An Oregon magistrate had a few choice words when sentencing defendant Marcell Lee Daniel Jr. for the 2014 shooting of a Portland man. Judge Kenneth Walker took several moments during a hearing Wednesday to condemn not just the perpetrator, but also the type of weapon he used to kill his victim.
After briefly conceding that the law allows Americans to own firearms, Walker proceeded to deliver a scathing indictment of gun ownership, according to The Oregonian. "If I could," he said to the courtroom, "I would take all the guns in America, put them on big barges, and dump them in the ocean."
But he didn't really mean that all guns should be eliminated, right? In fact, he quickly qualified his remarks by adding that "no one would have guns—not police, not security. We should eliminate all of them." Oh.
Walker went on to say that the 11,000 homicides and 20,000 suicides that that involve guns in America could be prevented if gun ownership were abolished, noting that in Australia, where authorities "rounded up all the guns … they don't have nearly the death that we do here in this country."
The judge wasn't simply interested in pointing out the negative effects of guns on society, however. Instead, he denied there was any possible rationale for owning firearms, period. "There's no defense to guns." he said. "There is no reason to have them."
Walker is certainly entitled to his opinion; the First Amendment guarantees the individual right to freedom of speech, after all. Of course, the Second Amendment protects the individual right to gun ownership.
As a judge tasked with upholding the Constitution, it seems ill-advised to openly call for the elimination of rights protected by the Constitution while acting in his official capacity. It's hard not to wonder how Walker would react if people started calling for the elimination of the Sixth Amendment—you know, the one ensuring people's right to a trial by jury.