The Second Amendment, an ‘Absolute’ Right?
Over the weekend, Newsweek’s Michael Tomasky posted this on The Daily Beast, in which he claims that many conservatives view the right to keep and bear arms, as secured by the Second Amendment, to be an absolute right, by which he means that conservatives believe it can have no limitations.
Tomasky then proceeds to demonstrate how nearly every right safeguarded in our Constitution has limitations, citing an array of Supreme Court cases to support his point.
His point that our rights, as secured by the Constitution, have limits, is certainly valid. I think most conservatives agree with that notion. However. Tomasky’s point that conservatives believe the right to keep and bear arms is an ‘absolute’ right, is absurd.
Indeed, conservatives have accepted quite a bit of limitation on that right as it stands. There are no conservatives (that I know of) who are fighting for the right to keep a nuclear weapon in their basement; or to have some sarin on hand, just in case the tyrannical government we all fear does in fact come into being. It would seem then, if Tomasky’s point were true, if conservatives really do believe the right secured in the Second Amendment to be an ‘absolute’ right, then it seems to logically follow that we would be fighting for a hell of a lot more than just the right to have an AR-15 in our home, and a 30-round mag to go with it.
The truth is that, for better or worse, conservatives have accepted quite a bit of limitation on our right to keep and bear arms, limitation that liberals would rather not acknowledge. The truth of Mr. Tomasky’s article, though, is that he and many liberals like him, would rather have an even stricter limitation placed on the Second Amendment right. Liberals, it seems, believe that if the tyrannical government conservatives fear so much were, in fact, to materialize, that our disputes would somehow be resolved in a court of law. The last I checked, though, a gavel doesn’t stop a bullet. One need look no further than Egypt to see this truth playing out in realtime.
That is precisely why conservatives insist on being able to keep and bear at least some weapons in their homes. True, it won’t stop a tyrannical government from nuking its own people, or from deploying some chemical agent against them; but it serves as greatly intimidating to any leader (cough, Barack Obama, cough) who would dare assume more power than the Constitution gives him or her. The Second Amendment is, very practically, our last line of defense against tyranny; and conservatives have probably accepted too much limitation on that right as it is.