Shooting at the Constitution

By Bob Franken

Before I’m finished with this commentary, I will have incensed nearly everyone. It’s about guns. So let the fury begin: If I had my way, private ownership would be eliminated — no pistols, no rifles, certainly no assault weapons, except in the hands of the military and law enforcement. End of story. Right now, the readers who adore their instruments of death are already seething and preparing their hateful comments and personal threats.

But let’s not leave out antagonizing those who advocate controls on the nation’s private arsenal. Their heroes are the Democratic members who led a sit-in on the House of Representatives floor. It was all designed to hearken back to the public-accommodation disruptions in the 1960s, when demonstrators were breaking the back of Jim Crow. This time, they are trying to achieve a victory against a modern-day tyrant, the National Rifle Association.

It’s hard to blame them. The NRA has used every political corruption and intimidation tactic imaginable to successfully crush even token efforts to regulate guns. But what our non-ragtag band of demonstrators somehow have managed to do is support a solution that is at least as noxious as the problem. What they are demanding is a “No Fly, No Buy” law. If someone is on the No Fly List or the Terror Watch List, he or she would be stopped from purchasing a gun. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Actually, it doesn’t.

Gun ownership has been deemed a right in this country. That’s what the courts have decided based on what our founders suggested when they concocted the Second Amendment. Maybe they made a mistake back in the 1700s, or maybe our justices did with their interpretation. Nevertheless, it is the law of the land.

But then, so is due process. The Fifth and 14th Amendments make that very clear. Their practical effect is that any deprivation of rights must be adjudicated, it can’t be arbitrarily taken away, certainly not out of public view. The No Fly List does just that. Law enforcement, acting in secret, determines just who is on that list. Regrettably, sometimes investigators make horrendous mistakes, or even occasionally act out of malice. An individual has little recourse.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which endorses gun control and is certainly no friend of the NRA, calls the No Fly Lists “error-prone and unreliable,” leaving those who end up on them “without a meaningful process to correct government error and clear their names.”

One can only imagine that many supporters of gun control would have a serious problem stripping away such a fundamental right as due process. However, in their frustration, people are advocating exactly that, which is a highly objectionable way to accomplish their goals. And the Republicans are rubbing it in, by floating a “compromise” that would be unworkable.

The fact is, the Second Amendment does allow gun ownership to be “well-regulated.” The trick is to convince millions of Americans who adore their weapons that stringent restrictions are needed.

Freedom of expression is another constitutional right, of course, outlined in the First Amendment. So go ahead and let me have it, everyone — and I mean everyone. Words should be the ultimate weapons.

(c) 2016 Bob Franken

1 COMMENT

  1. The question is, “When will people think deeply enough to truly grasp the meaning of the phrase, ‘The Security of a Free State?'”

    The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (Emphasis added)

    Now before all of the anti-gun people go running off to assume my intent, I suggest you stick around. The point I’m making is not entirely the point you may think it is.

    There is a single word that can sum up that which threatens the security of a free state. That word is “Tyranny.”

    At dictionary.com the very first definition of tyranny is, “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power.” This is generally assumed to derive from, but is not exclusive to, some manner of governing body. I’ll explain…

    Most would agree that when a government enacts a law calling for the forced enslavement of a portion of the population based on eye color, there is tyranny because it is an arbitrary and unrestrained exercise of power.

    However, it is also an arbitrary and unrestrained exercise of power when someone sees that your lawnmower is unattended and they decide to take it. This is also known as theft.

    My point is that tyranny exists, and, therefore, threatens the security of a free state, at all levels of human existence and interaction, which is why the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It is up to all of us to use such arms to combat tyranny when and where we can.

    Now, did you notice that the word that was chosen in the Second Amendment was “arms” and not “firearms?” That is because, as I hope many of you have realized, firearms are not the only means with which to combat tyranny. In this context “arms” is synonymous with “weapons.”

    The weapons used to combat tyranny include, but are not limited to, intelligence, wisdom, tactics, revelation, the press, free speech, the right to assemble and, yes, firearms. I could go on for quite a while, but, let’s face it, I’m long-winded as it is.

    With that in mind I’ll give you the best modern example of an unexpected weapon commonly used to combat tyranny: The video camera.

    Whether it’s a security camera at a business, or an insurance investigator capturing video of a supposedly disabled person playing basketball, or even someone catching the police acting outside their limited authority on their cell phone… These are all examples of what I call Combat by Exposure. Let’s face it. Tyranny succeeds when it is kept secret or done in the name of the greater good. Exposing the lies and the actions taken in secret reveals the tyrants for who and what they really are.

    You see, The Second Amendment isn’t solely about our right to own a firearm. It’s about our right to fight back using all necessary means up to, and including, killing those who would kill you.

    Yes, there are times when one must shoot the bastard in question when no other options are available. It is, however, just as essential to the security of a free state that people keep their options open.

    That is why I advocate so fiercely for the rights of the people. That’s why one person is armed with a Glock and another is armed with an I-Phone and still another is armed with a public forum.

    Ultimately it is not possible to uphold and defend Freedom and Liberty while curtailing Freedom and Liberty, especially for the so-called “Greater Good.”

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