Politics & Policy

I’m Not Arguing in Favor of the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment Is the Argument

(Photo: Alan Crosthwaite/Dreamstime)
Either the Constitution has the power to protect our freedoms or it doesn’t.

Whenever a gun tragedy happens in the United States, it seems like there are two sides: One that argues against Second Amendment protections, and one that argues for them.

It seems simple enough, but what’s missing is this: The Second Amendment is the argument.

It’s alarming how often people forget this. Whenever there’s violence, the Left starts to demand that the government get the guns off our streets, that it do so now, that it should have done it sooner to keep the people safe. In response, the Right often argues for the benefits of #2A, throwing out statistics such as the fact that gun violence has actually been dropping even though more people have been purchasing firearms, or philosophical arguments such as the idea that people looking to murder masses of people will find a weapon and a way regardless of what the laws are.

My personal views may happen to fall into the second camp, but here’s the thing: Regardless of what your personal views are, it’s still true that our Constitution prohibits the kinds of things that the first group wants.

If people on the left ever do talk about the Second Amendment, it’s often only to say that it’s “obsolete.” This is, of course, factually untrue: According to the Constitution, the Second Amendment is not obsolete until and unless two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-quarters of states agree that it is, or through the constitutional-convention method as detailed in Article V. Again, this isn’t even my argument; it’s the Constitution’s — and, like it or not, that’s important.

Unfortunately, however, it’s very common to see the requirements of our Constitution being completely disregarded — even by our elected officials. For example: In New York City, it’s basically impossible to get a gun license unless you’re a police officer or security guard, and you have to pay upwards of $400 in fees just to submit an application that will certainly be rejected. Does that sound like a violation of my constitutional “right to keep and bear arms” to you? Yes; yes it does — and that should bother you, regardless of whether you personally happen to favor these kinds of rules or not.

You may be someone who believes that it would be safer to eliminate guns from the hands of the public, and that’s fine — but you still need to view your activism through the lens of constitutional process. You need to be lobbying legislators to amend the Constitution, rather than lobbying officials to create laws that disregard it. Why? Because the Constitution always matters. If you want to say that it shouldn’t always matter, or that should matter except on this issue, then really, what you’re saying is that it never truly does — because you yourself have already stated that exceptions are okay. Either the document has integrity or it doesn’t. Either it has the power to protect our freedoms or it doesn’t — and to me, that seems like an easy choice.

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