Commentary

Talking sense about the Second Amendment: The best op-ed of the weekend

In case you missed it be sure to check out the op-ed that ran on WRAL.com yesterday on the subject of so-called “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” As authors Becky Ceartas of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and Sherry Honeycutt of the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence explain in detail, the resolutions being passed by local government run counter to both public opinion and basic premises of state law:

“It is the responsibility of our courts, not local governments, to be the arbiters of a law’s constitutionality. In fact, late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the District of Columbia v Heller (2008) case said that the Second Amendment was not unlimited and that a range of gun regulations are fully consistent with the Second Amendment. As anti-violence advocates, we find the decision of local governments to exercise their power in this manner to be disheartening at best, and a serious threat to public safety at worst.

These resolutions are also out of step with the public’s widespread support for stronger gun safety laws. A poll by the conservative Civitas Institute found in 2019 that 58% of North Carolinians think our gun laws are too lax, and 48% of those polled either owned a gun or had someone in their home who owned a gun.”

The essay goes on to point out that the people likely to be most endangered by local officials refusing or neglecting to do their duty vis a vis illegal firearms are victims of domestic violence:

“Perhaps most directly at risk are victims of domestic violence. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, the presence of a firearm makes it nearly five times more likely that a domestic violence victim will become a homicide victim. Victims rely on their local governments and law enforcement agencies to help enforce protective orders, including orders to an abuser to surrender a firearm.”

As I noted earlier this year:

“Delusional as the proponents of the gun sanctuary movement may be about basic constitutional principles, what’s most troubling about this new development is its clear and reckless message of violence and lawlessness. Refusing to abide by or enforce duly enacted criminal laws – especially anti-violence laws – is the kind of behavior one associates with failed states ruled by armed militias and gangs. It’s the grim reality of Afghanistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, not the world’s greatest democracy. Sadly, it’s also the action of extremists devoted to cockamamie ideas like secession and ‘nullification.’

The whole thing is made even more surreal by the fact that it is being driven by the political right. This is, after all, the same movement – from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush – that has repeatedly made “law and order” a top campaign refrain.

Today, if there was ever any real doubt about it, that mantra has been shown to be a fraud – a convenient curtain behind which to hide the obvious belief that, as Orwell might have put it, some groups and some laws are more equal than others.

What caring, thinking and patriotic people do in the days ahead to say ‘no’ to this perverse and provocative movement will say much about the health of the American experiment and its long-term wellbeing.”

Click here to read the entire WRAL op-ed.

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