Tampa Paper: Gun Rights Not Absolute

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In an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times, the newspaper’s editors make the well-worn case against the Second Amendment, telling readers that strict adherence to the Constitution would put public safety in jeopardy. Arguing against the “gun zealots and the National Rifle Association” and their influence in the state legislature, the paper claims that “gun rights are not absolute.”

By what authority do they make this claim? It’s not an uncommon one. You can’t be in favor of gun control and believe wholeheartedly in the words “shall not be infringed.” Yet most Americans do believe there should be some restrictions on gun rights. Few support sending schoolchildren off to a day of classes with a revolver tucked away in their backpacks. You won’t find too many people arguing for the full repeal of background checks. You’d have to look long and hard to find people who support the right of Americans to own weapons of mass destruction, even though those could also be ostensibly protected by the word “arms.”

So, the truth is that we already believe there should be “common sense” in our gun laws, a concept the paper’s editors think has been abandoned. Unfortunately, the laws anti-gun activists want to see go far beyond common sense. They want cities and states to be more like Washington D.C., handing carry permits only to those citizens who can prove their lives are in clear and imminent danger. They refuse to acknowledge the mountain of statistics proving that law-abiding permit holders are not – by any means – the problem when it comes to America’s gun violence. The problem comes from those who never had a permit to begin with. Street criminals, gang members, and psychos. Pass all the laws you want, and it won’t do one damn thing to keep guns out of the hands of these outlaws. That’s the meaning of outlaw.

This weekend, the Washington Post ran a snide story about how all of the prospective Republican candidates for 2016 held more or less the same views on the Second Amendment. Why would this even be a story? Why would there be any viable national politician on either side of the aisle who did not believe in the Constitution? Shouldn’t that be one of the basic litmus tests?

That’s not the case, though. The left believes it’s perfectly acceptable to question the integrity of that hallowed document. And to be sure, there is a mechanism in our Constitution allowing for changes. But these politicians don’t run on platforms to change the Constitution. They run in the hopes of subverting our rights without actually going through the proper channels. They insist that it doesn’t mean what it says. That it’s outdated, or that the Founding Fathers meant only that state militias had the right to bear arms.

We get called “zealots” for pointing to the Constitution and saying, “Hey guys, maybe we should just follow this, ya know?” Well, if adherence to the law makes me a zealot, then that’s a label I’ll wear with pride.