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It doesn’t take a lot of digging to find university professors who regularly ignore Mark Twain’s advice about remaining silent and being thought a fool. A disturbingly large number of them seem all too anxious to spout off and remove all doubt their idiocy. Calvin Johnson of the University of Texas school of law is just such an educator. The legal don took the opportunity of Monday’s Ohio school shooting to express his view that the tragedy was really only a “typical exercise of the Second Amendment.” But the Second Amendment’s Alan Gottlieb’s not one to let a gem like that go unchallenged . . .

The SAF fires off their response:


BELLEVUE, WA – The suggestion by a University of Texas law professor that Monday’s deadly school shooting in Ohio was a “typical exercise of the Second Amendment” is an outrage, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.

Calvin Johnson teaches law at UT in Austin, and his comments appeared in an e-mail that was exposed by a reporter for the Washington Free Beacon. The story also revealed that Johnson defended the City of Chicago’s handgun ban, which SAF successfully challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court in McDonald v. City of Chicago. Prof. Johnson has also suggested that it is “quite reasonable” to dismiss James Madison’s motivations for including a right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights as “historical trivia.”

“To contend that Monday’s tragic school shooting is typical behavior for citizens exercising their rights under the Second Amendment is simply outrageous,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “What is even more alarming is that this fellow actually teaches law at an American university.”

Prof. Johnson reportedly sent a note to the Washington Free Beacon that stated, “The original meaning of the second amendment was to form a better militia. Under original meaning, guns fit into militias, [sic] and militias are subject to Presidential orders. Disobey the order and you can be shot. That is the real second amendment. The fake one allows high school adolescents to have easy access to the opportunity to work out their fantasies. That is bad originalism.”

“Someone with so little understanding of a major tenet of the Constitution should not be in front of a classroom,” Gottlieb observed. “If he can so deliberately distort the historic background of the Second Amendment, what else is he distorting to his students?

“Evidently,” he added, “Prof. Johnson is like so many other gun prohibitionists who habitually politicize and exploit tragedies to further an anti-gun agenda. We are stunned at Johnson’s callousness. Killing innocent people is no more an exercise of the Second Amendment than is Prof. Johnson’s abuse of his First Amendment right to engage in what amounts to scholarly malpractice. A man with his perspective should no more be teaching basket weaving than legal doctrine.”

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  1. The good professor seems to be lacking in historical context. Each of the enumerated rights in the Bill of Rights has its origins in some action taken by the Crown during the Colonial period.

    The Second Amendment is there because the Crown attempted to disarm the people, just as freedom of the press is in First Amendment originates in the Crown action against the Peter Zengler.

  2. Laurence Tribe came to a different conclusion. So how come everyone in the legal community has heard of Tribe and nobody ever heard of this nonentity outside of his own family?

    • Have Tribes’ 2nd and 4th edition (2000) on my office shelf. He (my view) improved over the years, editions. I’ve nothing by Johnson, who might simply have needed a way to gain visibility in…Texas. Boy, is he going to achieve it.

  3. This guy is just another fear-monger with no valid understanding of the Second Amendment, nor, apparently, of what actually happened in Chardon, Ohio. It does make one wonder what he’s teaching his law students.

  4. It takes a true egotist, in other words a modern American liberal, to dismiss the work of a mind as great as James Madison as “historical trivia.”

    Just a guess here but I suspect James Madison will be still be remembered when the “eminent professor Johnson” is not even a long forgotten footnote in history.

  5. I like Mr. Alan Gottlieb. He never lets a comment like that made by Prof. Johnson publically pass without jumping on it like a sock biting terrier. The Second Amendment Foundation has been around a long time, more than 35 years if memory serves me correctly, and I believe Mr. Gottlieb has been at its helm from the beginning.

  6. I wonder how the illegal use of a firearm is consistent with exercise of the second amendment? Looks like the law school down at U of Texas must be pretty lame, I wonder, do they have a correspondence course for a law degree, I need something to do in my dotage.

  7. Austin is a little part of California that metastasized to Central Texas. This guy is just proof. The reality-distortion field around the UT campus is quite powerful.

  8. .”[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
    ~James Madison
    .”The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…”
    ~James Madison
    .”To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
    ~George Mason

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