In a YouTube video and blog post, Naomi Chambers answers affirmatively her rhetorical question, “Should we repeal the 2nd amendment?”
This post will do two things: (1) chew her analysis, and (2) provide the negative argument to her question. However, I will attempt to refrain (and likely fail) from saying things like the consequences of her argument is that most blacks would be forbidden to own guns (see Carl Rowan); while evident in the actual application of gun control laws, I doubt that she supports the racist consequences of her advocacy.
First, her appeal to authority by citing Thomas Jefferson totally mischaracterizes his thoughts on the Constitution by linking them to a modern fluid understanding of the Constitution advocated publicly by Justice Stephen Breyer. The out-of-context misuse of the quotation is either ignorant or dishonest; such flimsy argument by quote mining is most commonly a tactic of libertarians and conservatives. For some specific events to consider related to disproving this misuse, see: (1) Jefferson on amending the Constitution during the Louisiana Purchase, (2) Jefferson’s conflicts with the judiciary and Federalist based upon his strict constructionist views, (3) Madison’s role in creating the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Bill of Rights, (4) Madison and Monroe’s constitutional arguments related to federal internal improvements, and (5) Monroe’s actions as Virginia Governor during a slave rebellion.
Second, she identifies that the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment; therefore, repealing the 2nd Amendment is legally possible…Duh. By that same logic the Establishment Clause or the 16th Amendment could be repealed. That something could be done does not make it a good idea. Nevertheless, this does raise an important distinction between the man made and the metaphysically given; the former is subject to change by human choice and the later is not. Other man made facts that could be changed by repeal: (1) Social Security, (2) government healthcare (FDA, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare), and (3) progressive taxation.
Finally, the essence of her argument for repealing the 2nd Amendment is an incoherent emotionalist unprincipled mess that reeks of Pragmatism. Dr. Tara Smith gave an excellent lecture at the National Press Club titled “The Menace of Pragmatism: How Aversion to Principle Is Destroying America”, which gives a more complete analysis of Pragmatism than I will attempt in this post. By abandoning principles, Chambers looses the capacity to predict the future consequences of current choices.
Instead she gives us the following common formula: (1) I see something that makes me feel bad and if you are human then you feel bad about it too, (2) we have to act for the sake of action to do something about my feelings, and (3) such action will make me feel better because I feel that it is true.
In context, my satire of Obama’s gun control proposal (“Obama Plans More Rapes”) identifies the same type of error: the unidentified likely consequences of unprincipled actions.
No, that is a really bad idea.
Is there an intrinsic right for an individual to have a gun? No.
Does the tradition of this principle being establish in 1776 as an essential requirement for the defense of individual rights override our own thoughts, experience, and context? No.
Constitutional and statutory rights establish governmental rules to protect individual rights. The essential purpose of government is to protect individual rights; thus, the question to be examined and answered related to the original question is “How does this proposal protect individual rights?”
However, Chambers proposal does not protect individual rights and instead increases the violations of individual rights. The fundamental consequence of this proposal is to disarm law abiding citizens or to turn them into law breakers. This has a secondary consequence of weakening protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by creating probable cause when an innocuous condition is made illegal. Further, the implementation of this proposal will deny individual blacks equal protection of the laws as they have historically lived in jurisdictions that deny their access to self-protection (as part of the racist policies of the Democratic party).
The 2nd Amendment is tied to the right to self-defense from the right to life, as such Chamber’s proposal is an attack on the right to self-defense. As seen in the Carl Rowan case, and similar cases of self-defense in one’s home around the world, gun control’s actual result is the criminal prosecution of individuals defending themselves from criminals. Recent history in both the UK and Australia demonstrate that the disarming of law abiding citizens results in increasing violation of individual rights by criminals, and the inability of police workers and prisons to manage this consequence.
However, there is something real that is making Chamber’s feel bad; although I note that she ignores the role firearms played in individual Asians being able to protect their lives and businesses from attacks by racist mobs during urban riots. Further, there are legitimate things that government can do, or stop doing, that could make her feel better without turning her into a thug that takes the self-defensive guns out of her neighbors’ hands, or her substituting her own judgment for theirs by denying them the choice of self-defense.
As mass shootings typically involve someone previously subject to psychological care, it is past time for that profession to clean itself up as it is full of too many witchdoctors (based upon philosophical errors) and practitioners who are more qualified to be patients. Further, more mandates for in patient care should be made on those who are a danger to themselves or others; for example: there should be a mandatory evaluation admittance for someone being charged with domestic violence.
There is already enhanced sentencing for those who use a gun in the commission of a crime. Perhaps, those can be stronger. However, a more pressing issue is the state budget crises from unfunded pension liabilities that are likely to result in violent criminals being released from prison to cut expenses. While selectivity will be needed in who will be let out, law abiding citizens will need to be able to choose to be armed to protect themselves from recidivists.
Two repeal proposals that would do more to reduce gun violence than the Chamber’s attack on our right to self-defense would be (1) ending the War on Drugs with full decriminalization and legalization, and (2) ending public schools. With the former, the violence around drugs is principally the consequence of legal prohibition; see Chamber’s related points about alcohol Prohibition. With the later, a far graver threat to children than guns, public schools are an expensive failure that cripples the minds of children with the Pragmatism of John Dewey.