Time to poke a hole in the Bill of Rights

8 mins read
John Frary

“I’ve been a proponent of the Second Amendment my whole life … I cannot express how wrong I was … Enough is enough … We need gun control RIGHT.NOW.” This emotional reaction by a guitarist who was performing before the Las Vegas massacre implies that the Second Amendment is an obstacle to immediate gun control, although the man did not explicitly demand its abrogation.

Others are clearer. The Portland Sunday Telegram found a man who lives high up in a balloon anchored over Monroe, Maine who explicitly demands an end to the Second. Greg Bates is an intellectual who makes his living doing intellectual things. Gazing down on the hunters and gun owners around the village of Monroe he sees that they must be disarmed. This conclusion inspired a Feb. 25 column in Maine Voices: “Yes, We Want to Take Away Your Guns.” He doesn’t elaborate on the “we” in his title but he makes his longing for Constitutional revision clear in these words: “… a fuzzy demand for ‘gun control’ will likely squander this opportunity to save lives. To end gun deaths, we need to ban all civilian guns.”

Bates has no use for control-nuts who advocate incremental aims while dodging around a Constitutional abrogation. “Background checks and banning AR-15s won’t suffice” he tells us, and “only about 5 percent of gun killings are carried out by people with mental health issues.” So, the NRA is correct when it claims that the control nuts are “either mistaken, delusional or dishonest” if they think they can have real gun control without erasing the Second Amendment.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd also talks openly about getting rid of the Second Amendment. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens led the way back in October when he wrote a column arguing that private disarmament is necessary to stop gun violence and that the government cannot seize guns in private hands as long as the Second Amendment remains in force. So, it must go.

Katha Pollitt, writing in The Nation, long-time flagship of the Progressive media fleet, had this to say on February 21: “Enough with the craziness, and enough with the clever pundits and the quiet politicians and the defeatist citizenry, too. There’s no reason why anyone—of any age—needs to own an AR-15. In fact, maybe I shouldn’t say this, because we progressives seem to be all about winning the MAGA-hat-wearing white working class, but I don’t believe you have a right to own a gun, period.”

Our Monroe balloonist is equally emphatic and decisive: “Instead of shying away from the NRA’s accusation that gun control advocates want to take away their guns, we should embrace it as a mantra. Let’s clear the air and call for total civilian disarmament. Period.”

Greg and Katha have nothing to say about what comes after these resounding periods!!! They see a political opportunity which must not be “squandered” and want immediate action while a majority of the public is emotionally receptive. One problem with civilian disarmament is revealed by research published in the American Journal of Public Health. Scholars from Harvard and the University of Washington have concluded that 9 million Americans carry a loaded pistol monthly. Of these, the write, 3 million pack a pistol every day. Eight percent of them say they carried loaded guns primarily for protection. It follows that if these people will not give up their guns unless and until they fear the government’s legal penalties more than they fear the thugs at large.

Another problem is posed by those gun owners who swear they will defend their gun rights with gun fire. Who knows how many guns will really have to pried from their cold dead hands, but there will be some. The control nuts should give us all an idea about how much bloodshed they think tolerable to accomplish their goals.

We also need some calculations of what it will cost to collect the 300,000,000 firearms in private hands. Australia’s buy-back program, often praised by the control nuts, cost $500 million. It’s been estimated that the U.S. will have to pay $225 billion for a similar program. Might there be better way to spend that sum to save lives?

We can expect some stress and strain on other parts of the Constitution as these millions of firearms are traced, detected, and confiscated. How many policemen will it take? How many new jail cells will we need to build? New York and Connecticut enacted laws demanding registration of AR-15s and only a fraction of those who own them have complied. This tells us that laws without corresponding coercive measures have very limited effects.

And this brings us to the problem of the inevitable black markets in firearms. Remember America’s previous experiment in prohibition? First, the Eighteenth Amendment amended the Constitution. Thus empowered Congress passed the Volstead Act forbidding the production and sale of liquor. So American’s stopped drinking booze.

Wait! That’s not quite right is it? Vast illegal enterprises sprung up in defiance of the government’s wishes. Back then Americans reacted against the idea of their governments interfering with their livers and social lives. A gun prohibition runs into a far stronger belief, shared by millions, that gun ownership is a Constitutional right.

It’s one thing to give up opportunities to lay the foundations for a hangover, quite another to abandon a right. Erase the Second Amendment and you still have right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness asserted by the Declaration of Independence. I’m sure I’m not alone in believing that the right to life necessarily includes the right to self-defense.

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