Its time to call NRA, politicians on lies about Second Amendment
There is no constitutional right to buy an assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition clip.
By Kim Ervin Tucker, originally published on the Portland Press Herald website on February 26, 2018.
When will we as a society require the gun lobby and the politicians that they finance to stop lying about what the Second Amendment does, and does not, protect?
Every politician and National Rifle Association official who hides behind the Second Amendment to justify their refusal to support and enact a renewed ban on the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips are lying.
There is no constitutional right to buy an assault weapon or a large-capacity ammo clip. Period.
In 2008, in the landmark 5-4 decision District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the limits of the Second Amendment. While the court concluded that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm “unconnected with service in a militia for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home,” as Justice Antonin Scalia said in the majority opinion, the court also held that “weapons that are most useful in military service – M-16 rifles and the like – may be banned” and “are not constitutionally protected” by the Second Amendment for individual ownership.
Despite this ruling, written by the most conservative members of the nation’s highest court, the NRA and politicians beholden to them continue to perpetuate the Big Lie that ownership of assault weapons and/or large-capacity ammo clips is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. It is not.
In 2013, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the state of Maryland enacted legislation to ban a long list of assault weapons, including AR-15s, and large-capacity ammunition clips that hold over 10 bullets. The gun lobby challenged that legislation, again citing their bastardized and specious interpretation of the Second Amendment. The gun lobby lost.
Maryland’s ban on these weapons of war has been upheld as constitutional. In Kolbe v. Hogan, the entire 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed that there is a compelling public safety interest in banning access to such dangerous weapons of war. The 4th Circuit upheld Maryland’s ban on assault weapons and large clips, based on the Supreme Court’s earlier determination in Heller that “weapons that are most useful in military service – M-16 rifles and the like – may be banned” and “are not constitutionally protected” by the Second Amendment.
Last Nov. 27, the Supreme Court refused to hear the gun lobby’s appeal of the Kolbe v. Hogan decision.
After these court decisions, any state or federal politician who still cites the Second Amendment to justify his or her refusal to ban these weapons of war is either ignorant of the law or simply lying.
The complicity of politicians addicted to NRA campaign contributions, not the Second Amendment, has made it possible to purchase and use weapons of war like AR-15s and large-capacity clips. This politician-made “right” has made possible the uniquely “American carnage” of mass shootings like the ones at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado (13 dead; 21 wounded); Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (26 dead; two wounded); the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida (49 dead, 58 wounded); the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert in Las Vegas (58 dead, 422 wounded by gunfire and 851 who suffered other injuries); the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas (26 dead; 20 wounded); and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (17 dead, 14 wounded). The gun lobby “contributes” lots of money to these politicians to ensure their continued fealty and their continued efforts to perpetuate the NRA’s Big Lie about the Second Amendment.
It is time for us to follow the lead of Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez and call BS on this lie.
Politicians who refuse to ban the sale of weapons of war are choosing to put the profits of gun manufacturers and sellers over the right to life of our nation’s people – especially our children. These politicians need to own that choice and stop lying about the Constitution to justify their actions. And we need to choose this November whether to vote to keep politicians capable of such choices and lies in office. #NeverAgain.