Wow. I couldn't believe I was still on the Daily Kos -- a leading progressive blog -- when I came across a great post: "Why liberals should love the Second Amendment."
Kaili Joy Gray persuasively argued that just as liberals support other individual rights in the Constitution, the right to possess guns should be added to the progressive agenda.
All of our rights, even the ones enumerated in the Bill of Rights, are restricted. You can't shout "Fire!" in a crowd. You can't threaten to kill the president. You can't publish someone else's words as your own. We have copyright laws and libel laws and slander laws. We have the FCC to regulate our radio and television content. We have plenty of restrictions on our First Amendment rights.
But we don't like them. We fight them. Any card-carrying member of the ACLU will tell you that while we might agree that certain restrictions are reasonable, we keep a close eye whenever anyone in government gets an itch to pass a new law that restricts our First Amendment rights. Or our Fourth. Or our Fifth, Sixth, or Eighth.
We complain about free speech zones. The whole country is supposed to be a free speech zone, after all. It says so right in the First Amendment.
But when it comes further restrictions on the manufacture, sale, or possession of firearms, liberals are not even silent; they are vociferously in favor of such restrictions.
Suddenly, overly broad restrictions are "reasonable." The Chicago and Washington D.C. bans on handguns -- all handguns -- is reasonable, even though the Supreme Court has now said otherwise.
The post already has gotten over 1000 comments. I only scrolled through the first couple of dozen or so. It wasn't all that surprising to see that many lefties agreed with Gray's pro-gun sentiments.
I sure do. Back in 2006 I wrote "Progressives own guns too," noting:
I don’t think that gun policy should be high on the progressive agenda. Or probably, anywhere on it. I’m in favor of controlling assault weapons and other guns that aren’t designed for hunting or personal defense. But otherwise people should be able to freely buy and own guns.
Maybe the Daily Kos post will stimulate debate in the progressive community about the wisdom of not fully supporting the Supreme Court's recent interpretation that the Second Amendment is an individual right to keep and bear arms, and states/counties can't unreasonably restrict this right.
It comes down to a simple question: What's wrong with lawfully owning a gun? Yes, I understand that statistically people are more likely to be injured or killed if a gun is in the house.
But just as the First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to express disagreeable opinions, so does the Second Amendment guarantee them the right to own a dangerous weapon.
This is the common sense approach to major issues that I wish we could use in many places. Some argue it's a slippery slope but I don't think so. I think it's using logic.
Posted by: Rain | July 05, 2010 at 07:51 AM
I'm not entirely sure what's to be made of the 2nd Amendment. My inference is that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is predicated on the necessity of "a well-regulated militia" "to the security of a free state." Do I have a right, much less any business, to possess a mortar that I haven't been trained to use in the context of a well-regulated militia? An assault rifle? A handgun?
Criminalizing behavior that is without criminal intent - a slippery slope I think we stepped onto with helmet and seatbelt laws - is a terrible idea. Requiring training in the use of weapons one intends to possess and use, as we require licensing of drivers, seems more reasonable.
Posted by: Harold | July 05, 2010 at 08:11 AM
Dammit, Brian. Just when I think we can't be further apart on some issues, you go and post something that shows that we do have common ground. How on earth am I going to keep you pigeon-holed as a wacky tree-hugging liberal if you do stuff like this??
Stupid common ground... ;)
Posted by: Dan | July 05, 2010 at 11:38 AM