The 2nd Amendment: Insurance for Our Freedom of Speech
It may be a head-scratcher to Americans who understand the Constitution, but there are few issues as polarizing as the 2nd Amendment. And now – what we even say about the 2nd Amendment has become an issue.
Until recently, few would argue with anyone’s right to free speech, freedom of religion, or our right to due process, and there has never been any contention about our right to a jury trial, or the abolition of slavery. We are distinct from every nation on the planet when it comes to the rights we Americans enjoy. But the 2nd Amendment gives the Left apoplexy and now they are trying to curb the First Amendment rights of 2nd Amendment advocates. Why? Because talking about our right to own – gasp – guns, is distasteful and downright hateful.
When former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum made the statement that “the Second Amendment is there to protect the First Amendment” he was accused by the eternally angry folks at Think Progress of promoting vigilantism, that he had used “violent rhetoric.” They also said “if each citizen can both decide for themselves what the First Amendment means and then use their personal arsenal to enforce it, the inevitable result is chaos.”
Liberal columnist Jonathan Schmitt has said that the money spent by the gun lobby to influence legislation is actually a form of hate speech and that “hate speech, by extension, curtails the free speech of those who seek gun control.” Such reasoning is nothing short of twisted.
On the other – and wiser hand, the Daily Signal’s Amy Swearer says “the Second Amendment acts as an insurance measure for the person seeking to exercise free speech, as it serves as a visible deterrent to anyone who would try to suppress that speech using physical aggression.”
This provides a perfect segue into how the Left views physical aggression as a response to certain political agendas. A recent poll from the Brookings Institution reveals that almost one in five college students support the use of violence against speakers who say “offensive and hurtful things.” Plus, over half believe it’s completely reasonable and appropriate to shut down speakers with whom they disagree with disruptive acts. Reacting to this bleak commentary, columnist Ben Shapiro said “That isn’t a shock considering what students are taught on college campuses: that group identity and politics are inextricably intertwined, and that an attack on politics means an attack on identity.”
This is where we live now, folks. According to Kim R. Holmes, acting Senior Vice President of Research for the Heritage Foundation, “…people who call themselves progressive liberals are at the forefront of movements to shut down debates on college campuses and to restrict freedom of speech. They are eager to cut corners, bend the Constitution, make up laws through questionable court rulings, and generally abuse the rules and the Constitution in order to get their way…they establish “zero tolerance” regimes in schools where young boys are suspended for nibbling breakfast pastries into the shape of a gun.”
What’s more, even the ACLU has backed away from their longstanding history of absolute, unfettered defense of free speech. They will no longer defend protesters who carry firearms – regardless of how legally compliant or peaceful a demonstration might be. This is an extraordinary disappointment because although generally on opposite sides of the political spectrum, GOC has worked with them on First Amendment issues and matters of privacy.
The Left is not just after our guns. They are also after what we say.
Writer and attorney David French has publicly stated he carries a firearm due to threats he and his family received from loonies on both the right and the left. He says “Should the ACLU defend my right to speak? Sadly, there are many Americans who would say no. They hate my viewpoint too much. They hate guns too much. The allure of power and control is too strong. They see little value in dissent, especially on the most sensitive cultural issues, and they utterly reject the concept of an armed citizenry. Yet even terrible crimes shouldn’t cause us to retreat from our commitments to liberty.”
It bears repeating: “Yet even terrible crimes shouldn’t cause us to retreat from our commitments to liberty.”
Amen to that.