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The White House gets the Second Amendment hideously wrong

The Truth About Guns posted an open letter from Gun Owners of America to the White House, asking them to fix the ridiculous description of the Second Amendment currently posted on the White House website:

The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.

“Even recognizing that the website attempts to present only a simple summary of provisions of the Constitution, the description is highly inaccurate, and should be immediately corrected so as not to mislead the American people as to the true nature and scope of the Second Amendment,” says the GOA letter.  It goes on to highlight two problems with the White House website’s summary.  Can you guess the first, and most glaring, one?

If you said the Second Amendment – and for that matter, the rest of the Bill of Rights – does not “give” any rights to anyone, you paid more attention in your civics classes than the Left would like.  The point behind such rights as freedom of speech, or the freedom to keep and bear arms, is that citizens inherently possess those rights.  In the common formulation of the Founders, they come from God.  The government is obliged to respect them.  

The degenerate political movement we used to refer to as “liberalism” hates that idea.  They see no authority higher than the State, which should have the power to do virtually anything, provided its masters can make a good case for whatever power they wish to exercise.  This is not a trivial point – it’s the core difference between authoritarian collectivism and constitutional conservatism.  It’s one of the reasons lefties spend so much time sneering at the powdered-wig set and deriding the Constitution they wrote as a ridiculously flawed, archaic piece of paper with little relevance to modern times.  

The heart of the Left’s animosity toward the Constitution is this notion of inherent rights that absolutely and completely restrain government power, barring the deliberately difficult process of passing a constitutional amendment.  Gun control is the paramount example of this, because the Left thinks all that keep-and-bear-arms stuff is silly, and they’ve got big plans for how a better society can be engineered by disarming you violence-prone knuckle-dragging rubes.  The idea that their brilliant social-engineering schemes should be derailed by some inalienable God-given intrinsic right drives them absolutely batty.  (You might have noticed that the First Amendment is increasingly incompatible with their big plans, too.  Dissent is an obstacle to the power required for transforming society to meet the Left’s vision, and don’t even get them started on that freedom of religion twaddle!)

So it’s very important for them to make the public see all rights as something the State gives, because that means those rights can be taken away, at the convenience of the Ruling Class.  It also means that other goodies the State wishes to give favored constituents can be elevated to the status of “rights,” at least as hallowed as anything written in the Constitution like, over a hundred years ago, dude.

The other correction mentioned by Gun Owners of America is that the Second Amendment addresses the right to “keep and bear arms,” which is not an insignificant detail when you consider the fashionable gun-control attitude toward firearms as furniture for rednecks.  As the open letter states:

Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court in Heller expressly addressed the right to “keep” a handgun for self-defense within the home. In its analysis, the Supreme Court, in parsing the words of the Second Amendment, analyzed the right to “keep” separately from the right to “bear” arms. Id. at 581. These two words have specific, and different, meanings, protecting different sets of activities. One must first enjoy the right to own (“keep”) a firearm in order to protect its use (“bear”).

I can’t see why a government website wouldn’t simply relate the relatively brief text of the Second Amendment, but if one has to summarize or rephrase it, it’s not nitpicky to insist that the core concepts be related accurately and completely.

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