On the tail of the brutal terror attack by a radical Islamist on an Orlando nightclub, music magazine Rolling Stone is now calling for an end to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Rolling Stone Columnist David S. Cohen, who is an associate professor at the Drexel University School of Law and claims to teach the Constitution “for a living,” insisted in his June 14 article titled, “Why It’s Time to Repeal the Second Amendment,” that “the Founders and the Constitution are wrong” about the Second Amendment. “We need to say loud and clear: The Second Amendment must be repealed,” he added.
“As much as we have a culture of reverence for the founding generation, it’s important to understand that they got it wrong — and got it wrong often,” Cohen explained.
Cohen goes on to expound on how the Constitution is wrong in a myriad of ways, especially on slavery:
Much more profoundly, the Framers and the Constitution were wildly wrong on race. They enshrined slavery into the Constitution in multiple ways, including taking the extreme step of prohibiting the Constitution from being amended to stop the slave trade in the country’s first 20 years. They also blatantly wrote racism into the Constitution by counting slaves as only 3/5 of a person for purposes of Congressional representation. It took a bloody civil war to fix these constitutional flaws (and then another 150 years, and counting, to try to fix the societal consequences of them).
These talking points certainly miss the point. The initial step was hardly “extreme” considering that, at the time of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, slavery was thought of by many to be perfectly normal in nearly every corner of the world. In fact, the compromise in the document is more an example of abolitionism as opposed to giving succor to slavery as few Americans wanted slavery ended when we created the Constitution and having any provision that might lead to its end or even its restriction was the more “radical” view.
Furthermore, it is a vicious, but common, liberal mischaracterization to claim the 3/5ths clause was “racist.” That clause, too, was an abolitionist’s viewpoint. Far from discounting the humanity of slaves, its intention was to limit the power of the slave-holding states so that slave-holders had less power to permanently enshrine slavery in American society.
Regardless, along with several other novel liberal claims — such as changing the Senate to land-based representation instead of state-based — Cohen insisted that the Constitution is a thoroughly flawed document.
Then, echoing President Obama’s taunt that supporters of the Second Amendment are bitter Americans who “cling to guns or religion,” Cohen turned his attention to the Second Amendment:
In the face of yet another mass shooting, now is the time to acknowledge a profound but obvious truth – the Second Amendment is wrong for this country and needs to be jettisoned. We can do that through a Constitutional amendment. It’s been done before (when the Twenty-First Amendment repealed prohibition in the Eighteenth), and it must be done now.
The Second Amendment needs to be repealed because it is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact. When the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, there were no weapons remotely like the AR-15 assault rifle and many of the advances of modern weaponry were long from being invented or popularized.
Cohen then said that the founders could never have foreseen weapons that fire more than one shot at a time, this despite the fact that several rapid fire guns had already been invented before the Constitution was drafted, one even by the Royal Navy.
The writer next said that gun owners are wrong to claim their Constitutional right is about liberty.
“But liberty is not a one way street,” Cohen said before going on to cite a handful of shooting incidents. “It also includes the liberty to enjoy a night out with friends, loving who you want to love, dancing how you want to dance, in a club that has historically provided a refuge from the hate and fear that surrounds you.”
Naturally, Cohen ignored the radical Islamist ideology that added to the terror act in Orlando.
Cohen then took on the claim many Second Amendment supporters make that more armed citizens could lead to a faster end to incidents like the Orlando terror attack:
Just think of what would have happened in the Orlando night-club Saturday night if there had been many others armed. In a crowded, dark, loud dance club, after the shooter began firing, imagine if others took out their guns and started firing back. Yes, maybe they would have killed the shooter, but how would anyone else have known what exactly was going on? How would it not have devolved into mass confusion and fear followed by a large-scale shootout without anyone knowing who was the good guy with a gun, who was the bad guy with a gun, and who was just caught in the middle? The death toll could have been much higher if more people were armed.
The gun-rights lobby’s mantra that more people need guns will lead to an obvious result — more people will be killed. We’d be walking down a road in which blood baths are a common occurrence, all because the Second Amendment allows them to be.
To assume a response by an armed bystander would have still resulted in up to 49 murdered in one incident is an odd argument. Might an armed response have meant “collateral damage”? Perhaps. But it isn’t likely that 50 deaths would have resulted if some armed citizen was able to put an end to terrorist Mateen’s rampage earlier in his attack. Certainly, no one wants to see people shot and killed, but there is value in stopping a terrorist in his tracks even if a few still die in the process than might otherwise. Those whose lives are saved would not so easily discount the response.
There is also a lack of logic to his claim that “we’d be walking down a road in which blood baths are a common occurrence” because, as it stands now and for the first time in U.S. history, every single state has a concealed carry law and some even have an open carry law, yet we have not seen the “blood baths” Cohen predicts.
As he wrapped his piece up, Cohen essentially called for mass unrest over the Second Amendment and suggested that the law of the land cannot be “fixed” in the normal proper and legal manner calling the amendment process added by the founders “useless drivel.”
Wrapping up his screed, Cohen insisted that we need a “mass movement of those who are fed up with the long-dead Founders’ view of the world ruling current day politics,” a mass movement to rise up in revolt to tear down the U.S. Constitution by force of will.
He also made another familiar left-wing charge, saying that the NRA is just “an organization that is nothing more than the political wing of the country’s gun manufacturers.” However, the NRA counts up to four million regular Americans as members. These regular Americans hardly all belong to “the political wing of the country’s gun manufacturers.” They are everyday Americans who want to safeguard our Second Amendment.
Cohen ends his piece pleading, “The Second Amendment must be repealed, and it is the essence of American democracy to say so.”
On that note, even as Cohen insists the Constitution’s process for being amended is “useless drivel,” that same process has been used successfully to “fix” things — including slavery — that he citied earlier in his article. And yet, because the end of the Second Amendment hasn’t come fast enough for him, he is willing to throw that process out the window to be replaced by an organized uprising in order to serve his ideological agenda.
In the end, the only thing flawed in Cohen’s piece is his own partisan assumptions, not the U.S. Constitution of the Second Amendment.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.