It’s Always Time to Defend Our Rights
The Second Amendment protects the First Amendment. It’s always a good time to point that out.
By Dan Smith
I personally don’t like guns. I’ve had a few run-ins with angry people who’ve used a gun to make a point and criminals who’ve used one to coerce others to their will. No one got hurt, but it was scary each time.
I wish no one had a gun. But wishing doesn’t make it so. That’s not operating in the real world.
Guns exist, and we have to rationally deal with that fact. Notably, the government has guns—lots and lots of them.
In the wake of shooting tragedies, pundits and politicians often tell us that it’s not the time to discuss rights. People are told it’s a time to grieve . . . for thoughts and prayers. That seems reasonable.
However, lately, many have rejected the thoughts and prayers. They are calling on people instead to pressure our representatives to address the violence. On those occasions when they get specific about how that’s to be done, it typically involves making it harder to get a firearm and taking guns away from people who’ve done nothing wrong.
And the speed with which pundits and legislators move to promote laws which would necessarily infringe on your right bear arms is astounding. Florida was voting on legislation within days of the Parkland shooting.
The legislation to take guns is already written, awaiting the right moment to be introduced. And that moment is when emotions ride high from a tragedy—praying on people’s understandable shock, anger and grief.
But Due Process demands a legislative body rationally deliberate the merits of legislation—including its legality. And almost all gun legislation fails that test in several ways. The Second Amendment exists and it’s quite clear—the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The Fourth Amendment protects your right to privacy which mandatory background checks violate. The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination and many gun registry laws violate this right. And like all other parts of The Constitution, these protections apply to all levels of government—including state and local. These are laws which our representatives have sworn an oath to defend.
The founders of our country had seen that freedom was the exception in history. Kings, priests or other autocrats ruled absolutely over their subjects. Whenever a ruler’s power was challenged, they would invariably take away more of their subjects’ rights. The founders saw that the ultimate check on such power was a free people who could defend themselves to preserve those unalienable rights.
Even after most of the World moved away from the rule of monarchs and priests, some 320 million people were killed by their governments during the 20th century—many more subjugated, jailed and starved by governments which stopped recognizing individuals’ rights to life, liberty and pursuing happiness.
Many of those new governments used the tools of fear and jealousy to get their people to surrender their rights of free speech, privacy, Due Process and right to firearms with which to protect themselves.
If you don’t think that Americans could be forced to give up such rights, I suggest you look at our history: how the Native American population was treated, how people were jailed for speaking against the President following the Sedition Acts of 1798 & 1918, how Japanese Americans were interned in concentration camps during WWII and how African Americans were treated under the Jim Crow Laws, among many other examples.
A primary reason the United States has the greatest right to free speech is because of the population’s ability to defend itself. Just like the different branches of government are checks on one another, the People are the ultimate check on all levels of government—via the ballot box and, if needed, personal defense against government injustice. Although we’ve allowed our freedoms to slowly erode, we are the oldest republic with the greatest freedom of speech, religion, press and right to assemble because of our right and our ability to defend ourselves.
In other words, the Second Amendment protects the First Amendment. And it’s always the right time to point that out.