I often shake my head in disappointment when I see or hear that a particular candidate or legislator “believes in the 2nd Amendment.” That statement is almost a guarantee that just the opposite is true! Gun-rights advocates often refer to the 2nd Amendment as being unalterable and sacrosanct as it is written, yet they conveniently include only the portion of the amendment that states, “… the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” If the 2nd Amendment (or any other amendment) is unalterable and sacrosanct, then all of the amendment must be included, not just a chosen portion. More specifically, “A regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, …” must be unalterable, as well. And yet, this section of the amendment has long since been altered, as an individual gun owner is not a “militia”—our national guard is! As for the word regulated, the amendment says “shall not be infringed,” not “shall not be regulated,” as journalist and sportsman Dick Metcalf, wrote in 2013. Even in 1791, when this amendment was ratified, sound regulation of firearms was in the spirit and intent of our forefathers (even though weapons used then were primarily smooth-bore muskets and long rifles). This intent continues to be supported by the nation’s Supreme Court. Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, stated in the majority opinion from Heller vs. District of Columbia (2008), “The Second Amendment right is not a right to keep and carry any weapon in any manner and for any purpose.” Cherry-picking half of the 2nd amendment to wave as the gun crowd’s inalterable right invalidates their use of any it as evidence of their argument.
Constitutional examples of 2nd-Amendment violation include the 5th Amendment that states, “No person shall be “…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Victims of gun violence often lose their life, their liberty, and their property, and that is unconstitutional. The 9th Amendment states that, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The listing of citizen rights, guaranteed in our Constitution, shall not be given as an excuse to limit or deny other guaranteed rights, and yet gun-rights advocates continually wave their distorted view of 2nd Amendment rights while infringing upon other guaranteed rights of citizens, and that is unconstitutional. The 14th Amendment states that, “No state shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person…the equal protection of the laws.” Again, gun-violence victims are deprived of life, liberty, and property and have not received equal protection of the laws, and that is unconstitutional.
This nation’s iconic Declaration of Independence mentions “unalienable rights” of citizens that include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” When persons are victims of gun violence, their rights to life, liberty, and a pursuit of happiness are tragically altered or removed.
Even our traditional Pledge of Allegiance speaks of “liberty and justice for all.” Victims of gun violence often have lost their liberties to live their lives as they so choose, and “justice for all” is not justice for many who have become victims of gun violence, as they often have no redress of grievances, no compensation, and no recourse of action.
Simply put, the law is on the side of gun-violence prevention.