To repeat: I think. A lot of bloggers feel differently. Judge for yourself at 0:50 below. The guy has been known in the past to question gun rights, although he seems to have shaped up on that score over the last few years. And he is, after all, the world’s worst political surrogate. If any Republican in America is going to step on a rhetorical rake by questioning the continued need for the right to bear arms during a cable hit, Carson is that Republican.
I’m with Bob Owens, though. Here’s what Carson said as part of an exchange about the Democrats’ sit-in at the House:
“I think that the people who are protesting certain feel that they are absolutely 100% right. But, of course, the people on the other side think that they’re 100% right, too, and that’s why we need to get back to a point of having civil discussions.
“Let’s put on the table: what is the reason for the Second Amendment? And is there a reason that we need to change those things right now? And let’s put the data on the table and let’s talk about like intelligent people, rather than getting in our respective corners and hurling insults at each other.”
All he’s saying — I think — is that we should debate gun control like grown-ups instead of pulling lame stunts like the sit-in. He’s complained periodically for the past year that politics is too noisy and doesn’t reward rational discussion enough. When he says we should put the Second Amendment on the table and talk about it, he’s not suggesting that repeal should be an option. He’s suggesting that the left can’t win an honest debate with gun-rights advocates about the virtues of the Amendment, which is why they resort to political stunts. Likewise, when he refers to “those things” that may or may not need changing, I take that not as a reference to the Second Amendment but to terror watch lists and whether people on them should be automatically barred from buying guns, i.e. Democrats’ “no fly, no buy” proposal. Has the terror threat now escalated to the point where purchases should be blocked on mere suspicion? How much due process should there be? Let’s debate those questions calmly, not whether we still a constitutional right to bear arms. Remember, eight months ago this guy was on TV warning voters that disarming Jews was a key tactic of Nazi persecution. Does that sound like someone who wants the Second Amendment on the table?
Here’s the interview with MSNBC followed by another clip from just a few days ago in which Carson reiterates, correctly, that the Second Amendment is not designed to protect deer-hunting but to give the public a means of self-defense against an oppressive government. A man who conceives of the right that way isn’t apt to part with it lightly.