In Bloomberg View, Sunstein argues that exaggerated claims about what the Second Amendment protects have recently become an obstacle to sensible gun policies. That the amendment blocks a rational debate on guns has less to do with the Founders’ wisdom than with the skill and power of the gun-rights movement, he claims.
Sunstein is usually, whether one agrees with him or not, a clear writer, but in this case I cannot follow what he’s saying.
Next he notes that even today’s Supreme Court “has proceeded cautiously, and it has pointedly refused to shut the door to all gun regulation. . . . [A] lot of gun-control legislation, imaginable or proposed, would be perfectly consistent with the court’s rulings.” He adds:
In the political arena, opponents of gun control, armed with both organization and money, have been invoking the Second Amendment far more recklessly, treating it as a firm obstacle to any effort to regulate guns and bullets. As a result, they have made it difficult for Congress, and many state legislatures, even to hold serious discussions about what sorts of regulation might save lives. Consider this disturbing statement by Stephen Halbrook, a lawyer who has represented the National Rifle Association, about the very kinds of guns used in the Connecticut tragedy: “They get a lot of coverage when there’s a tragedy, but the number of people unlawfully killed with them is small.”