A case currently being argued in the Supreme Court–McDonald vs. Chicago–seeks to further clarify the constitutional bounds of our Second Amendment rights. Specifically, this case deals with whether state and local authorities can impose more restrictions on gun ownership than are allowed by the federal government under the District of Columbia v. Heller decision of 2008.
The same five Justices who sided with the Constitution in the Heller case have again made arguments that the right to bear arms is a fundamental liberty–like freedom of speech–that state and local authorities cannot further abridge. Of course, the anti-gun Justices on the Supreme Court had their arguments as well.
Some members tried to moderate their call for restrictions even as their rhetoric gives away their true beliefs. Take Justice Stevens. As quoted in the WaPo,
“Stevens wondered if a limited Second Amendment right could be applied to the states, so that ownership in the home was protected, as opposed to “the right to parade around the streets with guns.”
But it’s Justice Breyer whose arguments are the most twisted, and in light of his record on the Court, hyprocritical.
“When it’s free speech versus life, we very often decide in favor of life,” Breyer said. “Here, every case will be on one side guns, on the other side human life.”
Really? That’s the issue here? Guns vs. life? Funny, but when we think about our right to own a gun in the home, guns are on the side of life. When we think about criminals breaking into our house, where our child is sleeping, guns are on the side of life–our lives. Our child’s life. We would rather have the ability to protect our family and home than leave our life in the hands of 911 dispatchers and police who might not always be able to get there, or get there in time. We read stories like this one of a man who waited for over 30 hours after calling 911 for help that never arrived, and can’t help but think we’re better off being able to fend for ourselves if we have to.
Yes, the decision to own a gun is not one to entered into lightly. Guns are like power tools–when used correctly, useful to have around. When used recklessly, dangerous as much to their owners as to others. Owning one is a big responsibility–teaching and living gun safety from the very first time you decide to own a gun is incredibly important. Guns are not toys, and you shouldn’t run out and buy one because they’re cool, or because they make you feel powerful.
But to paint this issue as guns vs. life is ridiculous. It’s an old argument, one we’ve heard time and time again, but we really have to ask if Breyer has heard it. He is aware that criminals don’t follow the law to get their hands on guns? That all restrictions on owning guns do is discourage law-abiding citizens from taking their protection into their own hands (and leaving them ever more dependent on the government?) We honestly this is a pretty uncontested fact, and wonder why it doesn’t occur to men like Breyer who spend most of their time thinking about just such things.
We, for one, will fight to be self-reliant as often and as loudly as we can. For now, we can only hope that McDonald will be decided in the same vein as Heller–with the Courts siding with the average American citizen’s right to protect their own life, and not be dependent on the government.