I’m not particularly surprised that the New York Times has published an op-ed calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The left-leaning former newspaper of record is so anti-gun they commissioned their artists to create an image of the world’s stupidest, ugliest gun (as above), implying that all guns are stupid and ugly. To them — to Zachary Elkins in particular — they are. As is the bit of the United States Constitution that protects American citizens’ natural and/or human right to armed self-defense. Not that he’d use the word, but Elkins knows his position is extreme . . .
Before you mock the idea of a constitutional amendment, consider that hardly anyone is happy with our unstable status quo: gun enthusiasts fear their rights are under constant threat; gun-control advocates point to the danger of illegal guns and easy access to firearms.
Here’s the thing Zach. One side is right—firearms freedom is under threat—and one side is wrong—making illegal guns more illegal or making more guns illegal won’t do a thing to reduce their “danger” to society. In fact,”easy access” to firearms is precisely what the framers of the Constitution wanted. Which is still the case for those of us who cherish freedom and liberty.
To broker a “grand compromise” (a.k.a., throw the Second Amendment under the bus) Mr. Elkins’ essay delves into U.S. history. Selectively.
First, Elkins discounts settled law (and common sense) that has established the Second Amendment as an individual right, most recently in the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision. To wit: “The 5-to-4 vote also suggests that the decision is not fixed doctrine.”
Second, Elkins ignores the plight of disarmed African Americans, whose suffering formed the basis of the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision. This somehow escaped the attention of the associate professor of government at the University of Texas.
“What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do you not understand?” the gun-rights advocate asks. “What part of ‘a well regulated Militia’ do you not understand?” goes the retort.
Partly because of this ambiguity, the Second Amendment seemed almost irrelevant for most of our history. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many American towns and states regulated guns. In the deadly confrontation at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Ariz., in 1881, Wyatt Earp was enforcing a ban on carrying guns in public.
“Almost irrelevant.” With two words, Elkins dismisses a world of pain, torture, humiliation and murder inflicted upon disarmed African Americans. Not to mention the millions of citizens left defenseless against criminals by unconstitutional gun control laws.
As for citing the shootout at the OK Corral, what of it? Does the fact that the Alien and Sedition Acts trampled on the First Amendment make the First Amendment irrelevant? More to the point, this guy is a professor?
This constitutional uncertainty should suggest to both sides the possibility of agreeing on a formal clarification of the constitutional text. Zealots will scoff, but many reasonable people would find reassurance in a revised Second Amendment that was properly balanced. Those who propose responsible limits, like background checks, would welcome constitutional support for common-sense safeguards. Those who worry about the slippery slope of encroachments on gun rights would find comfort in an explicit reassertion and reinforcement of the general right to bear arms.
Just for S&Gs, what is Mr. Elkins proposing, exactly? What is the language of this revised Second Amendment that will reconcile two irreconcilable positions on civilian disarmament? Crickets chirping mixed with the sound of zealots scoffing.
Shame on the Times for publishing this drivel, the sole intent of which is to paint gun rights advocates as “extremists.” On the other hand, it’s kind of reassuring that gun control proponents are spouting utter nonsense in a scrape-the-bottom-of-the-barrel kinda way.
Even so, I shudder to think what would happen if another spree killing or high profile assassination goes down within the next few months. We are only a trigger pull away from this kind of crap becoming “common sense.”