On Monday, the Huffington Post ran a column arguing that the Constitution is the weakest of all grounds for defending gun rights, and an appeal to self-defense to justify gun ownership is simply “laughable.”
According to the Huffington Post, the Constitutional argument for gun rights is flawed because the 2nd Amendment only protects the rights of persons serving in the militia and, contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. Chicago, it does not bar states or local governments from regulating firearm ownership.
HuffPo substantiates this claim by appealing to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.
For over 200 years following the adoption of [the 2nd Amendment] federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by the text was limited in two ways: first, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of the states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.
Therefore, the “Constitutional argument is the weakest.”
And appeals to self-defense, whether defense of one’s person or of one’s countrymen, are downright “laughable.” Regarding individuals, the HuffPo quotes the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence in arguing that a gun in the house “is 22 times more likely to be used for suicide or killing someone… than for self-defense.” And regarding the defense of one’s countrymen, the HuffPo mocks the argument that our Founding Father’s wanted citizens armed in order to keep the government in check.
Of course the HuffPo didn’t quote James Madison, because Madison used Federalist 46 to express his confidence that one reason Americans owned guns was to keep government in check. Moreover, it was Madison who not only penned the Second Amendment, but also wrote about “the advantage of being armed, which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.