Article by Gary Kent
Republicans have been adept at using the Second Amendment and gun control to manipulate their base. The pipedream that the S.A.F.E. Act might be repealed has been a useful smokescreen for incompetent politicians for four years. The gun control “slippery slope” idea is another notion that may not pass the smell test. What does it say about the “slippery slope” that the assault weapons ban was allowed to lapse?
A cursory look at the Second Amendment might suggest it gives “the people” the right to keep and bear arms. “Arms,” not muskets. How are “arms” defined today? Are we to believe there should be no limit to the “arms” we may keep and bear? Would devotees of an expansive reading of Amendment 2 argue it gives all individuals the right to possess “arms” such as grenade launchers and Stinger missiles?
Amendment 2 states this right “shall not be infringed.” But the background checks supported by the vast majority of those polled are an infringement of the right to keep and bear arms! What part of the words “shall not be infringed” do the many N.R.A. members who favor background checks not understand?
Is having and driving a car a “right?” Cars are potentially deadly weapons. They and the drivers who drive them can kill people. How many of us question registration, licensing, vehicle use taxes and car insurance? Most don’t question any of those restrictions. Few would argue that, at some point, judges shouldn’t be allowed to revoke the right/privilege to drive.
One of the biggest myths used by some ostensibly sincere defenders of the right to keep and bear arms to mislead voters is the goofy notion that “democrats” want to take our guns away. There may be some who do, but I do not know any of them personally. After all, democrats are Americans. We know our history. We share American traditions. We revere what the Constitution actually says. Consequently, we respect the role firearms have played in our national existence. We know the utility of firearms for hunting and self-preservation. Just as many republicans, we know their capacity to inflict damage and suffering must be respected and, within reason, guarded against. Just as cars, guns require responsible users.
The idea that “democrats” want to take our guns away is baseless, period. It is fiction perpetuated by those seeking to use the issue for political gain.
The Constitution is often selectively cited to further one’s political agenda. Baloney aside, it was written because the folly of out of control states’ rights was threatening to destroy a new nation. Contrary to what many choose to believe, the Constitution was meant to greatly increase federal power while affording protection and a greatly reduced role for the states.
Those who know the Constitution certainly are aware of the 10th Amendment. As I recall it, powers not granted the federal government, nor prohibited the states, belong to the states and the people respectively.
People who know the Constitution are also aware of loose construction. It wasn’t dreamed up by big government bureaucrats or activist Supreme Court judges. It cannot be stated emphatically enough that loose construction was anticipated by the Constitution’s authors and built into the document that it might better stand the test of time.
People who hang their hats on the 10th Amendment should carefully read Articles 1-7. Gun rights advocates should note, as well, that even if Amendment 2 had nothing to do with the right of individual, ordinary people—versus those who are part of a “well-regulated militia”—to keep and bear arms, to this democrat, Amendment 9 certainly has to be viewed as protecting such a right. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that gun ownership was protected by the Ninth Amendment, even though, just as with innumerable other rights, gun ownership is not mentioned specifically. That is the beauty of loose construction. Without it, the Ninth Amendment is just one part of the Constitution that would have no meaning. It would not be there if there was no reason for including it.