What liberals don’t understand about the Second Amendment
On March 27, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a controversial op-ed in the New York Times titled, “Repeal the Second Amendment.” Calling the Second Amendment a “relic of the 18th century,” Justice Stevens endorsed the gun control agenda being pushed by liberal activists and said repealing the amendment would be “simple” and “effective.”
The reaction in the liberal media was split between those who enthusiastically supported Justice Stevens’ cause and those who criticized him for being too frank on what gun control supporters actually want. The Washington Post, for example, wrote that Stevens’ op-ed should be “considered an in-kind contribution to the National Rifle Association … and to President Trump’s 2020 reelection bid” because it “confirm(s) plenty of preexisting beliefs about what Democrats actually want.”
Indeed, four in 10 Democrats support repealing the Second Amendment, according to a recent poll, even though very few Democrat politicians publicly share that view. That’s what makes Stevens’ op-ed so important: He is revealing the true intent of many liberals and gun control supporters. They don’t just want “common-sense gun control,” they truly want to tear up the Constitution and take away your guns. They’re playing “the long game,” and Justice Stevens was just a little too honest about it.
While there’s a part of me that appreciates Justice Stevens’ honesty, I’m appalled that someone who served on our highest court for 35 years (and was appointed by a Republican president, no less!) could be so hopelessly wrong about one of our most important constitutional rights.
Stevens repeats the liberal fable that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to organize militias, not to ensure an individual’s right to “keep and bear arms.” This interpretation is illogical. The Founders deliberately chose to put the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights because it’s an individual right — just like all the amendments in the Bill of Rights.
The Founders knew America owed its independence to gun-owning citizens who fought in the Continental Army and won the Revolutionary War. By owning and using guns, these free citizens toppled British tyranny and created a new nation.
James Madison, often considered the “Father of the Constitution,” credited the American people for “the advantage of being armed” and contrasted that with “several kingdoms of Europe” in which “the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms” (Federalist No. 46).
For almost 200 years, this was considered common sense, but in the late 20th century, the Stevens position (that the Second Amendment is really about organizing militias) gained ground. Finally, in 2008, the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller. The Second Amendment, according to the court, “protects an individual right to keep and bear arms” and one’s “enjoyment of the right” is not “contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.”
This hasn’t stopped gun control supporters, however. While some of them are beginning a political campaign to repeal the Second Amendment, others are mounting a P.R. offensive to shame gun owners and Republican politicians (with the liberal media happily joining in).
Take David Hogg, for instance. He’s one of the students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people tragically lost their lives in a mass shooting. Cheered on by the liberal media, Hogg has become the spokesperson for gun control advocates. While Hogg has a First Amendment right to oppose the Second Amendment, a lot of what he says is ill-informed and toxic, and yet all too symbolic of how liberals talk to conservatives these days.
Hogg, who calls himself the NRA’s “worst nightmare,” calls the NRA “sick (expletive)s” who just want to “sell more guns” and “murder more children.” “They could have blood from children splattered all over their faces and they wouldn’t take action, because they all still see these dollar signs,” he said. When Sen. Marco Rubio tried to address Hogg’s concerns, Hogg asked Rubio, “What about the $176,000 you took (from the NRA) for those 17 people’s blood?”
No member of the NRA has ever committed a mass shooting, so those who want to blame the Parkland tragedy on the NRA (and politicians who support the NRA) are engaging in slander. What happened in Parkland was a failure of government, as I pointed out in my e-newsletter last month.
But liberal activists — by definition — are more interested in blaming Republicans than blaming the government. That’s why Hogg is more interested in attacking Sen. Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott than Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. Even though Israel really does bear some responsibility for what happened, he is a Democrat, and so Hogg has been strangely silent about him.
To remain free, we must defend all our constitutional rights, not just some of them. After all, it’s our Second Amendment rights that make all our other rights possible.
This column was written by U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle. Labrador’s also running to be Idaho’s next governor.