Dana Loesch is described as an American conservative, commentator, talk radio host and spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association. Her response to the tragedy in New Zealand was even more tragic.
The prime minister of New Zealand pledged to enact extraordinary restrictions on the purchase of assault weapons in her country. This followed the horrific outbreak of gun violence that killed some 50 Muslims whose only sin was observing their midday prayers.
How did Ms. Loesch respond? She was quick to parrot the NRA mantra: “The U.S. isn’t New Zealand. They do not have an inalienable right to bear arms and to self-defense — we do.”
Apparently the NRA and its spokespeople flunked junior high social studies.
There is no such thing as an “inalienable right to bear arms.” Absolutely none. In the Declaration of Independence, it clearly states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The reader, Loesch and the NRA will note that the so-called “right to bear arms” is nowhere mentioned nor is it described as unalienable. Because it is not. And never was.
The Constitution of the United States was ratified on June 21, 1788. As originally written and approved, no mention whatsoever was made of “unalienable rights” and there was never any guarantee of a so-called “right to bear arms.”
The preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution …”
God is not relied upon to form a “more perfect union.” That burden is placed squarely upon the shoulders of the people of the United States. They not only assume the responsibility for justice, tranquility, defense, and the general welfare, but it is clearly stated that this will be done under the terms of, and in adherence to, the Constitution, i.e. the law of the land.
Guns and an armed society are not viewed as offering a legitimate pathway for the pursuit of happiness.
“We the People” did not contain a pledge to assault rifles but to the rule of law. What we secure and ordain to our posterity was fully intended to derive from reason, not the barrel of a gun.
For any who do not know it, the Constitution in its un-amended form says not one word about a citizen’s “right to bear arms.” Obviously there was never any intent by the framers to include a slogan about wielding firearms, let alone assigning to such a claim the status of an “unalienable right.” Let alone one that was “God-given.”
Further, there were not 10 amendments proposed to the Constitution, but 12. The 2nd was actually in fourth place.
The flawed Heller decision on guns, written by Justice Scalia, ignores the preamble to what we now recognize as the 2nd Amendment. A distorted ruling by the Court does not, however, exclude the likelihood of future remedy, any more than the Jim Crow finding by the Fuller Court in 1898 was able to withstand the scrutiny of a more enlightened judiciary in 1954, when the Warren Court struck down racial segregation in Plessy v Ferguson.
Zealots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were convinced that drinking alcoholic spirits corrupted the soul and condemned those who imbibed to damnation. Happily, the 18th Amendment was repealed, particularly since its ratification only showed the devil to be residing in places like Chicago and the hearts of bootleggers, including their unholy enterprises. Which were marked by rampant killing sprees and mayhem. It should be noted that there was no shortage of firearms available to bloodletting gangsters.
The point? Simply this. If we are to enter into a meaningful dialogue about firearms and the potential threat they represent to the domestic tranquility, then we must agree to give up the twisted and distorted rhetoric of extreme right-wing conservatives.
Especially when such emotionally charged outbursts have no substance in fact, are unsupported by history and only serve to stand in the way of any honest attempt to confront the pain and suffering gun violence visits upon the general welfare
Ammon, a longtime lakes area resident, has written a book entitled “State of the Union: Observations on American Life.”