During Thursday’s comments from the Rose Garden, President Joe Biden claimed the Second Amendment has had limits “from the very beginning.”
Biden said, “No amendment — no amendment to the Constitution is absolute. You can’t yell…’fire’ in a crowded movie theater and call it freedom of speech. From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. From the very beginning that the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons.”
Believing Second Amendment rights are limited, Biden also believes passing gun control to further restrict those rights is no infringement.
He said, “Nothing — nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment. They’re phony, arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about.”
But the Bill of Rights serves a different purpose than the Constitution. Whereas the Constitution enumerates powers that the people relegate to the federal government, and also describes how those powers are to be used, the Bill of Rights lists specific rights that the people possess as part of their humanity.
Thomas Jefferson alluded to these rights in the Declaration of Independence, when he said we are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights.” He pointed out that these rights are “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” A decade and half later the rights were fleshed out with greater specification in the Bill of Rights, with James Madison stating that Americans’ gun rights “shall not be infringed.”
One of the chief purposes of the Bill of Rights was to declare that the people possessed rights integral to their humanity, and those rights were not under the government’s purview (because they did not come from government).
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.