The Los Angeles Times says the proper response to the Charlottesville car attack is more gun control.
Breitbart News reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer (D), Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), and others have also discussed gun control in response to the Charlotte car attack.
In the course of pushing gun control as a response to the car attack, the Times demonstrates a misunderstanding of the the source of rights possessed by Americans. The Times contends, “The 1st Amendment to the Constitution establishes the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. … [and] The 2nd Amendment creates a right to own firearms,” but “Neither is absolute.”
A couple of important points: First, neither the First or Second Amendment establish or create rights. Rather, we “are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” so says Thomas Jefferson. The Times proves the danger of sourcing rights in the words of the Constitution or in a political figure rather than the Creator; the danger being that rights created by men are not permanent and can be taken away whenever the majority—or the inordinately vocal—demand it. In fact, if rights were granted to man by man, the right to keep and bear arms could be dismissed over something as non-firearm related as a car attack.
Secondly, natural rights—i.e., God-given rights—are absolute. They are so because the giver of those rights is absolute (see William Blackstone). The rights carry built-in, natural limitations, but these limitations are not defined by government. Rather, they are defined by the boundaries of each right that co-exists in the body of rights possessed by the people.
For example, the right to keep and bear arms does not allow one American to violate the God-given private property rights of another American, nor does the right to keep and bear arms allow one American to violate another Americans’ right to life or liberty. Such checks—and limitations—are built into every right by nature, yet they do not prevent the rights from being absolute.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.