Liberal Lies On Gun Control

As regular readers here know, we aren't very interested in towing some party line or supporting any political persuasion or another without question. On many issues we will support liberal ideals, while on other issues we take a decidedly conservative stance. The point here is that it all comes down to the truth. Rhetoric, propaganda, falsehoods cannot be tolerated from whichever side of the political divide it comes from.

When it comes to the 2nd Amendment though, mainstream liberalism would have us believe that there is plenty of room for debate, that the Amendment is rife with ambiguity, or that it is outright invalud. Today we are going to have a look at a Huffington Post blog editorial that is typical of the liberal argument when it comes to the right to bear arms. We will point out how the author has spun the facts into falsehood to suit his anti-Constitutional agenda. It might also be noted here, that not all liberals support the recent attacks on the 2nd Amendment and won't fall for this sort of flawed rhetoric either. But let us have a look now at the article in question before it gets torn to pieces.

Overcoming Delusions About the Second Amendment
by Jeffrey Sachs Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University; author, 'The Price of Civilization'
The 2008 Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller shows definitively that the Second Amendment is about an archaic issue relevant to 1790, not to 2012. The Second Amendment reads as follows:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The purpose of the Second Amendment was to prevent the new Federal Government established in 1789 from disarming the state militias and replacing them with a Federal standing army. It was a concern that was relevant perhaps for a few years around the birth of the country. It is irrelevant today. Americans do not rely on state militias in 2012 for our freedom from the federal government. 

Though Justice Antonin Scalia tried in the majority opinion to use the Second Amendment to defend gun rights, the many sources that he cited are clear that the purpose of the amendment was to protect state militias. One source, for example, declares, that the purpose of the Second Amendment is "to secure a well-armed militia... ." Another source Scalia cited indicates that the amendment covers only arms that "have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia."

Therefore, Scalia acknowledges that the Second Amendment -- even in his pro-gun interpretation -- only protects arms that would be used in a militia, not the weapons of a formal army. He makes clear that "M-16 rifles and the like" have no Second Amendment protection and may be banned.

There is thus no constitutional protection whatsoever for the semiautomatic rifle that killed the kids in Newtown. Even Scalia is explicit on that point.

The Second Amendment is a relic of the founding era more than two centuries ago. Its purpose is long past. As Justice John Paul Stevens argues persuasively, the amendment should not block the ability of society to keep itself safe through gun control legislation. That was never its intent. This amendment was about militias in the 1790s, and the fear of the anti-federalists of a federal army. Since that issue is long moot, we need not be governed in our national life by doctrines on now-extinct militias from the 18th century. 

More basically, the idea that unregulated private gun ownership and trade protects us against tyranny, or that gun controls would threaten tyranny to us all, is baseless. Democracies around the world regulate guns, preserve their freedoms, and achieve firearm murder rates that are a tiny fraction of the rates suffered in the United States. Other countries, like Australia, have made themselves much safer from gun massacres. Only the U.S. has a political class, on the take from gun manufacturers owned by Wall Street, that stands by while the nation's children are slaughtered. Yet perhaps the stench is getting even too great for some on Wall Street. 

In the name of the children, let us wake from the trap of ancient history and the gun-manufacturers.

The author begins his piece by stating a downright ridiculous opinion that is in no way supported by the SCOTUS decision he cites. The only reference that the court makes to the era when the 2nd Amendment was created, is to hold the following decision which has been maintained for hundreds of years.
The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.

There is nothing written in that decision which in any way invalidates the 2nd Amendment, or "definitively" renders it "an archaic issue relevant to 1790, not to 2012" as Sachs puts it. The threat of a politicized standing army is as valid today as it ever was in the past. Tyranny, despotism, totalitarianism, these are not threats that suddenly became outdated with time. We can look at the military forces of Germany, leading up to World War II to see how a national military with a long history can rather suddenly be politicized, under the Nazi banner in that instance. Or even as in Russia, the republics of the USSR, and eastern Europe under the Communist party up until the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The 2nd Amendment is as essential today to our Constitutional Republic, as the balance of power between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of our Federal government. From the Revolution to this very day, the 2nd Amendment protects our right to maintain the tools of an actionable will of the people should government fail us. And that is what the 2nd Amendment is really all about, the balance of power between the people and the government. To insure that the government can be ejected should we so choose.

What Sachs is telling us here is that this balance of power is "irrelevant today" as if tyranny ceased to exist in the world at some point within a few years after this nation was founded. As if somehow magically here in the United States we are immune from the threat of our government being subverted, or otherwise acting contrary to the will and best interests of we, the people. To say that the 2nd Amendment is no longer relevant today is to say that the entire Constitution should be thrown out.
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive" -Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).
 ~ ~ ~
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” -Thomas Jefferson

Sachs then tells us that we do not rely on "state militias" in 2012 to protect us from Federal government. No one ever said we did. These so-called state militias are not mentioned at all in either the court's decision which he cited, nor in the 2nd Amendment itself. It is clear from all interpretations of the 2nd Amendment, by those who drafted it, by those who ratified it, and by the Supreme Court itself which has upheld it, that the militia is the people, not the state. Sachs continues to interject this myth about state militias though, as being the basis of the right to bear arms. 
"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." -George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

Sachs then goes so far as to misquote Justice Scalia, and imposes his own erroneous interpretation as if it was that of the Justice himself. Sachs writes:
Therefore, Scalia acknowledges that the Second Amendment -- even in his pro-gun interpretation -- only protects arms that would be used in a militia, not the weapons of a formal army. He makes clear that "M-16 rifles and the like" have no Second Amendment protection and may be banned.

Scalia has made no such acknowledgement, nor does he mention anything about "M-16 rifles and the like."  Sachs has interjected complete falsehoods in order do make his opinion appear factual. He even makes an entirely baseless comparison between militia and a "formal army." Nowhere is any such distinction made except in Sachs' own mind. Or, alternately, is he telling us that our state National Guard units may not have the same rifles as the regular army? The only specification made in the court's decision as to the type of arms which are protected by the 2nd Amendment, was stated thus:
Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition ofLondon youth stabbings increase by 30% in three years prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
One such historical tradition is the following statement:
"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." -Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

In other words, whatever guns the government uses are indeed those same guns which are "in common use at the time" whether it be the muskets of the Revolution or the M-16 of a modern-day infantryman. On the other hand, by this interpretation, things like chemical or biological weapons might be considered to be uncommon weapons, and therefore not protected by the 2nd Amendment. Essentially, any weapon that is issued to a regular army infantryman should be seen as protected by the 2nd Amendment for carrying by citizens who are in fact the militia.

Sachs goes in the complete opposite direction though, not only lying about the court's decision and ignoring all historical context of the right to bear arms, but then making an ignorant leap from a soldier's rifle to that used in the Connecticut school shooting. He writes here:
There is thus no constitutional protection whatsoever for the semiautomatic rifle that killed the kids in Newtown. Even Scalia is explicit on that point.
Quite obviously there is in fact constitutional protection for rifles, and saying that Scalia is "explicit" to the contrary is a complete lie.

Moreover, the rifle that was allegedly used by the shooter was not a military rifle at all. It was a semi-automatic rifle no different than any other semi-automatic rifle owned by citizens for an array of purposes including sport competition, hunting, home defense, and more. Even a rifle that only has two bullets in it might be built as a semi-automatic rifle. The term semi-automatic is not synonymous with select-fire or fully-automatic. For details on the sort of weapon we are talking about, and the distinctions between military and civilian grade rifles, see this article:

Bushmaster AR-15 Menace?

The blogger then goes on to once again claim that the Constitution is "moot" and a "relic" and so forth, which we have already shown to be otherwise. The right to bear arms is an integral part of our particular brand of democracy and a defining boundary of government itself in our Constitutional Republic. The 2nd Amendment is not there to protect the states from federalism, but to protect the people from tyranny. Nonetheless, despite all historical reference and the interpretations of the Supreme Court, Sachs calls this conclusion "baseless." He continues then:
Democracies around the world regulate guns, preserve their freedoms, and achieve firearm murder rates that are a tiny fraction of the rates suffered in the United States.
If democracies from around the world are taking away the guns of their citizens, then they are not in fact preserving their freedoms. You simply cannot preserve freedom by taking it away, yet this is the twisted logic we are meant to accept by the subversives bent on undermining the bedrock of freedom. As to murder rates, that too is not so simple an interpretation as mainstream liberals would like us to believe.

It is true that Britain has a lower murder rate with firearms than the United States, but that is not really very much proof of anything at all. Their overall violent crime rate makes Britain the most dangerous country in the European Union. This stands in stark contrast to Switzerland, who has one of the highest gun ownership rates while enjoying some of the lowest crimes rates on the planet. Furthermore, while the United States has the highest gun ownership rate in the world, many countries like Honduras and El Salvador who have far fewer guns per capita, have much higher murder rates.

Crime Stats by Reality Check (VIDEO)

Statistics also show that when harsh gun-control measures are enacted, crime rates soar. Here in the U.S. some of the most dangerous places to travel are in cities with the strictest gun laws. Cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. often top the lists of the most murderous cities in the country despite a near outright ban on citizen ownership. In places like Australia and Britain, crime rates skyrocketed immediately following their gun bans. 
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.

The first year results are now in:

Australia-wide, homicides are up 6.2 percent,
Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent;
Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!


In Britain, and particularly in metro areas like London, stabbings and knife crimes have reached unprecedented highs. Headlines declare stats like, London youth stabbings increase by 30% in three years. One such case was the tragic murder of young actor Robert Knox, who was stabbed to death just before the release of a Harry Potter movie which he played a role in.

In comparing a disarmed Britain to a well-armed United States, many numbers stand out in favor of an armed citizenry. According to this source, the British are 133% more likely to be the victim of assault, 125% more likely to be raped, and 25% more likely to be a victim of crime in general. And while it is true that the homicide rate by firearm is much higher in the U.S. it is also true that you are more than twice as likely to be the victim of a knife crime in the UK than you are of being the victim of a gun crime in America.

So even with the Constitutional issues aside, and just looking at the issue from a safety standpoint, the anti-gun position still fails to maintain a logical basis. Besides...
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty. " - Thomas Jefferson
Finally, and at long last now we come to Sachs' coup de grace. A lame but typical tactic of propagandists to illicit emotional appeal rhetoric rather than fact-based good sense. He concludes:
In the name of the children, let us wake from the trap of ancient history and the gun-manufacturers.

One could probably convince a good number of fools that it was a good idea to crap in their hat if you told them it was for the sake of the children. While he may argue that the 2nd Amendment is "ancient history" and therefore somehow invalidated by the centuries, there are also some lunatics out there who say the same thing about the Ten Commandments, and murder.

For the sake of our children, teach them wholesome values, teach them how to be free and to never live in fear of evil men.
"Whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." - Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788


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