Yet another anti-gun liberal grapples with reality...

...Amendment II means what it says.

By Tim Inwood

Being a “news addict” one becomes familiar with
certain faces on television. You quickly learn who is
worth listening to and who is not on a variety of
subjects. One whom I came to respect for his opinions
was Jonathan Turley, who is a law professor at George
Washington University. Mr. Turley was a frequent guest
on news programs during the Clinton Impeachment as a
legal commentator, and though he was clearly a
liberal, he was an honest one. So I took interest in
what he had to say in a recent article for USA Today. His article followed a curious growing movement:
Liberals who admit the Second Amendment might actually
mean what it says, recognizing an individual right to
bear arms.

Click 'Read More' for the entire commentary.

Now some liberals, like Benjamin Wittes, acknowledged
it, but then suggested it should be repealed. However
Turley’s take is somewhat more along the lines of
Sandford Levinson’s infamous “The Embarrassing Second
Amendment”, in that he admits that the Second
Amendment might actually mean what it says and that is
deserves honest study by those who have given it a
liberal knee jerk rejection. This admission on
Jonathan Turley’s part is something that seems to give
him a certain amount of angst. As he puts it, “For
more than 200 years, progressives and polite people
have avoided acknowledging that following the rights
of free speech, free exercise of religion and free
assembly, there is "the right of the people to keep
and bear arms." Of course, the very idea of finding a
new individual right after more than two centuries is
like discovering an eighth continent in constitutional
law, but it is hardly the cause of celebration among
civil liberties groups.”

This is an incredible and sad acknowledgment. Civil
liberties groups like the ACLU should be thrilled to
see movement in the courts restoring a civil right
denied to so many American citizens. However they are
not. They are most apprehensive about the progress of
Parker vs. District of Columbia. Why? Because as Jonathan
Turley so eloquently puts it, they view the Second
Amendment as a relic of the “dark ages of American
culture.” This is truly a bewildering pity. As someone
who lives and works in the greater Washington D.C.
metro area, Mr. Turley should be able to see the
devastating damage done by the thirty-year-old D.C.
handgun ban. Some people, however, are uncomfortable
with facing the need to take responsibility for their
personal protection. I suspect he may well be one of
them.

He laments Mayor Fenty appealing Parker to
the U.S. Supreme Court, saying “D.C. politicians have
put gun-control laws across the country at risk with a
court more likely to uphold the rulings than to
reverse them. It has also put the rest of us in the
uncomfortable position of giving the right to gun
ownership the same fair reading as more favored rights
of free press or free speech.” A stunning confession
that as a civil libertarian and legal scholar he is
very uncomfortable with the thought of having to give
the Second Amendment a fair reading, though he also
admits the plain reading of the amendment makes it
pretty clear what the founders intended. “Considering
the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and
self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed
such ownership as an individual right — consistent
with the plain meaning of the amendment.” He goes on
to say, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms
is stated in the same way as the right to free speech
or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended
to reaffirm the power of the states and the people
against the central government. At the time, many
feared the federal government and its national army.
Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse
by the government, which would be less likely to mess
with a well-armed populace.”

So here we have the confession. Yes, he understands
clearly the founders wanted to recognize the
individual right to bear arms and at the same stroke
put in place a deterrent to future tyranny and, though
not mentioned by Mr. Turley but just as valid, to
hinder foreign invasions.

He also admits that many academics were unwilling to
research or face the truth of what the Second
Amendment actually means. “Like many academics, I was
happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It
did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.”

How, from where we began as a nation, have we
reached the point that so many of our fellow citizens
have come to dread owning and using the very
instruments that guarantee our freedom? Eric Fromm
wrote an interesting book years back called “Escape
from Freedom”. In it he postulates that for some
people tyranny or dictatorship is attractive. It
removes the responsibility for making the important
decisions in one’s life. If a tyrant is in place and
tells you what to do then you are free from making
those decisions for yourself. Is it any wonder that so
many dictators have risen to power on the “Nanny
State” platform? Sadly we in the U.S. are not immune
from this disease; look at the huge number of people
wishing to embrace the “Socialist lite” policies
advocated by Senators Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and
John Edwards--Nanny State advocates who are also
anti-gun. Naturally in the “Nanny State” they don’t
want us armed and thus people are told the police will
protect them. The citizens of Washington D.C. were
sold this pablum in 1976 when their city banned the
private ownership of handguns. They were told if
everyone gave up their guns and they would rely on the
police to protect them, all would be safe and the
community better off. The “Sheep” of Washington,
compliant as sheep are, bought into this notion,
surrendering freedom for perceived safety. Instead
they became residents of the “Murder Capitol” of the
United States. Thousands of unarmed victims have died
at the hands of the predatory thugs wandering the
streets of our Nation’s Capitol city.

This sad state of affairs can be partially blamed on
liberal lawyers and activists like Turley who admits
his “socially liberal agenda” in the article. For many
decades in the Twentieth Century they told the people
the Second Amendment was only a recognition of the
State’s right to form militia and thus Amendment II
was obsolete in the modern age. However I will credit
him that he has come around to this. “[T]he NRA may
have been right… it does appear that gun ownership was
made a protected right by the Framers and, while we
might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize
it.”

So while it has been slow in coming, I applaud
Jonathan Turley for recognizing it is time for legal
scholars to wake up and reexamine this issue. I hope
this growing trend to take another look will turn into
an avalanche as Parker has piqued the
interest of these legal scholars.
Perhaps these learned men of letters will conclude
what we have known all along. The Second Amendment is
recognition of a God-given right to keep and bear arms
for our security and defense.

Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past
President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen
Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA, Life
Member of OGCA, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms
Association.

Related Story:
Repeal the 2nd Amendment? The anti-gun left in panic over the Parker decision

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