Liberals and Guns


Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, has a great post at the legal blog Balkinization arguing that liberals should think twice before backing Chicago's gun control laws in the upcoming Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago:

In the city's attempt to preserve its weapons ban, it proves too much, essentially urging the Supreme Court to find that protection of the Bill of Rights and other fundamental liberties against state infringement has no basis in constitutional text or history, and is instead achieved solely by judicial implication. To make matters worse, Chicago's brief makes common cause with precedent that has been properly labeled by civil rights leaders as "among the most misdirected in the history of the Court" and celebrates a post-Civil War Court that looked the other way while Jim Crow perpetuated decades of discrimination and violent rights suppression. Accordingly, even gun-control advocates, who might otherwise support the city's argument in this case, should think twice about selling out substantive rights protection in order to protect gun laws.

That's exactly right. One of the precedents Chicago cites is United States v. Cruikshank (1875), where the Supreme Court, following its disastrous Slaughterhouse decision of 1873, held that neither the First Amendment nor the Second Amendment applied against state and local governments. Keep in mind that the Supreme Court has now been applying the First Amendment against the states since 1925's Gitlow v. New York, which means that Cruikshank is a dead letter when it comes to free speech. So why should the case hold any more weight when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms? More to the point: Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?

NEXT: Activists Oppose FrankenBeets

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  1. Damon,

    You have to understand liberals believe that courts would never apply cases and rules of law in ways that would go against their interests. In their view, courts make decisions based on the right result not any consistent rule of law. Therefore, in their minds there is no danger of this case ever being applied to other rights. By the liberal way of thinking, guns are bad and therefore the law can and should be twisted to ensure that they can be banned. If the same logic applies to more desirable things like equal rights among the races, well consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

    1. Indeed, liberals always fail to comprehend the Iron Laws, including

      You today, me tomorrow.

      1. That’s for damned sure. Guess they might be reconsidering all of their new unconstitutional power grabs, now that a switch back is looking probable. “Wait, the GOP can’t do that, can they? But, but, that’s wrong when they do it!”

        1. See e.g. how the filibuster is proclaimed as the noble guardian of democracy when the Republicans control the Senate. But is miraculously transformed into an evil tool of the special interest used to foil the democratic will whenever Democrats control the Senate.

          Liberals have to be the most un self aware people on earth.

          1. Not a danged thing wrong with the filibuster. Stopping bills is 95% of the time a good thing.

            1. Only if 5% of bills repeal laws enacted previously.

              1. Agreed.

          2. This is why everyone here knows your patisan.

            The aware people know both parties act like that.

            1. Where in that post does it ever say the Republicans don’t do the same? They just aren’t quite as smug about it.

          3. The trouble is, John, is that the Stupid Party makes the same complaints when they are in power and the Dems still have enough sway to prevent a vote.

            Bread and circuses: lather, rinse, repeat.

            1. I don’t think the parties are perfectly symmetrical in their evilness, but I think both react about the same to opposition.

              In John’s defense, though, the Democrats are far more whiny about being defied, and I don’t recall the GOP bitching about having opposition of any kind so much.

              1. Not exactly on point, but it’s quick googlin’



                Also, what was the reason the nuclear option was being discussed?

          4. Excluding conservatives, of course.

        2. The problem is that Republicans are no different in that regard.

          1. Refresh, damnit! Refresh!

      2. Could you repost the most updated list of the Iron Law please?

    2. You’re crazy…we would never do anything that wasn’t in your best interest! Guns are bad mmkay!

      1. That won’t stop me from knapping more flints, Cass!

    3. Your point is correct (liberals only want laws they think are good enforced — and liberals want to violate rights for things THEY, and they only, think are bad — but it is actually worse:

      No one is in favor of criminals, but were we to allow the police to extract confessions from “obvious criminals” we certainly could save lives (far more than gun control) and reduce crime.

      None of us — liberals included — want to live in THAT country however.

      But even more simply, were we to just skip the Miranda rules and providing lawyers we could reduce crime almost as well. And hey, it would only be criminals who are too stupid to know their rights who would be affected, right?

      Of course, having freedoms has been deemed worth the extra risk.

      To keep and bear arms is however far different in effect — they represent one of our essential freedoms and are necessary (by Constitutional definition) to a free nation, but hey also REDUCE death and injury, especially to the law-abiding and innocent.

      2.6 million defensive guns uses each year in the US alone against the MURDER of far more than 100 MILLION human being by gun control governments in the 20th Century alone.

  2. Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?

    Because guns are SCARY.

    1. Statists LOVE guns as long as they control them.

      I have never heard any advocate of the State — be it liberal, progressive, international socialist, national socialist, theocrat, Democrat or Republican — contend that their military, police, or security apparatus should be disarmed.

      In fact, the number of armed Federal agencies has grown under both Democrats and Republicans. Even the USPS, IRS, and Amtrak have armed branches.

      Those who love the State don’t think guns are scary in the hands of the State. This despite the fact that, by force of those same arms, various States murdered over 100 million of their own people in the past century.

      1. Amtrak ninja?

          1. Yes, but I want pictures. Do they carry heavy weapons? Are they dressed in cool paramilitary outfits? Do they have tanks?

            1. Just look for whoever’s riding that isn’t Joe Biden.

            2. i imagine a pair of heavily armed swat-types on one of those old school man-powered locomotives pumping furiously to catch up with a speeding train.

  3. More to the point: Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?

    Because guns are bad, m’kay?

  4. Indeed they just get up on their own and start shooting!!!

    1. That’s why they call it gun violence. Guns are just innately violent.

      1. It’s an attitude problem with these guns – they’re always pointing at someone…

        1. I blame the parents even though it’s not popular to do so.

  5. More to the point: Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?

    You cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded theather – because everybody will start firing their guns!

  6. “Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?”

    That’s easy: statists don’t like it.

    The same answer applies to the 9th and 10th Amendments.

    1. Are those amendments? I thought they were just inkblots or something.

      1. They were typos mistakenly tagged onto the end of the document by devious neocon teabaggers in the 18th Century.

        1. Frickin’ Jews.

          1. I’ve heard that they were left over text from the Iroquois constitution, which we stole and wrote over with our Constitution.

            1. Everyone knows the numbers 9 and 10 weren’t even invented yet, around the time of the 1st Constitutional Convention.

              True story!

          2. Can we stop mentioning neo-cons whenever Gobbler is around?

      2. As anybody who has studied constitutional law knows, the only reason they’re there is to contain a secret message that Nicholas Cage must unravel to discover a treasure trove hidden away by freemasons.

        1. Ye gods, what an awful movie. And poor Sean Bean was sucked into it, too.

        2. Not that Cage gets to spend any of that treasure trove, as he found another coded message that accurately predicted the catastrophic end of the Earth. Trust me: you are best “not ‘Knowing.'”

  7. More to the point: Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?

    because only white ringers have guns?

    1. Is that some kind of penile affliction?

        1. Inflection.

            1. Aflac-tion.

            2. Infraction

              1. Infliction.

                1. Inflation

          1. Invective.

          1. Injection.

              1. Erection.

                  1. Conjunction Junction.

      1. God bless nested comments? No, God DAMN nested comments!

  8. “Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?”

    Because we have no right to self-defense and we all must depend on the State to take care of us.

  9. Liberal legal rhetoric is always ugly.

    Lay liberal positions aren’t products of multi-step constitutional-analytical reason; they’re signals of non-membership in disfavored social groups. Rednecks (or whoever) are fer it, so they’re agin it, because they’re not them.

    That counter-reflexive “makes common cause” (with rednecks) rhetoric up there works by offering suggestible types, with their well-trained “Gun nuts! Militia! Palin! Ew!” instincts, a safe out: “Wait! I can be still not those same guys, but this way! Even if I take the same position? Yeah! What she said!”

    Or “That’s exactly right.”

    (What is? There’s no stuff there.)

  10. They will take my bans from my cold, dead hands!

    1. Yet another great t-shirt.

  11. Sorry for the threadjack. But this is funny

    Ben Nelson Finds Religion [Daniel Foster]

    Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) reacts to the Massachusetts election in a statement (emphasis added):

    “Clearly, the vote showed that people are frustrated with Washington…and I am too. That frustration will likely register across the board for all incumbents. The overriding message from yesterday is that people are upset because Washington is dysfunctional and not working together for them.

    “The Massachusetts vote should be a wake-up call for Washington. Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, Democrats and Independents have 59. The 60/40 split that took us too far down the road to partisan gamesmanship is history.

    “The vote should end the situation where one side thinks it doesn’t need the other, and the other thinks there’s no need to work together for the good of the nation.

    Fucking sorry ass lying bastard.

    1. So Ben is going to vote differently? Guess that kind of bribe allows you to do that, since there’s no money to return if the bill dies on the floor.

    2. Even funnier than that was a sounbite I heard on the radio today from the big O himself.

      He said the reason Brown won in Mass was the same reason he won the presidency – people were angry about what had been happening the “last eight years”.

      Of course the actual last eight years includes HIS first year but that’s not what he meant.

      It’s beyond ridiculous to try and spin the notion that people voted against the candidate he endorsed and campaigned for and who promised to support his healthcare legislation did so because they were mad at Bush.

      Con men who start believing their own con are in trouble.

      I’d say the big O is in trouble.

      1. People were angry at Bush so they voted Republican?

        Is Obama a complete moron?

        Note, too, that the Congress has been Democratically controlled since 2006. Whose fault is what again?

        1. Is Obama a complete moron?

          Let me be clear: yes.

    3. Drop the Big-O name for Obama. Its an insult to incomprehensible shows about giant robots.

      1. Come now, there is only one big O. Oprah. And if you think she’s not running this administration, you haven’t been reading my newsletter.

        1. I’m unable to tell the difference between the giant robot and the talk show host.


          1. Comparing Oprah to a giant robot is a compliment. After all, the giant robots are our future.

            I can’t wait until she launches her new network (OWN–replaces Discovery Health). I bet she singlehandedly saves the Obama presidency with her arcane powers of persuasion.

            1. They’re getting rid of Discovery Health? You’re lying!

              1. I’m as serious about this as Oprah is about randomly making books best-sellers and about weight-loss programs. Read it for yourself.

                1. What!? This is an outrage! Who will show reruns of I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant?

                  1. Not Oprah. My understanding is that, unlike the abortive attempt to launch the O Network (that’s Oxygen), Discovery is handing Oprah more or less complete control. I seem to recall something about Oprah abandoning Oxygen ’cause the network didn’t obey her whims.

                    With OWN, I suspect that her picture will be permanently affixed to the bottom of our screens. Watching. Waiting. Judging.

                    1. Disobey The Oprah at your own peril.

                      Few live to tell of the horror. The HORROR.

                    2. To tell the truth, I’m starting to love the idea of OWN. Oprah with her own network should be awesome fun. Distressing, but fun. I hope this goes to her head in some huge way.

                    3. I hope this goes to her head in some huge way.

                      How could you tell?

                    4. Don’t think there isn’t more room for her ego to grow. In fact, look for her to just freak out and stay on air nonstop at some point. Probably around the time Obama is forced to resign by the Democrats.

        2. Women’s magazines use “the big O” in a way that should never be associated with Obama or Oprah. Maybe robots.

          1. First thing I think about when I hear that is Cosmopolitan.

      2. I thought it was a tire store…

        1. Serious question: Who is more powerful, Oprah or Obama? Or, in other words, who would answer the other’s phone call the quickest?

          1. Michelle would.

            1. What are you suggesting?

  12. Why should the Second Amendment receive any less respect than the First?

    Duh, “2” is a lower rank than “1”. The bill of rights was listed in order of importance right? Shit, we can just drop stuff past the 5th, i dont even know what any of those are anyway. Buncha useless crap!

  13. How about if gun owners all form well-regulated militias? Will that then make liberals happy?

    I’m calling mine “Nugent’s Nuggets.”

    1. Your militia’s newsletter. 1 Subscription please. ThxBai.

    2. I’m thinking my militia should be “Dean’s Screams.”

      1. The Unredeaned.

    3. Too easy: The Big Muddy 1.

      Infantry, of course.

    4. Years ago I was a member of the “Ohio Unorganized militia.”

      1. Yes, and I had to pack his lunch for his play dates.

    5. 1st Batallion of Santa Cruz California Volunteers, the “Armed Fuddy Duddies.”

  14. I just bought a new gun and I think it is defective. It just sits in the drawer or the holster and hasn’t shot anybody yet!
    Should I return it and get my money back?

    1. It might just be reclusive due to loneliness. Guns are social creatures and fare best in groups of 3-6.

      1. Yeah, they seem to reproduce uncontrollably around that threshold.

    2. Take it out for a walk and later clean it while it’s loaded (somehow) and it will spring to life.

  15. Accordingly, even gun-control advocates, who might otherwise support the city’s argument in this case, should think twice about selling out substantive righfor.”ts protection in order to protect gun laws.

    In other words, “Be careful what you wish for.”

  16. On the other hand, the first amendment doesn’t apply to states. I’m pretty sure the text pretty clearly states, “congress shall make no law…”

    1. Good thing we have that 14th Amendment, then, to change the Constitution and apply it (and the rest of the BoR) to government at every level.

      1. I’m honestly not sure where the 14th amendment says that.

        Actually I didn’t know about this part of the 14th amendment:

        “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned”.

        Wow, the 14th amendment totally destroys the 1st amendment.

        1. wtf were they thinking? “shall not be questioned”??

          1. good lord, the clause 3 of the 14th amendment is just as horrible…

            “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

            I’m sure you can find an instance at some point in their life where each and every president since has “given aid or comfort” to an enemy of the United States.

  17. First, guns . . . then, your right to self defense:…..rison.html

    Munir Hussain: father who attacked intruder freed from prison

    Munir Hussain, a businessman jailed for seriously injuring an intruder, was released from jail today after having his sentence reduced [to one year, out of an original 30 months].

    1. To be fair, having RTFA, the intruder was not an intruder when he was attacked. Apparently they found him later and beat the fuck out of him. Personally, I’d still let it slide, but eh.

  18. I can actually see a point in the argument that “Congress shall make no law…” in the First Amendment binds only the Federal government — and only one branch of it, if you want to be picky. But there is no similar language in the 2nd Amendment. “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That would seem to bind the Federal and all governments that were subordinate to the Constitution. In other words, ALL of them, just as ALL courts must respect certain rights of the accused, by virtue of other Constitutional provisions.

    If the 14th “incorporated” the Bill of Rights with respect to the States, then all the LESS reason to deny that the 2nd applies everywhere in US jurisdiction, at all times.

    Or am I missing something?


  20. Vote Republican for a totally screwed up Government. Vote Democrat and screw it up even worse; and it’ll cost much more!!!

    1. … But vote early and vote often ( with ACORN’s help).

  21.…..-p-16.html Thanks a lot for discussing this wonderful information, I do not know about anyone else, but I can totally use it for me

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