The Huffington Post Defines the Second Amendment for us
United States –-(Ammoland.com)- A Chicago Liberal at the Huffington Post defines our gun rights for us? Oh, where shall I begin…
Geoffrey R. Stone, the “Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law” (seriously – thats what they refer to him as) at the University of Chicago, took on the task over at the Huffington Post of defining the second amendment for us laypeople who are just too gosh-darn stupid to figure it all out for ourselves.
He was wise enough to immediately give up on the dead-horse argument that the amendment only applies to “militias“, so I will give him that much at least… HOWEVER, (did you catch that… thats a very BIG however) his entire argument of defining the second amendment is completely centered around his ridiculously poor definition of the first amendment
Consider, for example, the First Amendment, which provides: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” This also sounds absolute. But does the First Amendment mean that the government cannot constitutionally regulate speech?
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put that possibility to rest in 1919 with a famous hypothetical. “The most stringent protection of free speech,” he observed, “would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.” In other words, even though the text of the First Amendment sounds absolute, it is not.
Thats it. Thats his entire argument for how he believes the second amendment should be defined and its his justification for full-on
gun control civilian disarmament.
But there is a problem with that, Geoffrey. Here is the thing… You can actually yell “FIRE!” in a crowded movie theater… and you damn well better do exactly that… if the theater is on fire. You see, the first amendment is indeed absolute. You can say whatever the heck you want to in this country… right up and until the point that it causes a crime.
Thats why we do not ban the word “fire” in this country. We do not designate movie theaters as “fire free verbiage zones” either. We also don't require you to be registered with the federal government and pay a $200 tax stamp if you wish to use the word “fire“. You can use the word all you want to. You can even use it in a movie theater. Actors in the movies that play in crowded movie theaters can use the word too and they can even shout “FIRE!” in the movie if thats what the director really wants to have in their movie.
Likewise, I can also use the words “Hi Jack” to say hello to my friend Jack and its not a crime. Those words are not in anyway, shape, or form banned from use in this country. However, if I scream “HIJACK!” on board a crowded airplane… Well, I am gonna have myself a bit of explaining to do.
You see, there is no such thing as “free speech control” in America. Even though words could literally kill a bunch of people in a crowded movie theater, there are still no “common-sense free speech restrictions” that place limits on what words you can and can not use. There are no “universal background checks” that you must go through before you can exercise your first amendment rights. There are no capacity restrictions on how many words you can say or how many words the press can use when they write. There are no permits or licensing or any of the other disenfranchising restrictions we gun owners are subjected to being placed on first amendment rights. It is indeed absolute… exactly the same way that the second amendment is.
I know that you dont really want to hear this, but that is indeed the proper way to define our God given rights as they are laid out in the Bill of Rights. Its not the tools (words/guns) that are the problem. Its not the potential that they have to do harm either here or even abroad – reference our current administration's attempts to tie the Benghazi attacks to a video on YouTube. The major underlying problem is the criminal and the evil acts that they choose to commit with whatever of those tools that they have at their disposal.
The bottom line here is that I can say anything that I want to in this country… if I use my words to commit a crime then I must pay the consequences for that action. However, if I use my words to save a bunch of people in a crowded movie theater from a fire, then I should be celebrated as a hero and it should be the benchmark going forward for how to deal with such a problem.
The very same thing is true with guns. I technically should be able to walk down the street with a fully automatic, belt-fed machine gun slung over my shoulder and it technically should be completely legal… right up and until the point when I do something with it that is a crime. Likewise, if I use my gun to save a bunch of people in a crowded movie theater from a lunatic, then I should be celebrated as a hero and it should be the benchmark going forward for how to deal with such a problem.
Anything less than interpreting the second amendment as absolute is an infringement and is a direct violation of the Constitution. Just as it would be if the same limits were being placed on first amendment rights.
Geoffrey, you are allowing yourself to be misguided by your political dogma on this issue. I personally think that it is very sad that such a highly educated man with such an accomplished career would allow himself to be so easily fooled into thinking that civilian disarmament is not an infringement of a God given right.
I have a feeling that you probably wouldn't take so kindly to the same infringements being place on all the writings that you have used your first amendment rights to publish over the years. Yet somehow you think that the government controlling the civilian population's ability to exercise their second amendment rights is perfectly acceptable. Why? Because of politics?
Sir, I respectfully submit that perhaps its time for you to put aside your pre-judgement on this matter and see this issue for what it really is. I think that its time for you to rethink your definition of what both the first and second amendments really are.
Eric at the Gunmart Blog – Eric is a gun blogger, firearms enthusiast, and sorry excuse for a hunter. He is also an AmmoLand Shoting Sports News Columnist. Leave him some comments on this article before you go. You can also follow Eric on Facebook, Twitter and at his blog, Gunmart. Visit: GunmartBlog.com