Friday, June 1, 2012

Some thoughts on the 2nd Amendment

"Right to bear arms" doesn't mean restrictions don't exist

In an effort to ensure I don't get burned out the weekend before the is a non-recall essay on the 2nd Amendment.

People always assume that liberals are against the right to have weapons. We're not -- we're for sensible regulation of weaponry, not an outright ban. There are a few fringe liberals who WOULD like to see weapons banned completely, but they're like the number of conservatives who protest soldier's funerals because of tolerance of homosexuality in America.

But I digress. Is regulation of the 2nd Amendment bad? Consider this: no other amendment to the constitution is an absolute. There are limits on speech; there are limits on 4th Amendment protections. The 9th and 10th Amendments don't give me free reign to claim I have other inherent rights without proper reason.

Yet many conservatives fight ardently for an absolutist approach to the 2nd Amendment. This isn't necessarily something they SHOULDN'T do -- many fight for absolute free speech as well, though protections to that degree may be impractical (if not foolish -- divulging secrets to our enemies isn't protected speech, for example). A defense of any amendment should be a strong one, and those who feel passionate about gun rights should defend them.

Yet, the 2nd Amendment is no more special than any other -- that is, we shouldn't be surprised by people's insistence that SOME restrictions deserve to be in place.

In short, regulations make sense if they're done in a sensible fashion. Banning weapons outright would be wrong, but allowing ownership of an indeterminate number of weapons could have dire consequences. An unrestricted 2nd Amendment could, in fact, lead to an argument that private ownership of nuclear arsenal is legitimate -- something that most, I believe, would agree isn't a right at all.

There should be impassioned arguments over what should be and shouldn't be restricted in terms of 2nd Amendment rights. Not having those arguments might lead to an overreach by the government against the rights of individuals to defend themselves. But stating that the 2nd Amendment is an absolutely inviolable right is a mistaken view to hold -- there are limits to rights, though the burden of proof on those limits always rests with the government, to make a proper defense of why it's both necessary and practical.

Restrictions on weaponry, when they fit that bill, are not unjust. Be on the guard for attacks on any right -- but some restrictions, too, make just as much sense as the right itself.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing sensible about them tea baggers.....