December 2, 2007
You Say You Want A Revolution...
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is reporting on a 2nd Amendment article by David Hardy which I won't read because you have to register and I don't do that sort of thing. But here's a key excerpt, courtesy of Glenn:
In law school, we were told to be careful what we ask for, because the fates may give us just that. If the Supreme Court upholds a broad Second Amendment right, tens of millions of gun-owning Americans will be reminded of the high court's role as protector of their Constitution.
If it goes the other way, those millions will be asking how arms ownership, expressly mentioned in that document, is unprotected while abortion (no where mentioned) is broadly protected.
They will come to believe that the Constitution is merely a paper covering for arbitrary judicial rule. This is not a lesson we want taught in a democracy.
I'm going to go one step further. If the Supreme Court rules that we don't have the right to arm bears, then I say "the jig is up". As in, if the constitution is to be viewed from here on out as living document to be changed at the whim of judicial activists legislating from the bench, then we have every reason to press for our right to bear arms by any means necessary, and there is no time like the present.
Even if the high court finds that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, they have to also find that the government doesn't have wide latitude to restrict this right. For instance, finding that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, but that the government can restrict that same right to mean a citizen can only own one single-shot shotgun, or that ammunition has to be stored separately, or trigger lock mandates are a perfectly acceptable restriction, or that the government can search us for them and disarm us as airports, bus stations, movie theaters, Wal-Marts, or inter-state checkpoints, won't cut it.
The legal precept of "stare decisis" stipulates that previous judicial ruling are held in a fairly high regard, and rarely overturned, so a ruling that the 2nd Amendment doesn't grant individual citizens the unequivocal right to bear arms would go down as a monumental stain on our collective jurisprudence.
Of course, if the Supreme Court rules that 2nd Amendment doesn't grant us the right to bear arms, then the guns will inevitably disappear from the homes of law abiding citizens. This will probably not be a door-to-door type of military forced collection of firearms like we say in Hurricane Katrina, but will probably be more of an Australian/England type of disarmament where they divide and conquer the gun owners, starting with true Class III weapons, DD's, then "assault weapons" (whatever that means), and finally, down to the rabbit guns. At that point, the "gun control" movement will branch out into "lethal weapon" control, as we've already seen in the Netherlands.
The point being that, if we want to preserve our right to bear arms, then the day that the supreme court rules against individual interpretation of the 2nd amendment, we need to be in the streets.
I'm not sure what it would look like if 80 million gun owners descended upon the nation's capital the day after a high-court miscarriage of justice, but I doubt it would be pretty. Just for clarification, this is not a threat of overt violence. I personally don't think that violence will help our cause, but, on the other hand, complacency will certainly not help our cause either. 80 million people in the streets in December and at the polls next November, on the other hand, will definitely make a difference. :)
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Posted by Rob Kiser on December 2, 2007 at 11:05 AM
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"I don't want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty."
Posted by: Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU on December 3, 2007 at 6:29 AM