all know what he meant.”

        Of course, the real game is: these tactics for me, but not for thee. See fencing off peaceful, responsible people who want to rally, vs. opening the streets n standing down the police for known violent rioters, who wear masks.

        Use of this technique is more evidence that Vladdy boy isn’t crafting his own stuff.

    • “…Vlad hasn’t been trolling here since…”

      Same pattern every time. (There’s a couple others…) Agitprop and battlespace prep.

      — Since he isn’t good enough to be a primary actor, once the pre=work is done, so is he.

      — Since The Big Kerfuffle didn’t go their way, the anti-people’s interest is over … till next time.

      It’s badge of honor. If you’re important enough to disrupt, you’re having impact.

  36. I’m sick of hearing about ca. The people of that state let it happen and all other states that passed laws that restrict the right to own and carry firearms. You the people put them in, you have the power to remove them from office, if they don’t like guns, then don’t have one, just because you don’t like guns, doesn’t mean others don’t, example, dogs eat sh!! They like it, do you, I prefer female company, some don’t, then there’s some go both ways, so what I am saying is if they can’t see the picture, that America wants to remain free, and if they are not willing to do their part then we the people of America, don’t need them, guns don’t kill, people do,more people die in automobiles accidents, heart attacks, disease, ect. I guess we need to ban, them also, that way we can do away with doctors ,lawyers, insurance companies, governor’s, the government office’s, if you are sick, driving, hurting in terrible pain, cause that car on your way to the ins office to check if your coverage is supposed to pay the hospital, you stepped in a hole in the walk way that was supposed to be repaired, so u decided to sue the town for damages, you hobby your way around the corner, and watch that car hit the lawyers, speed on hitting the insurance agent and the Dr.killing each one, you think well who needed them anyway, but if it had been a firearm, you would be saying they should ban those things, it’s not the car,not the gun, it’s the person, so just ban everything that’s what the lefties or after, they must be removed from this nation each and every anti gunners that don’t believe in the constitution and 2nd Amendment rights for freedom.

    • These pricks are moving to Texas in droves and bringing their stupid voting with them. How can this country protect itself from stupid. Can’t kill them, can’t educate them(there really stupid), what the hell can you do with them? I guess we are going to have to pray they get smarter. Seriously, why do you vote for a form of govornment you are running away from and moving here. Do you think we got it right? If so please vote like us before you turn us into another California. Kind of like an illeagal trying to turn the US into Mexico after they fled the country because of the corruption. Does this really make sence to you? God I hope not.

  37. The author claims carrying a guns is not a form of free speech, then goes to claim that a gun “display amid a crowd” is a threat. In his own words it’s a display that “launches ideas”.

    Personally I’m not threatened by a holstered/slung firearm. By definition hoplophobes are. It’s communication.

  38. Article I, Section 13 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia:

    Section 13. Militia; standing armies; military subordinate to civil power.
    That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

    There will be (there had better be) near instantaneous challenges on the constitutionality of the state laws these yahoos are passing.

    • @Douglas

      I hate to say it but this article gives the “civil power” (the state government) the right to call on the people to repel an attack from some military entity (standing army – presumably federal) thus preventing a military coup. It does not give the people the right to overthrow the state government and, in fact, puts the civilian arms under the state’s control. It is therefore within the power of the state to regulate, as it sees fit, the arms required to accomplish the task of the militia. I think you misconstrued the “civil power” to mean the people but that simply is not correct.

      I strongly recommend citing the U.S. 2nd amendment instead.

      • Your observation about the Virginia citation is correct, the militia is under the full control of the state government.

        Furthermore, Virginia requires that militia members be not only well regulated but “trained to arms,”.

      • “I hate to say it but this article gives the “civil power” (the state government) the right to call on the people to repel an attack from some military entity (standing army – presumably federal) thus preventing a military coup. It does not give the people the right to overthrow the state government and, in fact, puts the civilian arms under the state’s control. ”

        The citation demonstrates the vast difference between then and now, 1789 and 2020. The US constitution was not designed to transfer the balance of power completely from the states, and to the central committee (federal government)…except in specific instances listed in the US constitution. The effect was to control the central committee, leaving individual States superior in all other matters. That meant each State could organize its own constitution as the people of the State, through State representatives, determined. The intended, and desired result (the States were jealous of their powers) was a hodge podge of different State and local regulations.

        As a “laboratory” of democracy, the States would experiment with various flavors of democracy. When the people of a State decided the State government was not attractive, the people would either change the regulations of that State, or move to a State more attractive. Thus, we see, in the Virginia state* constitution that the government could control its militia (and the possession by citizens of firearms) without regard to the federal constitution BOR.

        *Reflects the inversion of power between the central committee and the States, after the War Between the States, and following the advent of the 14th Amendment.

  39. Cars and doctors kill more folks than guns. We don’t even consider banning eiher of those so if you don’t you are a hypocrite.

  40. If G.Epps. thinks symbolically carrying a holstered gun is a threat and not freedom of speech, what does he think of a shirt with printed guns displayed and “SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS” printed on the front? Is that not also threating for leftists?

    • “…. “SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS” printed on the front? Is that not also threating for leftists?…”

      No, actually. One does not stuff such a shirt in a gun holster. Only then would the shirt be threatening.

        • “Perhaps wearing it would be intimidation enough to some of the snowflakes.”

          Yes, they have already declared that anything that frustrates their unhappiness is illegitimate speech.

  41. Epps: Second Amendment Rights Must be Limited Because Guns Can be Used to Kill

    So can knives, cars, gasoline etc. The military teaches you that almost anything can be a weapon and used to kill.

  42. ” their lawyers “argued that prohibiting rallygoers from carrying guns would violate their Second Amendment right to bear arms and their First Amendment right to free speech” because “carrying guns is a form of symbolic speech.””

    You’re damn right it is.

    As the Black Panther Party discovered in 1967, the cops can’t beat the shit out of you for exercising your first amendment right if you’re conspicuously armed.

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