There is a lot of good commentary on Salon.com, in my opinion, even though there is a massive liberal bias to what is published there. I recently paid for a subscription because there was enough on the site that I wanted to read but couldn’t that I felt it was worth investing a few dollars to be able to access it. However, the latest article I’ve read on Salon would sound to me like the creation of any of a large number of well known conservatives (also on video so you can hear it yourself) trying to restrict out rights and freedoms were it attacking any American right other than the 2nd amendment guarantee of our right to bear arms. But rather than the more well-known conservative grabs for restricting Americans’ rights that we’ve seen recently, this Salon article is a liberal call to repeal the 2nd amendment, claiming (in reference to the recent Virginia Tech massacre) &147;hitting the delete button on the Second Amendment surely would lower the odds against future mayhem.&148; Maybe I’m a moron, but I don’t see that ridding the US of the 2nd amendment would necessarily and assuredly lead to the reduction in odds of future mayhem. On the other hand, I do believe that allowing students with carry permits to actually carry firearms on campus would lead to fewer victims in future cases, simply because those most in danger are also best set up to defend themselves. But like I said – maybe I’m just a moron for thinking that.
April 18, 2007 | WASHINGTON — Fifteen unambiguous words are all that would be required to quell the American-as-apple-pie cycle of gun violence that has now tearfully enshrined Virginia Tech in the record book of mass murder. Here are the 15 words that would deliver a mortal wound to our bang-bang culture of death: “The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.”
Looking at the Bill of Rights with more than two centuries’ hindsight, it is simply irrational that firearms have a protected position on par with freedom of speech and religion. Were Americans — liberal or conservative — writing a Constitution completely from scratch today, they probably would agree that something akin to “freedom to drive” was more far important than the “right to bear arms.” The rights of state militias (which many liberal legal theorists argue is the essence of the Second Amendment) are as much a throwback to an 18th century mind-set as restrictions on quartering soldiers in private homes during peacetime (the little-remembered Third Amendment).
. . .
Times change, generations pass and attitudes evolve. As fears of crime recede in many places, nervous homeowners may no longer be obsessed with having a .45 by the bedside to blow away phantom intruders. There is also an implicit racial component here with the bygone Archie Bunker generation having a specific image of exactly whom they feared climbing in a window at night. Even the fearsome NRA may well sharply decline as a political force, much as once-fierce-jawed interest groups like the American Legion and the labor movement have grown increasingly toothless over the past quarter-century.
I’m not one to assume repealing the 2nd amendment will magically lead to less crime. There’s still a massive amount of crime committed without firearms. In cases where the criminal is carrying a firearm, I’m also not convinced that restricting the right to bear arms will magically take that firearm away – most criminals using firearms I believe are already breaking the law by possessing a gun, so why exactly will breaking another law cause them to suddenly give up the weapon? Note that I do not have a firearm in my house. I still strongly believe in the right for Americans to have firearms, should they choose to flex that right.
There is one part of the article I do agree with, however. Near the end of the story, the author comments:
Rather than ducking a debate with the conservatives over the eternal primacy of the Second Amendment, gun-control backers should embrace it. Since right-wing Republicans are zealously championing constitutional amendments on everything from abortion to a balanced budget, it would take intellectual jujitsu for them to explain why the First Amendment is worthy of improvement (by severing flag burning from free speech), but the Second Amendment unquestionably must remain sacrosanct.
I don’t believe in repealing the right to bear arms. However, there will be liberals advancing this goal. The conservatives that oppose them should answer the question of why protecting the 2nd amendment is so much more important than protecting other amendments from the Bill of Rights that have been repeatedly attacked over the past decades. I expect this is a political debate that I will have to write more about in the coming months. Watch for more bills on violent videogames, violent movies, Internet speech, and gun control in the near future in response to the Virginia Tech slayings. This is what politicians do, and we have a duty as citizens to watch, learn, and respond to this proposed bills as they work through the legislative branches at all levels of government. The federal bills will likely get the most coverage, but state and local proposals are important, too. Learn what is happening legislatively in your state and community, and don’t let the government take away even more rights than have already been taken away in the past few years. Use critical thought on all these proposals rather than just believing the politicians when they tell you it is for your own good – more often it is for their job security more than for you.
[tags]Slate.com columnist calling for repeal of 2nd amendment, Liberals combating conservatives to take away the most rights?[/tags]