I Support the Second Amendment, but…

“I support the Second Amendment*, but…”

This is where I stop listening, usually, because whatever comes after the ‘but…’ you can rest assured is going to contradict the initial statement, at least in my experience. If you think it needs to be changed, rewritten, limited, altered, etc., then you don’t support it. You may support something similar, but not the thing as written.

While there is a lot I could say on the subject, I want to specifically address one of my, for lack of a better word, favorite ‘but…’ statements.
The conversation usually goes something like this:

Anti-Gun Guy “I support the second amendment, but I think military style assault weapons [or some gun, feature, weapon type, etc.] should be banned.”
Pro-Gun Guy “What about the first amendment? Do you think we should have speech control?”
Anti-Gun Guy “Dude, even the first amendment has limits, you can’t say ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater, its the same thing! We have to keep assault rifles away from criminals!”

It is not the same thing, not by a longshot. Looking at the right of free speech, the scenario of arbitrarily shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater assumes such is done solely with the intent of causing chaos, and can put people in danger. Based on the Non-Aggression principle covered in another post, this is the point where it would stop being within your ‘right’, because it is a purposeful infringement on someone else’s right to life. If we look at the scenario of someone coming across a murder/rape/etc in progress and pulling the fire alarm [the modern-day equivalent of shouting ‘Fire’] in order to disrupt the violent crime from taking place, this is another story. Similar to how arbitrarily firing a gun in a theater would be dangerous and stupid, but firing back at someone in a situation such as the movie theater shooting during the Batman premier would have been prudent.

So here is what a true-to-life identical first-amendment scenario that parallels what you propose for gun control would look like:

“It should be illegal to say the word ‘fire’. Nobody should be able to use it, and people should go to prison for at least five years for saying the word ‘fire’. Furthermore, once they’re released, they should permanently lose their right to speak because of that one time they said ‘fire’ all those years ago. This is for everyone’s safety, since someone could easily use the word ‘fire’ to cause panic in a crowded theater. People who use the word ‘fire’ to alert people to an actual real threat of fire, even if they save lives, should still be arrested for it after the fact.”

“Slang should be illegal. When the founding fathers wrote the First Amendment they could never have known that the spoken word was going to evolve to where it is today. The First Amendment only applies to ‘Ye Olde English’.”

Sounds pretty stupid when you put it that way, doesn’t it?


* – Footnote about ‘Amendments’. It is important to point out that Rights are not granted to the people by the Bill of Rights or by any other document or decree of any government. The Bill of Rights simply specifically identifies some, but by no means all, of the Rights that we as human beings are entitled to simply by virtue of being living people. Since it is not by the power of government that these rights are ‘granted’, it is also not within the power of the government to limit, control, or revoke them.