I argue for a living. I often deal with hacks, liars, and agenda-driven fanatics. But never in a quarter century of being in court rooms have I faced such a blizzard of constitutional illiteracy, technical ignorance, flabby reasoning, and outright lies as I have dealing with people who think our Second Amendment rights are up for debate.
Our rights are not up for debate. But, as a courtesy, because talking is the way a free people should endeavor to solve problems, we should debate them anyway. Rational discussion beats the alternative – many of us are vets who saw the alternative overseas – even if the other side prefers emotional blackmail using articulate infants to bum rush their anti-civil rights policies. So, here are seven (it could have been 50) of the most annoying – and dishonest – arguments you will hear, and how you can fight them.
1. You Don’t Actually Have The Right To Own Guns Because You Aren’t In A Militia!
Nope. That’s wrong right off the line because Heller v. District of Columbia (2008) 554 U.S. 570, holds as a matter of settled law that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms regardless of their militia status.
The Second Amendment provides: “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.” Justice Scalia, writing for the majority in Heller, dismissed the argument that this right somehow, despite the clear text, belongs to “militias” and not individuals. Your opponent may not like that, but that’s what Heller says. That’s what the Constitution says.
And, as usual, Justice Scalia’s reasoning was incisive and compelling. He dismissed the militia reference as merely announcing just one purpose of the Second Amendment, not its only purpose. The prefatory clause does not limit the scope of the right, but even if it did that interpretation would not change the nature of the right. The “militia” is, by statute (10 U.S. Code § 246), “all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and … under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States….” This demonstrates the Founders’ intention that “able-bodied” citizens must protect their communities and Constitution. History teaches, and Justice Scalia observed, that these citizens maintained their personal weapons at home, and were ready to act when needed – whether it was to stop Redcoat gun control activists at Lexington and Concord or to mobilize to defend Korean stores during the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
I was there with the Army in LA, by the way. Don’t tell me chaos can’t happen here.
by Kurt Schlichter