The Real Second Amendment Threat

The Second Amendment Threat

By Jeff Knox

(August 10, 2016) It was interesting watching the media going nuts over Donald Trump’s recent comment about the Second Amendment. During an August 9 rally, Trump said:

Hillary wants to abolish – essentially abolish the Second Amendment. And by the way, if she gets to pick her judges…(shrugs shoulders, shakes head) Nothing you can do folks… (then as an aside,) Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is… I don’t know. But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

Taking their cue from Clinton staffers and radical anti-rights extremist groups like Bloomberg’s Demanding Moms, the media painted Trump’s comment as a suggestion that gun rights supporters should take up arms against the government if Hillary is elected. Shannon Watts, the PR flak who heads up Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, sent out an outrageous email fundraiser claiming that Trump’s comment was a call to assassinate Hillary Clinton. In the email, titled “Ballots vs. Bullets,” Watts echoed the Clinton camp, declaring; “This is dangerous,” and claimed that, “the media quickly reported Americans’ widespread shock at the idea that Trump was encouraging the assassination of a U.S. president.” She even included footnotes to support this asinine assertion. The three articles in the footnote were:

  1. An editorial from rabid Trump-basher, Philip Bump at the Washington Post, who parsed the statement down to suggest that it was a threat against Clinton, but said nothing about “widespread shock,”

  2. An editorial report by Trump-basher Andrew Prokop at Vox, a “progressive” news service aimed at millennials, which mainly consisted of some speculation about what Trump might have meant and reprints of some comments made by other “progressive” pundits on Twitter.

  3. An article by Louis Nelson at Politico suggesting that Trump was in trouble for making the remarks, and supporting that contention by quoting a variety of Clinton and Democrat functionaries who were hyperventilating about it.

None of these suggested anything resembling “widespread shock” among Americans, just typical attempts to exploit an opening from an opponent. The suggestion that Trump was actually encouraging revolt or suggesting assassination is silly. He was talking about the damage Hillary Clinton could do to the country and the Constitution if she is elected, and one of the points was that if she were to make appointments to the Supreme Court, the Second Amendment would be virtually abolished – which is absolutely true.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently stated that she, like Hillary Clinton, believes the Court’s decision in DC v. Heller was “bad” and that a future Court would have the opportunity to revisit the issue when a case challenging a gun control law comes up. Since Heller was decided 5-4 with the now deceased Antonin Scalia leading the 5, it is no stretch to assume that a “progressive” replacement to fill Scalia’s empty seat at the bench would mean that the next case to arrive in the Court concerning gun laws would be decided 5-4 in the opposite direction. By ruling that only “intermediate scrutiny” or “rational basis” need be applied to such questions, the Court could effectively nullify Heller, and thus make the Second Amendment hollow.

Trump was offering a dire warning in an effort to rally GunVoters to his cause and against Clinton – in the upcoming election. His follow-up comment that perhaps “Second Amendment people” might not be helpless, was obviously a joke, but it was a joke with historical teeth.

The Second Amendment itself is a warning against overreaching government. Those who suggest that pointing out this fact is a threat and insurrection, are ignoring the other side of that coin. The threat of the Second Amendment is not that gun owners will resort to armed violence to get our way. Rather it is that the people can and should resist unjust force with force of our own.

This is right and just, and is in full harmony with the writings and beliefs of the founders and the legal scholars who followed them. Famed Supreme Court Justice and constitutional historian, Joseph Story, in his highly respected tome Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States phrased it like this:

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” (emphasis added)

That “strong moral check” is in fact a warning. The idea is that as long as the American people are armed, and thus have the ability to physically resist overreaching government, they will never have a need to physically resist the government, because the government would be foolish to try and oppress a citizenry that is well-armed.

If I take a new shooter to the range and caution them not to let the gun point at any part of their own body, and to keep their finger away from the trigger, would anyone suggest that I was threatening them?

Reminding those in power that We the People are potentially dangerous and should be handled with respect, is not a threat, it’s a courtesy.

Don’t tread on me.