Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chucky Schumer Hearts the Second Amendment

Chuck Schumer, in the course of a long dialog about various and diverse things (most requiring appropriations to be spent in New York), offered thoughts about the Second Amendment that sounded different than the usual leftish thoughts on the least leftist beloved portion of the Bill of Rights:
So we have to acknowledge that guns are a way of life and that the second amendment has a rightful place in the Constitution. We cannot interpret the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments as broadly as possible and then say the second
amendment should be seen through a pinhole of militias
, that it only affects militias. That is only fair. 
Now, since Schumer is a gun control advocate -- one wonders. How does he reconcile what he wants with the Constitution?

This is how:
Our colleagues on the pro gun side should admit another thing, and that is that no amendment is absolute. As important as the [Second Amendment] is, as constitutional, as enshrined as it is, no amendment is absolute. 
Take the first amendment. We can't falsely scream fire in a crowded theater. That creates such danger. That is an impingement on someone's first amendment rights. We have anti-child pornography laws. We should have them, but that too is a limitation on the first amendment. Even libel laws, in a pure first amendment world, you could say and defame
anything about anybody you wanted. We say no. That is a limitation on the first amendment. Well, just as there can be limitations on the first amendment, and yet the essence of the first amendment is preserved, the same should be true of the second amendment.  
To be a bit more specific, Schumer suggests:
I would argue that other changes--making it harder for mentally ill people to get guns or saying assault weapons are weapons of war and don't belong on our streets but belong on the battlefield--do not interfere with the enjoyment I experienced when I went hunting with Ben Nelson, nor with the right of a small shopowner in a bad neighborhood who feels he needs a gun or she needs a gun to protect themselves.
Schumer depicts himself as a man in search of the middle ground on this issue:
 There can be a way of moving forward in the middle, with the left admitting the second amendment is important and as much a part of the Constitution as the others, and with the right admitting that limitations on that amendment--as there are limitations on the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth--do not interfere with the fundamental right and, in fact, that no amendment can be absolute.
The fact is, the judicial system has gone through some painful contortions to get those "limitations", and some of those limitations have later embarrassed the nation.  Most of those limitations have arisen during some great national upset, much as the one we experienced on Friday.

Liberties are a dangerous thing to give up, even though there may be more argument pro on the issue of gun rights. It's nice that Schumer is actually addressing the issue, when typically Congress likes to forget about the Constitution while enacting whatever is on its mind. But my guess is that the right side of things will have a hard time believing that those on his side actually think:
It is only right the second amendment to the Constitution is there just as the others are and deserves respect and not an endless effort to chip away at it.

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