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Second Amendment v. Congress

The Second Amendment is under direct attack through a bill explicitly to limit its protection. Who votes for proponents of such bills?

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The Second Amendment is under further attack than merely in two States that defy its precepts and recent federal cases. Now it comes under direct attack in Congress, in the form of a bill that defies it openly. We see yet another reason to ask: why do our fellow citizens elect such flouters of the Constitution?

The federal attack on the Second Amendment

The bill in question is H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021. Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.-1st) introduced it on March 11, 2021. And there it apparently languished, until last Wednesday (July 20). Then the House Judiciary Committee took it up for a twelve-hour hearing.

That hearing revealed everything one needs to know about it. PBS carried the hearing live.

The fireworks began at two hours, fourteen minutes, and twenty-four seconds. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.-9th) led the charge against it. The Daily Caller has most of the relevant dialogue. First. Rep. Bishop said he would

yield to anyone on the other side who would dispute that this bill would ban weapons that are in common use in the United States today.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.-10th), the Chairman, rose to the challenge. “That’s the point!” he said. “The problem is that they are in common use.”

Rep. Bishop pointed out that the Supreme Court’s relevant cases, starting with U.S. v. Miller (1939), make no provision for Congress deeming it necessary to deprive people of firearms “in common use.” Almost immediately he rounded on Rep. Cicilline. After observing sardonically that Cicilline is “a very good lawyer,” he said that his colleague had

used your legal skills to obfuscate what the Supreme Court has said, in very clear terms.

He went on to explain, drawing from U.S. v. Miller, D.C. v. Heller, and McDonald v. Chicago.

A history of defiance of the Court

Rep. Bishop went further in his castigation of Rep. Cicilline:

What you suggest that this order can possibly comply with what the Supreme Court has held in now three separate cases is absolutely absurd. You defy the Supreme Court of the United States in the same way the Democrats mounted massive resistance to Brown v. Board of Education. We’re going to explain that for the American people in the course of this hearing. The Democrats of the 1960s are the Democrats of the 2020s.

Mr. Bishop had a lot of good company. PBS had a panoramic shot showing four placards, with black text on white backgrounds, resting on easels behind Mr. Bishop. Each placard had one word on it, and they read SHALL and NOT and BE and INFRINGED.

Moreover Mr. Bishop could not have picked a better case to illustrate the Democrats’ defiant attitude. Recall that in his opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Sam Alito specifically cited the Brown case.

The very text of H.R. 1808 states the defiant attitude of the House Democratic Conference.

A BILL

To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes.

Sadly, the Judiciary Committee reported the bill out at the end of the session, 25 to 18.

The real meaning of the Second Amendment

As usual, detractors of the Second Amendment speak of a particular ideal of what they call “civilization.” Whenever they discuss their ideals in detail, they always end up sounding a variation on a common theme. That theme is that, in a “civilized” society, no person, except

  • A law-enforcement officer,
  • An active-duty military service member,
  • A Very Important Person (usually an “Especially Needy Target”), or
  • The bodyguard of such person,

should own, carry, or so much as touch, much less discharge, a firearm.

Recall that Michael Moore carried the matter further. Even LEOs and active-duty military would be subject to summary dismissal for disagreeing with him.

Everything else that any of them say about “common sense,” is so much “obfuscation,” to paraphrase Rep. Bishop.

In fact, gun-control legislation is all about, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin,

sacrific[ing] essential liberty in order to purchase a little temporary safety.

In the particular context in which he wrote those words, Franklin encouraged people to arm themselves to meet any threat they faced. To understand the Second Amendment in that context, is to recognize the right and duty of self-defense. Franklin criticized those who were begging for more military deployment at the frontier. Instead he urged them to arm themselves. That precedent alone tells us that a free citizen has the right to arm himself at least as well as, if not better than, an infantry soldier.

Practical rejoinders

So to Chairman Nadler: your point is that the firearms in common use today present a problem. CNAV disputes that and doesn’t see it as a problem. You are the problem. You swore an oath

to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

And when you make statements like that, you stand in violation of your oath.

And that goes for you, too, Rep. Cicilline, and all the rest of you Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. If any of you have a problem with that, or think I have twisted your words, leave a comment.

More to the point: who votes for such Constitutional miscreants as these? Could it be that such people continue in office only because too many of us who would vote against them, don’t vote at all? Could it even be that others vote in their names and they don’t even know that anyone is doing it?

Vote, and the choice is yours. Don’t vote, and the choice is theirs.

We get such unconstitutional bills because people eligible to vote, don’t even register. (Or maybe someone else registers for them. That’s easy enough for any individual to check.) And when they do register, they don’t vote! And if someone else votes in their names, they don’t even know, because they never went to the polls!

One vote away

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote that freedom was one vote away from abolition. He was talking about the Supreme Court. But it applies equally, if not with greater force, to the electorate. With H.R. 1808, the Second Amendment lies under its greatest threat yet.

To protect your Second Amendment right, vote for it. First, make sure you are registered to vote, at your correct address. Second, make sure to cast your vote, and don’t let anyone else cast it for you. Third, cast your vote for freedom, for those who defend it – and against those who threaten it.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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[…] Just the other day, someone had put out a fleece calling on theologians to step up to the plate and tell them why it is so important for us to have our guns, which are protected under the 2nd Amendment. […]

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