In case you had any doubts, there is absolutely nothing which takes place in America… no tragedy, no triumph, no mundane activity, which the anti-gun lobby can’t turn into an excuse to attempt to dismantle the Second Amendment. The latest rounds of violence by both neo-nazis and Antifa at various protests is no exception. At USA Today this week, Carolyn Shapiro and Cody Jacobs, two professors at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, make the argument that the potential for even more violence is a prime reason why firearms should be banned at all public demonstrations and protests.
The racist vitriol on display in Charlottesville, Va., was shocking; the death of Heather Heyer was tragic. But one of the most striking things about the photographs and videos from the protest is the prevalence of guns — and in some cases, semiautomatic assault weapons.
Many of them were carried not by law enforcement in riot gear, but legally by protesters and members of militia groups. Such weapons at demonstrations, at best, raise tensions and intimidate. At worst, they could lead to bloodshed.
Legislators can and should act, and act now, to preserve public protests and counterprotests as safe and accessible forums for political expression and disagreement. The best way to do that is to ban the open carry of guns at such events.
The visible presence of large numbers of deadly weapons at a demonstration has the potential to silence people. Many who want to exercise their First Amendment rights may be afraid to attend, much less speak.
The authors move on from there in the usual fashion, attempting to claim that they would never (heaven forbid) try to infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. They do so by claiming that Heller, while recognizing the right to keep and bear arms, allows for restrictions in “sensitive places” such as schools and government buildings. True enough, but they then make the bold leap to claim that any public, open space where people might assemble to air their grievances with the government are likewise sensitive in nature.
An interesting approach there, essentially claiming (as Associate Justice Clarence Thomas recently wrote) that the Second Amendment is somehow inferior and subservient to the First Amendment, as well as the rest of them. But if you can’t bear arms in the public square, then where do the authors suggest you do so? Why, in your home, of course.
The irony runs deep here, but stop and consider all of the violence we saw in Berkeley recently. The authors suggest banning firearms at the one place where the actual peaceful protesters might have needed them the most. I notice that they don’t suggest a ban on baseball bats, Molotov cocktails and home-made riot shields or any of the other weapons of opportunity used by Antifa to beat down and silence the voices they disagreed with.
As with most such editorials, it always helps to look a bit further into the background of the authors. Jacobs formerly worked for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which could just as easily shorten its name a bit to say “prevent guns.” In Shapiro’s case, you really just need to spend a bit of time looking at her Twitter feed. Not so much the original tweets as the wide variety of liberals and social justice types that she retweets. And of course, she’s already staked out her turf when it comes to the current president and the possibility of a “25th Amendment” solution to the problem.
25th Amendment time? https://t.co/gDS4mTjSgi
— Carolyn Shapiro (@cshaplaw) August 16, 2017
Left wing, anti-gun zealots looking to use the physical violence at public demonstrations (much of it coming from their own side) as an excuse to drive another shiv into the rib cage of the Second Amendment. If you’re still actually surprised at this point you haven’t been paying attention.