Gun Control

Yes, the Second Amendment Protects Individual Rights

What The New Yorker gets wrong about guns and the Constitution.


Credit: White House /

In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court recognized what numerous historians and legal scholars have been saying for many decades: Namely, that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution secures an individual right—not a collective one—to keep and bear arms. Yet despite this widespread legal and academic consensus, certain gun control advocates still insist on behaving as if the Second Amendment does not mean what it says.

The latest example of such regrettable behavior comes from liberal New Yorker pundit Adam Gopnik, who claims that a vast and intrusive gun control regime can happen here in the United States because the U.S. Constitution protects no such thing as an individual right to possess guns. Nothing in the Constitution, he asserts, "limits our ability to control the number and kinds of guns in private hands." The only reason so many people think otherwise, Gopnik says, is because they've been hoodwinked by the "radical" and "tortured" interpretation of the Second Amendment put forward by "right wing" Justice Antonin Scalia in his "younger-than-springtime decision D.C. v. Heller, in 2008."

For a freshly minted piece of "right wing" radicalism, the individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment sure has a lengthy and long-running list of distinguished liberal supporters, including some of the biggest names in legal academia. For example, there is University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson, a leading liberal scholar, who published an essay in the prestigious Yale Law Journal back in 1989 titled "The Embarrassing Second Amendment." As I explain in my recent book Overruled:

The embarrassment, Levinson argued, came from the legal left's refusal to take the Second Amendment seriously. "I cannot help but suspect that the best explanation for the absence of the Second Amendment from the legal consciousness of the elite bar," he wrote, "is derived from a mixture of sheer opposition to the idea of private ownership of guns and the perhaps subconscious fear that altogether plausible, and perhaps even 'winning' interpretations would present real hurdles to those of us supporting prohibitory regulation."

Eleven years later, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, a respected scholar and teacher whose former students include a young Barack Obama, amended the new third addition of his legal treatise American Constitutional Law to officially endorse the individual-right interpretation of the Second Amendment. This was a marked change from the two previous editions, where Tribe had accepted the collective-right view. "My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise," Tribe admitted to the New York Times after the third edition came out. "I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control."

Along similar lines, the Constitutional Accountability Center, a respected liberal think tank and law firm "dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of our Constitution's text and history," filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court in the 2010 gun rights case McDonald v. Chicago. As that brief plainly (and accurately) stated, "the original meaning of the Privileges or Immunities Clause [of the 14th Amendment] protected substantive, fundamental rights against state infringement, including the constitutional right of an individual to keep and bear arms."

In short, there is nothing "radical" or even particularly "right wing" about the well-founded idea that the Constitution secures an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Related: No, We Don't Need to 'Fix' the Second Amendment

NEXT: A.M. Links: Physics Nobel Awarded, Snowden Says He'll Go to Prison to Return to U.S., Biden 2016?

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  1. Anagram for Adam Gopnik: A Pink Dogma

    1. Hillary Clinton is promising to eliminate the Second Amendment by executive order if she is elected! And she would probably get away with it!

      1. However, I believe that Obama will still be our president for years to come. That is because I feel as though he will be the first sitting president that refuses to leave office. After all, what could the people possibly do about it? They all know the federal government crooks would stick up for Obama if he refuses to leave the White House. It would be the federal governments way of saying: in your face, stupid, cowardly American people.

        1. Oh, grow up. I’ve heard idiots claim that about every president since Nixon.

          Ex presidents get too many benefits to want to keep the job.

          1. Nixon had contingency plans written up to postpone the 1972 elections in the event of a national emergency, such as wide spread rioting in the streets

          2. ImanAzol

            You are an idiot. I was being sarcastic you fool! Although I’m sure he thinks that he should be able to remain as president as long as he wants.

      2. There are 81 million of us with 300 million guns. Laws don’t melt metal. She and her cronies can collectively kiss my ass. MOLON LABE.

    2. I just love this photo of Obama attempting to hold that rifle. Is he not the biggest pussy America has ever produced?

      The only think that tops that is the video of him working out with those 5 lb. weights. I’ll bet Putin gets the biggest laugh out of the weak, stupid shit Obama does.

  2. I never understood the collective right view. The Founders thought we needed an Amendment just to arm the army? And it was so important that they made it #2? How do countries without something like the Second Amendment manage to arm their soldiers?

    If the Second only applies to the militia, why was I still required to obey all the draconian local gun laws while off-duty as a member of the Marine Corps then the Army National Guard?

    1. That’s because there’s nothing to understand. A “collective” right isn’t a right at all. If Americans possess a “collective” right to free expression but not an individual one, the state is free to persecute its antagonists while supporting the “right” of the state press to publish the “collective speech” of the democratically elected state.

      Collective “rights” are the abnegation and death of rights, which is why the authoritarian left is so fond of invoking them, usually in the same breath as social justice.

    2. Yep, because the left obsesses over the militia preamble. Yet they have never made any move to establish the sort of militia that any adult could join. No court has ever interpreted the militia preamble to have any practical meaning, yet they ignore that.

      When you hear someone mention the militia preamble you can be certain that they are a grabber.

      1. So, seriously, as someone who is definitively not a grabber, and would like a better way to counter the argument, and presuming that the fellows who wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights were not in the habit of using more words than they had to; Why did they stick that on there? I mean, it seems to me as if they could have done better by emulating the language of the first amendment: “Congress shall make no law abridging the right to keep and bear arms, the right of the people to keep and bears arms shall not be infringed.”

        I mean, it seems like maybe they were trying to make the point that the fundamental purpose of the people having arms was military in nature, but an amendment declaring that Congress had precisely zero power to legislate about arms would also seem to have been sufficient.

        1. Why did they stick that on there?

          There is a backstory about the drafting, which I can’t really recall.

          The basic reason is that the militia was the foundation of the US military at the time. It was understood as all men of fighting age. The basic plan was that we would call up volunteers, and with our small government and minuscule standing army, the volunteers would have to bring their own guns.

          These fellows also understood how the presence of an armed citizenry acts as a restraint on the state, seeing as how they had just won a revolution fought with a large proportion of “militia”.

          1. This aligns well with the early drafts.

            Also, statements from the delegates and similar amendments in the State constitutions make clear that many of the framers intended that an armed population would be a check on tyranny.

            1. And don’t the Lefties mock that it public …. and fear it in private.

          2. The term “militia” as it was used then was also understood to be inherently political. It was made up of the voting populace and its call to arms was to be a final step in a political dispute.

          3. Although it was intended as an assertion of individual rights, the preamble was inserted to guarantee that the states would not have to disarm their militias or turn over control of them to the federal government.
            Also, well regulated didn’t mean quite the same thing as it does today, or rather, it had additional meanings than it does today.

        2. My favored interpretation of the “militia” wording basically translates to this: “since a standing army [militia] is necessary to the State, the people should have their own arms to counteract the often tyrannical effects of having a standing army”.

          1. Militia wasn’t used as a term for a standing army back then. It was used as a term for an armed, trained people.
            “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
            “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves?and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms?”
            – Richard Henrey Lee
            “I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.”
            – George Mason

            The idea for America upon it’s founding was that a standing army not exist, as it was a most dangerous threat to freedom and liberty. A mitilia, a people of arms ready for defense, was instead thought most ideal.
            “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty …. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”
            – Rep. Elbridge Gerry

            So, the militia reference is merely a statement of fact justifying why the individual right exists. It’s because of hunting. It’s not because of sporting. It’s because a militia, and armed people, is absolutely necessary for the security and freedom of thier respective States (not national Govt).

            1. I meant it’s NOT because of hunting.

              1. I should read further before posting. You covered it better than I did.

        3. To me, it is quite simple.
          At the time, the concept of being armed for the purpose of hunting or personal protection was so absolute that it would be inconceivable for there to ever be legal restrictions against them.
          Anyone who claims protecting these as the reason for The Second, are way off base.
          The “militia preamble” was to set apart from these, the reason for protecting the right – the possibility that an armed rebellion would be required, as it had just been some few years prior. A rebellion that saw militias form in almost every community in response to the tyranny of the government the people had just overthrown.
          Not that the forming of militias was required to exercise the right but that the right provided the ability to form them.

        4. At the time, there was a militia organized at state and local levels, and recallable by the state or feds as needed (and by the colonial governors before that). It even included private artillery and warships and armed merchant ships (hence that bit about “letters of marque and reprisal”).

          The current iteration is the National Defense Act of 1916, in Title 10, USC, Ch 13, sec 311.

          All able bodied males are the unorganized militia. There is a provision for others to declare themselves so, and it’s typically concluded that possession of a center fire rifle (vs shotguns or sidearms) constitutes intent.

      2. Hell, whenyou hear somebody mention the mlitia preamble, you can be sure they are an idiot.

    3. A militia is a force raised from civilians, it’s not the army, or the police, for that matter. The militia was regarded as the last line of defense against a tyrannical state, and a force to repel invasions. Obviously the way to ensure that a militia would be armed is to ensure that civilians are armed. This is why in the early United States, in many states every military aged male was required to own a firearm, and why we have the second amendment.

      So you’re right, the collective right view doesn’t actually make sense, because it relies on the idea that a militia would be armed without arming individual civilians, and ignores the historical context surrounding the idea of militias in the early US. Not to mention that a very basic understanding of grammar leads one to conclude that the ‘millitia’ is not restrictive, but merely provides an explanation.

      1. ‘militia’ clause*

      2. Not to mention that a very basic understanding of grammar leads one to conclude that the word “people” in the 2nd amendment means the same “people” in the 1st, 4th, 9th, and 10th amendments… 😀

    4. No wait, even better, “The Founders thought we needed an Amendment just to arm the army that isn’t supposed to be a standing army anyway“.

      Seriously, that’s what these people think. The level of historical and constitutional ignorance is staggering.

    5. There is no provision in the Constitution for a standing army. The Founding Fathers viewed a standing army as a tool for the government to suppress rights. They envisioned a citizens militia that could be called up for local or national defense. Thus the wording of the Second Amendment.
      Secondly, the entire Bill of Rights is about restricting the government from infringing upon individual rights.

    6. The Left has always found the idea of individual rights that involve NOT being pushed around by the State terribly inconvenient. Oh, THEY had rights, because THEY were society’s Natural Elite. But anything that might make it harder to impose their ideas on the rest of us? Ha!

    7. Another argument against the “national guard only” view is that it was the militia that was fighting the legitimate English government throughout the revolution as an extra-governmental entity. If the militia is a government thing then who were those guys fighting the English government and why were they called the militia?

      In any case the proggies are going nowhere on this. They can wail and scream and throw their peas but they aren’t getting what they want.

      1. Also, the National Guard was created by Act of Congress in 1903.

    8. every other of the 10 Bill of Rights are individual rights, protecting the citizens from the power of the government. But #2 is about hunting and the National Guard…right.

  3. The latest example of such regrettable behavior comes from liberal New Yorker pundit Adam Gopnik, who claims that a vast and intrusive gun control regime can happen here in the United States because the U.S. Constitution protects no such thing as an individual right to possess guns.

    I, for one, believe that the opinions of an art historian have great import upon our understanding of the delimitations of the Constitution.

    1. Next thing you know, the (purportedly) heroic mulah-too will be advancing the view that prominent linguists have no particular expertise in political affairs.

      1. Don’t get me started…

      2. Hey, linguists were involved in Heller! On the right side!

      3. Not even cunning linguists?

        1. Oh I started roaring with laughter when I read that. I’m in the pub, and might have gotten a few looks.

    2. The latest example of such regrettable behavior comes from liberal New Yorker pundit Adam Gopnik,

      seriously, as what point do we stop dressing up blatant bullshit in nice terms. There is nothing “regrettable” about what Gopnik did. He purposely misrepresents something because it suits his political goals. There is nothing regrettable about someone being a dishonest shit stick.

      1. I watched the segment on Maher’s Real Time where Adam Gopnik claimed more than once that the wrong-headed idea of an individual right to bear arms was only seven years old. I was hoping another guest would reference the historical evidence refuting his claims (none did).
        Here is a link with 28 quotes clarifying the Second Amendment, each of which was written much longer than seven years ago.

        (At the time I am typing this I see that Raven Nation has already quoted two)

        1. “[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 Federalist Papers, No. 46

          Yeah but this is so unclear!!!!

        2. Re: “I was hoping another guest would reference the historical evidence refuting his claims”. Anymore, that’s a tall order on Maher’s show. It seems like before he used to have fairly balanced panels, but now it’s become basically a liberal version of “Fox & Friends” with maybe a few exceptions for when Islam becomes the topic. When I was listening to Gopnik and Maher discuss the Second Amendment last weekend, I couldn’t help but get the impression that they really know nothing about the fabric of this country and its people, as they are so fogged in by their typical collectivist, elitist, liberal mentalities that make them so out of touch that they don’t even realize it.

        3. Bill Maher’s show is largely devoid of real facts or clear thinking. Bill Maher is a sellout. Whatever principles he had were sold long ago to his Marxist masters at HBO.

      2. The mask is completely off now. The Dems’ media elites and even the President are now calling or at least alluding to confiscation, whether it’s through an Australia-style mandatory buyback or outright banning.

        If they seriously push this, it might actually bring about the Day of the Rope, because if even 10% of the nation’s gun owners decided to say “fuck you,” it’s going to tear the military and LEO agencies apart when it comes down to enforcement. It wouldn’t just be the President droning the rubes in flyover country like all the shitlibs masturbate about, we might even have cops and infantry fragging their own officers or simply deserting rather than follow orders to shoot anyone who won’t give up their guns. Hell, the drone operators might even decide to send that Hellfire missile at their own headquarters or a government building rather than Jethro and Billy Bob trundling around in their F-150.

        The shitlibs have gone full retard on this, not considering the long-term consequences and perspective be damned, and of course the media is helping them right along with the narrative because it jacks ratings.

        1. paragraph two is the key to this. Does anyone for a second believe members of the US military would begin firing on fellow citizens? It is a stretch to say that cops would easily do it and that’s despite the litany of bad acts on their part. The notion of “do you think you gun nuts can take down the Army?” relies on the belief of an army that would willingly kill its own. I don’t see broad-based support in the ranks for that.

          1. Does anyone for a second believe members of the US military would begin firing on fellow citizens?

            Some would, I have no doubt.

            1. And then the police and military fratricide and drop out of the picture in short order as the entire structure fails.

              Because I can tell you, being retired, that quite a few of us WOULD fire…on any troops who fired on civilians.

              But it doesn’t even get that far. A supply sergeant “forgets” to bring enough ammo. The driver manages to lose it and say it was never on the truck. The driver defects or deserts.

              And meantime, those troops need contractors to feed and house them.

          2. Does anyone for a second believe members of the US military would begin firing on fellow citizens?

            Some of them, for some things, sure.

            Most of them, for this? I’m going to go with “Oh fuck no.”

            1. Exactly. In my experience active duty US military personnel tend to be a pretty gun-rights friendly bunch with a fairly healthy skepticism about the federal government’s aims and wisdom. Something about familiarity breeding contempt. I can’t imagine any enthusiasm, or for that mater willingness, in the ranks for forcibly disarming fellow citizens.

              1. I’ve failed to find a suitable link to a survey of U.S. Marines who were asked (among many other things) if they would fire on their fellow citizens if those citizens refused to disarm.

                Does anyone have a link? I cannot recall the number who answered “yes” to the survey question and don’t want to speculate.

                1. It all stems from a questionnaire in the 90s. Most the links I found where crazy people tinfoil hat sites. You read enough you will find the common threads.

                2. That survey was part of a Naval War College paper on the Law of Armed Conflict, noting that it was not being taught to standard.

                  It was not an inquisition with intent.

            2. I’ve been out of the Army for over 7 years, but I was a Cav Scout, and I served for 10.

              The LARGE majority of combat soldiers in my experience are southerners who vote R or L, and are of the “cold dead hands” mentality.

              The day might come where the military fires on civilians, but it won’t be to disarm them for pussy leftists.

              1. Yeah, my son’s a Marine Staff Sergesnt, in for seven years, currently a counterintelligence specialist with MARSOC, and he doesn’t even like coming home to MA to visit anymore because he’s not supposed to concealed carry; it’s also one reason he doesn’t live on base at Lejeune. My stepson, a Marine for two years so far, is an MP in O?inawa, and he’s starting to feel the same. This matches my own previous experience with US military personnel, and, importantly, is not something either of them had particularly strong feelings about prior to enlistment.

          3. And who says that “gun nuts” would attempt to take down the Army? Anti-gun nuts have kindly been very vocal and public about their advocacy of denying Constitutional rights.
            If a war started over the issue, I’d be attacking them…in their own homes. And as a bonus they don’t seem to be armed.
            I certainly wouldn’t be attacking the Army. That would just be nuts.

          4. “Does anyone for a second believe members of the US military would begin firing on fellow citizens? It is a stretch to say that cops would easily do it ”

            I think most cops would get a raging boner at the prospect.

            1. I agree. But any platoon fresh out of basic would run rough shod over the entire police force of a small to medium city.

            2. I have several friends that are cops in SoCal. Don’t agree with all their views or ideas but they are most def pro 2A.

    3. Art historian? I bet this asshole would’ve had a problem with Bruegel’s The Hunters in the Snow if he were born in the 1500s.

      in all its majestic glory. seriously, if i were an art thief, then #1 on my “to do” list would be this one.

      1. Je suis, they don’t seem to be armed with the deadly AR-15, What did they expect to kill?

    4. Meh. Nat Hentoff was a jazz critic for his day job but was a noted and respected author about First Amendment issues.

      1. Was Hentoff’s education primary in music, though?

  4. Adam Gopnik (born August 24, 1956) is a Canadian American writer, essayist and commentator. He is best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker…

    In other words, someone whose opinion is worth essentially the same as the guy wearing a Gumby costume out in front of the Spirit Halloween store down the street

  5. Anyone who thinks the individual rights interpretation is “tortured” because the text says “A well-regulated militia being…” has fucking pathetic reading comprehension and should be ashamed.

    “A well-educated population being necessary to a functioning democracy, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.”

    Does it sound like that applies only to books selected by teachers and kept in schools? Or does it sound like the first clause is simply the rationale for the protection of the preexisting individual right to read books? This shit just isn’t that hard.

    1. Libraries are okay, individual book ownership is not.

      1. Libraries are okay

        Punk ass book jockeys!

    2. As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.
      ? Tench Coxe, in `Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution’ under the Pseudonym `A Pennsylvanian’ in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1.

      I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.
      ? George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

      The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.
      — Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

    3. I don’t like the thought of people having more than one book.

      1. And nobody needs a high capacity bookshelf either.

        5 or 6 books should be enough for any sport reader.

        1. Dude. My magazine collection would terrify these folks then. Both kinds. 😀

        2. and lets not forget clip on reading lights. those can make the book look scarier. no need for assault style books, like that.

      2. I can understand an Edgar Allen Poe short story or a slim volume of Walt Whitman’s poetry, but nobody needs to be carrying around “Moby Dick” or “War and Peace”.

        1. Nobody needs to read David Copperfield with it’s 63 chapters! The Founding Fathers couldn’t have foreseen that!!

          1. I don’t know you may have found the one exception their, sort of like letting private citizens possess sarin. I have long held that after Chapter 31it is all downhill and becomes the maudlin and wretched right down to the Flanderization of Miss Mowcher.

    4. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”

      This is an example of a “prefacing statement.” Such a statement cannot, “add to, or take from, that which it precedes.” This means that a prefacing statement can be removed and will not change that which follows. So the 2nd Amendment could, and should through definitiono, be read as.

      “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      Why don’t folks know this? It’s not like some hidden secret or something. *shakes head*

      1. Yeah, if I had a time machine going back and showing the founders what effect that preamble would have would be #2 on my list of things to do.

        1. Furthermore, let’s not forget the semantic shift “regulate” has gone through in 250-ish years. When the Constitution was written, “regulate” had a secondary meaning that was closer to what would would now call “trained”. In 21st century American English it would read “A well trained Militia….” It has nothing to do with government “regulations” upon it.

          1. As in, “Well regulated in manner and speech.”

      2. That’s why I propose that, should the occasion arise, we revise the Amendment as follows;

        The occasional horsewhipping or lynching of an offensive government stooge being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

        1. Dunno, man… I think I can do better:

          “The occasional constant horsewhipping or lynching of an offensive government stooge being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, nor licensed, nor taxed, nor subject to anything that some political shitbag thinks is ‘reasonable regulation’.”

  6. Behold the sophistry. I can’t tell where Maher is coming from. He owns a gun yet he seems to be going after the 2nd Amendment. His trained seals seem to think so.

    People are afraid to even acknowledge the purpose of the 2nd Amendment because they think it will make them seem crazy, like governments never become tyrannical.

    1. And watch for the claim that there have been a thousand mass shooting deaths since Sandy Hook. One can only imagine the tortured criteria someone would have to employ to get a number like that.

      1. Every bullet has mass, right?

      2. Some “studies” have postulated that two or more people shot by the same person is a “mass shooting”.

        I’d just like to know how many of those are drug-related shootouts in gun-free paradise cities like Chicago.

    2. Maher is sometimes a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a douchebag. Sometime’s he’s quite astute on topics from a Libertarian POV, but on other subjects he completely whiffs. I tend to give him more credit than he deserves.

      1. He is only libertarian when it comes to issues infringing on his right to do as he pleases in his role as a ‘comedian’. A word I use loosely in this context. Outside of that, he is largely a Marxist, statist tool.

    3. To me, the sole purpose of the 2nd amendment is for people to be able to kill other people … and I’m okay with that.

      1. My favorite bumper sticker:

        “Some people are alive, simply because it is illegal to kill them.”

    4. He wants The Right Sort of People to own guns and The Wrong Sort of People to be disarmed.

  7. This is not about comprehension or a mis-reading of the Constitution; this is the continuation of a purposeful effort to paint guns and gun owners as icky. The notion that someone in The New Yorker got something “wrong” gives that person undeserved credit. He didn’t get it wrong; he simply refuses to acknowledge that the right exists.

  8. Most of the amendments to the constitution have been expanded to include rights never envisioned by the framers (on the whole a good thing, I think). For example, the First Amendment now includes the right to produce, possess, and view pornography. Most of these expansions have been driven by the political left.

    When it comes to the 2A, however, it must be narrowly interpreted and then further circumscribed.

    1. The Left is currently in high dudgeon because the 1st Amendment allows relatively wealthy people to use their resources for political speech without any legal limitations.

      They are for petty uses of rights, but vital ones must be circumscribed because they value equality above liberty.

  9. The Guardian did an interesting piece on progressives with guns. They approached a gun group of which I am a member on Facebook, and the result is the Chris Cheng segment.

  10. it’s a collective right to bear arms? OK. you hold that end Gopnik

  11. They just can’t stop themselves from stepping on that rake.

  12. Why does our esteemed war-mongering President look like such a pussy holding that gun?

    1. You asked it backwards. “Why is the pussy holding that gun…”

    2. That’s the way all lefties look when they try to shoot.

      1. You have apparently not seen J-Nap with a shotgun. That woman looks like she was born with one in her hand.

    3. If you’re gonna make like a warlord all over the fucking world, you better look like a badass when holding a gun, is all I’m sayin’.

      1. Slightly off topic, but my guess is that Obama wouldn’t even need a reach around to achieve orgasm if Putin brutally sodomized him. Wouldn’t even need to touch himself.

        And really, that says just about everything one needs to know about Obama as a ‘leader’.

    4. At the very least, that barrel is going to get hot at some point.

    5. He does look about as natural as a bible-thumping maiden aunt in a brothel, doen’t he?

  13. Glenn Reynolds posted a short article in the NYT online website yesterday titled A Power Derived From Mistrust of Police and Government

    He writes:

    To feel safe in a society where only the police have guns, you have to trust the police. But in post-Ferguson America, trust in police is at a 22-year low. (Paradoxically, many of those criticizing police for brutality and abuse also support gun control, and appear oblivious to the inherent contradictions.) M.L. Chadwick from Maine. What’s in the water up there?

    First comment from an NYT reader:

    I am a living human being, and I advocate for my right to continue to enjoy this status. Human rights trump “gun rights.”

    That’s from M.L. Chadwick who hails from Maine.

    1. Human rights trump “gun rights.”

      and yet, the nations lacking the former also seem to have an absence of the latter.

      Like that picture that periodically appears on Derpbook, ML must be a special kind of stupid.

    2. Because the police do such a great job of showing up and putting an end to violence.

      Hell, the whole reason for gun control is ostensibly that the police just can’t protect people from shooters, so we have to ban guns.

      They concede the fact that the state can’t really protect us in the proposing of the argument itself.

      To embrace gun control, you have to be willing to believe in contradictions: that an incompetent state which cannot protect you can turn around, effectively ban and confiscate all guns and all gun control violators, thus protecting you, so that hey don’t have to protect you from people with guns, which they clearly can’t do.

      Then they act like we’re the crazy ones for seeing the Catch-22 in that.

      1. Because the police do such a great job of showing up and putting an end to violence.

        There’s no reason to expect that. The cop’s job is to put criminals in jail. In most circumstances this happens *after* the crime has been committed.

        1. Precisely. At best (and even this is debatable), the police try to deter crime by punishing enough people.

          Once a person isn’t deterred and is going after you, you are on your own.

          1. Or, “when seconds count, the police are minutes away”.

        2. But it’s not uncommon at all for anti-gun people to say that it’s ridiculous to own a gun when we have typically well-funded police forces.

          1. It’s a great argument. I think my esteemed fellow commenters perhaps didn’t read close enough that which you said.

    3. Human rights trump “gun rights.”

      He has a point. Guns don’t have rights.

      People do have the right to self-defense, which necessarily includes the right to keep and bear arms, though.

      1. Yeah, abortions don’t have rights!

        Wait… shit!

        How does this work?

      1. I laughed, out loud even and now the dog is looking at me.

  14. Second Amendment aside there is still the Ninth Amendment. Remember that one?

    1. The Ninth, and Tenth, have pretty much been put out of business by the way the SC has interpreted the 14th.
      I have a feeling the authors of that terribly mis-used amendment are doing a rotisserie act in their graves.

  15. OK, instead of posting a whole bunch more “^This” replies I’m just going to say that you all are doing an excellent job of demolishing dishonest leftist arguments about this.

    1. Agreed. Everyone in here is really on their game today, it’s been terrific to read.

  16. The other piece of this is that, if you just flat out disagree with the 2nd amendment, stop pretending it doesn’t say what it says, because there is a clear process for getting rid of it.

    Oh, right, that would be hard. The easier route is to torture the plain meaning of text until it becomes the opposite of what it says. This has been a winning solution in the past.

    1. Exactly. The statists have just given up on trying to convince us. Example: The Prohibistionists recognized that the government did not have the constitutional authority to ban alcohol, so they got an amendment passed. When marijuana was made illegal, no such amendment was passed.
      What happened? If the federal government didn’t have the power to ban alcohol in the 20s, where did it gain the power to ban any other drug in later years?
      The answer, of course, is that it didn’t. The government has simply claimed powers it is not legally entitled to claim.

      1. “The government has simply claimed powers it is not legally entitled to claim.”
        And gotten away with it.

  17. There are two questions that, for a hypothetical gun-free America, I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer:

    One: Warren v. District of Colombia states the police duty to “protect and serve” is to the public in general, and not to any particular individual (even when reporting a crime-in-progress as occurred in that case). If guns are too terrible to permit, what methods or tools would be recommended for the victims in that case?

    Two: Deaths due to traffic fatalities are approximately equal to death by self-inflicted injury (all types) and three times the rate of homicide (all types) in the US. If guns pose such a safety hazard that they must be banned, doesn’t the same also hold true for the automobile?

  18. OK, suppose that the Second Amendment was “only” meant to protect the state militias.

    That still rules out federal gun-control laws.

    If we accept the militia interpretation, then we end up endorsing Richard Epstein’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, that the feds have *no authority* to meddle with guns in the states, because that would interfere with the ability of states to run their militias.

    Bear in mind that the state militias are made up of most of the men of certain ages. When called into service, it’s generally a good idea for them to have their guns available.

    So if a state declares that members of the militia must have ready access to guns, so they can rush to the colors at a moment’s notice (e.g., to meet a sudden invasion or, more plausibly nowadays, an insurrection, contingencies specifically contemplated by the Constitution), then the feds simply cannot interfere.

    So the “collective rights” people are too clever by half, because they’ve invalidated *all* federal gun laws, even the ones disarming felons and crazies, because it would be up to the states to decide whether to have felons and crazies in their militia.

    The Gopniks of the world have their heads so far up their own a_______s that they can’t see the consequences of their own positions.

    1. As for the 14th Amendment’s “privileges or immunities” clause, I wouldn’t say it “incorporates” the Second Amendment, but that it protects an independent right of the individual to bear arms, a right which exists independently of the needs of the militia.

      The “parada of horribles” passage in Dred Scott acknowledged that bearing arms was a privilege or immunity of citizenship. For that very reason, Chief Justice Taney reasoned that black people could not be citizens, because if they were citizens, they’d have the right to have guns, and that would be intolerable!

      Now that the Fourteenth Amendment makes clear that black people in America *are* citizens, then they as well as non-black people have the right to bear arms, and the states have no more right to abridge this than the feds.

      1. “parade of horribles,” not parada.

  19. liberal New Yorker pundit Adam Gopnik […] claims that a vast and intrusive gun control regime can happen here in the United States because the U.S. Constitution protects no such thing as an individual right to possess guns.

    Actually the 4th Amendment protects the right to be secured in our effects. That includes guns. The reason the founders placed a special limit on the Constitution on the actions taken by government to limit the possession of guns is because a) the States did not want to see a Federal government intruding in their business through the use of a national army (like the British did) and b) because the States and the people were suspicious of having a standing army of professional soldiers. For the drafters of the Constitution and for anybody else at that time, the possession of guns or any other weapon was seen as a natural right.

    Nothing in the Constitution, he asserts, “limits our ability to control the number and kinds of guns in private hands.”

    Yes, it does: the 9th Amendment and the 14th Amendment. The problem with Gopnik’s argument is that he thinks the Constitution is a granter of rights instead of a document that a) describes the responsibilities of the Federal government and b) describes the limitations to its responsibilities, just like any other charter would do.

    1. “limits our ability to control . . . ”

      The point is it doesn’t authorized the ability to control.

      Human history is full of other people trying to make someone do what they want. We can talk all we want and in the end, the powers of fear will end up convincing the sheep to make us do what they want. The question I ask is how to best to deal with the inevitable eventuality.

  20. Hell, now that I think about it, it’s really no wonder these people go go control ape shit after a shooting like this. It’s not because of “compassion for the victims” or anything like that. It causes an abrupt awareness of their own cognitive dissonance, and they desperately lash out to keep their worldview from crashing down around them.

    These are the people who engage in overly simplistic models of human interaction, because they need to believe in a simple world where everything is controllable. Sure, freedom is kinda good and all, but given bad actors and market failure, just allow the state to establish some artificial incentives, to keep everything in check. Set up some risk/reward equations, and watch predictable results. Murderers don’t like prison. Catch enough, punish enough, and you’re home free.

    Then, they watch a mass shooting, where the complexity and uncontrollability of the world comes crashing down. A suicide murderer is beyond deterrence; risk/reward equations don’t yield the same result for every person.

    The next thing you know, they’re showing you tortured statistics, where gun control suicide reductions prove that gun control works (never mind that gun control, as a subject, never seems to come up in a response to mass suicides which never happen), in a desperate attempt to convince everyone, especially themselves, that they can control everything, if only you evil, bad people would let them. Then, they could have their fantasy and eat it, too.

  21. I think I can one-up the New Yorker here. I had a progressive kindly inform me recently that by arms, the framers actually meant “clubs and pitchforks.” She was not joking. The second amendment has nothing even to do with guns!

    1. Also, free speech must be distributed by pamphlets produced on hand-operated printing presses…preferably on parchment.

  22. I had a friend of a liberal friend on Derpbook tell me that we should abandon the Second Amendment because its original intent was to deter the tyranny of a standing military and, since the military has nukes and we would never allow everyday people to have nukes, the amendment has no further use. Setting his mindnumbing idiocy to the side, I just told him that he obviously has put a great deal of thought into this and that he should have no problem simply rescinding the Second Amendment with such airtight logic.

  23. Kind of off topic but is there any attempt to expand 2nd Amendment protections to knives? All the focus seems to be on guns while knive statute violations (like criminalizing “switchblades”) are regularly used to drag people off the streets who haven’t actually done anything wrong.

    1. One would certainly think that if you can have a firearm, you should be able to have every lesser weapon, even if it’s some scary and/or badass looking knife like a stiletto switchblade.

      Even supposing that the 2A does not protect knives, just for the sake of argument, those are still idiotic laws. You can open a folding knife with at thumb stud just as quickly. And what about sheath knives? You just pull those out; you don’t even have to press a button.

      Switchblade laws are just one more idiotic prohibition passed at the height of hysteria.

  24. Which “the “radical” and “tortured” interpretation” of the Constitution allows private citizens the power not merely to keep and bear arms, but also gives Congress the power to grant private citizens the right to keep and bear ships of war…as Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution states when declaring the ability of the government to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal?
    It would be a hollow threat to our enemies if those privateers never really had the right to use a firearm.

  25. The grammar (as well as an intentional blindness to the facts) keeps people from seeing that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual’s right. The best explanation I heard about the 2nd Amendment was through an analogy. “A well balanced breakfast, being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed.” With that sentence (structurally identical to the 2nd A), it’s obvious that the people, not a well-balanced breakfast, have the right to food.

  26. One anti-gun argument that I’ve heard quite a bit is something like this: “No significant gun control has any chance of passing, so you shouldn’t worry about it when deciding who to vote for.”

    Isn’t that like telling a bodybuilder, “You’re already in great shape! You don’t have to worry about eating healthy and exercising anymore. Just eat ice cream and sit on the couch all day”?

  27. And, the LAT has flatly declared that SCOTUS got it all wrong in Heller, after declaring in a piece 6-years ago that the 2nd-A did confirm an individual right. They must have taken a new “vote” at the Ed-Board meeting now that they’ve obviously driven out all the 2-A purists from the paper (if there were any to begin with).

  28. Except for the fact that the 2nd amendment doesn’t really give a clear definition on what it states, as the courts before the Heller decision have usually ruled, according to the New Yorker: For more than a hundred years, the answer was clear, even if the words of the amendment itself were not. The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The courts had found that the first part, the “militia clause,” trumped the second part, the “bear arms” clause. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms?but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.…..-amendment…..form-myths

    1. “according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms?but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.’

      Uh, Heller seems to say otherwise.

      “District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)… held in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution …protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

      The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban…”

      The new yorker claims “The full meaning of the court’s Heller opinion is still up for grabs.””

      but in its source-link to that claim, cites chicago’s failure to pass concealed carry bans.

      “‘The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside” the judges ruled….””

      Contra your claim (and the whining of the New Yorker & Guardian), the supreme & lower courts have affirmed that the second amendment recognizes people’s right to own and carry a weapon.

    2. I’m aware you seem to think that “pre-Heller” rulings are more-compelling…

      ..but seem to wave aside the fact that these previous rulings failed in the context of the test Heller provided.

    3. I believe that J. Scalia dealt with that ambiguity in his opinion in citing many historical papers and decisions that buttressed his conclusion. The most important is that in every other instance in the Constitution, when the word “people” is used, it is in reference to an individual, and not a collective, right. Plus, the Several State’s had a pre-existing right to establish militia’s, which is referenced in Art-I, Sec-8 “…To provide for calling forth the Militia…” which would be separate from the “land and Naval Forces” mentioned earlier. And, since it was common practice to require members of the Militia to provide their own weapons (arms) – reflecting the penurious times – it would be very counter-productive to, on the one hand, require members of the militia to assemble for duty or training (to be “well regulated”) and on the other to forbid them arms. It may be ungrammatical to a modern ear, but it was written in the style of the day, and was understood by the “average man” to mean exactly what Heller found: An Individual Right to Arms, that shall not be infringed by government – as it (the 2-A) is a Natural Right, as are the other Rights enshrined within the Bill of Rights.

    4. If you understood proper English Grammar you would understand that each sentence fragment may be separated by a comma provided that fragment can stand on it’s own.

      Therefore: the fragment: “a well regulated militia “and “the right to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed” can be and was interrupted by the SC as two separate sentences, two separate thoughts simply combined into one sentence.

      Class dismissed.

  29. Also, lets assume for stupid purposes that the 2nd is about militias only. Go on, don’t choke just yet. I know its not there, but just for arguments sake. Then lets skip down a few amendments….”The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. ”

    I didn’t notice any sections in the Constitution that restricted my right to have a gun.

    Oh yes, sweet justice. FOS! I so love that statement.

    Asking for first non lawyer seat on the Supreme Court. Just tell your senator.

  30. The Second Amendment establishes an individual right to secure a common good: a free state. And what makes a militia “well regulated” is the existence of privately held firearms. That’s the right way to look at this. More: http://www.thepondsofhappensta…..ually.html

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  32. Excerpted from the beginning of this article one finds the following. “In 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court recognized what numerous historians and legal scholars have been saying for many decades: Namely, that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution secures an individual right?not a collective one?to keep and bear arms. Yet despite this widespread legal and academic consensus, certain gun control advocates still insist on behaving as if the Second Amendment does not mean what it says.”

    Re the last sentence, one wonders as to who the “certain gun control advocates” unnamed here, might be. One also wonders, re these unnamed individual as to whether they still believe that The Earth Is The Center Of The Universe, The Earth Is Flat, The Sun Rises In The West and so on? That being a likely conclusion, and likely a factual one too, one wonders as to when, if ever, they will learn, recognizing the manifold errors of their ways, of the religion they would foist off on the rest of us. Will they ever learn, in the process recognizing/admitting the errors of their ways, of their positions? I would think so, but then one never knows.

  33. Kill the second amendment, the others will fall like dominoes, for there will be nothing to prevent it from happening. -signed Your Forefathers.

  34. The debate about gun control totally leaves out the original intent of the 2nd Amendment: The ability of the people to face down an out of control federal government. “Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed, and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal Government; still it would be not going to far to say, that the State Governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger.” (James Madison, author of the 2nd Amendment, Federalist Papers, #46, 1788) And to those liberals who say that such a scenario can’t happen here, I say look at the militarization of the police, and all the intrusions upon our inalienable rights–the right to do as we wish so long as we do not violate the rights of others–that is promoted by the federal governments. Unfortunately, the State Governments are at fault too and “the people” need to be ready to defend themselves from those every-increasing rights-violating entities also.

    Humans are flawed and we cannot depend on humans to rule us without wanting ever more power over us. Severely restrict or, eventually, take away our guns and we are naked before the armored might of The State.

  35. From the linked New Yorker piece, in which the author praises the “brilliance” of the Stevens dissent in Heller:

    Justice Stevens and his colleagues were not saying, a mere seven years ago, that the gun-control legislation in dispute in Heller alone was constitutional within the confines of the Second Amendment. They were asserting that essentially every kind of legislation concerning guns in the hands of individuals was compatible with the Second Amendment?indeed, that regulating guns in individual hands was one of the purposes for which the amendment was offered.

    Jesus tap-dancing Christ. How deeply embedded in your own ass does your head need to be in order for you to conclude that a provision of the “BILL OF RIGHTS“…which was all about preventing government from infringing on individual rights…. was put there in order to allow government to infringe on individual rights?

  36. I’m an attorney and I filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Obergefell (same sex marriage) case. What I argued is if the court gives newly created rights strict scrutiny protection, how would it ever be able to uphold any state infringement of existing fundamental rights that are enumerated in the Constitution, like the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms?

    I followed up my amicus brief with a detailed analysis of the Obergefell opinion, including the dissents, to find that in addition to destroying federalism, Justice Kennedy’s opinion must mean, as a matter of 14th Amendment precedent, that all fundamental rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, are now immune from state and local regulation. As much as some would like to dismiss this conclusion, there is no other way to read the Obergefell opinion. Furthermore, based on existing Second Amendment caselaw (the Heller decision, primarily), it is likely the case that new federal laws in excess of those already in effect would be unconstitutional under Obergefell. This is especially important in light of calls by President Obama for new, confiscatory gun laws in the wake of recent shootings.

    My paper, “After Obergefell: Dignity for the Second Amendment”, can be downloaded at no cost through the Social Science Research Network website at the following link:

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