Viewpoint: Myth of unconstrained Second Amendment gun ‘rights’

Viewpoint: Myth of unconstrained Second Amendment gun ‘rights’
Karen Rubin, Columnist

It’s a year since the tragedy at Uvalde, emblematic of all that is wrong with the gun violence epidemic. It’s 10 years since Sandy Hook, five years since Parkland, a month since (fill in the blank), a week since (fill in), a day since (fill in) – too, too many to keep track or count.

There have been more mass shootings than days so far in 2023; 120 people are killed each day. Guns are now the No. 1 killer of children. Process that a moment. For shame. Seven countries have now issued travel advisories against coming to the United States because of gun violence.

June 2 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the beginning of Wear Orange Weekend to honor those killed and wounded by gun violence. It hardly seems to matter, even as more and more people now wear this badge because of their own losses. It used to be “just” the equivalent of a 9/11 each month, now it is a 9/11 every three weeks. Some 45,000 people are killed by guns each year and hundreds of thousands more are injured and likely living with long-term or permanent pain, trauma, suffering, disability at a cost to society of $557 billion each year.

I am so, so sick of the gun nuts reacting to any proposals for sensible gun regulation – banning weapons of war and high-capacity ammo from civilian use, requiring licensing, training, registration every five years; universal background checks, Red Flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of would-be murderers, insurance and victims funds, safe storage laws and liability, ending immunity for gun manufacturers and retailers, no online or straw purchases. They robotically claim “Second Amendment” – conveniently leaving out the part, “well-regulated militia.”

Republican presidential wannabe Ron DeSantis, kissing up to the NRA gun nuts, declared that guns [not votes] are the foundation that all other rights rest on. From a state known for Trayvon Martin, the Parkland school massacre, the Pulse Nightclub massacre, he quietly signed permitless carry just two days after the massacre at a Nashville Christian school.  It was followed immediately by two in Louisville, another in Alabama, another in Allen, TX, and a spate of shootings of young people who happened to ring the wrong doorbell, turn up the wrong driveway, approach the wrong car and go after a basketball that rolled onto a neighbor’s lawn. That’s in a state where people think they have the right to kill at will, because of the Stand Your Ground shield, that oddly enough only seems to apply to white men who murder.

To suggest that guns protect rights is certainly a MAGA-pleasing line, but just the opposite is true: there is no free speech, free assembly, free religion, free and fair elections if you are intimidated, harassed or extorted by people carrying guns. Election workers are quitting; people are leaving elected office and those who might have run for office – from school board to health department to Congress – think twice.

Might Makes Right has replaced the Rule of Law, which is the foundation of democracy.

I am sick to death of the claim there can be no sensible gun safety regulation because the Second Amendment “guarantees” the right to “bear arms” and “shall not be infringed.” It does no such thing.

You know what isn’t in the Constitution? “Gun.” Certainly not “AR-15.” The word “arms” (not “guns” or even “firearms”) is used just once, in the Second Amendment, at a time when “arms” meant swords, knives, bow-and-arrow, and single-ball musket (the rapid-fire gun or the bullet hadn’t been invented yet.  Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wants the standard of “what existed in 1791” to rule.

In contrast, the word “vote” or “voting” is mentioned 15 times, but the guns-everywhere, women’s-rights-nowhere gang have no problem suppressing voting and subverting elections.

Can’t restrict “arms”? What about hand grenades? Machine guns (not that different from today’s assault rifles, which were in fact regulated in the 1920s)? Nuclear bomb – the small, suitcase-sized ones? Mines? These are all “arms” So are these allowed “by right” under the 2nd Amendment?

And there is no constitutional “right” to manufacture or sell guns, no constitutional prohibition against product liability for the gun manufacturing industry, the only product in America that so far is shielded from product safety liability, or requiring insurance, or paying tax on the purchase of guns, ammunition, and paraphernalia. In fact, why don’t they ban certain kinds of ammo and equipment? And why don’t they impose some of those same limits on a constitutional right as they did on a woman’s right to access abortion, that is, in the 50 years before Dobbs?

But the greater point is that no “right” is absolute:

Free speech? What about Truth in Advertising, fraud. And you can’t maliciously slander someone with falsehoods, as Donald J. Trump has finally learned. And these religious fanatic gun nuts have no qualms about banning books, prosecuting teachers and censoring pediatricians from asking parents if they store guns securely.

Free press doesn’t mean you can maliciously, knowingly, purposefully spew harmful falsehoods (libel) as Fox News has discovered.

Religious freedom doesn’t mean you can conduct human sacrifice, or (until now) discriminate against people of different races, religions, backgrounds by claiming “religious conscience.”

The Fourth Amendment protects against search and seizure (privacy) without due process (cause). But what happened after 9/11? They immediately enacted the cynically named Patriot Act, giving government the power to search your library book records without notifying, search phones, search your body every time you get on an airplane. And yet, people on the No Fly list can still purchase guns. And now girls and women are monitored, their cell phones tracked, their health information tracked, their medical records exposed and shared willy-nilly so vigilantes can sue them or authorities charge them with violations of abortion bans or to expose their gender identity.

The 15th  and 19th Amendments say the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged.” That sounds as forceful as right to bear arms “shall not be infringed” and yet voting rights are being aggressively suppressed.

Actually, the founding documents say the mission of government is to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Protecting the purveyors of death, destruction and terror is not.

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  1. Wow. This is the most unhinged, partisan, uninformed, anti-gun screed I’ve ever seen. You definitely win the award for drinking the Kool-aid. And this is why some of the founders wanted to enumerate certain rights in the Constitution. Because they knew there are always people like you who are ready to strip other people of their rights with a shrug and an insult.

  2. This article is full of falsehoods and outright incorrect facts:

    Machine guns were regulated in the 1934 National Firearms Act, not the 1920s.

    There already is a special tax on firearms and ammunition – the Pittman-Robertson tax

    Muskets fire bullets.

    Firearm manufacturers are subject to product liability.

    Straw purchases are already illegal. Guns bough online require a background check under the 1994 crime bill.

  3. Ms. Rubin, What you’ve just presented is one of the most insanely idiotic pieces I’ve ever read. At no point during your rambling, incoherent word salad, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone here is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul, and your 200 cats.

  4. Women will spout these authoritarian, error-riddled, emotions-based opinions, and then sit around wondering why they didn’t get the right to vote (in a country built on the concept of individual liberty) until 1920.

  5. Yes, evil criminals use firearms to bear violence and impose their will on others. So, thus, if your only premise then is to want to bar access to that instrument, and are unwillingly to think with logic and integrity any deeper than that, there is nothing gained from offering a different thought process.

  6. Blah blah blah. All opinions and incorrect information. It’s really getting old hearing the same old crap coming from liberals. How about you present the real facts or try a different subject.


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