Your Feelings Have Nothing to Do with the Second Amendment

Looking to capitalize on the public whirlwind demanding gun control measures, Ohio governor John Kasich took to Twitter to ask:

If all the sudden you couldn't buy an AR-15, what would you lose?  Would you feel your second amendment [sic] rights would be eroded?  These are the things that have to be looked at and action has to happen.

What I'd lose should be pretty obvious.  I'd lose the ability to purchase an AR-15 to defend my family, my life, and my home because the federal government has prohibited me from doing so – i.e., infringed upon my right to do so.  The Second Amendment could not be clearer in declaring that the federal government has no such right enumerated in the Constitution.

If the practical result is that my rights are inarguably infringed, why would your feelings, my feelings, or anyone else's feelings have any relevance whatsoever? 

This is not a discussion.  These are my rights.  How you feel about the exercising of my rights doesn't matter at all.  And if it is decided that your feelings warrant the legal erosion of my rights, isn't it clear that what we're talking about are not, in fact, "rights" as understood by our Founders, but allowances that government either permits or rescinds based upon the whims of a perceived majority opinion?

Kasich is virtue-signaling, pretending there's some make-believe middle ground between the preservation and erosion of Second Amendment rights.  After all, even if the majority of Americans does agree that AR-15s should be outlawed, it doesn't hold that the prohibition of AR-15 sales could preserve Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens while simultaneously, and obviously, curtailing them.

This is precisely where the cultural battle lines are drawn today.  Is there a certain primacy inherent in the Second Amendment, such that to abridge it would necessitate an abridgement of our liberty, or are we to shape our laws in response to the fickle winds of what an emotional majority rabble happen to desire for gun laws at a given moment?

It's important to note that while the majority rabble may undoubtedly care immensely about its own feelings, it does not care about your liberty.  What the popular majority desires and what your liberty requires are two distinctly separate conversations.  To quote Lord Acton: "At all times, sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities."

So does it matter if a majority want stricter gun control in general polling?  No.  Does it matter that Don Lemon, Jimmy Kimmel, and all the other leftist celebrities who've been granted implied expertise on the subject continue to pitch the easily disproven notion that fewer guns will somehow lead to fewer murders by gun?  No.  Does it matter if millions of high school students are demanding policy prescriptions toward strict federal gun control, despite having never owned a home where everyone they love and are honor-bound to protect at all costs, and everything they've worked a lifetime to earn, can potentially be stolen from them if they are left unable to adequately defend themselves?  A thousand times, no.

Because our laws, our social contract, matter more than the whims of a majority. 

We are not yet a people that has become disinterested in self-preservation and in favor of relying solely upon state-sponsored protections.  Certainly, our Second Amendment is amendable via the constitutional amendment process, however much our Founders were resolute in its timeless purpose.  The process to do that requires well more than a simple majority, as the limiting of the Second Amendment carries with it an ominous portent of future potential abuse by government that a people interested in the preservation of individual liberty should easily recognize.

And yet, though it has been mercilessly attacked and subverted by past federal legislation, the Second Amendment remains perhaps the most primal touchstone of the American people.  The left crafts villainous straw men to attack in efforts to account for that devotion, and for the failure to achieve expansive federal regulation of guns.  But the real culprit that often keeps expansive gun control legislation on the drawing board is the sheer will of the American people, who continually hold their lawmakers accountable for actions they undertake.  That is how a representative republic, not a pure democracy, works.

No new law, as yet offered, could have assuredly prevented the recent and horrific Parkland massacre.  But appropriate preventative action by authorities – namely, the FBI – could have.  Armed security in the school also could have, or at least could have minimized the loss of life.

Perhaps what people should be clamoring for is accountability for the FBI's failure.  Or perhaps people should recognize that all but one mass shootings since 1950 were committed in "gun-free" zones, and that this simple fact alone signifies that making the zones we live in less "gun-free" is a logical recipe for fewer mass shootings.

Perhaps any of those things might be a better response to the Parkland shootings than demanding some arbitrary federal action based upon how you "feel" about my Second Amendment right.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.

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