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A View from the Altar / Another Harvard head-banging moment
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Another Harvard head-banging moment

Suppose for a moment — just suppose — the Constitution had said something like “the right of the people to party with fast women and commit adultery shall not be infringed.”  How much leeway do you think the courts would allow for legislatures to regulate it?

You can imagine my shock, shock when a Harvard-educated SCOTUS justice tripped over the exact meaning of “shall not be infringed” in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.  Judge Scalia — the conservative! — stated in interview with Fox News that he thinks the Second Amendment leaves open the possibility of outlawing certain kinds of guns.  But Justice Scalia didn’t bring up this subject in a vacuum.  The context is the Aurora shooting, so presumably the weapons now subject to being outlawed would be the ones used there.  Those would be a handgun, a shotgun, and an AR-15, weapons already owned by tens of millions of law-abiding citizens.

About the only thing the shooter didn’t bring was a bolt-action rifle like the one used to assassinate President Kennedy or a black powder pistol like the one used to kill Abraham Lincoln… my point being, any weapon you could name has a sordid history.  Mr. Scalia is simply mistaken if he thinks recent history offers any guide to what kinds of weapons ought to be outlawed.

Where does that leave us?  It leaves us where the “war on drugs” has left us, chasing an endless procession of shape-shifting contraband and fostering more crime than we prevent.  The AR-15 is the object of special attention because, even though it is functionally identical to sporting weapons of the same caliber, it’s black and looks “militaresque.”  If Congress outlawed it, manufacturers would start selling white ones with My Little Pony stickers on the side.  You cannot write an effective law to ban certain kinds of weapons and make America safer.  The danger is not in the guns but in the people who use them to commit crime.

But policy considerations aside, the more important issue is the Constitution.  It’s especially upsetting when the conservatives on the Court choke on a plain-as-day phrase like, “shall not be infringed.”  It tells me that they’re still stuck in the leftist mindset that weapons mustn’t be allowed to become a threat to anyone, whereas the real purpose of the Second Amendment is to preserve the ability of the citizens to resist tyranny by force if necessary.  And yes, that’d be a serious threat to a tyrant, which is how it’s supposed to be.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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