Recently, forty people died in mass shootings in El Paso and Midland, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. We’ve had too many of these, and we need thoughtful and honest discussions about causes and solutions. But as usual, before the bodies are cold and the facts are in, progressives call to ban guns, confiscate guns and hyper-regulate lawful gun owners. Progressives attack the NRA as if the NRA and its members pulled the trigger. Many progressives oppose the 2nd Amendment. While some nominally support it, they could easily change their minds. What’s to stop them from legislating the 2nd A. out of existence?
The fundamentals of progressivism should frighten all who value individual liberty as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Progressives believe in a “living Constitution,” which means the Constitution changes with time and circumstances. But as if by magic, their reading of the Constitution always grows government and empowers progressives.
Woodrow Wilson was a founding member of the progressive movement and our 28th President. For Wilson and present-day progressives the Constitution is an evolving document, which makes it possible to evolve the 2nd Amendment out of existence. I can hear the Democrats bleating now: “The 2nd Amendment was written for a different age. It doesn’t work in modern times. To protect our children we must outlaw all assault rifles.” They’ve already done it. Democrats passed an assault weapons ban in 1994. An assault weapon is a political construct. The ban did not reduce gun crime one bit but it did frighten voters, which was the point. And again, progressives attack so-called assault rifles—a stealth attack on semi-autos. That’s one trigger pull and one shot. What happens if the next madman uses a bolt action rifle? Then it will be: ban the bolt. Think it won’t happen here? It’s already happened in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are based on natural rights, the idea that we are born with rights that predate any government. Natural rights are rooted in our humanity. The will to survive and to protect our loved ones is as human as breathing. That is the basis of the 2nd Amendment. Progressives do not believe that we are born with rights. Instead, they believe that our rights come from government. But what the government gives – the government can take away.
Progressives are not bound by the principles embodied in the Declaration. Nor are they bound by the text of the Constitution, or by tradition. Theirs is a political philosophy motivated by the needs of the moment, a political movement with no limits, and they are the core of the Democrat party. To them, your right to defend hearth and home is obsolete, a relic of a bygone era and part of a deeply flawed Constitution that needs fixing. Deleting the Second Amendment is high on their to-do list. Don’t let them. They are absent internal limits so it falls to us, the freedom-loving people to impose limits via elections, law, political contributions, participation in political parties and joining organizations that will defend our rights. If they don’t know their limitations, let’s show them what limits are.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.