The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to prevent government infringement on our natural rights as Americans. It was designed to prevent government the ability to bestow and therefore rescind the rights of the individual.
To that, there was an interesting and thought-provoking article in the Washington Post recently. I’m not sure I’ve ever uttered those words in the same sentence: thought-provoking and Washington Post.
The Post article is entitled, “Why not try to amend the Second Amendment?”
The writer’s point is that attempting to “amend” the amendment might be easier than the near-impossible task of repealing it altogether.
The WaPo writer begins as so many others on the left have – by not allowing a good crisis to go to waste. In this case – another mass-shooting.
He writes: “The Virginia Beach massacre again raises the question of why the United States can’t do more to combat mass murderers wielding guns. It can – but only by amending the Second Amendment.”
To be sure, completing a highly improbable task, amending, will technically be easier than a near-impossible one, repealing, but in this case, I have confidence that neither will occur.
But it’s not just the idea of amending the Second Amendment that’s the problem. It’s his suggested amendments themselves.
The WaPo author gives every appearance of being a reasoned thinker until this:
“A revised Second Amendment could spell out the relationship between public safety and private rights in more detail. It could give clear safeguards for people with no history of legal trouble or mental instability to continue to own guns while giving more authority to the government to guarantee that only people unlikely to misuse guns would have them.”
The Constitution was crafted as a framework and rulebook for the purpose and operation of the federal government. It states quite succinctly and specifically the responsibilities and duties of the government.
Within the Constitution it states that the document is the “supreme Law of the Land” (Article VI, Section 2) – that it has preeminence over all state constitutions and laws. In other words, no state constitution or state law can exceed the authority or supremacy of the federal Constitution.
Yet this was not good enough to satisfy anti-federalists like George Mason, Eldridge Gerry, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and John Hancock. They seemed to have an inherent understanding that without a Declaration of Rights, as part of the supreme Law of the Land, government will eventually infringe on the rights of the individual.
And this is exactly what the WaPo piece is suggesting, by “giving more authority to the government …” to decide just who is and is not worthy.
George Mason stated, “There is no Declaration of Rights, and the laws of the general [federal] government being paramount to the laws and constitution of the several States, the Declaration of Rights in the separate States are no security. Nor are the people secured even in the enjoyment of the benefit of common law.”
The point is that, as is always the case, the founders were presciently aware that eventually, government, any government, will grow in size and strength toward only one end – totalitarianism. Without permanent checks on that growth and authority, things will always end the same.
To this, the Post writer appears to agree that our Second Amendment is a vital protection as he notes:
“Other nations without such protection, such as Australia and Britain, have effectively banned handgun ownership for self-defense after their own mass shootings. New Zealand banned private ownership of semiautomatic weapons after the shootings in March at two Christchurch mosques.”
He is correct. However, for some reason he isn’t prescient enough to connect the dots to conclude, as the founders did, that by “giving more authority to the government” in this case, we’d be opening the door to further usurpation of not just our gun rights, but all natural rights.
And once that door is opened, there’s no closing it.