Gun Rights

Cognitive Dissonance on Gun Rights

Both liberals and conservatives favor a selective reading of the Constitution.

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In political debates, it seems fair to say most of us think we operate as follows: First, we study the issues. Second, we reach conclusions based on the best arguments and evidence. Then we seek out those who share our conclusions and the reasons for them. Finally, we make common cause with the like-minded.

Unfortunately, research suggests people often do precisely the opposite. To a much greater degree than we would like to think, we choose up sides first. Then we align our conclusions with what our side thinks about a particular issue. Then we adopt the arguments that best support the conclusions our side favors—even if we dispute those same arguments in other cases.

If you'd like an example, take the current debate about guns.

Since the heinous tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., last year, liberals across the country have waged an intense and sustained campaign for tighter gun control. One of the arguments they are currently deploying is historical. Zachary Elkins, a professor at the University of Texas, put it this way a few days ago: "The Second Amendment seemed almost irrelevant for most of our history. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many American towns and states regulated guns. . . . But in the 1980s, a movement to interpret the amendment as promoting the right to bear arms for self-defense emerged."

Writing in The New Yorker roughly a year ago, Harvard's Jill Lepore made a similar argument: "In the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. began advancing the argument that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to carry a gun." She explains this as part of a broader conservative political strategy: "Describing gun-safety legislation as an attack on a constitutional right gave conservatives a power at the polls that, at the time, the movement lacked."

This "novel interpretation" of the Second Amendment, as it has been called, finally prevailed at the Supreme Court in 2008 in the Heller case, and again two years later in McDonald. Those rulings thoroughly outraged most liberals, which is remarkably strange—because they were precisely the sort of rulings liberals have long celebrated.
In cases from Griswold (privacy) to Miranda (criminal law) to Roe (abortion) to Lawrence (sexual liberty) to Hollingsworth and Windsor (today's gay-marriage disputes), progressives consistently (and correctly) have advocated an expansive reading of the Constitution—one that recognizes new rights even where doing so might seem a bit of a stretch.

The Constitution does not explicitly mention a right to privacy, for instance. But in Griswold the Supreme Court discerned one in the "penumbras" and "emanations" of other constitutional rights. And liberals think that is splendid, since—they say—the Constitution is a living document that ought to grow and change with the times.

As Lepore notes in her New Yorker piece, "Gun-rights arguments have their origins . . . in twentieth-century liberalism" and the "rights revolution" of the 1960s. Yet generally speaking, liberals disdain the right to own firearms—despite the fact that it receives explicit mention in the Constitution. So they are now doing something unprecedented: advocating that a constitutional right be curtailed, and perhaps even revoked.

Conservatives are shifting tactics, too. Generally speaking, those on the right have little patience for the view of the Constitution as a living, organic thing that confers new rights as times change. They harbor little affection for novel constitutional theories, scoffing at Roe's reasoning and the notion of a constitutional right to gay marriage. They read the Constitution narrowly—except when it comes to the Second Amendment. In that instance they have, correctly, embraced the new and more expansive reading of Heller and McDonald.

The two sides are trading playbooks in other ways as well. For instance, liberals now frequently invoke common sense—as in, "common-sense gun-control measures," which supposedly stand in contrast to extreme, rights-based resistance to measures meant for the protection of public safety. This is precisely the argument conservatives long made against the exclusionary rule—which prohibits using evidence against a criminal defendant if it has been improperly obtained.

To law-and-order conservatives, letting a murderer get off on a "legal technicality" so he can kill more innocent people is not faithful adherence to constitutional law—it is a ridiculous violation of common sense. Likewise, after 9/11 conservatives argued that both common sense and the common good demanded adopting stern anti-terrorism measures, from warrantless wiretapping to indefinite detention. Saving innocent lives from crazed mass murderers, most conservatives said, was far more important than silly constitutional abstractions. This is precisely the same argument liberals are making now about guns.

Such team-sports fealty ends in absurdity. To conservatives, the federal government's potential for domestic tyranny justifies armed resistance—but that same government can do no wrong in the war on terror. To liberals, the same government that is a half-step away from fascism in the war on terror is our benevolent guardian against domestic firearms.

Maybe they're both half right.

This article originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. They read the Constitution narrowly?except when it comes to the Second Amendment. In that instance they have, correctly, embraced the new and more expansive reading of Heller and McDonald.

    What the fuck? That’s an ‘expansive’ reading? The 2nd says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, not ‘the federal Congress can’t make any restrictions on keeping and bearing arms unless they are reasonable.’

    1. Seriously, you don’t need an ‘expansive’ reading when the second amendment says “shall not be infringed.”

      1. Since Hinkle supports certain “emanations and penumbras” discovered in the Constitution he has to attempt to make a false comparison with the 2nd.

        Pretend that the current interpretation of the 2nd amendment is “expansive” and then you can justify all kinds of newly discovered “rights”.

        1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, Mojo50.com

        2. You don’t need “penumbras and emanations” to justify ‘newly discovered rights.’ It’s staring you in the face at amendment #9.

          Remember, referring a social conservative to the 9th amendment is like showing the cross to Dracula.

          1. Yes, YES!!! That forgotten 9th Amendment. Plus Federalist 84 on Bill of Rights from Alexander Hamilton.

            “I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power.They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority, which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it, was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”

      2. Nothing that protects the children is an infringement!!

        /progressive

        1. The children cannot be fully protected until all individual liberty is snuffed out.

  2. To liberals, the same government that is a half-step away from fascism in the war on terror is our benevolent guardian against domestic firearms.

    Wait, what? Oh, you must mean liberals think the government is a half-step away from fascism when there is a republican in the Whitehouse.

    1. Yeah exactly. Liberals are only liberal when it comes to gay marraige, birth control and abortion (evidently they hate children), otherwise they’re fascist.

      1. Elementry schools should hand out free pez dispensers full of ru486 to the girls but grown men shouldn’t be allowed to buy a mountain dew cause it’s empty calories don’t you know.

  3. progressives consistently (and correctly) have advocated an expansive reading of the Constitution?one that recognizes new rights even where doing so might seem a bit of a stretch.

    WTF?!

    1. It looks like there is a consensus on this article. The commentary is settled!

    2. But progressives don’t consistently advocate an expansive reading of the Constitution. If they did, they wouldn’t have spent 100 years shrieking about Lochner.

    3. like the right of the people, via corporations, to donate to political campaigns?

      1. Congress shall make no law is pretty fucking self explanatory and therefore reading it as such is not expansive.

  4. So they are now doing something unprecedented: advocating that a constitutional right be curtailed, and perhaps even revoked.

    Unprecedented? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    1. Don’t you recognize the progressive history of always supporting constitutional rights? Wilson and his tolerance of dissenters, FDR and his insistence that nobody be banished from his home or locked up in a camp without a judicial trial, the Democratic party’s consistent record of upholding racial equality…I could go on…

      1. Not without vomiting, you couldn’t 😉

  5. The Constitution is a document of enumerated powers, not rights. Nobody invented the right to privacy in Griswold; they just recognized the Constitutional limitations of government power.

    1. Many people oppose the Ten Amendments because they feared the Constitution would become a document of unlimited powers with enumerated rights. Sadly, they were correct.

      1. I named my son Mason after George Mason because he was one who held this belief.

        1. “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them”
          –George Mason

          1. Yes, I should have said because of his many important beliefs.

        2. “I named my son Mason after George Mason because he was one who held this belief.”

          How could you even begin to know what your newborn son believed?

          1. you can tell by his dangling participle.

    2. Not true. In Griswold there was no recognition of a limit on the power of a state to regulate the provision of birth control. What it did was see (or invent) a right of privacy that that power might run up against and have to yield to in such cases.

  6. gun-safety legislation

    Yeah, that’s what the Gun Control Act was: “gun-safety” legislation.

  7. And liberals think that is splendid, since?they say?the Constitution is a living document that ought to grow and change with the times.

    That’s the left’s justification right there! Muskets, and so forth. So they think they’re right to say 2A needs to change because weapons are deadlier than they were back then.

    The right believes the constitution to be rigid, which they believe justifies a rigid reading of 2A’s “shall not be infringed.”

    1. Dude, you forgot the word “militia.”

      The 2A grants the National Guard the right to keep and bear arms.

      1. Militia means militia. It does not mean national guard – which hadn’t been invented at the time.

        1. Sarcasm, yo. I thought it would be obvious since no government has ever needed permission to arm itself.

          1. sarcasmic has the right spirit. After all, the Fourth Amendment ONLY applies if you haven’t committed a crime. No protection for criminals!

        2. Actually, the National Guard is the militia. The name was changed in the late 19th century, but its legally defined role remains the same.

          1. My understanding is that there was considered to be an organized militia (the equivalent to the National Guard) and an unorganized militia (which meant, roughly, adult male citizens of military age).

          2. The militia is the militia: a grouped of armed people. They might be state based or not. The important thing is that we keep it regulated by recognizing the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms. This is the only way to read the 2A that makes a lick of sense.

          3. This should be made even more obvious by reading the amendment that directly follows. The 3A expressly prohibits the militia (soldiers) from forcibly quartering on private property. That should leave little doubt that the 2A is the regulation. If this is not the case should they not have laid out the regulations we were regulate the militia with elsewhere in the document?

          4. Actually, the National Guard is the militia. The name was changed in the late 19th century, but its legally defined role remains the same.

            No, it is not, and it was not. The National Guard did not exist until the Militia Act in 1903. However, that is a misnomer, and refers to the “organized militia”. Moreover, the law put the National Guard under federal control (which is most certainly not the militia to which the Founding Fathers repeatedly referred as a protection against a standing army). The “unorganized militia” is every able bodied male able to take up arms.

      2. No. The 2A refers to the militia as a reason, but the force of the law is in the phrase “Shall not be infringed”. The reason doesn’t really matter. It could read “The sky being blue, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    2. So does that mean we can limit free speech to 18th Century English that is spoken without assistance and also not include expression? Does free press only refer to the old 18th century style of printing press, which was set by hand and the ink was pressed into the paper? No TV or internet in 1789.

  8. There’s nothing novel about the 2nd Amendment protecting the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. “The people” means the same thing as it does in every other Amendment. And “militia” means “militia” – as in the Lexington-Concord “militia” that fought the first battle of the revolution, SPECIFICALLY over their right to keep and bear arms, over the objection of their government!!! The 2nd Amendment means what it says; to fail to understand this is to fail to understand the very origins of our country.

    1. unfortunately, that is what they do–fail to understand the very origins of our country.

      1. well, to be fair, that all happened way more than 100 years ago.

        1. they don’t understand things that happened 10 years ago. so, I guess it is too much to expect of them.

  9. Arguing that the Second Amendment is meant as a way for citizens to check tyrannical state agents would be deemed ludicrous in this day and age, as though the mere existence of the Bill of Rights is ironclad protection. But we don’t have any rights if we can’t defend them.

    We have decided that the Second Amendment is to protect our rich heritage of game hunting is more palatable. And arguably more easy to dismiss as trivial.

    1. I haven’t decided that.

      Am I hurting anyone by having a gun? No? Then fuck off.

      1. Precautionary Principle.

        Can you prove that ten years from now you won’t get into a heated argument with someone and shoot them in the face? Can you prove it? Can you? Huh? Prove that you’re not going to shoot someone! Prove it! You can’t! No gun for you!

        1. I can’t prove I won’t strangle someone to death with my bare hands either.

          1. Warty kills with his looks, and he’s still not behind bars.

            1. That’s just because no cage can hold him. It isn’t for lack of trying.

              1. They’ve trapped him in the most difficult prison to escape from…his mind.

          2. And in fact, more homicides involve hands and feet than rifles, so you’re in good company.

    2. The 2nd is the only reason any of them stand today.

  10. Sorry, but this article is just more phony moral equivalence. If the Constitution is “flexible” enough for the courts to add new rights, it’s flexible enough for the courts to subtract existing rights, which is why the progs want to have the courts read gun control out of the constitution while reading birth control out of it.

    They don’t realize that the best form of birth control is being able to shoot your rapist in the nads.

    1. reading birth control *into* it.

    2. They don’t realize that the best form of birth control is being able to shoot your rapist in the nads.

      That looks like a great way to get sued. Better to kill him. Dead people can’t sue.

      1. Never point a gun at anythin you don’t intend to kill.

        1. The rapist could bleed to death, like in *She Spits on Your Grave.*

        2. Rule No 2:

          Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy

  11. Y’all are talking about a musty old document written by privileged white males who owned slaves. their opinions are like, bogus. totally bogus.
    /sarc off

    1. Plus, that was written like a hundred years ago in a foreign language.

      1. And the guys who wrote it talked like fags.

        1. That’s the first thing that happens when you put on a wig.

  12. The Second Amendment seemed almost irrelevant for most of our history. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many American towns and states regulated guns

    One, incorporation was not an accepted legal doctrine until after the passage of the 14th Amendment. Two, it’s easier to leave a town or a state whose laws you don’t agree with than a country of nearly 4 million square miles. Third, nearly every state had, or has, a provision in its Constitution protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

    In the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. began advancing the argument that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to carry a gun

    And what happened in 1968? Oh that’s right, the government placed sweeping new restrictions the type of firearms people could buy and the manner in which they could buy them.

    1. NRA advanced that idea because people were suddenly deciding it no longer was an individual right. If you went through history, it was always viewed as an individual right since the founding of our country… well, at least until the progtard revolution.

      1. Matrix, it totally makes sense that every other instance of “the people” means an individual right, but in the second amendment it means a collective right.

  13. “Maybe they’re both half right.”

    Or maybe you’re all wrong.

    1. Nope, he’s right. Hinkle nailed it.

  14. I’ve done my best to understand what the 2d Amendment is really trying to say. It’s a tough bit of English to decipher. Considering the context of when it was written I’ve come to the following conclusion:

    This amendment preserves the right of the states to maintain a military force. At the time, militias were armed by its members – not the government. Therefore, this amendment sought to ensure that militia members would always have the weapons needed to defend their state / nation.

    Today, the militia (yes, the National Guard is fully today’s militia) is armed by the federal government, not its members. I believe its true intent is to act as a protection of the STATEs’ rights rather than INDIVIDUAL’s rights per se to have the weapons necessary to defend itself.

    This interpretation is the only way I can reconcile the “well regulated militia” part with the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” part into a rational policy.

    Obviously, the courts and public opinion seem to have contrary opinions.

    1. A militia is not and never has been a national guard. A militia means ‘non professional soldiers’. A National Guard or a territorial or reserve force are professional soldiers. So when the Amendment says a “well regulated militia” it is not talking about the national guard. It is talking about the ability of the states to produce a levy in mass when needed.

      If anything the Amendment is intended to protect the right to bear military arms more than hunting or other arms that have a purely civilian use. The government probably has a better case to ban .22 caliber revolvers than they do AR 15s.

      1. The militia was renamed National Guard in the late 19th century, but its role did not. The premise of NG soldiers being “professionals” per se is open to debate. While they are paid, this role is certainly not the source of their livelihood.

        The amendment specifically refers to a well regulated militia – a high bar for a mass levy, so not likely to meet your definition in any case.

        Don’t forget that the Commander in Chief for the state NG is not the President, but the Governor.

        1. The premise of NG soldiers being “professionals” per se is open to debate.

          They are absolutely professionals. They receive the same training as the active duty. They are nothing but a reserve force. We have activated entire NG brigades to fight wars overseas. They are in no way a “militia” in the traditional sense of the word.

          1. If you joined the NG a few years ago, you would be a fool to not think you’d be shipped off to the Mideast to get shot at.

            1. exactly, they have been fighting overseas for a long time.

              the CiC of the NG may be the government, but when Big Army activates a unit, the CiC is the President.

              NG get much of the same benefits and the same pay as active duty. They also use much of the same equipment, and are given money by the federal government.

              They may be under the states, but the President can call them up at any time.

              1. The only argument that makes sense to me that the NG is not the militia is the one Matrix makes: The President has the authority to federalize the NG without regard to the wishes of the Governor.

                The argument that they receive the same training as active duty does not work for me – that is the same thing as being well regulated in my book.

                Nor does the argument that NG has deployed overseas. Militia have seen extended active service along with federal forces since the Revolution.

                The fact that the NG receives money and equipment from the feds weakens (severely) their independence from federal influence, but does not eliminate it.

                If the NG is not the militia, then it’s safe to say there is no militia in the US.

        2. While they are paid, this role is certainly not the source of their livelihood

          I dunno. You take the King’s shilling, you do the King’s bidding.

        3. Don’t forget that the Commander in Chief for the state NG is not the President, but the Governor.

          Wrong.

          Art. 2 Sec. 2 – The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States

          1. Juice,

            Please read the rest of the clause where it qualifies the President’s role as CiC over the militia “…when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

            The service of the US is distinct from their normal condition of being in the service of the State.

        4. There are two different clauses of Article I – one dealing with organizing the militia and the other dealing with raising and provisioning the Army. The NG is rooted in the latter (e.g. consider “dual enlistment”), and Pepich v. Dept of Defense.

    2. The term “the people,” in every other instance in the BOR, is used to recognize individual rights. There’s no reason to think the second is any different. The right to bear arms is not contingent, in the second amendment, on being in a militia, which as John explained, did not, and does not, refer to the National Guard or any government organization. It refers to able-bodied adult civilians. The people who actually crafted the second amendment were pretty explicit in that it guaranteed the individual right to bear arms.

      1. I can see the point both you and John make about the right is an individual one. But if this is the case, why is the clause about “well regulated militia” there? If that really was their intent, this clause seems quite superfluous.

        What do you think?

        1. See Francisco’s link below.

        2. I think that if you read the Debates on the Constitution (and I may be wrong; it has been several years) you will find that that phrase was inserted to make the point that the 2nd Amendment was written specifically to ensure the right of the citizenry to own and use military grade weapons. I know that it wasn’t unusual for private owners to mount cannon on trade ships, for example.

        3. IMO, it’s in there to highlight the most controversial/radical reason for the 2A (at the time, and now). It’s to show that one primary reason people are to keep and bear arms is so they can train to be a part of a future militia (whether or not they actually intend to do so).

          As mentioned by C. S. P. Schofield, it was to give reason for access to military grade weaponry.

    3. The Well regulated militia part came directly out of Virginia’s state constitution.

      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. Art. I, ? 13 (enacted 1776 without explicit right to keep and bear arms; “therefore, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” added in 1971).

      link

      It is there because the founders feared a standing army and the well regulated was to ensure civilian control. It was copy pasted into the US Constitution. They understood it because they knew where it originated.

      1. Thanks for this, Francisco. It is critical to understanding the origin of the 2A.

      2. ^^^^ THIS

      3. With or without the historical evidence presented here it is very very obvious to anyone reading the words honestly that the only “regulation” they were thinking about was the amendment itself. Its plain. Anyone who brings up the canard of a “well regulated militia” is being intentionally (at least subconsciously) dishonest. The words would be self contradictory if read in that way.

        1. Easy there, wheelock.

          Are you truly suggesting that the nobody could interpret the 2nd amendment differently than you did, and to express this different interpretation is dishonest? Really?

          1. Well. I just dont see how it makes any sense any other way. Perhaps dishonest is not the right term.

          2. My point is that the language is only really difficult to make sense of if you are trying to read into it something other than an an expression of an individual’s right to bear arms. There are plenty of people that I like and respect that read it differently so you are right, calling them intentionally dishonest isn’t really fair. Its just infuriating, not to mention frightening.

          3. You want a great example of just how dishonest the gun control faction is? See Denning’s article and pay particular attention to the 9th Circuit’s hilarious reading of Miller in Hickman v. Block.

    4. Expanding a bit on what John and Calidissident said: The “militia” has always been considered to be able-bodied males within a certain age range. The idea was for that body to be “well-regulated”, i.e., proficient with their arms, by virtue of owning and using them. That older understanding of “militia” is codified in the U.S. Code (10 USC ? 311).

      Secondly, the Bill of Rights were specifically about securing the rights of the people and limiting the powers of the government. In addition to the oddity of granting a government the “right” to an armed military force, for the Framers to suddenly decide to change the conversation from securing the rights of the people to securing the “right” of the state is, well, jarring, to say the least.

      History, and especially the pertinent essays in The Federalist, simply do not support the notion of the right to bear arms as one reserved to the states or the federal government.

      1. Other than the 10th, which is just a catch all, none of the other other Amendments deal with federal and state powers. They all deal with individual rights. It makes no sense to say the 2nd Amendment is anything but an individual right.

      2. @ John, Calidissident, Francisco and mgd: You have been very helpful – making well reasoned, informed and persuasive arguments.

        I’m going to take a step back and ruminate on my position in light of your points.

        1. Wow, this almost never happens at this forum… and not with this level of honesty and civility.

          And it is not for the lack of informed arguments on the reasoner’s side, but because they are dealing with devil’s advocate fuckhead trolls…

          I LIKE IT!!!

    5. No, the second amendment exists to keep the states free, not just to keep them semi-sovereign. The states stay free because the people of the state, as distinct from the state itself, are powerful.

      Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, as Mao would say, and he would know. The other mechanisms the people at their disposal for wielding power (elections, juries, speech and assembly) are more versatile and less destructive, but they rapidly lose potency without the credible threat of popular violence against state officials as a last resort.

  15. My observation above notwithstanding, the 2nd amendment is part of the Constitution, and the courts have clearly interpreted it as an INDIVIDUAL right.

    Therefore, I hold that the only way the government can legally enact broad restrictions on that individual right is through an additional Constitutional amendment that modifies the 2nd.

  16. To accuse conservatives and libertarians of being “expansionist” because they read the 2nd Amendment to actually protect the right to bear arms, something the Amendment says in so many words, is completely idiotic and confirms all of the worst accusations about the Reason staff being liberals pretending to be libertarians in return for a paycheck.

    1. Did you read the word “correctly” in that phrase John?

      1. But it is not an expansionist reading. And reading the 2nd Amendment strictly is in no way an endorsement of a living Constitution or expansionist readings of other Amendments.

        1. I agree it’s not expansionist. I disagree that you can argue that that paragraph is a sign of Hinkle being a closet liberal, when he explicitly states that the pro-gun rights view is correct, which is not exactly a common opinion among liberals

          1. He was arguing that the expansionist view is correct in all cases, including the ones that created positive rights or acknowledged rights not enumerated. An individual right to bear arms interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is not expansionist, and the other instances of expansionist interpretation he praises are on completely and totally different grounds. It’s a false equivalence, and completely disingenuous. Hinkle may or may not be a liberal masquerading as a libertarian, but he’s certainly a goddamn moron.

            1. As I read it, the argument made was that liberals constantly call for expansive interpretations for everything in the Constitution *except* the 2nd, therefore they should be as expansive on the 2nd as all the others.

  17. To their credit, there are a lot of principled anti-gunners who have , after doing the research, come out and admitted that the 2nd amendment clearly protects an individual right, despite the fact they find it abhorrent on a policy basis, that people should be allowed to have evil handguns.

    Larry Tribe is in that camp. He’s virulently anti-gun and hella liberal, but he’s come out to admit that his colleagues on the left, including himself for many years, were wrong when they claimed that the 2nd amendment was merely for the purposes of a collective militia.

    I can respect that kind of intellectual honesty. It’s due to the arguments of principled pro-gunners, as well as street experience, that lead me personally to be pro-gun as a matter of policy. As a matter of law, it’s the writings of Prof. Volokh that were the most compelling for me. It’s difficult for me to believe that anybody can read the research he’s done on the 2nd amendment, including “prefatory clauses” that were not uncommon at all back in the day, and still think the 2nd amendment wasn’t written clearly to protect an individual right.

    1. Volokh is a 2nd Amendment scholar? Are you confusing him with Dave Kopel? I’ll admit I’m not really familiar with Volokh’s work.

      1. He’s a law prof at UCLA. Wrote a book called “The Commonplace 2nd Amendment”

        http://www.volokh.com

  18. fwiw, here is the 1842 Rhode Island Constitution Free Press Clause that uses a very similar construction to the 2nd amendment. If anti-2nd amendment (collective rights) people are consistent , they would have to interpret it as ONLY protecting the right of THE PRESS to free speech vs. “any person”.

    Again, compare it to the 2nd amendment and note the parallel construction. And note that if you think the 2nd protects only militias, then the 1842 clause must protect only the PRESS and not persons. To me, it’s a slam dunk

    “The liberty of the press being essential to the security of freedom in a state, any person may publish his sentiments of any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty . . . . 3 “

    1. The gun-controller’s grammar is so bad that they can’t distinguish between a descriptive clause and an operative clause in a sentence.

  19. I never thought about it like that.

    http://www.AnonNow.tk

    1. Every idea is new to you, anon-bot. It’s quite charming.

  20. “As Lepore notes in her New Yorker piece, “Gun-rights arguments have their origins . . . in twentieth-century liberalism” and the “rights revolution” of the 1960s”

    Bullshit.

    Gun rights have their origin in the literal text of the Constitution and the ample evidence of remarks of various founding fathers that made it quite clear that it is an individual right to keep and bear arms.

  21. Hinkle, your last sentence should have read

    To liberals, the same government that is half a goose-step away from fascism…

    zing!

  22. Very poorly written article. Lacks coherence and logic. Historically inventive and loose with facts. Just read the Founders and their views on firearm ownership.

    Progressive statists have been outright lying and obfuscating on the 2nd Amendment for the obvious reason of attempting total control over the populace, in every form imaginable.

    Here’s a parable: a circus elephant went on a rampage and attempted to kill several people, including handlers. And there were reports of several other “unexplained” attacks. At first blush, such attacks seemed capricious and without cause. A more penetrating investigation revealed that the elephant, as a baby watched its mother killed at close range by men with guns. The baby was then captured and eventually sold. The elephant obviously never forgot that cruel and-to him-horrific scene. The hurt, outrage, and deep wound or the elephant’s persona finally manifested itself in a rage of retribution and vengeance. Who knows what triggered it.

    The same is true with the Progressive/Liberal/Marxist/Statist /Communisnt/Democrat. They KNOW, that one day, they will push too far, take too much, insult and deprive our humanity past a breaking point. And the vengeance will follow. The breaking point will have been reached.

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