Yes, Leftists Want to Repeal the Second Amendment
No less than retired Justice John Paul Stevens declared it in a New York Times op-ed.
The recent mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school renewed the debate on gun control and the Second Amendment itself. The stakes were raised this week.
The principle of the debate is simple; namely, the right to self-defense is a God-given right that predates government itself. The Declaration of Independence proclaims we are each endowed by our Creator with certain “unalienable rights” and that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed.” Get that? Rights are secured, NOT granted, by government.
Not according to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who this week declared in a New York Times op-ed that it is time to repeal the Second Amendment. He argued that the Court erred in 2008 when it ruled the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms (District of Columbia v. Heller). Bizarrely, by arguing the amendment pertains only to the right of the government to form a well-regulated militia, Stevens claims it to be the only right listed in the Bill of Rights that protects government rather than the individual. (The Tenth Amendment, of course, applies to powers of the states, not rights.)
Stevens’ assertion is utterly false and historically inaccurate. The Bill of Rights was demanded by the Anti-Federalists as their price for adopting the Constitution. They demanded this clear and unambiguous limitation on the powers of the federal government.
Indeed, the entire reason for the adoption of the Second Amendment was not to protect sport shooting, or hunting, or even for defense against criminals. It was to provide a bulwark against the potential infringements on Liberty by a tyrannical government.
Leftists mock those who still consider government tyranny a danger, but why? Dictators like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong disarmed the populace before slaughtering nearly 100 million innocent people.
“But this is America! It couldn’t happen here!” they say. Oh really? As noted by Justice Clarence Thomas in McDonald v. Chicago, the first gun control laws prohibited blacks from owning firearms in order to prevent them from defending themselves against KKK mobs. And don’t forget the masses of Japanese-Americans who were rounded up and forced into internment camps during World War II by Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Gun control advocates scoff at those who worry about the slippery slope where “commonsense” gun control leads to gun confiscation, but Justice Stevens has exposed their duplicity. Gun confiscation is indeed their ultimate goal. Look no further than articles in popular leftist publications like The New York Times, NPR, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, all calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment.
And gun confiscation has already happened. In 1989, California passed some of these “commonsense” gun laws, banning more than 50 types of semiautomatic firearms and “high-capacity” magazines, but grandfathering in those who already owned them. California gun owners were assured that gun registration was not a precursor to confiscation. Yet in 1999, California banned magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and used that gun registry list to coerce citizens to hand over their firearms. Those who refused to comply had their homes invaded by police wielding — you guessed it — the same guns banned for civilian use.
The whole argument made by anti-gun leftists is hysterical and contradictory. On the one hand, they claim President Donald Trump is a reincarnation of Hitler, a tyrant engaged in the systemic oppression of women, minorities and others. They claim the police are murdering unarmed black men in the streets en masse and cannot be trusted. On the other hand, they demand that Trump’s government take away all privately held firearms and leave us completely dependent on the police for our protection.
But what happens when the police are not close enough to protect you? Or they are close enough but refuse to protect you, as happened at Parkland? How many realize that the Supreme Court ruled the police have no obligation to protect you from harm (Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 2005)?
That is one reason why our Founding Fathers demanded the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights — to ensure the right to self-defense, whether that be against foreign armies, violent criminals, or a tyrannical domestic government.
As for what constitutes the “well-regulated militia,” that would be average citizens with guns. Founding Father George Mason proclaimed, “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.”
In his Commentaries on the Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, the “Father of American Jurisprudence,” made it clear and unambiguous, declaring, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
Disarming law-abiding citizens will not protect innocent people; it will only leave them defenseless against those with homicidal intentions — not to mention at the mercy of tyrannical government. It is beyond foolish to think otherwise.