On January 14, the Huffington Post ran a column by actor-turned-activist Matthew Modine in which he displayed a degree of Constitutional ignorance unmatched in post-modern times.
His main point was that some types of guns are bad, other types of guns are worse and still other types of guns–“assault weapons”–ought to be banned because “they are designed for the single purpose of killing people.”
One of Modine’s sub-points was that acting legend Charlton Heston was a bad man who dedicated the last years of his life to defending “an archaic” Second Amendment.
The activist-turned-constitutional-scholar then reminds his readers that the Second Amendment comes to us from the year 1791–a year in which Europeans were stealing land from Indians, Africans were being used as slaves, women could not vote and “there were no child labor laws.”
Seriously–he really mentioned child labor laws.
Anyway, Modine says we have since “improved ourselves” and become “civilized,” passing amendments that abolished slavery (13th Amendment) and recognized women’s right to vote (19th Amendment). Because of these things, it’s time for us to step back, stop our senseless defense of the right to keep and bear arms and embrace changes to the 2nd Amendment.
He says that if we’ll do this, we’ll find that we can still keep some of our guns because “no one is trying to completely eliminate the Second Amendment.”
Ironically, the First Amendment, which protects Modine’s right to spew this drivel, also goes back to 1791. A year in which Europeans were stealing land from Indians, Africans were being used as slaves, women could not vote and “there were no child labor laws.”
How can he be so confident that the rights protected by the “archaic” First Amendment are here to stay, if the rights protected by the “archaic” Second Amendment are not what they used to be?
It’s just a question, but it’s a question worth asking.