Sunday, February 17, 2013
Dead Man's Hand
Thanks to the judicial activism of the right-wing extremists of the Roberts Court, there is an individual constitutional right to bear arms. That is the current law. That is the current official interpretation of the meaning of the vague words of the small, exclusive and exclusionary group of white Protestant men, some of whom were slave owners, some of whom were monarchists, and none of whom seemed to think women should be allowed to participate in governance, who lived more than two centuries ago but whose words more than two centuries later are considered sacrosanct for guiding us through the modern world.
Um...there's a lot of fail packed into a single graf. Yet let us be kind: Laurence Lewis is correct that Heller is current law.
Now. Heller is not the work of judicial activists (which is code for everybody meaning "folks in robes ruling the way we don't like"). The words in the 2nd Amendment aren't really all that vague if you're honest (and that goes for pro-gun folks who ignore the prefatory clause, too) about
- what words like "the people" mean (you know, like how that indicates an individual right in every other damned part of the Bill of Rights)
- the existence of unenumerated rights (unless you think Griswold was an example of judicial activism)
- American history (wherein people were, in fact, generally armed because of the constitutional expectation of militia service)
Time to move on from this stance and focus on what is permissible under Heller: reasonable limits on gun ownership based on Congress' power to regulate commerce and to tax and to prohibit "dangerous and unusal" weapons. And please, while I certainly acknowledge the Framer's myriad flaws and hate all the idolatory and mythmaking, one cannot simply reject the words they wrote down in our Constitution just because they were an elite group of white men, lest you fundamentally dismiss the entire notion of constitutional governance. We the People still ratified what they put down on paper and have continued to affirm it for a couple centuries.
Our firearm epidemic is horrific, so make the case on where the right's boundaries lie. There is significant data available, despite the NRA's best efforts, so get to work instead of fighting old, lost battles.
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