Gun Control Past the Firewall of the Bill of Rights

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This paragraph is worth highlighting, from Jacqueline Tempera’s article last week in the Providence Journal, covering local politicians’ speeches to “about 100 students, teachers and activists” promoting gun control:

These are “easy votes” that should lead to tangible results, [Democrat Mayor of Providence Jorge] Elorza said. He took a shot at second amendment advocates, many of whom rallied at the State House last week to oppose the legislation.“Now the second amendment folks might say we are violating their second amendment rights to own and bear arms, but the truth is you cannot own anti-aircraft artillery. You can’t own a grenade launcher. You can’t own tanks,” he said

Those “second amendment folks” may be taking the lesson, recently.  Elorza illustrates how precarious it is for gun-rights advocates to compromise, creating incentive to be increasingly absolutist.

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As the mayor proves, each compromise will become justification for the next infringement.  Civilians don’t need anti-aircraft artillery, grenade launchers, or tanks, so (the reasoning goes) they don’t need “military-style assault weapons.”  Well, inasmuch as “military-style” is almost entirely an aesthetic description of how scary the gun looks, if second amendment advocates cede that ground in the debate, it won’t be long until other guns of similar functionality supposedly aren’t permitted.  The steps will continue.

An objective, reasoned review of the matter suggests that we’re already well beyond what the Bill of Rights should allow, and increasing extremity on the gun-control side may very well be met with increased challenges to expand rights in the other direction, which no longer trusts that everybody is sincerely after a common sense middle ground.

The solution is to have a national debate that defines where the line should be through an Amendment to the Constitution.



  • Christopher C. Reed

    Yeahbut, every time the Dems run on gun control, the NRA considers it ‘target practice’ and they get, um, slaughtered.

  • guest

    “the line should be through an Amendment to the Constitution”, again with the populism, Justin? i thought you weren’t a populist. Still waiting for an answer about when the voters defined the definition of marriage.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    America has always had plenty of guns. As I have mentioned, we brought them to school when we were kids (in Duck season). What has happened in the last 20 years, it isn’t a increase in the number of guns. I note the “school shooters” are boys from “broken homes” who seem to universally be on medications. “State Nullification” of the Second Amendment doesn’t sound like the answer to me. Another change. When I was a kid our fathers kept guns on display in glass front “Gun cabinets”. Now, it seems everyone has a “Gun safe”. In middle school, kids made cross bows in “shop class” (we had “wood shop” and “metal shop”, bow and trigger were made in metal shop, the stock in wood shop), never heard of any Bezerkers.

    • Mike678

      Why look for a root cause when attacking the symptom meets your agenda?

    • Merle The Monster

      Rhett writes “America has always had plenty of guns.” on one hand and then “What has happened in the last 20 years, it isn’t a increase in the number of guns.” What? You may wish to know that the number of guns has doubled since 1968 in the US now standing somewhere near 300 Million. I think that availability is a factor in the increasing numbers of mass shootings in our country. If we want to tackle this problem then we should be willing to look into all the factors and try to keep focused on solutions, but I fear that given the toxicity of the current political environment we will stick with the status quo. If only one in three families own the guns in this country as some estimates would have it, then clearly the majority in the US are being victimized by the minority. How long will that last?

      • Rhett Hardwick

        I think the same statistic might hold true for automobiles. Do we have a proportionate increase in kids “joyriding”. I think not, I suspect there is something more. While there may, or may not, be a variance with school shootings, I don’t see “registered” gun owners as the problem. As I mentioned, guns were frequently displayed in glass cabinets, not safes. Many families had a “war trophy” hanging from the joists in the basement. Something else has changed. Even today, I have friends with unregistered German Lugers which came down in their families as “war trophies”, these are not “hitting the streets”. There is something more. I will grant that as population increases, even without an increase in the number of guns, there would probably be an increase in shootings. But that suggests that people are the problem.

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