Why liberals should support gun freedom
In recent years, the 2nd Amendment has been fertile grounds for argument in the legal and civil contexts. Since the landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, lawyers and pundits alike have been arguing the intricacies contained in the specific words of the 2nd Amendment. Some say it only refers to a well-regulated, state-run militia and some say it refers to an individual’s right to bear arms without state regulation.
The Supreme Court definitively decided that issue in Heller; it refers to an individual right to bear arms, with some restrictions. Those restrictions include those who are deemed mentally ill and felons. As a result, states, especially California, are scrambling to shoehorn significant gun restrictions within those two categories. For example, although felons are prohibited from possessing guns, California decided that violent misdemeanants are just as bad, so surely they ought to be prohibited as well. When I say “violent misdemeanants” that could mean something as slight as pushing someone else. And Governor Brown recently signed into law sweeping new powers to take a person’s guns without the benefit of due process.
Granted, gun violence happens in America. The spate of school shootings will understandably cause people to react strongly in opposition. However, I think the left should be less vociferous in their revulsion of gun violence, given that it was gun violence or the threat of gun violence that underpinned a 100 years of the progressive movement in the United States. For example, if it had not been for the force of arms, southern blacks would not have been emancipated. Armed violence created labor unions and forced government to acquiesce to reasonable labor laws. The threat of armed violence underpinned the “peaceful” civil rights movement of the 1950’s. My own unit, the 82nd Airborne, was deployed to put down an armed uprising in Detroit, Michigan. It has been said that Martin Luther King’s successful peace movement was a result of armed Black Panthers. Government had to choose between armed insurrection or Dr. King’s peaceful approach. There were innumerable leftist, terrorist organizations wreaking havoc across the country, threatening government buildings with bombings. Recently, the Occupy Movement gains little attention until they forcibly resist. Media pays no attention until buildings are occupied and cars are set alight.
The problem, then, with Americans and violence is really a problem with a government that responds to little else but violence. Unfortunately, now that many of the left’s social aspirations have been obtained and so many are now in powerful government positions, they decry gun violence. These are the same people who, in their youth, screamed for change “by any means necessary”, now seek to eliminate the possibility of future change. They have become the Richard Daley’s they detested.
So, the founders had it right. People have the right to arm themselves, not for hunting or self-defense, but also to resist the government, exert change and right wrongs. And with the extreme militarization of the State, we are in need of the 2nd Amendment now more than ever before.