Jeb Bush vs. the 2nd Amendment

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is not a political amateur and has faced questions from many prominent talking heads in the media. Yet in the 2016 he has made multiple gaffes indicating he still might not be ready for prime time, the latest being a question of whether gun ownership is a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

Appearing Tuesday on the Late Show with Steven Colbert, Jeb Bush was asked a rather straightforward question on whether gun ownership was a national right and gave a bizarre and incorrect answer:

Stephen Colbert: Well, the right to have an individual firearm to protect yourself is a national document, in the Constitution, so shouldn’t that also be applied national…

Jeb Bush: No. Not necessarily…There’s a 10th amendment to our country, the Bill of Rights has a 10th amendment that says powers are given to the states to create policy, and the federal government is not the end all and be all. That’s an important value for this country, and it’s an important federalist system that works quite well.

To be fair, the question was prefaced by a back-and-forth on the issue of mental health and gun rights and ramped up mental health background checks in light of the fact that many mass shooters had mental issues if not records. Some might consider this among what President Obama considers “sensible restrictions” on gun ownership. Some would prefer these restrictions be debated at the state level. Others consider them as a back door to gun control, noting administration moves to label as mentally unstable senior citizens and veterans.

Back in 2013 a piece of legislation called Toomey-Manchin proposed that doctors be allowed to unilaterally place a patient’s name in the background check system in a way that violated patient doctor confidentially under HIPAA as well as our Second Amendment Rights:

The Toomey-Manchin proposal contains a provision that lets a doctor add a patient to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without ever telling the patient he or she has been added.

This would seem to violate doctor-patient confidentiality, due process and the presumption of innocence in one fell swoop.

As the Heritage Foundation reports, this "gun control legislation eliminates any (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy protection for mental health records in connection with the NICS system, leaving only what privacy protection the attorney general cares to provide."

It might be pointed out that the fact the mentally unstable often are undiagnosed and have no record of being institutionalized or otherwise cared for, some will gain legal access to firearms. The answer therefore is not to let unbridled concern be exploited to disarm their potential victims and deny them their constitutional right to self protection. self-protection.

The Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms is in fact both an individual and national right, which was Colbert’s question, a fact ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no asterisk at the end of the Second Amendment. It is a right already reserved to the people in the Bill of Rights. As for the 10th Amendment, which restricts the power of the federal government, some argue correctly that the 2nd Amendment is what makes the other nine possible.

Jeb Bush has been incoherent on key issues before, the classic being the question by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that “knowing what we know now” about the accuracy of pre-war Iraqi WMD intelligence, would he have supported the invasion to liberate Iraq. I taws a dumb question which Bush badly mishandled, claiming he “misheard” it. The answer was that we didn’t and couldn’t have known then what we know now and that the rise of the Islamic State is a result of Obama’s retreat from Iraq and not President George W. Bush’s successful liberation of it. But Jeb didn’t give that answer.

Nor did he give the right answer on gun rights under the Second Amendment. Gun owners gave birth to this nation and our Founding Fathers knew private gun ownership was necessary to protect citizens not only from predators but from the potential abuses of their own government, as pointed out by constitutional scholar and Fox News contributor, Judge Andrew Napolitano:

It was guns owned by civilians that freed us from British tyranny. The fact that tyrants, dictators, thugs and gross human-rights violators want to control small arms worldwide is hardly a surprise.

"The historical reality of the Second Amendment's protection of the right to keep and bear arms is not that it protects the right to shoot deer," wrote Judge Andrew Napolitano recently in the Washington Times. "It protects the right to shoot tyrants, and it protects the right to shoot at them effectively, with the same instruments they would use upon us. If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis had, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust."

Given his confused and erroneous answer to Steven Colbert’s question on gun rights one wonders if a President Jeb would appoint judges that would protect the Second Amendment he himself seems not to understand.

Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.